Streaming Content to Apple TV - Firewire or USB?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by awr, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. awr macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2007
    A question for those of you streaming content to your apple TV from an external drive hooked up to your mac: is your drive firewire or USB, and what are your experiences?

    I am asking cause i currently have a 750GB My Book hooked up to my iMac via firewire, and streaming to my apple TV works great. however, i need to add more storage and was thinking of switching to the USB route, but wanted some opinions first.

    Are any of you using USB drives hooked up to your mac to stream large libraries wirelessly to your apple TV with minimal skipping, buffering, etc?

    Any input is much appreciated.

  2. RumMunkey macrumors 6502a


    Nov 3, 2006
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Safari/530.17)

    Drobo running to my iMac over FW800, then from my iMac to my AppleTV over Ethernet (downstairs, near iMac) and Wifi (802.11n) for the AppleTV unit upstairs.

    I used to have several different externals drives, some USB some FireWire, and for what it's worth I could detect a difference. Maybe the USB drives were also slower drives, or were sleeping when I wanted to get a video from them, there could be more reasons than strictly bus, but like I said, videos off the USB always took longer to come up.

    Today, with the Drobo FW800, it's as fast as I think I could expect. For short content (a 20 minute TV show) I often don't even see the "loading" bar.
  3. Shuttleworth macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2008
    Neither, mines a Buffalo Linkstation Mini NAS drive plugged directly into the ethernet on the back of my iMac. I did have it connected wirelessly via my Time Capsule, but just had a re-jig of my stuff and don't really need a NAS drive at the moment.

    I didn't think it'd work plugged in directly rather than via a router, but the iMac found it no problem. I only use it because I've got it, it's an expensive option really, but it is nice and quiet in my bedroom, and it's RAID 1 so there is some backup.

    I've not yet tried to get it to share the library to the laptop, hopefully it'll work ok.

    I didn't have any problems streaming from the NAS when it was connected via the Time Capsule. The main difference is it is now a bit quicker to add film to my iTunes library and also if I re-do the tagging on a film with MetaX it is quicker now it's connected by ethernet cable.
  4. plaidhippo macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    I've used both usb2 and firewire800 drives connected to my macbook pro and streamed over wireless n to my airport extreme and back to the apple tv with no problems. it takes a second or so to buffer and then works flawlessly.

    I also have it connected via usb hub to the back of my airport extreme (with several other drives), and it streams that way just fine as well.

    In theory, the max speed of wireless N is ~110 mbps, while usb2 is 480 and firewire is 400, so I would think both are going to be fast enough to keep the wireless N stream supplied with data. (I may have the numbers a bit off, but I think the general idea is still valid!)

    Personally, I would use a USB drive for wireless streaming because it is cheaper. If you want to do a lot of direct access to the drive via computer, firewire will be faster overall.

    Hope that helps,
  5. awr thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2007
    thank you everybody for your input - you've answered my questions.

    much appreciated.

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