Options for increasing Apple TV Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Andy Good, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Andy Good macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2009
    Hey All

    I, like everyone else that purchased an apple TV have been struggling with storage space for my movies. So what’s the best way round the problem. I have a couple of ideas but can’t really decide which would be best…

    My Setup
    2Ghz, 13” Aluminium Macbook , 4GB Ram, 500GB HD, running Snow Leopard

    500GB Time Capsule 802.11n.
    Airport extreme linked to my hi-fi in a different room 802.11n
    Apple Tv 160GB 802.11n
    Iphone 3Gs.

    Option 1 (The Ultimate)

    I buy a Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server connect a big external hard drive to the Mac Mini and stream all my movies to my apple TV with iTunes home sharing. But don’t have the £800 to pick up the Mac Mini Server :(

    Option 2 (The Cheap Skate)

    I have an old laptop running windows XP. I turn this into a 24/7 server running iTunes and connect a big external hard drive. Then stream all my movies to my apple TV with iTunes home sharing. Have no idea if this old laptop would handle this or just over heat and die? If anyone knows any links of people that have done this please let me know… Also a bit of concerned of adding a windows based machine (the devil) into my network?

    Option 3 (The Pirate)

    Download one of the hacks that will allow me to plug in an external hard drive. But I don’t want to loose my warranty on my apple TV so the thought of downloading some hack doesn’t really appeal to me, and all my movies are in iTunes format anyway.

    Option 4 (the short-sighted Inconvenience)

    Get a 1TB WD 2.5” (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=685)
    internal hard drive that I think will fit into my Mac. Then take my current 500GB hard drive put it in a case and attach to my time capsule for a bit of extra space. Then stream movies from my laptop to my apple TV. Only problem is I have to always have my laptop on to stream movies. Not really something I want to do.

    So which option you think is best? Or if you have any other options please let me know..

  2. Extreme Red macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    Apple TV HD size is a mjor issue

    I just purchased the Apple TV and started using Handbrake to convert all of my DVDs - I'm using the Apple TV presets and with over 40 DVDs to go I'm already down to only 30 GBs left, which means right from the start I'm out of room on my Apple TV.

    Given that a new 2.5" 500 GB HD costs less than $100 I am amazed that the Apple TV only includes 160 GB...I'm assuming that will change next year, but this is a huge limitation (I never imagined that I'd fill it up so fast with the movies that I own).

    So that is a long winded way of saying I'm in the same boat and the only truly viable alternative that I see at this time is to enable the USB for external HD.

    This is a great product at the right price (but I wouldn't hesitate to pay an extra $75 or so to get the 500 GB Hd), and having to get a Mac Mini just to serve up your files seems like a complete waste of money and contrary to the simple premise of this product.
  3. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    This drive won't fit. It's 12.5mm tall. The drives used in just about all Mac laptops are 9.5mm tall.

    For me, I have an older Windows laptop that I'm planning to use for aTV sync/streaming. So Option 2 would be my choice.
  4. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    As CaveMan said, the eSata external drive mod is the ultimate in hard drive upgrades for the atv. Bar none. Its a whole 'nother beast. No real limits beyond the size of external eSata drive sizes.
  5. FamiliaPhoto macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I used the hack and added an external HD (500 gig). Works like a charm and does not void the warranty and you can always remove the hack.
  6. asamalikum macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2009
    you could just get a NAS (network storage system) as a alternatives, but keep in mind, your itunes must be running while using the apple tv. I'm currently using 4-bay Dlink DNS343 with 6 terabytes in it, and it's 90% full. Planning to get another unit.
  7. mfillhart macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2009
    I actually just went out and bought a cheap emachines windows desktop from walmart for about $300, hooked up 2 1.5TB drives to it and use it only to run itunes for streaming to my 2 apple tv's and converting movies into apple tv compatible format, works beautifully.
  8. Andy Good thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2009

    This is all good thanks for all the feed back. But what is do people mean by using eSATA?????
  9. wysinawyg macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2009
    Have a look here:


    Basically modding the ATV so that rather than an internal PATA 2.5" drive you have an eSATA cable out that you can hook up to any kind of external eSATA drive you like whilst the ATV treats it as the internal drive.

    Almost certainly warranty destroying!
  10. bucksaddle macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    If you don't fancy the whole hog with eSata but want to expand the internal drive by greater than current PATA drive storage allows then have a look at stevietech's post (and picture) in this thread:

    I have gone with the same components and now have a 500Gb internal HDD and the Apple TV has screwed back together nicely.

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