Is it possible to build a genuinely workable Apple/iTunes media server?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ss957916, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #1
    Here's what we have: I have a MBP with 250GB drive and an iPhone, my partner has the same. We have about 800CDs in a case and 300 DVDs. We have no room for an iMac.

    Currently we stream our personal music to our hifi in the lounge using an Airport Express. I want to be able to burn all the CDs and DVDs to a so we need never use physical discs.

    What's my solution?
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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  3. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #3
    I have looked at that, but it throws up some questions.

    - Would I need a keyboard/mouse attached in order to get iTunes open and start the songs playing, or does the iPhone remote app work with the Mac Mini too?

    - How would that work with syncing our iPhones? All my contacts, calendars etc. would be on my MBP where as the music would be on my Mac Mini.

    In my mind I'm thinking the ultimate would be a massive wireless HDD which would automatically mount on my MBP like a normal USB/Firewire drive. But I don't think that's possible, is it?
     
  4. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Actually, I guess that's my real question. Is there a way of having a wireless HDD that mounts directly to both my and my partner's MBP's desktops like a cabled external drive?
     
  5. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #5
    This is my ideal solution and involves some extras that you may have/may not want... but it's what I'm looking at doing.

    I have a NAS attached to my router that has my iTunes library (all music and all movies). Only recently have I removed the music library completely from my MBP's hard drive and now I option + open iTunes to select that library stored on the NAS. From there I sync all of my content (music, tv shows/movies if they're converted properly but usually just music). This sucks because I also stream the video to my TV and need to keep my laptop on and open. This is now where it gets hypothetical..

    Have your mac mini running without anything connected to it. Use your MBP to remotely control the mac mini when necessary. On the mac mini keep that iTunes library always open so that the content is available to be streamed. Plug in your iPhone and set-up how you want the music to sync (ideally set it to 'automatically sync when connected' since you won't easily be able to click 'sync' since the mac mini is running without monitor/keyboard). Do the same with your partners. Then you can remotely control that mac mini with your mbp to organize playlists, add new content, etc as well as control what is syncing to your respective iPhones - which would be done automatically when they were connected. That takes care of syncing the music.
    As long as the mac mini is running and iTunes is on, you can use the iPhone Remote app to connect and control iTunes. You could install some VNC software to launch iTunes and control your mac mini with the iPhone as well, but if it's always running the Remote app is fine. That takes care of controlling it to be streamed.
    For contacts it gets a bit messy (I think) though I'm unsure because I've never actually had to do it. Solution 1 - put both of your contacts on the mac mini and sync them all.. could be a problem if you want to keep the contacts exclusive. Solution 2 - is there an option in iTunes to only sync a certain group of contacts? (again, never had to do it so I don't know). In that case, all contacts could be put on the mac mini and separated in to groups to by sync'd separately. Solution 3 - a MobileMe account used to sync contacts wirelessly from each of your MBP.
    Now if you ever wanted to listen to the music on your laptops (while at home) you could turn on the Sharing feature of the mac mini itunes library and then when you opened up your itunes on the MBPs you could connect to it and stream the music - won't work for video though.

    I probably rambled a lot there and may have caused more questions as opposed to solving any.. that's just what I plan on doing to centralize my iTunes content but I'm just one person, it could get tricky with two.
     
  6. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Toronto, Ontario
    #6
    There are two solutions there (that I can think off right now). First being a NAS that would be connected via ethernet to your router. Second being a router that accepts USB input to share USB drives over the network. I think that you would run into issues if you both mounted the drive and were using iTunes at the same time.. I think iTunes has problems being edited/used by two people at the same time.
     
  7. ss957916 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 17, 2009
    #7
    So my problem may be my Airport Express? Perhaps if I got an Airport Extreme (in order to plug-in the external NAS drive) and used my Apple TV to stream movies and as Airtunes. Then no need for the Mac Mini.
     
  8. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #8
    You would still need to have a computer running the iTunes library (your MBP I assume) - even if the files were stored on the NAS - in order to stream to the AppleTV
     
  9. JAT macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #9
    Put the Mini in place of the AppleTV, and follow the advice of JonHimself. Maybe keep a wireless keyboard & mouse in a cupboard, just in case. Problems solved include:

    Use any size/combination/connection of drives. (well....except esata)
    Easy sync for music, contacts with a dock sitting somewhere permanent.
    Still allows remote control for direct media use on attached TV/monitor.
    Stable location for server functions.
    Airport Express will work for remote speakers.
    Gives you an easier method for importing all those optical discs than a laptop.

    (I do most of the above already with my 1st-Intel-gen Mini)


    edit: and you can set iTunes to load on boot, as well
     

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