Need some help picking devices for home wifi media setup

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by sk3pt1c, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. sk3pt1c macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #1
    So i'm getting myself a new Macbook Pro for xmas and want to have everything wireless at home.

    Right now i have a Mac Mini connected to the TV and a LaCie hard drive (where all my media is) connected to the Mini.

    I'm going to sell the Mini when i get the Pro.

    I want to be able to wirelessly access the hard drive from the Macbook Pro to either watch something / listen to some music or "stream" content to the TV to watch a movie.

    I've thought about a Drobo hooked up to my router (i am in Greece so it's a modem/router), probs the best option but pricey.

    Another option is a new router that has a USB port to which i could connect the hard drive but that seems to me like it would be slow.

    Could an Apple TV do the thing? Hook up the drive and TV to it and access it from the Mac?

    Or maybe an Airport?

    Thanks for any help :)
     
  2. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #2
    You should check the AppleTV section on this forum for extensive handling of this topic.
    In an executive summary - :apple:TV can only get stream from iTunes or iOS devices. Not directly from USB disks, NASes or DLNA servers.
    That goes for out-of-the-box software.
    Then there are the options like Plex and jailbreaking+installing 3rd party software that extends these capabilities.
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1340605
     
  3. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #3
    Thanks but i don't want to jailbreak and i don't want an over simplified automatic interface like Plex, tried it a bunch of times and ended up hating it.

    I want to have access and control of the content from OS X on the Macbook Pro.

    I basically want access to the hard drive as if i had it plugged in to my Macbook Pro but also be able to stream the Macbook Pro's screen to the TV so i can watch a movie there, if that makes sense.

    Could a combination of usb enabled router or airport extreme and apple tv work?
     
  4. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #4
    You should think about just keeping the mini and HD as is, and either share its iTunes library or remote control it from your MBP. Your new MBP will see everything stored on the mini and the mini continues to drive your display. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your intent but you have nothing more needed to buy. Is your modem/router include wireless access? How is your mini currently connected to the modem/router (ethernet cable or wireless)

    Check the home theater forum, lots of folks there use the mini as a media server with and without plex.
     
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #5
    In short: you can access your media from any kind of external disk (USB, NAS, DAS) from your Apple TV (and obviously AirPlay to it), as long as you have a computer (and iTunes) between your storage and Apple TV.
    To eliminate that iTunes computer, you need to go with Plex, XBMC et al.
     
  6. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #6
    Could i get a router with a usb port and an apple tv, connect the hard drive to the router to access it wirelessly and send my mac's screen to the tv via apple tv?
     
  7. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Sure. Why not?
    You just won't be able to access your network drive directly from AppleTV (without XBMC or similar).
    Also, when you just relay the video file from network drive to AppleTV via your Mac, you don't need to send your screen (requires on-the-fly video compression!), just that video stream.
    If you attempt it in iTunes, it is clever enough to do the fallback from screen mirroring to file streaming, automatically.
    With music there's no problem as the processing overhead is much smaller than with video.
     
  8. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #8
    It would be a video file playing in VLC though, would that work?
     
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #9
    If your VLC version suports airplay (I think anything running on OS 10.8 or 10.9 supports airplay), then not a problem. Although its possible your router and wireless may not support HD 1080p+ video without some choppiness. The video has to go from your router to the Mac wirelessly and then back to the router wirelessly and then onto the apple TV wirelessly... lots of wireless.

    Where with the mini as a media server connected to the TV, for example, it is directly hardwired.
     
  10. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #10
    Yeah, it sounds stupid when you put it that way :)

    I was just hoping to do away with wires and have just the one new faster mac...

    It seems so weird to me i can't do this in a straightforward easy manner in 2013 :)
     
  11. Weerez935 macrumors regular

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    #11
    I got air server in one of the bundles and it lets me mirror my MacBook Air to the tv. There is a bit of latency but for content viewing it works fine.

    The only caveat to that being your audio is still coming through your computer speakers
     
  12. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #12
    if anyone can see this, i have a follow up that might sold the problem

    could i get a media player of some sort that i can connect to the tv,

    connect the hard drive to the media player,

    watch stuff via the media player's interface (if it's a simple folder tree it would work for me)

    and have the media player make the hard drive available to the wifi network so i can copy stuff to/from it with my mac?

    if this is doable i wouldn't mind sacrificing a bit of control and adding an extra remote on the couch (some might even work with an iOS app)
     
  13. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Any DLNA capable NAS can fit the bill of media server / network storage. Will just require smart TV, BD-Live (networked) BluRay player or some other DLNA media renderer. Like Boxee, WD TV Live or similar. Those latter boxes allow you to play back from connected USB-drive as well. But not share this disk on network imho.
    Downside of DLNA is that 2 DLNA-Certified devices are not guaranteed to interoperate.
     
  14. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #14
    Care to elaborate on that please?

    The external drive i have is a lacie blade runner, i don't think i'd want to get a NAS.

    Also, i'm not sure but i think i read somewhere that DLNA is not compatible with Apple or something?

    I saw WD TV Live actually, it looks decent and cheap but will that make the hard drive accessible to my home network if i connect to it via USB? And will it be able to see the folder tree in it and play the files?

    I need the drive accessible to the network because it also has my iTunes library, Aperture photo library and various other downloads I want access to, on top of the videos i'd want to watch on the TV.
     
  15. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Well, I can show you how many times this has been raised on D-Link forums. I have their DNS-325 NAS too, and I can't get it to play anything except simple AVI files on my Sony Bravia TV. That's mostly because format support is not agreed upon in DLNA standard. Every DLNA media server and media renderer can choose, which formats it wants to support.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=dlna+problem+site:forums.dlink.com
    Also, I hate the file browser UI on the Bravia TV, so I prefer the gallery-like UI of my AppleTV.
    Bravia DLNA media browser:
    [​IMG]
    AppleTV media browser:
    [​IMG]
    Not that it is incompatible, but no Apple device supports DLNA protocol. Because Apple uses it's inhouse AirPlay. And in my experience, it just works. Mostly because the rules are strict.
    Various DLNA-server apps are available on Mac platform too, so no problem to set up, if you want to.
    Plex is one of the most praised. I have used PS3 Media Server, that's one of the most capable and free DLNA servers there is.
    It looks as if WD TV Live is also capable of sharing the connected USB-HDD on local network:
    http://wdtvforum.com/main/index.php?topic=6332.0
     
  16. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #16
    Awesome, thank you so much!

    I'll have to give WD TV Live a go then!:)
     
  17. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #17
    Btw, just to be sure, an Apple TV won't share the external drive on the network, will it?
     
  18. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #18
    Nope. It won't even let you connect one. AppleTV only sees media on the network. From Internet side, it may be the iTunes Store or any of the service providers (YouTube, Hulu, Netflix etc). From your home side, it can be iTunes program or some iOS device.
     
  19. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

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    #19
    That sucks balls bigtime!

    Well, i guess i'll try my luck with the WD tv live or something...
    Thanks a lot for the help!!!
     
  20. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Not for me :D
    I'm too lazy to get up and walk to the telly with the hard disk!
     

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