Multiple iTunes accounts, streaming from server to two machines - How?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GavinT, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. GavinT macrumors member


    I'm considering changing my home setup (for a number of reasons). At the moment, we have a iMac which is my wife's machine and acts as a TV (via a TV USB Dongle). I have a MBP.
    The main area of frustration is music/iTunes.
    At the moment my wife (occasionally) gets her music and apps from the Japanese iTunes store. I get most of our music, and my apps from the UK store. Both of our Macs have their iTunes consolidated folder stored on the internal drive of our respective machines, and each of our machines is authorised to play music from the other's iTunes account. Each of our machines then synchronizes our iTunes library to our own iPhone. Our iTunes libraries have their own playlists and ratings.
    Finally I manually keep track of purchases on each machine and manually copy/add music/media from each of the machines when needed.

    What I would like to have is a Mac Mini as a media server (and general purpose server) connected to a large monitor. That will act as a TV as well. My wife would then have a MBA as her personal machine for email etc.
    What would be good is to have the Mac Mini acting as a iTunes server, where we could log onto either iTunes store as appropriate to purchase music. That server could stream/share music to our laptops.

    However, what I can't see working is then synchronizing the music collection to each of our phones? And with different playlists. Is this even possible. Any ideas on how to achieve a setup like this?
  2. rjcaven macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2011
    Would something like this work?

    Create and access multiple iTunes libraries on one computer by holding the shift (on a PC) or option (on a Mac) key when you start iTunes. Learn more @
  3. macfaninpdx macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2007
    Yes, there is a way to do what you want. There is a feature called Home Sharing, that lets iTunes share libraries on locally connected computers. It also has an option to automatically sync new purchases.

    To make this work, you would use iTunes on the mini to make all purchases. You would log in/out of the store you wanted to access on the mini, and purchase any music accordingly. You would then turn on Home Sharing.

    From the macbook and macbook air, you would also turn on Home Sharing and you will see the library of your mini. You would then sync the library locally, which will allow you to have your media on your macbook when you are not on your local network, and so you could sync your iPhone/iPads with the macbook.

    Since you and your wife are using your own macbook, it will sync the playlists/media on that machine. And yes, you can choose specific playlists/media to sync - it doesn't have to be the entire library.

    The downside to this approach is that your media may be copied in three places - on the mini and again on each macbook. Other than HD space and the potential first sync, I'm not really sure this is such a bad thing.

    And one last thing to note - I believe that if you connect an external HD to your Airport Extreme, you can use it as a Time Machine for all your machines. You would want a large enough HD of course, and using Time Machine over wireless can be very slow however.
  4. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Wow, this is awesome. I JUST found about that option looking at the bottom of the iTunes window. I want to do a similar approach to that of the OP, but I have a question about your reply. Why would you have to make all your purchases through the Mac Mini? Couldn't you simply turn on the automatic transfer option on the Mac Mini itself and have it grab any purchases you make on other local machines? Seems to me like there is no one way street when it comes to the home sharing feature.

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