NAS, Mac, Media Centre- Is this a good setup?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Shambles, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Shambles macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hello

    Currently I have a external harddrive connected via USB to my MacBook Pro. From there I have a Mini Displayport to HDMI cable to view movies on my HDTV.

    The problem with this is that I have 2 cables tethering my laptop to my desk, and a HDMI across my bedroom. Also I am unable to use my laptop whilst viewing media on my TV.

    So, I'm looking to purchase a NAS so that my MacBook will be more mobile. But what NAS should I be looking at that will be able to play these movie files smoothly? I have a fast internet connection, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    Now, to get rid of the HDMI cable from the MacBook Pro I'd get an Apple TV, or maybe some other media centre like the WD TV Live so that it would recognise the NAS without having to go through iTunes on my Mac.

    So, to sum it up

    NAS ---> MacBook ---> Apple TV or
    NAS ---> WD TV Live

    compared to

    Harddrive ---> MacBook ---> Cable

    Does anyone have any experience with this kind of setup and can recommend some products that I'd need to make this possible?

    My overral budget for the NAS and Media Centre is around £200.

    Edit: The movies are 720p / 1080p and are mostly .MP4s, around 5 GBs
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    No need to get a NAS. You can connect the external HD to WD TV Live and then share it via your network. That way you can drag&drop files to the external HD wirelessly from your Mac. Basically, that is NAS but without spending the extra $ on a NAS drive or other equipment. This will also eliminate the playback issue that is always possible when streaming wirelessly (depends on your router, house, distance etcetc).

    Of course I'm assuming you get WD TV Live instead of AppleTV but due to this function, it might be a better choice.
     
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #3
    where are your videos from? the iTunes store? then get the appletv as it's really the only thing that will play them.

    otherwise the appletv is very poor in the format of videos it will play. you would probably have to convert before you can watch.
    if you jail break, you can run XBMC or plex on it.
    *XBMC will play the files directly on the appletv, but some larger files might give you problems. check out their forums for more info
    *Plex requires a program be running on a computer (OS X or Windows) somewhere on your network, that program will then convert on the fly to something the ATV can handle, but depending on your computer, it might slow it down. this does have the advantage, that any mac (or iPhone/iTouch) on your network can also run their media center program, and access the same library.

    internet connection doesn't matter when playing local files, it's all about network speeds, If you're on a weak wireless G signal, those files may not play. 5GB files should be fine, i've got some that are about 35GB, those probably wouldn't play.
     
  4. Shambles thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Wow. That simplifies things. The WD TV Live seems like a no brainer. Would it be possible to attach a USB hub to the WD TV so I could use 2 drives, one for movies and one for Time Machine?

    And waw74, I dunno if I should say this but I get them from Torrents, so there's no problems with the Apple protection thing. But thanks :)
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #5
    Even though the pictures show only one USB port, the page says it has two USB ports:

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=330

    USB hubs haven't been that successful but it looks like they work now, at least if you use some kind of special firmware. I don't know does Time Machine work but in theory it should as it can back up to a NAS.
     
  6. Shambles thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Thanks again, and yeah, there's another USB port on the side.
    http://support.wdc.com/images/kb/wdtv/wirelessconnect.jpg
     

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