What are my options with a large library and the Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tekno, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. tekno macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #1
    I have an Apple TV and a MacBook Air. As there's nowhere near enough hard drive space on the Mac to hold my movies, I have a 1TB USB drive full of them.

    But I'm getting fed-up that whenever I want my ATV on, my highly portable Air becomes tethered to a bulky harddrive.

    What are my options to avoid this? Any suggestions welcome!
     
  2. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    at this time it seems that you need to do one of the hacks to the aTV to allow a USB drive. I am also looking for a computer off solution and there seems to be none for use with the aTV. The other option is to get a used cheap old Mini. Doesnt have to do anything but run itunes. YOu can stuff it away somewhere out of the way and not even have to hook up a monitor or keyboard or mouse, just access it via network to make changes.
     
  3. tekno thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #3
    I've had an Apple TV since day one and it has never, ever worked properly. With every update came a new issue or two.

    I currently have a 2nd gen ATV running an older version of the software and it works fine. This is why I'm reluctant to do any hacks - I'm worried it won't work and when I remove the hack I'll have to go to the new ATV software.
     
  4. Boomish69 macrumors 6502

    Boomish69

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    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    London
    #4
    It's simple really just put all your movies on an external drive that's a NAS drive , that's network attached storage , basically a HD that sits on your network, this can do your time machine and store your movies. You just need to get one that supports iTunes and is fast enough to stream.

    A bit easier as I have an iMac so it's a permanent fixture. I have no problems with my ATV and I can control it from the free remote app or the ATV remote using home sharing. I can' recommend it enough, sharing photo's , movies etc etc.
    Hope this helps
     
  5. tekno thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #5
    Ah, can I plug my HDD into my Airport Extreme?

    Only issue I see there is if I want to go away somewhere and take my HDD with me, iTunes won't recognise any of the files. Or will it?

    ----------

    Oh my god! Just tried it and it works a treat! HDD plugged into my Airport and iTunes is recognising and playing everything just fine.

    So next question, does this mean my HDD is going to be constantly spinning and will wear out?
     
  6. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #6
    Depends on the drive. Mine spins down. Personally, and I know I will start and argument with this, I wouldn't worry about your disc wearing out. And I'm not sure that spinning up and down isn't just as bad or worse than constant spinning. The aTV accesses the disc often, so you can hear it spinning up every 15 minutes or so. Back up your most valuable material (notice I didn't say everything) and you'll never have a problem.
     
  7. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #7
    Wasn't that hard, was it.

    If you want the HD to go to sleep automatically, most likely u will have to get a tweak utility from the HD vendor, or OEM so u can configure it to spin down when idle, if not already configured. A drive labeled GREEN would most likely be already configured thus.

    When u do this, don't go crazy like making it go sleep every 15 seconds. too much stop-start cause more harm. Sleep after 30 mins idle good.
     
  8. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #8
    Yeah...mine is a Fantom Green Drive. I will have to see if I can find a way to configure it to not sleep so much. Like you said, I think it spins down after a minute or so.
     
  9. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    Also note that a spun-down media drive takes a while to spin up... so don't think your :apple:TV is breaking or slowing down when your list of media that used to pop up pretty quickly now waits for the spinning icon to spin (while the drive fully wakes up). This is no issue but it can make one think something is wrong with their :apple:TV.
     
  10. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #10
    Yes, I definitely notice the lag in the menus/cover art while the disc spins up. No impact on movie playback though, as the movie has enough buffer to smooth all that out.
     
  11. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #11
    Yes, sorry about any confusion. It's always just the spin up. Once there is activity (once something calls to the drive for reading or writing) it spins just fine. I haven't noticed if :apple:TV wakes it up soon enough when a movie file exceeds the buffer space. In other words, I wonder if the :apple:TV "knows" to wake a sleeping drive with a call far enough in advance of the end of what is in its buffer so that there is sufficient time for a sleeping drive to spin up. For example, if we're watching say a 18GB movie and the net free space in the buffer is- say- 6GB will it seamlessly stream the second 6GB in time so that the first 6GB transitions to it without a stall?

    When we've watched movies, I haven't really noticed the buffering stall except at the beginning when it is first piping over the video... or when jumping ahead via chapter changes to later in the video (requiring it to stream over some video not in it's buffer).
     
  12. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    Jan 21, 2008
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    Melbourne, FL
    #12
    I was going to suggest your simple solution to use the USB port on your Airport Extreme--that's what I do.
     
  13. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #13
    I don't think it just tries to access the disc upon need. I have noticed that my aTV 3 periodically (like maybe every 10 minutes or so) wakes up the drive...whether it needs to or not.
     
  14. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #14
    That's what I'm saying though: when it has the need for more of the video is it smart enough to request that video far enough in advance to wake up a sleeping drive, give it the time to spin up to full speed and then seamlessly receive and continue playing the video? Or, if the drive was slow to wake up, would the end of the current video chunk be reached before the new chunk of the video could reach the :apple:TV (and thus, the viewer encounters a buffering stall)?

    I think I need to go watch one of the bigger videos and see if I notice any buffer stalling at the approx. 8GB (max buffer) mark. I'm going to guess it won't buffer stall (that it is smart enough) but I do notice that the vast majority of iTunes HD tends to come in at smaller file sizes than the max buffer size. Hmmm
     
  15. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #15
    Yeah, we're saying the same thing. I have watched LOTR extended version which I have combined both BR discs into a single file and the ran through HB. The files are as large as 16GB and I have never had a buffer glitch.
     
  16. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
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    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #16
    So you have the setup with your media on a sleeping drive or sleeping NAS... so the drive could go to sleep while something like that LOTR movie is playing a chunk of the movie loaded into the :apple:TV buffer?

    Never mind: I see that you do from earlier comments.

    Good to know it works like that.
     
  17. peeaanuut, Sep 15, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

    peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #17
    now you guys are all running this with a computer on and itunes on right? From what I found, if I put a drive on the Airport Extreme it wont stream directly to the aTV without having a computer on and iTunes loaded.. Do I have that wrong?


    edit: my mistake on the first post came from I thought he was looking for a computer off solution and not a computer on but not latched to a HDD solution.
     
  18. mic j macrumors 68030

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    Mar 15, 2012
    #18
    As far as I know, there is no way to do computer off unless you have a jailbroken aTV. Even the NAS units that run iTunes will only stream music, not video.
     
  19. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

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    Sep 10, 2007
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    Southern California
    #19
    ok, thats what I have been finding. Frustrating.
     
  20. xti macrumors newbie

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    Mar 2, 2008
    #20
    Most NAS units have timer functions where you can keep them from sleeping during certain periods of time. I own both a NAS and primarily use a mac Mini and use it headless as a media server and a DVR.
     

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