File sharing from Mac to PC

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mugwump4, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. mugwump4 macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Hopefully someone out there will be able to help me with this issue.

    For the life of me, I cannot share movies stored on my iMac with any other device except my Apple TV.

    I currently have most of my movie library archived in iTunes (90+ movies) that I converted to .mp4 or .mv4 using Handbrake. All of the movies are available on my AppleTV. I have three networked PCs, one ethernet, two wireless. I have enabled file sharing to all computers. I have installed iTunes on the wired PC as well as one wireless PC. I can share my iTunes music (but no video) between the iMac and PCs.

    All three PCs are Windows XP SP2 machines. I can navigate to the movie folder located on the Mac on any computer. I cannot open any movie file. I can open and access shared PDFs, spreadsheets, word documents, pretty much anything I have access to EXCEPT the movies.

    I CAN copy the movie from the host Mac to any PC with no issues. Then, Quicktime will play the movie. But, no matter what I try, I cannot stream the movies to any other device, except the Apple TV. (There are no movies stored on the Apple TV. I have a Time Capsule managing a wireless network that streams movies with only a few seconds delay.) I could see there being a time lag streaming a movie to a laptop with 500mb RAM and a G wireless connection, but the wired PC is connected with ethernet. It WILL allow me to copy a 2Gb movie from the iMAC to the PC in less than three minutes.

    I initially only had "Read" permissions on the folder in question, but I did try "Read and Write" access to see what happened. Nada.

    I cannot find a definitive answer as to sharing movies with iTunes. But, even if iTunes will only share music libraries, I still think that I should be able to stream movies by accessing the file directly. The wired PC is in my daughter's room, and I would like her to be able to stream movies from the iMac. If I navigate directly to the folder in question, one of two things happen. If I try to open a .mp4, I get "Error 50: An unknown error occured" If I try a .mv4, iTunes will open, but nothing happens. I can view the movies playlist under my shared library, but nothing happens when I attempt to open one.

    Eventually, I would like to softmod a used XBOX my sister gave me to stream movies on the iMac to another TV. I even tried XBMC on the wired PC to act as a media manager since iTunes would not pull movies off the network. It will find the movies, but it will stall (I did not let it keep trying after 15 minutes of "buffering" a movie.)

    I know I'm not the only one trying to share a library. Even if iTunes will not let me do it, I should be able to set something up so others on my LAN can access these files.

    iMac specs:
    2.4 GHz Intel, 2G RAM
    OS X 10.5.5

    Wired PC specs:
    1.99 GHz Intel, 384mB RAM
    XP SP2
    XP SP2

    Any suggestions? I don't have another Mac to attempt this with, but if 3 PCs have the same failure, I suspect it's either how my network is set up, file permissions on the iMac, or just a fundamental flaw in the way I'm trying to resolve this issue.

    Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
  2. p.luik macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2008
    Faribault, MN
    Connect an external HD to an AEBS and have all computers connect to that.
  3. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    An external disk will be necessary at some point in the future, but it's not now.

    Why an AirPort and not the Time Capsule I currently have?

    The iMac has 300Gb, and I'd rather use that now (as it's paid for!)
  4. p.luik macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2008
    Faribault, MN
    Im sorry, I didnt see that you had a Time Capsule. That would work too, have you tried this?
  5. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    No, my iTunes library is 170G.......and I don't have another disk anywhere near that size.

    My question is: Why can't I access the movies there from another computer?
  6. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    I believe the problem here is that, in order to stream QuickTime movies (as opposed to just downloading them, as you can currently do), you need a streaming server. Your AppleTV works because iTunes has a streaming server inside of it, software that Apple keeps privy to themselves. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any software (outside of Mac OS X Server) that lets you stream QuickTime.
  7. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    That's the best explanation I've heard yet. I still don't buy it completely, but it's a start. I find it hard to believe that I am the only one with this issue. Or, do I just do things differently? I can't be the only one who wants to share his iTunes library with my LAN.

    I don't like it, but I'll accept it. For now.

    So, here's what I propose to try: I will convert a movie to a VIDEO_TS file and stick it in a folder. Then, I can install VLC on one of the PCs and see if I can stream that file. I will report how this works in a day or so.

    The other option is try to find a MacBook I can borrow for a day and see what happens. Does anyone know if I should be able to stream video and movies from a shared iTunes library? Since it seems Mac to PC won't work, I'd like to see what Mac to Mac will do.
  8. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007

    Share your iTunes library through your iTunes preferences. Install iTunes on all of your other networked machines, and you should see the shared iTunes library on the left.
  9. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    I just looked in iTunes Help. Apparently the Sharing feature is supposed to work for videos as well as music. So going through iTunes looks to be your best bet, in which case you can turn off the system-level File Sharing service in System Prefs. This will limit you to using iTunes for video playback, though.

    Now, if you're not seeing the shared videos in the playlist, I'm not really sure how to troubleshoot it from there. Perhaps QuickTime needs to get updated, or you need to use a specific iTunes preset in Handbrake?
  10. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    That's the issue in a nutshell: iTunes will show the playlists, but they won't play. The movies will play on my AppleTV. The videos were converted using the AppleTV setting in Handbrake, tho......

    Does this iTunes feature only work on Mac to Mac? Has anyone else had success sharing their iTunes libraries Mac to PC?
  11. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    Well, I CAN stream a video file, just not a Quicktime file............

    So, it's not a network issue after all.

    Thanks, everyone for your assistance!!
  12. craig1410 macrumors 65816


    Mar 22, 2007
    I'm having similar problems streaming from my iMac to my daughter's Windows XP machine. Both are running iTunes 8.1 and I can stream music no problem in either direction but not quicktime movies...

    If I watch task manager on the windows PC I can see CPU load maxes out for about 8 seconds and then goes back to normal. It's as if it starts to buffer the movie but then gives up.

    I may be cynical but is this Apple protecting Apple TV revenue by preventing streaming to non Apple machines? I say this because I can stream to my little iBook G4 no problem. When I say no problem, it's not great on a 12" screen but it streams just fine.

    Did you find a solution?

  13. mugwump4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2008
    I don't think the PC has enough memory to support the iTunes interface. I installed VLC and created a shortcut to the movies folder. It streams fine. Library sharing seems to be a major shortcoming of iTunes.

    I have since purchased my wife a MacBook and it will share movies. But, I don't like the way iTunes shares libraries. I have since moved my library to a NAS. I'm going to try and point each computer to it so each has their "own" library. The conflicts should be fun if two people try and access the same file at the same time!!

    Long story short, no, I never found a good answer to this question. I found a few workarounds, but no real answer. If I upgrade the RAM in little one's PC, I'll let you know how it works out.
  14. RRutter macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2008
    Austin, TX
    This is what I've always done. I saw a tutorial on how to share it through your wireless network, but it did not work.. I think the person who created the video was bluffing.
  15. Norouzi macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    Just out of curiosity, have you tried to play any videos shared from your iMac that have been purchased from iTunes or just video you've converted yourself?

    I recently tried to stream some videos I converted to my Windows XP machine with the same issue, the video shows up in the shared library but when I hit play nothing happens. I am able to play any shows purchased through iTunes though. No idea why this would be as the videos are both .mv4 files.
  16. Jurwin macrumors regular


    Remember to turn of firewall. I wanted to send some files from my mac to pc via direct connect (connecting pc and mac with network cable) but I couldn't see the pc in finder nor connect to it via connect to server in finder. Turns out I forgot I had my firewall on on the mac in stealth mode. Turning firewall off solved my problem.

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