Looking for a NAS solution that I can use iTunes and Apple TV with for HD movies.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by StaticLNX, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. StaticLNX macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2013
    Looking for a NAS solution that I can use itunes and apple TV with for HD movies.
    The NAS I like are made by QNAP however they are linux solutions that I read will only work with music... I have a HUGE itunes library that I would like to be able to acess from other PC's/apple TV's and have just the NAS do this... right now I would imagine it might work if I map/mount the NAS onto the computers but I'm also unsure if it would work with apple TV.
    The goal is to have a media server that the other devices can use for its library so I don't need to download the entire 2 TB Music, pictures, 1080p movies and home movie library on every desktop, laptop and apple tv "I'm unsure how apple tv works because I dont have one yet"

    I was looking for at apple TV as well so they could also watch youtube, netflix, etc but I know really nothing about apple tv.... I assume its like google TV but it can play licensed content?:cool:
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    When a NAS has "iTunes Server" built in, it will appear in iTunes as a Shared Library. It is not really a server in the way that you (and everyone else) want it to be. AppleTV requires Home Sharing to stream your local content. Home Sharing requires a computer on the network (Mac or Windows) with iTunes running.

    You can load your content onto a NAS, mount the NAS on your computer and the media files will be available to iTunes (many threads on this), but the NAS by itself will not be able to replace the need for a computer running iTunes.

    Personally, I ran my iTunes library on a NAS for about a year before deciding it was to much of a nuisance and converting back to direct attached storage (FW800).

    I have a Synology NAS, and really like it as a NAS - just not for iTunes. Many NAS vendors have their own iOS Apps that can play content directly from their devices. Some of these will allow you to AirPlay the content from iPhone/iPad/iPod to AppleTV. None of those would be able to play your iTunes purchased content though. On the other hand - almost all of the content I have purchased through iTunes is available to stream directly from the iTunes Store, without downloading locally first. Even for movies & shows that I have downloaded into my local library, I usually end up streaming them from the iTunes store on AppleTV, because that's the easiest part of the menu for me to get to. So, if your NAS provides a solution for your non iTunes stuff, you may not need to be able to get the iTunes stuff locally.
  3. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    If you have such a large iTunes library, the most convenient approach is to use iTunes as your server software. The server that comes in a NAS is only DLNA and will not perform Home Sharing or serve to Apple TVs.

    I would recommend you select a computer in the house to be the primary iTunes server, to always be on and serving out to the other computers or Apple TVs. In my case I set up a headless Mac mini in my storage closet to perform this task.

    Then decide how you want to house the data. If you go NAS as you indicated, you will still need your host computer on and running iTunes which is pointed to the NAS. That can be tricky though, esp. if you experience drops in the network share mapping. I did this for a while years ago but it became tedious to maintain and backup.

    Connecting external drives directly to the host computer will be the most convenient (for maintenance) and fastest (esp. USB3 or TB) method of housing the library. And its easy to backup, in my case I bought identical external devices, primary and backup Thunderbolt drives. And with enough external storage you can even designate the host computer as a Time Machine host for the other computers in the house.

    Now if you truly want to run your media library (not iTunes) from a NAS without a host computer, there are many solutions out there you can build. I'm not experienced with those, so maybe someone who is will chime in.
  4. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I have a Sonos system that looks at my NAS units to play the 400GB of Audio that I have collected. I use iTunes to manage the Audio but that's all. iTunes handles the input and tagging into Apple Lossless.

    The NAS is on 18hours a day (my choice) and is accessed by 6 Sonos units simultaneously. I have 4 units linked together in one long room that are all in synch so I can walk up and down the room without missing a beat.

    I also have 7TB of video in the NAS that is accessed by 3 Netgear NeoTV550 units that sit beneath the 3 TVs in the house. If I chose I can also play the video's audio track through the Sonos units.

    Is any of this helpful ?
  5. sofian macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2013
    The Golden State
    Well I personally would suggest to buy a network media player and a NAS if most of your media contents will be downloaded from the Internet. Because Apple TV only supports streaming multimedia contents via Home Sharing, that means, even if you stored all the contents on the NAS, you still need to leave your Mac/Windows (with iTunes installed) on while playing it, because so far only the iTunes application from Apple supports Home Sharing.

    I have been using my QNAP NAS as the downloader and file server, and also got a Boxee Box as the media player to play my HD movies on the TV, and they really work well. Besides, most network media players now suport YouTube, Netfilx and some other online streaming services, you just need to check the tech spec and see if that's what you are looking for.
  6. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2004
    AppleTV only knows mp4

    Good news about AppleTV:
    1. Put all of your stuff on one computer in your house.
    2. Add all of your content to iTunes
    3. You can then stream to any AppleTV in your house.

    The bad news about AppleTV
    1. AppleTV will not directly communicate with a NAS share -- it only communicates with iTunes. You'd have to set the iTunes library to connect to the NAS share. That's not too hard to do but.....
    2. AppleTV only understands mp4, m4v formats.
    3. AppleTV does not understand AVI nor MKV formats
    4. AppleTV doesn't doesn't understand video with mp3 audio.
    5. AppleTV requires a decoder for AC3 audio
    6. If you don't have a decoder, then you have to transcode all audio tracks to 2Ch AAC using Handbrake, MP4Tools etc

    You see, Apple really just wants you to purchase every show and movie through the iTunes store. They don't want you using other formats like MKV or AVI. So if you have content like that, you'll have to transcode and tag them. Or buy a Roku, or a Boxee, or some other AppleTV clone.
  7. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    The import thing is make sure your network is truly using it's full bandwidth. Don't reply on your router's port for local network sped. Buy an external Gigabyte Switch (it doesn't have to be D-Link but get a good home switch) and use only CAT 6 cable. This way you know your internal network is using the fastest Ethernet possible today, unless you want to go fiber cable everywhere.
  8. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    i have a Drobo, connected to the back of a Time Capsule, and a 1st gen apple TV modded to decode h.264 (at the loss of its wifi card),

    Apple TV plugs into TC by Ethernet, TC gives Apple TV access to internet, and the library on the Drobo.

    Not an elegant solution, but one that works.. Going forward i think ill be purchasing a new puck Apple TV , but that will mean i will need to look at sharing my library out permanently via a Mac or PC running iTunes to share my library back to it, its a shame the Time Capsules don't act as iTunes library management devices...
  9. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    I use a Mac Mini as an iTunes home link server. It uses direct attached storage to house the iTunes media. I use MakeMKV to rip discs to MKV which I convert to M4V using Handbrake. Then I tag using iDentify and import into iTunes. Then I can watch the disc from an AppleTV. It's a full time job.
  10. ahughes03 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2013
    If you have a router capable of hosting a hard drive (like an Airport Extreme), plug an external drive into the back, and map your iTunes library there (along with all the media). Have all of your computers use that mapped library, and viola, you have one library, accessible by all your computers, that will always be updated! One caveat, you can only have the library open on one computer at a time. I've got this set up at my house, and it allows me to rip my CDs to iTunes via my upstairs iMac, and then play the stuff using the Mac mini (Home Theater) downstairs.

    You might also want to look into Plex. Put the server app on one computer, the client app on the other computers/devices, and you're good to go.
  11. whiteatom macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Move to Plex

    The dedicated media server approach is the right one. You don't need a mac though. I would suggest you move beyond your stock Apple TV and install Plex. It has a media server software that will run on any system (winblows, osx, linux) and a client player that runs on anything (googleTV, Roku, mac, PC), the player runs great on an Apple TV if you don't mind JBing it.

    I'm running Plex Media Server on a unRaid media server, and then Plex on a mac mini in the living room (1080, 7.1), and on an Apple TV in the bedroom and the kids play room. Never been happier with a media system.

    Plex will change your life.. I promise you.



    PS the plex media server indexes your content and gets all the posters, reviews, theme music etc just like iTunes.
  12. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    Plex is a nice system and you can setup your Apple TV so use plex! only problem is you have to pay for plex a month!
  13. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    Get a synology ds214play. You can load all your content on it and airplay direct to the Apple TV.
  14. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    But don't you loose the AppleTV's menu capabilities at that point? Or rather you have to use some other program for the browsing?
  15. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    Yes. But until apple allows the ATV to connect directly to external drives/NAS, the options are limited.
  16. jmerrilljr macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2012
    Not true -- it's free. You need to pay for "PlexPass" features which are experimental alpha or beta versions.
  17. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    Your right! Plex Plass is required for ChromeCast to work! sorry! If you are building a HTC i would recomend XBMC that is a lot better and it supports NAS. It would be better if we could jailbreak the appletv 3 :)
  18. rlu929s macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    I personally have a 2TB internal drive on my Win 7 64bit system dedicated for iTunes media. I have a 3TB External dedicated for backup of that media. Everything is connected via Ethernet now and is great.

    I've got about 500 GB Free, so a little time before I have to change again. Will probably get a 3TB internal or 4TB if easily available.
  19. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    I have the same setup. Would be nice if itunes accepted nas drives that way we dont have to have a computer up and running all the time :)
  20. rhett7660 macrumors G5


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Not to change this into an unRaid conversation, but if you don't mind, did you purchase it already built or did you build it yourself? Can you tell me, either here or via pm your unRaid setup? I am really looking into this right now.
  21. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    Does plex work on AppleTV 3 without a jailbreak?
  22. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
  23. melbri macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2008
    I use a DNS-345 attached to the network. I directed itunes to keep all my media on the DNS. Works perfectly to my ATV3, wirelessly. I don't use the itunes server.
  24. powaking macrumors 6502


    Jul 3, 2008
    What about installing PlexConnect on the AppleTV and find a NAS that is able to run Plex server. That would cut out the computer portion of the equation.
  25. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    I too am interested to know what your setup is.

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