iTunes-server, how to do it, what are my options?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Evangelion, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    'm still trying to figure out how to create an iTunes-server. The usual solution is to have iTunes running on some machine which then streams it's library with Airtunes. unfortunately that is not an ideal solution for me. Read on for my sitiation and my options as far I can see them:

    My main-machine is a MacBook pro that has two users: me and my wife. We both have separate accounts and separate iTunes-libraries. We both add content to our libraries and we would like to be able to sync our libraries to our iPods. What about the server? The server should be able to stream all our content thorought the household. So the server would be streaming combination of our libraries.

    Now, what are my options? Well, there's Firefly-server (google it, if you are interested). Why Firefly? If I put our libraries in a network-share using filestructure like /iTunes/Me and /iTunes/wife, which would then contain our libraries, Firefly could stream the content located in those subfolders. It can also monitor the folders, so when one of us would add content to our library, it would pick it up and make that new content available for streaming.

    So, what's the problem? Well, there's AppleTV (which I don't have yet, but might in the future), Airport Express and the iPhone's iTunes-remote. If I want to play that content back in those, I need to enter a PIN-code to pair the server with the client. And there's no way to enter that PIN in to Firefly. So no go.

    How about running iTunes on the server? Then it would work seamlessly with the clients, and the PIN would work. But.... How could I make it play the combination of two folders? Could I put the two libraries in same physical location, and just tell the server-iTunes to use that physical location as it's library? End-result would be that the combined content of the libraries would then appear in the server-iTunes.

    But how could I make the server-iTunes to be automatically aware of new added content? Could this setup result in duplication of content?
  2. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    Hi Ev,

    Good question, but run a search for 'out of control storage solutions'...big thread on just this I believe.

    Apple is rumoured to be working on a home media server, which I hope to see b/c i want something similar.

    HP also just announced mac supported media servers.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Their media-server is basically just NAS + Firefly, so it doesn't help here :(.
  4. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
  5. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I checked the first few pages, and that discussion seems to be more about putting the iTunes-library on an external HD/NAS, and using the library through typical iTunes-setup, as opposed to having a server handling the media. But that's a very long discussion, I will keep on reading :).
  6. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    All the Mac-less NAS solutions (Drobo, ReadyNAS, Buffalo) lose the ability to deal with the ATV. There's no way around it due to that code.

    Some are using a Mini and use the NAS as storage, which solves the ATV issue, but now you have to have the Mini running all the time.

    There hasn't been an all encompassing solution yet, but the true NAS products offer iTunes Server streaming that will work with any iTunes client other than the ATV.

    My PS3, TV, all my PC's and my Mac's can see the NAS on the network and use the Music / Video from it. Music is easy, video is harder since each device likes a different video format.

    I personally have a ReadyNAS NV+ and use my iMac to serve up Video to my Apple TV. Everything else can be shared from the ReadyNAS.
  7. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    You can install iTunes on the HP MediaServer and stream to the :apple:TV.
  8. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    That's not a problem for me, I have a Mini running 24x7 as we speak and Im planning to use it as the servder for this. It's just a question of what software to use for the serving.

    So how do I proceed? How do I make the iTunes running ion the server use the combination of my and my wifes libraries as it's library? How can I make it so that the server-iTunes notices when I add content to my library?
  9. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    But the question remains: how do I get that MediaServer-iTunes use combination of several iTunes-libraries as it's library? That is, how can I make it stream both mine and my wife's libraries to AppleTV?
  10. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    After investigating the issue, I'm willing to simplify the setup a bit. I can live with one library that is shared among all users. So there's no need to have two separate libraries, which are then merged in to one library on the server-iTunes. One library is enough.

    So, how should I proceed?
  11. malcg macrumors newbie


    Dec 29, 2008
    Northamptonshire, UK
    iTunes Server

    For my two cents I would use a box (mac mini is ideal) with one library.

    I currently run one fairly large library (1.5TB) on a Windows 2003 server (because I had one OK?) and it supports all my network PCs and 2 AppleTVs. Only down side I find with this option for some reason I can not stream video to Windows PCs ... but not really an issue .... I can stream to my Macs no problem.

    Syncing to iPODs are an issue for me since the server is in the garage .. but I can live with that ... the server is old and noisy.

    If you use an external USB/Firewire drive I would recommend getting two and just copying the library ... save a lot of problems if the drive goes faulty and at the price of new drives it makes sense.

    If you go the HP EX487 (WHS) route you still need to run iTunes, the firefly option doesn't really hack it for me (no video) you can duplicate the directories automatically.

    Best of luck
  12. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I already have Mac Mini with external storage reserved for just this purpose.

    The idea is that the library would also be available on our laptop as well, just so we could sync it to iPods and add content. The Mac Mini is headless and it has no keyboard or mouse.

    Firefly can't stream to AppleTV nor does it work with iPhone-remote, so it's not an option.
  13. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I've been using one big library housed on the NAS with my iMac being the primary machine.

    For Music, everyone in the house has their own playlists, which is nice because I can manage to keep an eye on the kids playlists and make sure they aren't listening to anything too bad.

    When syncing the iPods / iPhones, I manage each manually and only sync the selected playlists.

    My NAS has the iTunes server software running which uses my library as well. So if the iMac is down, any device (other than ATV) can use the shared library. Any PC / Mac in the house can see the shared server from the locally installed iTunes software.
  14. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    This setup does not work sicne it does not allow me to play the content back in AppleTV, nor can control playback with the iPhone iTunes-remote. So what I need is a server that has iTunes. Only iTunes supports those features.

    And in addition to that, I would have two iTunes's in my laptop (one for me, one for my wife), with each having the entire library available. And each of us could add content to the library, and the new content would become available on the server-iTunes as well.

    This problem seems to be very, very difficult. Surely I'm not the only person in the world who has more then one iTunes-users in the household, and who would lijke to play bak ALL the content in the household though AppleTV and/or Airport Express?
  15. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    There isn't a solution that I'm aware of to bypass the code given out by the ATV. You need iTunes somewhere in the equation for now.

    The problem is syncing the content. The mapping is kept in xml files, I'm not sure there is a way to do it.

    You can use an external library. I think you have to press "Command" when launching iTunes and it allows you to select the library on the NAS machine. You can then re-add content that way.

    Agreed. You can always forget about the Apple TV and go with a slingbox or some other media device. The other choice is to hack the ATV or use Boxee (another hack).

    I think this is why everyone is hoping the Apple Media server becomes a reality, but the ATV is the real issue here. My movies/music are playable on my PS3, my TV (Pioneer Elite) and some other devices. When I use the Apple TV, I start iTunes on my iMac and use it from there.
  16. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Yes I do, which is why I have been talking about running iTunes on the server, and that server-iTunes would stream the content to the network.

    If all three users (me, my wife and the server) used the exact same library, why would I have to open separate libraries?

    PS3 (or Xbox360) is another option. I'm aware of the tools provided by Nullriver that allows PS3/360 to work with iTunes. I guess with those I could use Firely Server, since they don't require a PIN-code, correct?

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