Some help required.......

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JSmail, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. JSmail macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2011

    I have recently re-introduced myself to iTunes and have started to experiment with AirPlay. I bought an Apple TV to play music onto my TV, but wanted better sound quality so have just bought a B&W Zeppelin Air. This has now sparked my interest in setting up a wireless music (plus maybe video) system for my house.


    Based on my research I seem to have a couple of options, but I am not sure what is best / how they will work.

    1) SONOS System
    2) iTunes AirPlay system

    1) SONOS sounds like a great system, but it does not seem to like non-SONOS speakers (unless you buy a £280 Zone Player to connect to each). Given this, and my new and much loved Zeppelin, I think it is out of the question. Unless anyone knows how you can connect non-SONOS speakers to the system?

    2) iTunes AirPlay seems to be quite good; not as great as the SONOS system, but nice. My questions are however:

    i) Wireless / Networked HDD - I have a MacBook Pro and do not really want to have this turned on all the time to play music in multiple areas (my iPhone seems to only be able to send music to one set of speakers at once without being used as a remote for my computer?). It seems that many people have wireless / networked HDDs to store their iTunes library on. My question however, is does this still require a Mac to be turned on and connected to the network to access the tracks and play wirelessly, or does the HDD act as a computer and let you access wirelessly on your AppleTV / iPhone / iPad and then use the iPhone remote for example to send music to multiple speakers?

    ii) Are there any additional benefits of the wireless HDD other than you don't need them to be close to the router?

    iii) Also, how many speakers can you play to at once with AirPlay?

    iv) Is there any way of playing different tracks on different speakers at the same time with iTunes?


    From looking at some posts, it seems that iFlicks and Handbreak are the best tools to get all my videos / dvds into iTunes, from which I can expand to video streaming too (another reason not to go for SONOS?).

    Does anyone else have any suggestions / am I missing anything here about the wider plan / features to consider?

    My plan is to have a networked HDD that centrally stores all my iTunes data, then have 3 or 4 speakers, either with AirPlay, or connected to Apple TV / Airport Express units around the house, including Apple TVs connected to TVs for video.

    I then intend on managing all the music through my iPhone, without my computer needing to be on and video through the AppleTVs.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    A few answers to get started with:

    i) You need an active iTunes install, or a first gen ATV to use AirPlay. You can't use NASs with built in so-called iTunes servers.

    That said, your iTunes host does not need to be running 24/7 if:

    a) you have the host wired, and Wake On LAN enabled in the power savings settings. This is my setup, but then I have an iMac, not a MacBook driving my house.

    b) you have a newer Mac AND an Airport Extreme Base Station (I don't think the AEs will cut it). In this case you can use Wake On LAN over WiFi, which works pretty well from what I've seen.

    AirPlay from an iPhone: yes, one target only.

    ii) See above, WiFi NASs aren't going to get you far if you go the AirPlay approach.

    iii) Pass, but I've successfully streamed to five speakers plus the host many times. I'm planning to add another zone next year, and I've no doubt that it'll scale up just fine.

    iv) Yes and no. One iTunes turret can only stream one 'zone'. However, a high number of devices can use home sharing to stream from that same iTunes session. As such, with just one iTunes device in the house, you have as many zones as you have iOS and ATVs knocking around, as each can stream from the iTunes host, then AirPlay to your other speakers. As an example, I can play one song through my aTV, one through my iPhone, one through my MacBook, and one through the wife's iMac. All are pulling directly from that iMac, and all are AirPlaying to one or more speakers.

Share This Page