Is there any way to hook up an external hard drive to a new apple TV?

jrm27

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 3, 2008
485
4
Hello all,

We don't have internet or a home computer at our house. We've been using a WD TV Live attached to a 3TB hard drive to watch movies (I've converted out entire DVD collection to .mp4 files). However, it's time to replace the WD TV Live. I'd love to get an apple TV... the interface looks pretty slick and being able to hook it up to our iphones/ipad sounds pretty cool. However, am I correct in assuming that without a home network it would be useless? If we just want to watch content that we've converted and put on our hard drive, would this be the correct unit for us? I think not, but thought I would check with much more knowledgeable people! Thanks.

-jon
 

maturola

macrumors 68040
Oct 29, 2007
3,863
1
Atlanta, GA
No, Apple tv only read content from iTunes (running on a computer on the same network)

(It also have Netflix, youtube and other services, but since you said you had no internet, then those are useless)

You have an "Unofficial" option, if you can get your hands on a Jailbroken AppleTV 2, A jailborken ATV can read from a NAS device, you would have to get a NAS and attached your External HD. (not the cleanest solution, but pretty much your only option)
 
To clarify, if you are wanting to duplicate the WD setup- that is, hook that hard drive directly to the :apple:TV3 and be able to play the movies on it directly, no that can't be done (but it could be done with the first generation :apple:TV via jailbreak solutions).

However, if you have a spare computer around that can run iTunes, you can hook that hard drive to THAT computer, index all those mp4s with iTunes and stream them from there to the :apple:TV3 via a wired or wireless (wifi) setup. This is easy if you can have some computer in your house running iTunes whenever you want to watch something on the :apple:TV.

There is a pool of people that want the same option- to be able to resurrect that local storage feature from the first generation instead of having to stream everything (not by Apple putting a hard drive back inside the box but by normalizing the USB port and allowing people to hook up whatever size of storage they desire). I miss that local storage feature too.
 

heisenberg123

macrumors 603
Oct 31, 2010
6,498
9
Hamilton, Ontario
Hello all,

We don't have internet or a home computer at our house. We've been using a WD TV Live attached to a 3TB hard drive to watch movies (I've converted out entire DVD collection to .mp4 files). However, it's time to replace the WD TV Live. I'd love to get an apple TV... the interface looks pretty slick and being able to hook it up to our iphones/ipad sounds pretty cool. However, am I correct in assuming that without a home network it would be useless? If we just want to watch content that we've converted and put on our hard drive, would this be the correct unit for us? I think not, but thought I would check with much more knowledgeable people! Thanks.

-jon
If your WD TV is dying I'd suggest getting another or something similar Iomega makes a decent media player
 

jrm27

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 3, 2008
485
4
Thanks guys... that's what I thought.

The reason the appleTV is so enticing is that I take every movei and add all the metadata, thumbnails, etc... Unfortunately, the WDTV Live doesn't read or acknowledge all that embedded metadata. So browsing for movies (though easy) is not a very visually enticing process. I like that the appleTV shows embedded metadata. Oh well! No computer at the house for now, and to get one just so I can run it to an appelTV doesn't make much financial sense for us. Maybe someday. Thanks!

-jon
 
Another way to go: consider a used Mac Mini (one of the more recent versions with an HDMI port and run Plex on it). I've heard that Plex now works with the meta tags (but be sure to confirm this before acting on what I've heard) and it is a very impressive UI. A used Mac Mini won't cost that much and it will give you features well beyond what either an :apple:TV or one of it's competitors can do.

If you are not in a burning hurry, a refresh will probably happen soon and these used models will feel some price pressure by becoming another generation old.
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2008
3,934
1,522
Florida, U.S.A.
To clarify, if you are wanting to duplicate the WD setup- that is, hook that hard drive directly to the :apple:TV3 and be able to play the movies on it directly, no that can't be done (but it could be done with the first generation :apple:TV via jailbreak solutions).

However, if you have a spare computer around that can run iTunes, you can hook that hard drive to THAT computer, index all those mp4s with iTunes and stream them from there to the :apple:TV3 via a wired or wireless (wifi) setup. This is easy if you can have some computer in your house running iTunes whenever you want to watch something on the :apple:TV.

There is a pool of people that want the same option- to be able to resurrect that local storage feature from the first generation instead of having to stream everything (not by Apple putting a hard drive back inside the box but by normalizing the USB port and allowing people to hook up whatever size of storage they desire). I miss that local storage feature too.
I jailbroke my ATV 2 and installed XBMC to access multiple USB Hard Drives being shared by my Apple AirPort Extreme Router through a USB Hub.

So far, no complains...
 
Yes, but I don't think the "3" (third generation) has that jailbreak feature (yet). Somebody remarked in a similar thread that the USB port on the "3" is not able to be used like that. However, I'm under the impression (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that it's identical to the "2" and the "2" has been made to do it.
 

tonker1958

macrumors newbie
Apr 9, 2013
2
0
Help !!

I jailbroke my ATV 2 and installed XBMC to access multiple USB Hard Drives being shared by my Apple AirPort Extreme Router through a USB Hub.

So far, no complains...
Amazing Iceman, I am trying to do exactly what you have explained above with ATV1 and Airport Extreme, would you be kind enough to explain exactly how it is done for the uneducated.
I have jailbroken the ATV and added XBMC, but I don't know how to get the ATV to see the hard drives ?
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
 

Amazing Iceman

macrumors 68040
Nov 8, 2008
3,934
1,522
Florida, U.S.A.
Amazing Iceman, I am trying to do exactly what you have explained above with ATV1 and Airport Extreme, would you be kind enough to explain exactly how it is done for the uneducated.
I have jailbroken the ATV and added XBMC, but I don't know how to get the ATV to see the hard drives ?
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Amazing Iceman, I am trying to do exactly what you have explained above with ATV1 and Airport Extreme, would you be kind enough to explain exactly how it is done for the uneducated.
I have jailbroken the ATV and added XBMC, but I don't know how to get the ATV to see the hard drives ?
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Hello! Once you have shared the HD on the AE, then configure XBMC to access the drives using SMB (Samba). I did it long ago, my AppleTV2 is no longer Jailbroken, I use AirVideo Server instead, and control it using my iPad.
I may JB again one of these days.
If SMB doesn't work for you, try AFP. Once you figure it out, it's very easy to do.
 

Nightarchaon

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,393
29
The exact reason i still have my 1st gen apple TV, i replaced its WiFi card with a H.264 decoder so it can handle 1080p content, and its not going to be replaced until it fails

The ability to load up 160gb of shows and movies and just take this small box with me to the caravan, or around to friends houses for movie nights is too big a plus to make me consider take the apple assbackwards up-downgrade to an apple TV 2 or 3
 

dynaflash

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2003
2,119
5
The exact reason i still have my 1st gen apple TV, i replaced its WiFi card with a H.264 decoder so it can handle 1080p content, and its not going to be replaced until it fails...
Agreed, also normalizes its usb port. Plug in whatever usb external drive and load it up. All local content. Best setup tbh.
 

bearcatrp

macrumors 68000
Sep 24, 2008
1,604
3
Boon Docks USA
Hello all,

We don't have internet or a home computer at our house. We've been using a WD TV Live attached to a 3TB hard drive to watch movies (I've converted out entire DVD collection to .mp4 files). However, it's time to replace the WD TV Live. I'd love to get an apple TV... the interface looks pretty slick and being able to hook it up to our iphones/ipad sounds pretty cool. However, am I correct in assuming that without a home network it would be useless? If we just want to watch content that we've converted and put on our hard drive, would this be the correct unit for us? I think not, but thought I would check with much more knowledgeable people! Thanks.

-jon
I that WD live the latest one out from WD?
 
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