Streaming to HTPC vs AppleTV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by lumencreative, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. lumencreative macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #1
    I currently have an AppleTV set up in my living room. We use it to watch TV Shows and Films bought/rented on iTunes and also for iTunes radio.

    I have recently purchased a Synology RS814 and I want to use this to store all my music (purchased from iTunes), movies and videos that I'm going to be ripping from DVD's, etc. The Synology will be located in my studio upstairs, connected to my router downstairs using AV500 homeplugs.

    The Synology has an iTunes Server app which enables the Synology to show up as a shared library in Itunes.

    What is the best way to stream content from my Nas to the TV? Is it possible to do this via the AppleTV and if so, how, or am I better going for a HTPC?
     
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #2
    to stream to the Apple TV, you must have HomeSharing, which means a computer running iTunes (Mac or Windows). The "iTunes Server" on any brand of NAS does not qualify. You could store the media on the NAS and mount it to a Mac or PC, but you still need iTunes - IMO, NAS for iTunes media is not worth the trouble, Direct Attached is easier to manage.

    So, you need a computer running in either case - either something running iTunes for the ATV to connect to, or an HTPC to connect to the TV and access the fies on the NAS Directly.

    Personally, I use the AppleTV as the media playback device, but YMMV.
     
  3. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    I don't object to having a PC running iTunes but it sort of defeats the purpose of having the NAS doesn't it? I mean, instead of storing the media on my NAS, I could just stick it on internal drives in the PC running iTunes.

    I do have a HP Microserver which is low power consumption so could use this as an iTunes client with home sharing enabled.

    I have also just found out that I can download Plex direct onto my Samsung Smart TV. This may be an option as I can install Plex Server on my Synology NAS.

    Any experiences of Plex vs AppleTV?
     
  4. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #4
    Since you need iTunes on a computer for Home Sharing, you mainly have two other options if you want to leave the computer off. You can install DS Audio on your iPhone and the Synology music app (can't remember the name, but it is in the list for music) on the NAS and Airplay it using an iOS device as the controller. The upside to DS Audio is you can send different streams to different Airplay devices at the same time. (t=There are other apps that you can put on the NAS, but DS Audio is the best for music IMHO).

    If you don't want to use Airplay, you could pay Apple $25 and use iTunes Match to send you music up to the Cloud. It would be available on the AppleTV without a computer being on.
     
  5. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    That would solve the music bit but what about the videos :)
     
  6. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
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    #6
    Sorry, I only addressed music since I run Plex on a mini and it is hooked to my main system. In the back of the house we have a couple jailbroken AppleTv2s, so we run ATV Flash on those.

    However, I believe that Synology has its own video server and an app called DS Video on iOS. I would have to look into it a bit more because I can't remember the formats it supports, but from what I recall, you would control it from your iOS device and it would stream via Airplay to the AppleTV. It has been months since I looked at it, but I am pretty sure it supported DD5.1. I will take a look at it when I get home this evening and let you know...if you are interested.

    There is a Plex server on the Synology. I am not sure if it works with the AppleTV Plex plug in people talk about, though. My Synology is a lower model and can't transcode video on the fly, so it was limiting with the Roku we have in the house.
     
  7. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Scrub that as apparently the NAS I've got isn't supported by Plex Server so would still need a PC in the loop somewhere.
     
  8. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    Location:
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    #8
    Interesting. I wonder why? My 413j, which is a lot cheaper than the Synology RS814 does support Plex.

    It does appear to support Video Station ( so that should still work if you don't mind have an iOS device as part of the system).

    Personally, I prefer to just run a Mini rather than trying to get around NAS issues.
     
  9. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    I have just tried to install Plex Server on my Synology but it appears that it's not supported (if I had gone for the + model it would have been, but that was £200 more), so that's a no go. I also want to be able to browse through films, etc, from the TV for when we have visitors, etc.

    I do like the sound of Plex in that it automatically gets meta info and cover art, etc, so maybe I should find a solution that works with that.

    So, at he moment, I'm looking at these options:

    1. Files stored on NAS, HP Microserver running iTunes with Home Sharing enabled, Playable on AppleTV.
    2. Files stored on NAS, HP Microserver running Plex Server, Playable via Plex app on Samsung Smart Hub.
    3. Files stored on NAS, HTPC running Plex.

    Would it cause issues with the media being stored on a NAS, then passing through a PC to either the AppleTV or Smart Hub? Sorry if I ask some dumb questions but I'm new to this :)

    ----------

    By the looks of it, it's to do with the CPU. Yours has a Marvell 1.6GHz CPU whereas the RS814 has an ARM 1.33GHz CPU.
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    I'll try to keep it relatively short here -

    A Mac Mini (used) would be a better option than an ATV as would any other HDMI capable computer to handle iTunes and playback (if set up correctly). The advantages are obvious - you have iTunes at your call, you can load up other software such as XBMC or PLEX and have access to both NAS and local storage. It is a shame that the ATV requires yet another device to be accessible (computer with iTunes) in order to be useful.

    As for NAS running PLEX or XBMC, yeah some people kinda sorta have it working but honestly it just short of being ready for prime time.

    I use Mac Minis with XBMC/iTunes, Blu Ray player, and even my TV (for certain file types) to access my files from NAS. The Minis also serve as more traditional use computers as well. I have found no need for ATV or similar type devices. I don't buy/rent any movies from iTunes and only a scatter of music makes my library.
     
  11. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    If the only purpose of the NAS is to serve iTunes, then you should just sell it now - not even close to worth the effort. There are many other reasons to have a NAS though, so if you have the NAS anyway, then it is possible to set up iTunes to make use of that storage. I did it for a year, then decided to just convert back to good old FW800 direct attached.

    You are absolutely right - just use internal or attached storage for iTunes.

    Take a look at the media that you are planning to convert. I found that by the time I had finished ripping all of my old DVDs, about 90% of the movies & shows I owned had become available on NetFlix - I still have a bunch of movies available locally, but I never watch them. If I lost those files, I wouldn't bother to restore them from backup...
     
  12. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    Lancashire
    #12
    I'm wanting to do this without spending any extra cash. Another Mac Mini to just sit under the TV is a huge waste IMO and I haven't got the money to go down that route.


    The NAS is going to be used for a variety of purposes. This is just one of them :)
     
  13. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Memphis
    #13
    I have a mini and love it, but if you hook the PC to the TV, you can do most of the same stuff. A PC just usually has a larger form factor and is usually less energy efficient.

    I would try going the route of keeping the files on the NAS, pointing iTunes library to it and also run the Plex server on the computer and streaming the files to the ATV and TV. That will probably do what you want.

    I mainly use my NAS as a backup for all of my computers and my hard drives that are attached to a router. I have my iTunes library pointed at the hard drive attached to the router. As I mentioned, the main downside of storing the files on the computer or attaching them to the computer is that the computer needs to be on for access. That may or may not be an issue for you.
     
  14. wwohl macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    #14
    The NAS should be to keep files in a place thats not your computer. Also, to share them with others on your network. If you don't need to share them and they don't need to be in a remote location from the pc...well then you probably don't need a NAS...you just need storage

    You can do one of two things. Use the computer as the server, connected to the NAS drive (via network or hardwire). Use homesharing to connect the ATV to the computer and stream content via airplay..

    OR

    You can buy/build whatever you want, an HTPC and have that directly connected to the TV. Theres a number of interfaces beyond iTunes that you can use. I would only recommend this if that NAS has a large volume of media files that you want to be able to watch on the TV

    Either is fine, the first is likely best for your current situation..

    Regardless, the NAS is not going to directly communicate with the Apple TV or any other set top box. Yes, you can install plex and other interfaces to the NAS and view content right from it. However, that experience is likely to be not so great. The large majority of video content will require at least some trasncoding to be viewed on the TV in real time. That take processor power, something NAS devices have very little of. Not to mention, they typically have complicated set ups.

    Your goal should be to point iTunes, XBMC, or plex to the NAS drive as your library. Then use the same program from your sofa to access that content with your TV remote.

    In the case of iTunes, use the apple TV. In the case of XBMC or Plex, there are a number of devices that can be used.

    Either way, do lots of research before buying anything. Its easy to spend a lot of money on a network media environment and realize you should have bought something else.
     

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