How to Home Share Large iTunes Library (Best Method)

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by NewMacFan2011, May 21, 2012.

  1. NewMacFan2011 macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    I have a 500 GB Macbook Pro. I have ripped most of my son's movies to my MBPro and Home Share them through my AppleTV so that I don't have to constantly get up and change the DVD, & can easily switch movies if he loses interest.

    Right now I obviously need to leave my MBPro on in order to use this method. And even though I have the space available I don't know if I want to store 100's of GB worth of movies on my MBPro hard drive.

    What I would love is a small device like a Time Capsule or Mac mini (central hub) that I could store all my movies and allow me to Home Share through AppleTV & iTunes. Pretty much exactly what I do with my MBPro (central hub) but just leave it on at all times and always accessible to Home Sharing with more storage space. Is this possible?????
  2. riverfreak macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2005
    Thonglor, Bangkok
    Yes. It sounds like you're looking for network attached storage (NAS).

    These are essentially external hard drives with ethernet ports that you plug in to your router. They also come in RAID configurations giving your data some degree of protection and can also be used for TimeMachine backups.

    Note that you would probably want the devices accessing the NAS the most frequently to be on a wired network.
  3. NewMacFan2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    So if I got a nice sized NAS with RAID, the RAID would protect everything stored on it correct? The NAS would need to be hardwired into the modem. All movies in the iTunes program would be stored on the NAS, but in order to "Home Share" them on AppleTV I would need the computer to be hardwired to the NAS with iTunes open. Is this correct? Or would the files on the NAS be accessible from the AppleTV without the computer/iTunes connection.

    Either way the "Home Sharing" feature has worked great for me and I can't believe Apple has yet to make a storage device that is configured to show up under devices "Home Sharing" lists.
  4. classicaliberal macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2011
    RAID only protects you to a certain extent. Basically, depending on your setup, (assuming RAID 5 for a moment) your data will be spread across multiple hard drives and duplicated on multiple hard drives. In a RAID 5 setup, if you have 5 HDs in your NAS, and one goes bad... no big deal, you just replace the HD, the NAS rebuilds the database, and you're good to go.

    However, if you have 2 (or maybe 3?) drives fail at once, or your entire setup is hit by lightning, or a fire burns your house down, then you're SOL. Offisite back up is the only way to protect against these things.

    I feel your pain on the last point... I agree that it'd be nice if you didn't need a computer to be running iTunes for Home Sharing to work properly.
  5. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Until Apple makes a new AEBS/TC that has the ability to run an iTunes Home Share Server, my opinion is that a cheap computer is the best device to use as an iTunes server.

    I prefer to use an old laptop for this purpose. Windows works as well as a Mac for this. The point of using a laptop is that power outages/blips won't send your server into a reboot. Saves a little bit of hassle.

    If you can find a Netbook that runs WinXP or later, then you're golden. Just plug in a couple of USB2 harddrives and you're set. On the Mac side, you'll need one that can run at least Leopard ... though to be safe, Snow Leopard. Anything earlier than that won't be able to run the latest iTunes ... thus no Home Sharing.
  6. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    RAID NAS is not per se a backup

    As some have learned the hard way, a RAID NAS is not the same as a backup. Yes, it's convenient to have one on your network for sharing and copying files from individual computers. Because it is a constantly changing set of data, however, it's not the same as taking a snapshot of a mass of data and saving it. That gives you the ability to say "As of this past Friday, here is the data. We can restore this Friday's backup or the previous Friday's backup."

    Of course, if you're moving from no backup to a RAID NAS you're moving in the right direction and it's so much better than not backing up anything.
  7. Mike Valmike macrumors 6502a

    Feb 27, 2012
    Chandler, Arizona
    Wow, yeah, good observation. I think we know why, of course: Apple takes care of storage for media you buy from them, and they don't want to give us tools to facilitate owning piles and piles of our own media and storing them locally. But I can tell you right now if there was a ~4TB "iMediaDrive" I would be lined up in advance to buy it.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A NAS box would work but the Apple TV is to dumb to know how to pull movies off of it. Buy almost ANY other device but ATV and it will know how. Even some TV sets can do it.

    One good way is to buy a small computer with an Atom CPU. These use very little power. Then add your own disk drives. It can run Linux and there are free iTunes servers you can run on it. So n effect build you own NAS that can server up iTunes. After you are setup you can remove the monitor and keyboard and telnet in or export the display to your Mac.

    Or buy a used Mac Mini.
  9. NewMacFan2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2012
    Great input. I didn't expect to get this many great responses. After a lot of self research this problem seems to be a common one. I think I may just hold on to the old laptop I was thinking of getting rid of to serve the iTunes until Apple makes a solution. I think will too.:)
  10. btbeme macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2010
    I have done dozens of installations like the one you describe - clients who want to have all of their music, TV shows, videos, etc in a central location, shared to multiple devices (AppleTV, iPads, etc). People don't want DVDs and CDs hanging out all over the place, and there is no reason to have them since media can now be ripped or purchased and stored electronically.

    Bottom line is that even though Apple provides an astonishingly simple way to share media via HomeSharing, you MUST have an active iTunes application open and running in order to distribute your collection. NAS hard drives and the like which contain an "iTunes Server" will allow for sharing of information, but the active distribution of content (like movies) needs an active iTunes application running the show.

    Most of the installs I have done revolve around a headless Mac mini (new or used, so long as it has at least a Core2Duo under the hood) attached to an Other World Computing Qx2 RAID. For some installs I have recycled a client's old Windows machine or laptop, while advising them that it will eventually be necessary to replace that unit once iTunes demands better equipment. All these will work. I have served 5 AppleTVs with 5 different movies simlutaneously from a minimal Core2Duo system with great success.

    An advantage that a server/RAID combo has is the ability to use it for other things - a central repository for photos, a backup destination for all the computers in the house, an extra computer (when plugged into a TV or other monitor), even a central device for recording security video. That has helped my clients accept the cost of purchasing a new mini - plenty of horsepower to add functionality beyond HomeSharing.

Share This Page