Best way to store/stream videos

MacGeekAZ

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2011
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1
We have an Apple TV, and we all use Macs and iPhones. What's the best way to store our purchased videos so we can watch them on the Apple TV and our various devices via wi-fi? I know there's some storage in the Apple TV, but probably not enough for everything. I'd love to set things up so that we can save everything in one place, and all have access to it. I was thinking of getting an Airport for our backups; could we also store videos and have access to them?
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
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what version of aTV?
Purchased from where?

iTunes store? If so is streaming from apple not an option for you?

with the airport, you'd need iTunes running on a computer (windows or mac) somewhere on your network. as the aTV and your iOS devices can't directly connect to a network share



if...
your media files came from elsewhere there are a few other options.

VLC
you can access a network share directly (not sure about iOS, but definitely on aTV) as long as the network drive shares via SMB (windows sharing) which the extreme does.
no computer needed.
will not work with iTunes media, as VLC uses their own custom playback software and can't handle the iTunes DRM. (about 98% sure on this, could be wrong)

Plex
you would need a computer on and running their server program.
there are a few network drives that will run the plex server, no computer needed. But the files need to be ready to play on the apple tv.
I believe (at least in the past) this would work with iTunes media, as both the aTV and iOS versions use the native player.
 
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MacGeekAZ

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2011
68
1
It's the newest version; I bought it a couple of months ago at the Apple store. The videos are not in the iTunes format; they're from other sources. Maybe we will eventually get a computer just to store all our media and share it, but I was wondering if that's the only way. Thanks.
 
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zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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AirVideo HD. Install the server app on any computer that has content you want to see on the ATV. Install the app on the ATV. When you want to stream, the computer hosting it will need to be running with the AirVideo server active, but it works flawlessly. Much less complex to set up compared to other options IMO.
 
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For me, the most beautiful and elegant way was to buy a MacBook and keep everything in my iTunes library. (Surfing HD video, all of my music & playlists and photos/home video. I then use Apple Home sharing when I wantto access my iTunes on my Apple TV. I also keep my surfing HD videos on my iPhone and Airplay to the ATV.
Maybe, you'll love the Apple TV and start buying and renting HD film and soon 4K HDR from iTunes etc which will make it very easy to watch on up to 5 Apple TVs and 5 computers etc. That's the route i've gone for the last six years and I truly love it! It's flawless and worry free for me :)
 
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Ipadlover29

macrumors 6502a
May 28, 2011
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I store all my videos on my hard drive that's attached to my router (nas). Then use apps like VLC or infuse on your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad to stream the videos from your network. The videos can also be accessed when your not at home via ftp.
 
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jdag

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2012
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As you can already see, there are many ways to accomplish this with various levels of ease and accessibility. However, before making any suggestions, it is important to understand a few things:

1) What equipment do you currently have? Include router, streaming device(s), hard drive(s) for storage, and computer(s) on your network.

2) As for computers, can 1 of them be the server (i.e. - Always or almost always on)?

3) How many users will access videos? How many at any one time?

4) Are you planning this for just in-home use or would you like access outside the home (i.e. - via phones, other family members' homes, etc.)?

5) Would you only access via Apple devices, or is there a chance you'll use 3rd party devices (i.e. - Roku, Android tablet, etc.)?

6) You say "purchased videos", then later mentioned that videos are from "other sources". Therefore, can it be assumed that using iTunes is not a requirement for you?

7) Do you have an appetite for spending money or are you trying to accomplish this with existing hardware? If so, how much can you spend? My thinking here is that you can easily spend $1,000 on a new server, a few large hard drives, NAS operating systems, etc. Or, you might have everything you need already.

I hope that this helps get your thoughts in order so that specific recommendations can be made.
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I tried putting my media on a 2TB Time Capsule and although it worked, I wasn't happy. For one thing, the internal disk in a Time Capsule is really slow and an external disk connected to it is even slower. Even worse, the disk spins down after just a few seconds if you don't access it. That results in a long delay to start playing anything.

I ended getting a base model Mac Mini for $500 (big box stores have been blowing them out on sale for as low as $350 recently). This is more than powerful enough (actually overkill) to serve iTunes content. And it's dead simple, just enable home sharing.

I have 3200 songs, 650 movies and 600 TV shows on my server which takes up about 1.5TB. So with a 4TB external drive, I have plenty of room to grow. I have two additional drives that I rotate for backups that are done nightly with a Carbon Copy Cloner script. Very happy with this system after almost three years.

But as has been said, you don't really need a new computer for this, it could be almost anything (Mac or PC) that will run a version of iTunes that supports home sharing. I found this article helpful when I started out: http://www.techradar.com/how-to/software/applications/how-to-set-up-an-itunes-home-server-1305683

The videos are not in the iTunes format; they're from other sources.
I'm confused by that part. How are you using the video on your TV and iOS devices now if it's not in "iTunes format"?
 
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Hermes Monster

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May 4, 2010
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I tried putting my media on a 2TB Time Capsule and although it worked, I wasn't happy. For one thing, the internal disk in a Time Capsule is really slow and an external disk connected to it is even slower. Even worse, the disk spins down after just a few seconds if you don't access it. That results in a long delay to start playing anything.

I ended getting a base model Mac Mini for $500 (big box stores have been blowing them out on sale for as low as $350 recently). This is more than powerful enough (actually overkill) to serve iTunes content. And it's dead simple, just enable home sharing.

I have 3200 songs, 650 movies and 600 TV shows on my server which takes up about 1.5TB. So with a 4TB external drive, I have plenty of room to grow. I have two additional drives that I rotate for backups that are done nightly with a Carbon Copy Cloner script. Very happy with this system after almost three years.

But as has been said, you don't really need a new computer for this, it could be almost anything (Mac or PC) that will run a version of iTunes that supports home sharing. I found this article helpful when I started out: http://www.techradar.com/how-to/software/applications/how-to-set-up-an-itunes-home-server-1305683



I'm confused by that part. How are you using the video on your TV and iOS devices now if it's not in "iTunes format"?
FYI you can just plug an HDD into your TC and it will serve as a NAS, which apps like Infuse and VLC can access. It’s also accessible from the Mac, as a network drive, so you can just save files to it without ever needing to unplug it - that’s what I do anyway.

Infuse also has iOS apps which will access your content, and allow you to download it directly to your iOS devices - I can’t recommend it enough
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
FYI you can just plug an HDD into your TC and it will serve as a NAS
I tried all that... have you actually done this yourself with a Time Capsule? I was not happy and finally gave up. The spin-up time for the disk is considerable and it spins down immediately. So you get a long delay before video starts to play.

External USB disks are *really* slow on the TC, here is what I got with a test over gigabit ethernet, and this was a USB 3.0 disk that gives over 100MB/sec connected directly to a computer



The Time Capsule really wasn't designed to be a NAS. Yes, you can use it like one but it doesn't work very smoothly for that. I'm much happier with a Mini as an iTunes server and network drive (I get 100MB/sec with file sharing). And my Time Capsule does what it was intended to do - backs up my Macs. :)
 
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Hermes Monster

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May 4, 2010
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I tried all that... have you actually done this yourself with a Time Capsule? I was not happy and finally gave up. The spin-up time for the disk is considerable and it spins down immediately. So you get a long delay before video starts to play.

External USB disks are *really* slow on the TC, here is what I got with a test over gigabit ethernet, and this was a USB 3.0 disk that gives over 100MB/sec connected directly to a computer



The Time Capsule really wasn't designed to be a NAS. Yes, you can use it like one but it doesn't work very smoothly for that. I'm much happier with a Mini as an iTunes server and network drive (I get 100MB/sec with file sharing). And my Time Capsule does what it was intended to do - backs up my Macs. :)
Sorry for the late reply... yes I use this set up myself. Have you got the latest (last) AirPort TC? I use the Infuse App and it takes no longer than a few seconds to get everything loaded on screen and the same again to start watching, even large files
 
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Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
Yes, I have the current generation Time Capsule. Tried it, didn't like it. Much better results using a base 2014 Mini as a server, it can pretty much saturate gigabit ethernet and is also compatible with my Apple TV's. I'm quite content to let the Time Capsule do what it was intended for - continuously backing up my Macs. :)
 
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