Post Apple TV setups that are working

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JDDavis, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. JDDavis macrumors 65816


    Jan 16, 2009
    A few month ago I purchased an Apple TV and have gone through alot of the frustrations that many have posted about. This thing has great potential and it's a shame that Apple isn't paying it more attention. After some trial and error we seem to have found a setup that is working and has been stable for a while now. I'll describe it below and maybe others can list thier succesful setups and maybe we'll notice some trends.


    160gb Apple TV running 3.0.2
    No hacks
    Manually sync some content (selected movies and TV shows)
    Stream other movies, TV Shows, podcasts and all music from iTunes
    No Photos streamed or synced. All photos accessed thru Mobile Me and Flickr on Apple TV
    Apple TV connected to Airport Express (802.11n) via ethernet (not wifi)

    iTunes (9.0.3) running on 24" iMac 2.4ghz extreme with 4gb of ram
    iTunes library is on external 2gb firewire 800 drive
    iMac is connected wirelessly to the Airport Extreme Base Station
    (of course it's wireless between the AEBS and the Airport Express)

    iMac and AEBS are on 1st floor, Apple TV and Airport Express on second floor

    Those are the basics and it seems to be working fine now. I can stream content (including movies) fine. (As long as computer, HD, and iTunes are up of course). Downloading movies works fine but I wish it was faster (I have a 50Mbps from Comcast). Overall I am much happier with it now. The only problem I seem to have is that certain internet radio stations lock up the Apple TV. I think the one thing that made the biggest difference on my setup was connecting the Apple TV to the Airport Express.
  2. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    Working for me:
    - 2x 40GB AppleTV 3.0.2 (no hacks)
    - Streaming all content
    - Connected to network via Airport Extreme 802.11n 5GHz

    - iTunes 9.0.3, 24" iMac 3.06GHz w/ 4GB RAM
    - connected to Airport Extreme via gigabit ethernet switch​
    - iTunes Library file stored locally
    - iTunes media files stored on ReadyNAS appliance
    - connected to Airport Extreme via gigabit ethernet switch​
  3. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    Could be helpful in identifying some trends for people with trouble. My setup was inconsistent and now I haven't used it in a while because I got a Mini to play 1080p (and 720p) content. Previously:

    I have an AT&T DSL 2 Wire router. I have a mix of N and G devices, so I assume it usually runs at G speeds.
    My iMac is wired to the router.
    Most iTunes content is on the internal 640 gig drive.
    Movies (ripped from handbrake, mix of 480p and 720p) and TV shows are stored on FW 400 WD My Book drives.

    When using the ATV downstairs, I would usually wire it to a Linksys router (set up as a switch) in the living room. Using this, I could get decent transfer rates for syncing movies. Upstairs I was stuck with wireless.

    The main trouble I would have would be when switching between wireless and wired, I would need to restart iTunes. If I stayed wireless I could move it around and not need to restart iTunes.

    Playback, streaming, etc worked reasonably well. The menus were frequently sluggish. I had a lot of stuttering on 720p content, higher bitrate scenes. For example, I saw it a lot watching Lost purchased from iTunes. When there are a lot of blades of grass or something in the jungle, things would get sluggish. I saw similar behavior on other material though. Most other material was ripped from Blurays and encoded using Handbrake.

    Overall I didn't have the trouble streaming or anything else that others have. I would try to sync HD stuff to watch it locally, but i would still see the stuttering. The processor in that thing just isn't up to the task. I finally gave up waiting on a hardware update and went with a Mini running Plex for downstairs (my upstairs TV is only 720p anyway.) I was hoping for a 1080p ATV, but not knowing what an update would even include, I quit waiting.
  4. MattG macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2003
    Fletcher, NC
    After a lot of playing around, tweaking and trying different stuff, I'm really happy with my current setup.

    In the office:
    • iMac Core Duo 17" 1.8GHz running Snow Leopard and iTunes 9 (both fully patched)
    • iTunes media all stored on a LaCie 1TB RAID-1 drive (for redundancy)
    • Airport Extreme 802.11n (previous generation, without dual-band)
    • M-Audio Studiophile AV-40 Speakers (connected directly to the iMac)

    In the living room:
    • Apple TV 320GB, running on wireless -- connected via HDMI to a Yamaha Receiver, which is connected via HDMI to the Samsung LCD TV. This setup is typically used when watching movies or other videos on AppleTV. I have a subwoofer (forget the brand right now), and I have a Polk SurroundBar mounted under the TV (my condo doesn't really allow for true surround-wiring).
    • For listening to just music, I have a different amp/speaker setup, which is ONLY connected to the AppleTV (the Yamaha isn't running when I use this). Pair of B&W DM 602 S2 speakers running though a pair of Antique Sound Labs WAVE tube amplifiers, connected directly to the Apple TV.

    I currently don't have anywhere near 320GB of media total, so I let iTunes do a full-sync to the AppleTV.

    In the bedroom:
    • Another set of M-Audio Studiophile AV-40 Speakers
    • Airport Express, wirelessly linked to the Airport Extreme in the office. Audio interface connected to the speakers.

    This gives me the ability to have music in three different rooms, coming from the same source. I typically control it all using the Remote app on my iPod Touch.

    Everything's been working smoothly lately. I have had issues in the past with iTunes no longer being able to see the AppleTV, but it hasn't happened since I upgraded the hard drive and gave the iMac/AppleTV DHCP reservations on the Airport Extreme.
  5. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    Working for me:

    40GB Apple TV, OS 3.0.2, all content streamed.

    Airport Extreme, Wireless N only. G clients connect via a bridged older G only airport extreme - so N is truly isolated from G.

    Content streamed via N from 24" Core Duo Imac in basement office.

    I rarely have issues with this setup, it has been rock solid other than the aTV 3.0 update HDCP handshake issue. That was resolved by stepping the aTV down to 720p output form 1080i - I have seen no change in quality.

    Streaming performance is good, my daughter watches Pixar stuff daily. I have a couple of movies I have encoded from avi files that look *ok*, most content was either handbraked from existing DVD collection or purchased from iTMS. Purchased content includes both HD and SD titles. The HD version of "UP" looks great on my 50" panasonic plasma.
  6. nando2323 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    Working for me.

    2 ATV 40gb (streaming) (latest firmware)
    1 AE with dual band (N for ATV's) (G for others)
    1.66 Mac Mini with 2 1TB drives and 1 2TB drive
    iTunes library residing on the mini.

    I think most people tend to blame the Apple TV for issues that they have when I personally think it's their network that is causing their issues. Either their wireless is conflicting with nearby wireless or appliances or router is just not good enough to service that type of data throughput. I would definitely look at your network first and foremost for any issues that you may be having. With the setup above I have no issues at all and both my ATV's are hooked up wirelessly via N. Of course when I want to watch an Bluray rip it takes about 5 seconds to start which is understandable since they are 5-8GB files but if I had it hooked up wired they would instantly start.
  7. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Bought an ATV last night.

    It took a few minutes to hook up and I was streaming movies from iTunes on my Mac.

    Worked quite well.

    Today I notice a few movies don't seem to stream when I click play. Starts up and then pauses/screen goes black. AFter 5-10 seconds I back out and play it again and works fine - no problems.

    I have wireless N. AEBS a few years old. 5ghz which is N-only.

    NOt sure I'll keep ATV or not. But I couldn't resist checking it any longer. The main thing that kept me away (and hasn't changed) is the price, revision due anytime now, and the price of the content.

    But I got a $50 gift card for Xmas a few days ago (yeah slow ass brother-in-law ;) ) so why not check it out.

    I admit the thing is pretty slick. But I knew it would be. I have played around with it a bit in the store.

    Almost too slick. It encourages couch potatoe-ing.

    Anyway liked the YouTube stuff. I watched a speech on the food supply from the TED conference. Nice. I think it is scary though to see the mugs of people in their homes like you up on your screen. If someone wanted to make a horror movie I think that's the look you go for. ;)

    I have 20+ gigs of photos on there. 40 gigs of music. Will be loading some movies.

    I think the podcast interface needs reworking. Why can't I speedily skip through a podcast like I can with a movie? I wanted to hear the last 10 minutes of an 1 1/2 hour podcast and never made it there because the controls suck.

    Slick, but still undecided. Kind of bugs me that this thing costs nearly $250 and does the same thing a long displayport-hdmi, 3.5mm to rca cable would do for about $30 or $40.

    Or that 3 minutes, a $10 Chinese knock-off AV cable and my IPod also watches movies on my TV.

    Or that Redbox DVDs are $1 while iTunes movies are $4.
  8. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    All Around My House...

    See my sig. line for the detail on the equipment. All is unhacked and running the latest version of its software.

    Hub (in closet upstairs)
    AEBS attached to cable modem, with a NAS connected via USB and a 16-port switch connected via ethernet. Also running n/g wireless network (I use "g" devices so rarely that I have no need to run dual-band).

    iMac connected via ethernet. iTunes library stored on NAS. Currently about 200GB, including HD/SD video, music and photos.

    Living Room
    160GB Apple TV, connected via ethernet, set to auto-sync. Plays via HDMI through a Denon A/V Receiver which feeds the TV and 5.1 surround sound in this room, plus remote speakers in the Dining Room, Game Room and two outside locations.

    Game Room
    40GB Apple TV connected via wi-fi, playing via HDMI directly on the TV. Streaming only - no synced content.

    Master Bedroom
    40GB Apple TV connected via ethernet, playing via HDMI directly on the TV. Streaming only - no synced content.

    Guest Bedroom #1
    160GB Apple TV connected via wi-fi, playing via HDMI directly on the TV. Set to auto-sync.

    Since the later updates to Leopard, and after I figured out that my iMac CPU has to be always awake, this set up has run perfectly. I have pretty much the full range of permutations as far as wired vs. wireless and synced vs,. streaming, and I really don't notice any difference in performance across the units. The streaming units may have a noticeable lag if my iMac is performing an HD encode as it needs to put all its brain power to that process, but otherwise the response is fine.

    If I ever have a problem with an ATV, it's typically something simple, like I've rebooted the Mac and forgot to open iTunes. I used to have iTunes auto-open, but it would open before the NAS was mounted and then default to the local library location. Now, I confirm the NAS is up (takes but a moment) and then open iTunes manually. Sometimes, I forget...
  9. jlindley macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2010
    My *Almost* Completely Hands Off Configuration

    Cable Modem --> Airport Extreme --> Mac Mini
    Airport Extreme <-wirelessly to-> Airport Extreme Base Station --> AppleTV

    Mac Mini - Bedroom:
    -2TB external drive with iTunes library
    -Plex running locally
    -iTunes running locally
    -Download movies/music/tv shows via transmission CLi
    -Cronjob runs nightly (0100) to take newly downloaded content and convert
    to AppleTV format vi HandBrake CLi
    -Cronjob runs daily (1200) to find newly converted content and move them
    to the 'Automatically Add To iTunes" folder.

    AppleTV - Living Room:
    -No content synced
    -Streamed from Mac Mini iTunes library

    This setup allows me to ssh to my Mac Mini from anywhere and trigger downloads. Once the download completes it moves the completed file to a folder that is watched by cron and a script. The script then converts and moves my files to iTunes. From that point I can watch the movie either in my bedroom or my living room. If I become impatient then I can always speed up the times in crontab.
  10. drummerlondonw3 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2008
    BT Home Hub = G network for iphones
    Time Capsule = linked to BT HH and running 5ghz N network for Apple TV and MBP x2 and MB Air

    Content (itunes) stored on 2.5 inch 1TB HD currently attached to the TC, with a 2TB WD Green HD backing it all up.

    Everything streams to all computers and ATV. I do have some problems with high def stuttering (and a little on standard def) when syncing back to the ATV but other than all works well usually

    ISSUES - I usually use my iphone to control it, however I recently got a new iPhone 3GS and lost my sync. Then in a moment of rage I broke my apple remote so now I cant control my apple tv !!!! Cue - new trip to apple to buy another remote!
  11. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    2 ATV's with eSata mod ( 1 TB each ). Sync everything all movies ripped with HB.

  12. joudbren macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    AppleTV for me in the living room connected via HDMI to Pioneer receiver and then out via HDMI to Toshiba 52" LCD.

    ATV has been modded with 320GB hard drive but at this time I haven't synced anything up. Streaming from my iMac via iTunes 9.03 is working spectacularly well for music and video so I haven't had the need to put anything on the ATV. So much for the 320GB upgrade! LOL.

    I have a new Netgear WND3700 dual band router so the ATV and iMac use the 5ghz radio exclusively in N mode and everything else in the house connects to the 2.4ghz radio in a mix of G and N modes so they don't affect the iMac or ATV speeds. Using WPA2 encryption with AES only for maximum throughput.

    I'm loving my ATV and we're VERY satisfied with the picture quality in HD. It's not Blu-Ray but it's certainly as good or better than the best I've seen in HDTV broadcast quality and easily better than DVD at least to our eyes. We rent tons of movies on this thing and very happy not having to head out to the video store for the last 18 months!

    The ONLY issue I'm having right now is that the ATV seems to disconnect once in a while from the network and I have to wait about 20 seconds for it to reconnect. I'm pretty sure this is a router issue though as the Netgear I believe has a standby mode so that it can be considered "green". Green = PITA in this case! ;) The ATV never did that with my previous Dlink DIR-655. Minor issue though as the Netgear router is fantastic in every other respect and great range on both radios.


  13. eleven59 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2008
    mine started to do something similar on everything it seemed: just a few secs of stuttering where i had to stop and restart it... dont know why as before i hadnt had issues... got frustrated with its hickups so sold it... now im thinking if i wired it maybe it wasnt so bad afterall.. lol

    i had the 40gb atv streaming wirelessly with a g5 powermac itunes server wired directly to the TC holding the content
  14. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    Nearly three-year-old Apple TV with no hacks running the v3.02 software (only a few weeks with that, prior to this I was running v3.01 for several months with no significant issues). The only recent problem I've had is with the iPhone/iPod touch Remote app as it seems to cause bad things to happen on the Apple TV (for that reason I no longer use the Remote app).

    In office:
    Cable modem (Time-Warner Road Runner service, average 10 Mbps download speeds).
    -> (wired to cable modem) original AirPort Extreme N (100Mb ethernet) running v7.4.2 firmware, participating in a WDS network as the WDS main, 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible mode), WPA2 Personal security, no printer or disk connected to USB port.
    -> (wired to AirPort Extreme) Mac Pro running v10.4.11 and iTunes v9.03.
    -> (wired to AirPort Extreme) Belkin F5D7230-4 Wireless-G router (DHCP disabled, used exclusively for my 802.11g devices since in the past I ran the AirPort Extreme/Apple TV in a 5GHz mode).

    In living room:
    AirPort Express-N running v7.4.2 firmware, participating in a WDS network as a WDS remote to the Airport Extreme, 802.11n (802.11b/g compatible mode), WPA2 Personal security, nothing connected to the USB port or the optical audio output.
    -> (wired to AirPort Express) Netgear GS105, 1Gb ethernet switch.
    -> (wired to Netgear switch) 40GB Apple TV.
    -> (wired to Netgear switch) Mac mini running v10.4.11 and iTunes v9.03 (1.5GHz PowerPC G4, 1GB DRAM).
    -> (wired to Netgear switch) PlayStation 3.
    -> (wired to Netgear switch) SlingBox SOLO.

    All of the devices in the living room get their internet connection via the wireless "hop" from the AirPort Extreme that is located in my office. I average about 20 Mbps in both directions on this WDS connection (measured using file transfers between the Mac Pro and the Mac mini). However, I get about 40 Mbps when my MacBook connects wirelessly from my living room to the AirPort Extreme. The PlayStation 3 is used for Netflix streaming and Blu-ray and the SlingBox SOLO for remote access to live TV on my iPhone 3GS (the latest SlingPlayer Mobile app that enabled 3G video streaming seems to be working well).

    The Apple TV is synced to the Mac mini through the Netgear switch and the iTunes content on the Mac mini is on an external, USB2 320GB HD. Only my music videos are stored on the Apple TV (about 10GB of content on the Apple TV), everything else is streamed from the Mac mini through the Netgear switch. I use the component video out (1080i) on the Apple TV which is connected to an old, HD-ready, rear-projection TV through a Psyclone four-port AV switch (which also controls the component video outputs from the PlayStation 3 and a DVD player). The optical audio out from the Apple TV is connected to a surround-sound AV receiver.

    The iTunes content on the Mac Pro and the Mac mini are kept in sync using iTunes sharing to provide backup and I access the Mac mini from the Mac Pro using Mac OS X's Remote Desktop and Chicken of the VNC (which allows me to see and control the Mac mini desktop from my Mac Pro). iTunes on the Mac mini is set to auto launch and (of course) Remote Desktop is enabled. The Mac mini has no display or keyboard and is controlled exclusively using Chicken of the VNC. However, it has a mouse connected to wake the system from sleep but I can also use the Scany network utility app on my iPhone/iPod touch to wake the Mac mini using Mac OS X's "Wake for Ethernet network administrator access" feature. There is also an Apple DVI-to-VGA converter connected to the video out on the Mac mini (apparently you need this to enable video support on an otherwise "headless" Mac).

    Yes, this is a pretty complex system but it seems to work well. Over the last three years I've had intermittent issues with my Apple TV and the iTunes application, so I couldn't say that the Apple TV system has been problem free during its entire lifetime. However, for the most part my Apple TV has been and remains a very useful component in my AV setup.
  15. pacmania1982 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2006
    Birmingham, UK
    1.83GHz Mac mini in the bedroom hooked up to two external drives, one is 1.5TB the other is 2TB. Hooked up via USB 2.0. Mac mini is connected via ethernet to Airport Extreme base station.

    Running 10.6.2 on the Mac mini with the latest iTunes (9.0.3??)

    Apple TV connected in the living room to a Full HD 27" LG HDTV

    Some content synched - favorite 720p movies, some vacation pics for the screensaver, everything else streamed

  16. gazpilot macrumors member

    Oct 1, 2008

    160gb Apple TV running 3.0.2 in lounge
    No hacks
    Manually sync some content (selected movies and TV shows)
    Stream other movies, TV Shows and podcasts from iTunes
    All music synced.
    All Photos synced.
    Apple TV connected to Airport Express (802.11n 5ghz) via wifi

    iTunes library is on external 4gb drobo connected by fw800 in study
    iTunes (9.0.3) running on 24" iMac 2.4ghz with 4gb of ram
    iMac is connected Airport Extreme Base Station (802.11n 5ghz) by cable

    802.11G Network extended by 3 airport express N's . 1 in dining room, 1 in kitchen and 1 on the deck

    Airport extreme extending G network in lounge for iphone control

    no problems at all, can stream from appletv (N network to ax's on G network) and control it with iphone throughtout the house and garden

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