iTunes Library Streaming & Syncing - What to Buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by VaatiKaiba, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. VaatiKaiba, Jan 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012

    VaatiKaiba macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    To save mounds of text, I've done a quick and easy diagram of my current tech setup to help illustrate my current situation:

    So, at the moment I'm having the following problems:

    - Time Capsule disk is full
    - Having the white MacBook on all the time (to watch media on Apple TV or access files) is too noisy and generates too much heat
    - Syncing the iPhone on the MacBook Air (by directing iTunes to the library file on the MacBook) takes forever
    - MacBook hard drive is filling up pretty fast with movies / TV shows
    - Can't access iTunes library outside the local network (not necessary, but would be nice!)
    - iTunes gets confused as to what photo libraries to share after being accessed on both computers

    I am aware that some new equipment is going to be needed, but I don't know what is the cheapest/best combination to go for. Will putting my iTunes library on the TC make syncing any faster? Could I share the iTunes library via Back to my Mac on the TC? Should I buy an external HD for my MacBook, or would a Mac mini be a better purchase in the long run?

    Any help / advice you can give will be much appreciated, and many thanks in advance!
  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    IMO, The simplest (but not cheapest) solution would be to add another computer to act as a full time iTunes server. A Mini certainly fits the bill and works great but isn't inexpensive. I have a Mini HTPC with an external HDD hooked up in the living room that serves two :apple:TVs and a MacBook. I sync our iPhone, iPods, and iPad on the MacBook and it doesn't seem to take any longer than when i had my library on an external hooked to my TC connected to the MacBook via ethernet. The bonus is that you will now have a means to view your media on a second TV.

    Another option is to connect an external HDD to your TC via USB (or a NAS, for that matter) to hold your growing library. This would be cheaper but doesn't eliminate that need to have your MacBook on full-time to access your iTunes library via the :apple:TV. My MacBook is actually rather stationary so this is the route i initially went but later upgraded to a base 2009 Mac Mini.

    Regardless of the direction you go, there are apps that allow you to access your iTunes library on your iPhone when outside your LAN (Air Video or Stream to Me, to name a couple). Some only allow access to video but I believe some also do music. I have Air Video and it works well via wifi or 3G.

    I'd never thought about accessing an iTunes library via Back to My Mac but I don't see why it wouldn't work--may give that a go myself later.
  3. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    Like above:

    Cheapest: External HD attached to either your TC or your macbook.
    Least effective

    Best: Mac mini with expandable storage (Drobo).
    Most expensive
  4. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
    I will be buying a refurb Mac Mini to do this idea. I looked at Air video and it won't play any movies that was bought through iTunes though.
  5. VaatiKaiba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    Thanks for your help guys. It seems my solutions are:

    Mac mini + extra HD for backup
    Drobo connected to TC to hold iTunes library and to back the library up

    ...Neither of which are particularly inexpensive.

    Drobos don't come with hard drives do they? It's just the "casing" as such...?

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