Looking for iTunes “server” options

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ScottBx, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. ScottBx macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2010
    I am looking for iTunes “server” options: mostly for music, but with the possibility to store some video as well.

    I would like to have a master music library – either on a Mac Mini (or Windows Home Sever) or on an Apple TV (either with a larger hard drive or via one of the hacks to mount an external drive).

    I don’t have an Apple TV and from the literature, I have not been able to determine the full capabilities of sharing media FROM the Apple TV: Is it possible to load an iTunes library on the Apple TV and then access it/stream from the TV to a Mac/PC or another AppleTV?

    Apple Remote or iPod Touch will be the primary “remote control”.

    Pros of AppleTV as the server (if it is even possible):
    • Always “ON”
    • Handles video as well
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Quiet
    • Good User Interface
    • Limited to CD-quality audio output (16 @ 44.1) on the digital audio stream
    • Always “ON”
    • Runs hot
    • Older technology
    • Netflix and non-iTunes video only via hacking

    Pros of the Mini:
    • Expandable/flexible
    • Full media “server” – with DVD and Netflix (this would be a BIG plus).
    • Full PC – surfing, e-mail, etc.
    • Full keyboard

    • More expensive
    • Older Mini’s don’t work that well with all HD TVs (not sure if my TV is compatible – is there a list anywhere?).
    • Plex, Boxee, XBMC…? UI not quite as good

    Pros of Windows Home Server:
    • Can backup Windows and Mac computers
    • iTunes server functionality is a documented feature – I know that it will work

    • Not an iTunes “client” – still need a PC, Mac or aTV to play things from the iTunes library
    • Limited harware options AND small user community (Apple hardware is also relatively “locked down”, but the much larger user community provides excellent support and a resale market).
    • It is a Windows box

    I am not considering Squeezebox right now as it is audio-only.

    Thoughts, suggestions, other options?


  2. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    ATV out of the box cannot be used as a server. Its an extension device...it consumes products from servers or the web, it does not serve on its own. Itunes does not run on the ATV, there is access to the itunes store, where you can download and play itunes content, but all of that media gets sent back to your itunes server on a PC.

    Remember, in the apple universe...itunes is the server, more than the machine...you need to be running itunes.

    I use an older mini and it works great. Works great with my Vizio, I haven't heard of too many issues with TVs. Personally, while I love the new Mini, its WAY overpriced. I'm much happier having bought my mini 6 months ago, getting just as good performance and paying far less (I really don't get the while HDMI whining...it certainly isn't worth the extra $100).

    I used to use windows media server and to be honest, it totally lacked.

    Also keep in mind that when considering a server, the hardware's energy consumption starts to become a big deal. Mini beats out everything in this regard is it barely sips any energy while sleeping, and can be woken remotely when something is requesting content. PCs are loud and usually very inefficient. Itunes server on PCs kinda sucks as well, buggy, lots of freezes and crashed (at least that we my experience)

    I'd go with the mini...a used one...
  3. hbryan macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2009
    My System

    I have an old G5 that I use for a iTunes server.

    I picked it up off ebay for less than a NAS enclosure ($330).

    I then added a PCI-X raid card & a Sonnettech G5-Jive.

    This gave me a 6.0TB Raid 5.

    I have over 500 movies (so far) with lossess compression to feed to the home A/V system.

    I am pleased with it.:D
  4. eleven59 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2008
    thats exactly what i did.. minus the raiding part...used the regular PCI-x card with 4 sata connections. might replace the full drives with mobile ones to make it lighter as it is a beast! lol
  5. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    I have an old iMac intel, was core duo, but I swap out the processor when I upgraded the internal drive to 1.5T so it now is a C2D processor.

    run an account called iTunes server, it boots into this account if the machine loses power, auto starts iTunes. I run an external 2TB drive for backups (once a week I copy my whole iTunes library to another 2TB drive.

    it servers 3 :apple:TV, my main iMac, wife and daughters MBP and MB. The machine run cool. it is on a 10base1000 (gigabit) connection to my iMac and Airport extreme, I have a airport express set up as a 801.11n network just for my 3 :apple:Tv's running of the extreme. I have no trouble stream 6 HD movies at the same time.

    I also rip dvd's on this machine, to add to my large 1.18TB library.

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