Question about an external hard drive setup

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by CDutch, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. CDutch macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #1
    I've dug around the forum a bit but was unable to come across a clear solution for what I'm looking to do.

    I'm planning on purchasing a new MBP whenever Apple releases the upgraded models. I was also planning on purchasing a 1TB Time Capsule because 1. I need a new wireless router and 2. I wanted to be able to transfer recordings from my DirecTV DVR to the TC for later viewing. In addition to being able to use Time Machine relatively seamlessly, I liked how TC offered both the wireless router and the external hard drive in one solution. But after digging around a bit, I've found that the TCs are somewhat unreliable (overheating, 5Ghz signal issues, etc.) and it won't actually allow for transfers from the DVR.

    So my question is...what would I need to buy to be able to utilize Time Machine in a manner that is similar to TC allows and also be able to transfer recordings from my DVR? Or even better, is there a way to set up TC to be able to do what I'd like for it to be able to do?
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    The Apple Airport Extreme Base station (AEBS) offers wirelessly connecting multiple USB HDDs, of which one can be even used as a Time Machine HDD.

    There are also other wireless routers which offer the capability to connect HDDs to them.
     
  3. CDutch thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #3
    I thought Time Capsule used the Airport Extreme Base Station as the wireless router. If my assumption is correct, wouldn't it have have the same connectivity issues as the Time Capsule?

    Also, would I need two external HDDs as you suggest?
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    It may be true that the AEBS could share the same problem as a TC, but with an AEBS you could use one external HDD as TM and storage for whatever media by simply creating two or more partitions on the external HDD. And if you run out of storage space you simply get another USB HDD. And a passive HUB to connect more than one HDD/printer to the AEBS.

    And as I said, there are other wireless routers out there with the ability to have USB HDDs connected to them. I just don't know any exact model to give you something more.
     
  5. CDutch thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #5
    Thanks for the advice. I kind of figured that would be the alternative. However, being a relative novice to all of this I have no idea how to set something like that up (hence the initial thought to just go with a TC for ease of use).

    So to anyone else who might be able to help, suggestions to the below questions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Wireless router - should I go with the AEBS or are there other options which are also more affordable which offer similar same functionality? I currently have a 5-year old Airport Express which connects directly to my DSL modem. It has connectivity issues so I'd like to replace it.

    2. HDD - I've taken a look at the buyers guide but I'm still not sure which one to get. Recommendations would be very much appreciated. I'm a stickler for noisy electronics so I'd absolutely hate to buy one and have it be loud.

    3. How would I go transferring recordings from my DirecTV DVR to the HDD? Also, would there be a way to network the HDD so I could watch the recordings on my MBP or iPhone? As an alternative, would it be possible to transfer recordings from the DVR directly to my MBP then back them up on the TC?
     
  6. boodyup macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2009
    #6

    1. If you are a novice, and you are interested in having a functional product that works well with other Mac products, I would go for the AEBS. The difference, from what I understand, is that there are other products that offer more functionality as well as better performance. Personally, I really like how my apple products work together seamlessly. I've had two AEBS and I have no complaints. I'd recommend that for ease of use you do the same.

    2. I'm doing the same searching for this and other peripherals (blu-ray rom drives). From my research, I would recommend the LaCie d2 Quad Drive. Here's why: It offers a few different connection types; USB 2.0, Firewire 400 or Firewire 800 (if you attach it to your mac), and eSATA. I think this is very important because you may decide that it makes sense to connect the drive to your computer or directly to your DVR via eSATA and bypass the whole network completely. It doesn't use a fan which you've indicated is one of your concerns-loud noise. It's Time Machine compatible. Also, if you pair it with the rack, you can stack 4 of these on top of each other for quite a bit of storage.

    In all honesty, the most likely reason why you can't pin down what is the best external storage solution is that these products are a mixed bag. In general, I don't think external storage is as reliable as a good ol' fashion hard-drive (which many on this forum will tell you-just get an internal HDD and put it in an enclosure) so a little risk is involved. But among the bigger brands (Western Digital, Seagate, LaCie) I don't believe there is that significant of a difference. One thing I also consider is how prominent LaCie is featured in Apple Stores. I guess that could only be a good thing.

    3. I don't have DirectTv or a DVR but I'm sure a few searches around the internet may be fruitful. Do you know if your dvr has an eSATA port?

    Hope that helps some.
     
  7. skorpien macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #7
    You may have issues transferring your Direct TV DVR recordings. Most DVRs use copy protection on the recordings, and from my experience do not use NTFS, FAT32 or HFS+ filesystems making it extremely difficult to read or copy information directly from the hard disk. Do you know for fact that it is possible or are you inquiring if it is?
     
  8. CDutch thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #8
    Thanks for the detailed response. A quick follow up question...would I be able to partition the LaCie HDD to allow for media storage and Time Machine backups. If so, would I be able to access the media files wirelessly?
     
  9. boodyup macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2009
    #9
    Yes, the LaCie manual has instructions for creating multiple partitions using the OS X Disk Utility. And yes, you could use one of those for a time machine back-up. Your biggest challenge is going to be figuring out how to get the content from your DVR to your external esp. in a format that QuickTime or VLC (which you need to download if you don't have it) will playback. Once you've done that, It should be cake connecting to your media partition an streaming right to your MBP.

    I tried doing something similarly with a Tivo and my PowerMac. It can be a royal PITA if DirecTV has their own file type to record to the DVR.
     
  10. CDutch thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #10
    I've been digging around quite a bit and am realizing that getting my recordings from the DVR is going to be a challenge.

    A couple more questions:

    1. Will I have be able to save to the drive and access files on the drive without being connected via firewire or USB?

    2. Is there a way to access the hard drive remotely?

    Thanks for all your input. You've been very helpful.
     
  11. boodyup macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    #11
    1. I'm assuming when you say connected via firewire or USB you mean that you aren't connected to the mbp via those options? As long as it's connected to the AEBS (via USB) you should be able to wirelessly access your files from either partition on that drive.

    2. Short answer-Yes. Long answer, there are multiple ways to do this. There may be others more advanced then myself, but if you want to access your media files online, I've found Orb (http://www.orb.com/) to be a really neat FREE service. Essentially, you install the ORB software on your computer. You tell ORB where to look for your files. Orb indexes the media in your folders and essentially creates a web-based front-end that you can access on their site. It will allow you to stream/download the files on your media drive at home to the computer you are accessing it from. It would require that your home set-up is on (when you are away from home) and the service being free isn't always the most reliable but it does work.

    Also, you can access your content from the iPhone if you have one. Though- I'm not sure if their app is still around. This defeats the storage limitation of the iPhone and iPod.
     
  12. boodyup macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2009
    #12
    You might also want to look at the HP Mediasmart Servers. They seem to be doing everything you in a convenient package. There are quite a few folks who really like them.
     
  13. CDutch thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #13
    Yep...I've looked a bit at the HP Media Smart servers. Intriguing but definitely more expensive...decisions, decisions.

    Anyway...thanks for your input. It's been very helpful.
     

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