Most efficient way to connect everything on ATV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by c.greene914, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. c.greene914 macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    I am currently having issues with rebuffering when streaming video. My iTunes library is way to large to put on the ATV so streaming is my only option. I am trying to determine the best way to connect so lag is as minimal as possible.

    I am thinking of buying another Airport Extreme, connecting the external HDD to the Airport via USB, and connecting the ATV to the Airport via Ethernet. I figure this should eliminate the most lag through the network since everything will be wired. If someone has a better suggestion I am open to ideas.

    I don't want to spend a ton of money to get it working, but other than that I have no specific criteria.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. c.greene914 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    BTW, I have been actively checking and hackint0sh to see if anyone figured out how to connect an external HDD directly to the ATV as that would be the simplest, most effective way to solve my problem, but until then....
  3. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    So you currently have an Airport Extreme (802.11n) base station, correct?

    How far from the base station is your computer/AppleTV? Does your computer support 802.11n? What bit rate are you encoding at? Have you tried moving everything closer together (temporarily) to see if that solves the problem?

    You cannot use a hard drive attached directly to an AP Extreme to serve your AppleTV in the way you are suggesting.
  4. c.greene914 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    Why not? The USB HDD I have now is hooked up to the Airport via a USB hub and the airport -> ATV connection is wireless. The only difference would be the USB hub would be removed and the HDD would be hooked directly to the airport, and the airport would be connected via ethernet to the ATV. I don't understand why that wouldn't work.

    Yes, the airport is 802.11n. No the computer doesn't support .11n. The airport and ATV are ~30-35 feet apart. I use handbrake to encode with a goal of ~1.5gb. That usually works out to a bit rate of ~1500-1700 depending on the length of the movie.
  5. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    During playback, what role and what kind of overhead does the iTunes (that must be running during streaming) take on the feeding of the file from the external HDD to the ATV? Just curious.
  6. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    It's not a question of how the parts are connected together. It's because the :apple:TV talks to iTunes, not networked drives.

    Maybe the next Airport will add iTunes support, who knows. Or a firmware update to the :apple:TV will add external USB drive support. Or both. Or neither.
  7. daveporter macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2006
    Green Cove Springs, FL
    The best solution that I have found it to use the 5 GHz 802.11n WiFi throughout your network. The just set up your ATV to stream from the Mac where your iTunes library resides. This works very well with no noticeable lag and no dropouts or other audio/video problems (at least for my setup). In fact, we have to ATVs streaming from one or two Macs (depending on which library we want to use) at the same time with no problems.

    I would guess that you could set up your iTunes to store your library on a network attached HD connected to your router. However, I would not do it for two reasons: 1) a hard drive connected to the router is much slower then one connected internally in your Mac so that would reduce your ability to stream content not increase it, and 2) since iTunes must stream to your ATV, it would have to stream its library contents from your network HD to your Mac, then from your Mac to the router again, then from the router to the ATV...this would increase the number of streams by 33% and slow things down not speed them up.

    Streaming works extremely well as long as all your macs, your router and your ATVs all are set to run with 802.11n (and only "n" is selected with no backwards compatibility for a, b or g) at 5 GHz radio frequency. However, if evan one of your Macs or the router is running at 802.11 a, b or g you may not stream without glitches.

    Hope this helps,

  8. Bressler macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2007
    Exactly right. If, however, you need to have B or G nodes, then a simple solution is to get a second 11N Access Point, give it a separate SSID and use it just for the AppleTV.
  9. c.greene914 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    I understand that. Perhaps you misunderstood my question.

    My iTunes library is ~400gb, (music, movies, tv shows). I have a Macbook. I cannot store my library on my computer so it is on an external HDD. As of now, I stream from my library on the HDD, to my computer, to ATV, like daveporter described.

    I am wondering if adding another Airport, connecting it to ATV with ethernet will help. That will eliminate 1 source of wireless streaming. Content would stream, HDD -> CPU; CPU -> Airport; then ethernet to ATV. Maybe that won't make any difference, that's what I'm asking.

    My Macbook is not .11n capable so I have to allow the network to facilitate .11g. I am interested in what Bressler suggested. Maybe someone could describe it in a little more detail for me as I think that's what I am describing.

  10. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    802.11g should be fine for streaming, as long as you don't have interference problems. I think the key flaw in your setup is that your iTunes library is on a network drive! I know some people do this, but a few years back I was similarly attempting to run with my library on a network server, and I noticed significant performance problems---over a wired gigabit network. iTunes would take forever to start up and shut down, and by observing my switch I could see that it was generating a huge amount of network traffic. It seems that iTunes wants to "touch" every file in the library when it shuts down (perhaps to update the library database?), and so I concluded that the library really needs to be on a drive physically connected to the computer running iTunes (either internal or via Firewire or USB 2.0).

    In your case, I think that all this traffic is saturating your wireless network, which is why you're experiencing problems when streaming. Connecting the :apple: TV via wired ethernet could help, and I would try this first, but if it doesn't fully solve the problem, I really think you ought to consider 1) connecting the external HDD directly to your Macbook (not really practical if you like to move around your house with the laptop), or 2) buy a cheap computer to serve as a dedicated music server (you could then stream to your laptop as well). Good luck!
  11. c.greene914 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2007
    Thank you. Your post was most helpful, I appreciate the information. :)

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