Best way to setup iTunes for a AppleTV/Mac+PC

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by diamond3, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    First off, I really wish iTunes provided more functionality for shared libraries on a network drive.

    Here is the household setup: 2 Apple TVs, Macbook Pro, Desktop PC, Laptop PC, wireless N and a WD My Book Live 2TB network drive (ethernet connection only), iPhones and iPod touch.

    Possible setups:

    1. Everything on Network drive - Complete iTunes folder and iTunes library file as well all stored on the network drive.
    Pro: Every computer will always have the same files, no conflict in adding new files.
    Con: only one computer can be running the iTunes at a time. Must close one iTunes before opening on another computer.

    2. Media files on network drive, each computer with own library file.
    Pro: run multiple iTunes at the same time.
    Con: Adding a new file isn't recognized on another computer. Duplicates likely with automatic iTunes download for purchases. Then having to manually find/add files into another library that were added from a different computer.

    3. Desktop running all the time with everything stored on the network drive. Each computer running a separate iTunes library and just access via Home sharing.
    Pro: easy to maintain one library
    Con: Must sync with desktop computer for iTunes, laptop won't have files.

    Are these the only options? Ideally what I would like is to have all the files on the Network drive, every computer with it's own iTunes library. If music/videos is added from one computer, all the other computers will update iTunes to show the files the next time it's started.

    One last concern: streaming movies over the network. If the apple tv is accessing iTunes on the macbook pro (which is reading from the network drive), is there going to be a huge bottleneck on the wireless network. Essentially the video is transferred from the network drive -> ethernet -> router -> wirelessly to the laptop (iTunes) -> wirelessly to router -> wirelessly the apple tv. So essentially 3 streams at the same time on the wireless network. I'm assuming it's not smart enough to go from the network drive via ethernet to the router wirelessly to the appletv (1 stream).
  2. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    Isn't this the sort of thing that Home Sharing in iTunes is for?
  3. diamond3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    There are a lot of flaws in home sharing. What I'd like is a combined library that are always in sync, all stored on the network hd and can all be opened at the same time.

    Using homesharing, if you add music on one computer, you then have to remember to add it on the other computer while the original computer is turned on. Also, I don't want duplicate files on 3 different computers but would prefer it all on the network drive.
  4. shmeffrey macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Toronto Canada
    I'm in the same situation as you and still can't figure out the single best solution. I want to have two computers running the same mirrored itunes account.
    I don't want itunes match since I don't have a high speed internet connection. I just want to add music files on one coumputer and have them duplicate to another computer. Also when I make changes on one like make a song 5 star I want to see this change on the other.
  5. foodog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I have my entire library stored on an external drive connected to a desktop that runs all the time. All other computers, iDevices and Apple TV's have access to that library. The entire desktop is backed up to backblaze.
  6. diamond3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    Yes, I really wish iTunes was smart enough to scan the folder for different files that aren't in your library since you last opened it and reference them automatically without duplicating them. Even leaving the desktop computer on all the time isn't ideal because most of the downloading of music/movies will be done on a laptop/iphone. At the moment I don't think there is really a good way to do it, but I'm hopeful someone here has a decent solution that I haven't looked into yet.
  7. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Ditto on the setup.

    Given the locked down nature of iTunes, this is the best way I can think of to set this up. It relies on Home Sharing, which is supposed to make this smooth as silk, but it still doesn't work properly despite having the same issue since (and perhaps before) the release of the ATV 2.

    I have got into the habit of closing and re-opening iTunes every evening when I get home and every weekend morning. That is enough to keep Home Sharing honest, but it is a stupid workaround for an annoying problem. If they fix Home Sharing, this will be a pretty slick setup.
  8. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2011
    I use a master PC with home sharing and don't worry about EVERY piece of content being on every other computer. If I'm home, I can access it all. If I'm on the road, I just make sure I pick some stuff ahead of time. And actually, in those cases its usually stuff I want on my iPad, not my laptop. Whatever ends up on my laptop I don't concern myself with. Some stuff is a duplicate copy and much is missing (for example almost all my movies (like 99% of them) are ONLY on the master PC.
  9. foodog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Strange... I have had only a few problems with sharing and it was just after 10.6.0 was releases. I'm at 10.6.3 now and haven't had any problems... (knock on wood)


    With home sharing there is an option to display the stuff that only exists on the external shared iTunes library as far as automated... nothing
  10. squash junkie macrumors newbie

    squash junkie

    Jun 4, 2012
    I am basically in the same situation, as are most people with some sort of media library at home.
    I need to access the iTunes library from an iPod, iPhone, iPad, ATV3 and the iMac, but also have a laptop (Windoze) that would like access to this.
    So I have been looking at a few solutions...
    1. Home Sharing
    2. NAS with iTunes Server
    3. FreeNAS built from an old PC
    The home sharing has some limitations as you guys have mentioned above, and its real unfortunate that there is no iTunes Server available for home use. I'm sure a lot of people would benefit from this.
    The FeeNAS route looked possible, until I got stuck in the nitty gritty of the releases.... I basically got lost in the number of releases / itunes plugins not working, etc etc, so after a couple of weeks gave up.
    So the last thing I am looking at is buying a Synology NAS with a 3TB hard disk, which has an iTunes Server (supposedly + lots of other funky stuff) built in. Its gonna set me back a few dollars, but looks like the only sustainable solution for media sharing in the house....

    Anyone got any better ideas though?
  11. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    My software is fully up-to-date, and my connection crapped out again last night...even after I had preemptively restarted iTunes.
  12. spdntrxi macrumors regular

    May 11, 2012
    I've recently got a macbook pro.. my iTunes was created on a windows PC and now resides on a WD Sharespace that has a iTunes server built in. I've always been able to set the location in iTunes preferences and go with no issues on my windows laptops.

    Fast forward to this new MBP and I can see the .itl and.xml files on the NAS, but they are greyed out. Now when I go to the windows pc and open that library.. I am able to open it on my MBP ( I assume that is home sharing at work) but I want to be able to just open it up on the MBP by itself. If I close the library on the windows side, I lose it on the MBP side as well.

    This is my last hurdle to happiness in the mac iOS world...:D
  13. TinHead88 macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    Unfortunately there is no perfect solution for this yet.

    The best way I have found is using a Mac Mini as a server and maintaing its core library (it also serves as a media centre using XBMC) as the only place where file management is done.

    Music to another computer is achieved with home sharing. New music has to be added to the MM's library. I suppose you could keep blank libraries on other computers so that when you purchase new music it's easy to transfer it to the core library and then make the other computer's library blank again. When I buy music now I do it on the MM or through screen sharing on the MM. iTunes has a setting so that any music purchased using your Apple ID will automatically be download to your iTunes library.

    This way there is one library to maintain, refine (ratings etc), backup.

    The MM uses very little power so makes an efficient and economical choice for a versatile media server. For HD stuff I have no need for streaming as the MM is connected to my home theatre setup directly.
  14. tommy99953 macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2012
    itunes and a NAS

    referencing diamond3 possible setups I have been working on this my self as of late and have another twist to throw in, I use an ATV2, a macbook pro, a G5 from 2004 college, and a G4 from 2000 college. The G5 has a copy of everything on it, and its itunes maxed out at 10.6.8 or something, the G4 much earlier, and the macbook pro has the newest itunes which was necessary as someone stole my iPhone 4 and the new iPhone came with iOS 6 and thus i had to install the newest iTunes, 10.7 on the laptop. I use the G4 as a print server and connects to the stereo. The G5 is the work horse but the NAS device, the Western Digital Live is networked into the scene. Everything is on a gigabit switch so the speed of the network is moot. The ATV2 is not gigabit capable, this is odd to me, however the 100Mbps is fine for what it does. It seems that the source of the trouble is with the NAS device. Previously, before the iPhone was lifted and the NAS device was introduced, everything worked great with the devices connected over any combination of firewire, wireless 802.11g, or cat5 cables with a 100Mbps router. Note that the G4 is always hardwired in as it has no wireless card. The only problem I ever had with performance was solved by either rebooting (emptying the caches in the ATV2) or by replacing a destroyed hard disk in the G5. Now, with the introduction of the NAS drive, it is terrible, it is slow, it is as dependable as trash. I cannot figure out a way to make the NAS server work effectively with the iTunes as you need to mount the drive then hold option while opening iTunes and navigating to the shared folder. However, if off site, theoretically I could sync my iPhone to my Drive over wifi on any other network. This is desirable however I cannot even get the WD apps to work consistently in my apt so I have little faith in it from a remote location. Has any one else tried to sync a phone to a library at a remote location?

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