iMac best for AppleTV media center?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by lowonthe456, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. lowonthe456 macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    I'd love to get a forthcoming MBP, but it seems an iMac would suit me maybe better.....I guess

    My Mac will be in my bedroom on a desk. I will have an airport express in the bedroom for wireless music to bedroom speakers. I will have :apple:tv 2 in the living room hooked to whatever HTIB I decide on and a 42" Sammy Plasma.

    I have an iphone 4 so I feel like having a lappy to lay on the couch and surf would be slightly redundant.

    But having a stationary computer allows ATV to grab movies without me having to run externals and such.

    I plan to have an Airport Extreme as my primary wireless router and I know that I can run a USB hard drive to it, and I was considering this for movies and music.

    Am I making sense? Anyone have any suggestions of which direction to go in terms of which Mac to buy?

    NOTE: I don't know that I would ever need to take the lappy out of the house, and the thought of picking up an iPad down the road has come up....
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I'm confused, so do you want to use the iMac as an AppleTV for the bedroom or are you using the iMac to share iTunes to your AppleTV? I am assuming the latter. My opinion is that it is best to use a desktop as the computer for sharing iTunes since it can be hardwired into the network and you can leave it on all the time. A laptop is fine if it is what you have, but a mac mini or imac make better media shares.
  3. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    That is how I have it. I have the 27 inch i5 in the office serving up music and video to 3 atv's. You will love the iPad for couch surfing.
  4. rayward, Feb 23, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

    rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    +1 !!!

    Just wanted to add that, if this external HDD is for your iTunes library only, it would be best to attach it to your iMac directly, and not via the Airport Extreme. I tried this and there's a couple of issues with it: (1) after a reboot, you cannot open iTunes until the HDD mounts from the network otherwise iTunes "forgets" where you keep your media; and more importantly (2) it doubles the network traffic as iTunes draws the content through the network then dumps it back on there to send it to the ATVs.

    Get a Firewire-attached external HDD, and plug it into your iMac. From personal experience, I also suggest that you get a bigger external HDD, attach that to your Airport Extreme, and use if for Time Machine backups of your system including your media drive. If you plan on using an external drive for your media, I'm assuming you plan on having a sizable library, and it's horrible to lose it without a backup (I lost > 1TB of media for this exact reason - this happened a few months back and I'm still reconstituting my library).
  5. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    Same thing here. I have a hardwired Mac Mini in the office and it is serving up my media to ATV2s connected to every HDTV in the house. I'm using external hard drives attached directly to the Mini. Perfect setup.
  6. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    Agreed. I have a 2 TB FW800 that holds my entire movie and TV show library attached directly to the iMac (backed up to another drive, of course). If you are going to have a permanent computer set-up, a directly connected HD should be no problem and will save headaches.

    Just last week, I lost my entire media library to a drive failure. I just bought another drive, gave it the same name, copied the content from my back-up drive, and I was back in business. (The wife and kids do not appreciate all that I do, they just assume it all just works.)
  7. Robbadore64 macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I have an iMac in the office with a 2TB drive connected which houses my iTunes library.

    :apple:TV downstairs (connected via ethernet)

    iPad hangs out downstairs too and accounts for about 95% of all computer usage. I really only go into the office to rip movies into iTunes or to update my iPhone/iPad.

    Love it!
  8. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    This whole thread is making me feel...normal.
  9. blevins321, Feb 23, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

    blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    :d :d :d
  10. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    To keep this from happening, replace the folder (either "iTunes Media" or "iTunes Music" depending on your version) with an alias to the folder that contains your music.
    I've been doing it this way for years, my music is normally attached to the network, but when i travel, i have a copy on an external drive. all i have to do to change which copy i use is replace the alias with one that points to the external, and i'm good to go.

    if the location is not mounted, you'll get one of 2 outcomes.
    1. iTunes throws errors that it can't find stuff. In that case - Quit iTunes, mount drive, restart iTunes, and it's happy.
    2. iTunes mounts the drive itself automagically.

    Like i've said i've been doing this for a while, and i believe #1 is less frequent, possible OS (and/or iTunes) upgrades have lead to #2 being more common.
  11. jeffburk macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2008
    Houston, TX
    I'm about to move my iTunes library to an external hard drive. What's the best way to do this? Just copy it from my internal hard drive to the external hard drive, and then have iTunes go find it?
  12. rjderama macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2011
    My $0.02


    My answer is coming from the perspective of trying to get rid of cable, and so I may have a different end game, but I second newagemac's MacMini vote. I use one as my HTPC and being able to watch live TV, record it, and stream it to any iOS device ANYWHERE is awesome. I also vote that, if you're going to use it as a media server, get StreamToMe for your iPhone4. And so long as you're on WiFi or have an unlimited data plan, you can watch any file on your computer from wherever you can get an internet connection. The Mini is powerful enough to do what you've described below. With an HDMI out port, you can even hook it up to a TV in your room at some point. Plus it's cheaper than any other Mac option out there - even Hackintoshing, what with all the possible headaches you may encounter.

    My wife and I write a blog called and we're trying to grow it. I'm sure it'll help you out.

    Also, here's a bit of an overview of StreamToMe.

    Good luck!
  13. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    iTunes help will tell you to set up a folder called "iTunes" on the new drive, change your library location to be that new drive (iTunes > Preferences > Advanced) and then get iTunes to consolidate all media into that drive (not sure where that command resides). This works fine, unless you have other media outside of iTunes that you don't want in your library - as iTunes will search your entire system for any and all media including random sound clips etc.

    What I did was find my iTunes folder, copy it to the new drive (drag 'n' drop), then go to iTunes' preferences to change my library location. iTunes will then "update" itself with the "new" library and ask if you want to keep it organised. Say "Yes" to this, and it'll take a few seconds to ensure that your library is organised iTunes-style. Done! You can now go back and delete your old library.

    Don't forget to make sure that your new external drive is included in Time Machine backups (mine was opted out as a default).

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