What is everyone using to host library now?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rlu929s, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. rlu929s, Jun 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016

    rlu929s macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    Looking for example of your setups in regards to how you are hosting your iTunes Library? My setup has been a 2TB SATA drive on my desktop Windows 10 PC that I then backup to a 3TB External HDD. My Desktop has been freezing lately, so I'm looking to replace.

    I have the option to hookup wired or wireless...will shoot for wired.

    Do I replaced desktop, which I use to work off of. For work use I just need something decently fast, but no bells and whistles.

    Should I look at a NAS and migrate toward INFUSE?

  2. archer75, Jun 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016

    archer75 macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2005
    I don't use itunes but I have a 5 bay drobo connected to a PC I built running windows 10 and I use plex on phones, tablets, xbox, amazon fire tv, roku's, chromecasts and an nvidia shield tv.
    NAS are too weak, especially the cheap ones. You already have a computer, use it. I leave mine on 24/7. Friends and family outside my home can access my plex library and using sonarr my computer automatically downloads tv shows and they show up in plex almost like a DVR.
    Using plex doesn't limit you to just one device or platform like infuse does.

    I have also built a couple of servers over the years to host my library but now I use the drobo with 4tb drives as it makes my life easier.
  3. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    I'm using a NAS (QNAP TS-451). This unit has the ability to run virtual machines directly on the NAS, so I don't need to have a computer running for iTunes homesharing. I use a Windows VM with iTunes to serve streams to my Apple TVs. Works great. You may have to expand the RAM on the NAS if you have the 2GB model, but apart from that the VM has no problems serving multiple HD streams simultaneously.

    Non-iTunes content can be served directly from the NAS via SMB. Using apps like Infuse or MrMC you can play almost all video content directly without a need to run Plex for online transcoding (which is much more computationally intensive).
  4. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    i switched from iTunes homesharing to plex because i share my movies with family not in the same house

    mac mini is on 24/7 with a few external drives connected
  5. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
  6. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Synology DS211 NAS accessed via Infuse or MrMC
  7. bigpatky macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2007
    itunes for digital copies in the cloud (no purchases downloaded) and all home movies/rips are recently removed from my personal itunes library and now in plex. I'm much happier now.
  8. Montymitch macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2009
    I've got my iMac running a 2TB drive that's sole purpose is to host my iTunes library. Hmm, just checked and I only have 150 gb free on there now. Time to expand.
  9. ajiuo macrumors 65816

    Apr 9, 2011
    I like Plex... I can just point it to my iTunes media folders as well.
  10. Rigby, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016

    Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    You can do that with Infuse and MrMC as well. The problem of course is that you can't stream purchased iTunes video content this way due to the DRM encryption (unless you want to go to the trouble of removing it).
  11. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I have a 2012 base Mac Mini dedicated as an iTunes server (still running Mavericks and an old version of iTunes). My library is on a fast USB 3.0 external 3TB disk. I have two additional 3TB external disks and rotate them periodically for backup. Every night a Carbon Copy script clones the library disk to the backup drive.

    My library is just a little over 1TB, so I have plenty of room to grow. I have about 600 movies and 600 TV shows, most of them ripped from DVD. Only about 25 movies were purchased on iTunes. Works very well for me, I have two Apple TV3's and everything is hardwired on ethernet. Also access the library on my MacBook Air and even my iPhone 6s+.

    The mini is also connected to my home stereo system using the regular analog audio jack, so I can listen to music that way using speakers that are wired in several rooms of my home.
  12. rlu929s thread starter macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    So you mean any movie you buy off iTunes and download to your drive can't be watched with Infuse? Streaming you could just stream on the AppleTV right?

    I'll have to buy a new computer. Trying to decide if I should just get another computer with an internal 3TB drive dedicated to my library or just do the 3TB external drive.

    The NAS and not having to have a PC on and iTunes running would also be nice though. NAS is not cheap though in addition to buying a new PC.
  13. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    That's right, 3rd party apps do not support protected iTunes content. You have to use iTunes homesharing or Airplay, or stream from Apple's cloud over the Internet. I wanted the ability to stream purchased iTunes stuff locally, which is why I'm running a VM with iTunes on my NAS.
    You could also consider getting a cheap mini-computer (such as a low-end NUC) as a dedicated server and connect the drive to that.
    That's true, but I need way more storage than 3TB.
  14. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I just use my 2013 iMac to host my iTunes library, it's on 24/7. Also use a Synology NAS with the Localcast app for the rare mkv I want to play.

    I'll probably be migrating my iTunes library onto my NAS since its approaching 1tb.
  16. TurboPGT! Suspended

    Sep 25, 2015

    iTunes just doesn't cut it. I wish it did, but it doesn't.

    1) Home Sharing to iOS device is unusable.
    2) Home Sharing to AppleTV works, but the UI experience is terrible compared to Plex on AppleTV.
    3) Features, features, features.
    4) No remote access.
    5) Not a server product.

    I've since moved to using a Linux server with Plex, with a NAS for content. I often switch back and forth between macOS and Windows on my Mac, and can't deal with making sure iTunes is open on the Mac to guarantee usability. A more server-oritented product like Plex is a better overall experience.
  17. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    What problems do you have with it? Works fine here. It would be nice though if you could "import" content from the Homesharing server to the device like you can with a second iTunes (to make it available for offline viewing without having to use USB syncing).
    It's possible to do this by setting up a VPN server.
    Perhaps, but unfortunately useless if you want to use purchased content ...
  18. TurboPGT! Suspended

    Sep 25, 2015
    It's nothing like the Plex App for direct access to the content. It's shoehorned into the Videos app, the whole library needs to be reloaded every time you revist the App, which takes a long time, and often just fails. The playback UI offers minimal features compared to Plex. Its just a very poor experience by comparison to Plex.
  19. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Mac Pro with ZFS, has been running great for several years now.

    ZFS is fantastic. Real protection and native integration.
  20. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2014
    Cloud. If we have it on iTunes, we either got it by digital copy or bought it when the price was right to duplicate the physical media we already owned. Fox movie of the day has been great for this. For the price of a rental we pick up the digital copy. Hindsight being 20/20 I would probably have passed on iTunes though. The studios are being real turds these days about offering UV copies only when it used to be a sure bet you'd beget an iTunes copy.
  21. rmm805 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    Agreed. I don't mind it on the Apple TV but trying to use it on iOS is horrible.
  22. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I don't have an iPad, but every so often I will watch a video from my library on my iPhone 6s+. I agree, the user interface is terrible. 802.11ac wifi helps with loading, but it's ridiculous that you can only browse movies in icon view sorted in alphabetical order. With about 600 movies, that is a pain if you want to watch something like "X-Files". ;) The interface for TV shows is better though.

    Apple could do a LOT to improve all this, however it does work reliably (for me at least), the Mac Mini server was cheap and easy to setup and use. Maybe one day I'll try plex, but for now, iTunes meets my needs.
  23. rmm805 macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2014
    I don't mind the UI as much as it just never loads for me completely on my iPhone 6+, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro 12.9. I have no problems with the Apple TV 1st gen, 3rd gen or 4th gen (other than the UI shortcomings).
  24. JeffPerrin macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2014
    iCloud for commercial releases all the way. The convenience beats any marginal difference of quality between Blu-ray and iTunes.

    Going to set-up a Mac Mini for home movies pretty soon. Looking into Plex for that...

    For testing my Dolby surround tracks and whatnot on Apple TV, I use Home Sharing from the Mac Pro. iTunes has proved pretty reliable in that fashion, but I have to wonder if we can count on Home Sharing to be around for the long-term... :-/
  25. thisismyusername, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016

    thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    I use Plex because I don't like the restrictions that iTunes imposes plus I can't run an iTunes server on my server OS of choice, FreeBSD, without getting into the hassle of running a Windows VM or something (and I didn't want to have to run iTunes on a separate machine). The Plex server is running on a dedicated server that runs FreeBSD. The media is stored on a 6 x 4TB ZFS RAIDZ2 array. I went the more enterprise route for the hardware (SuperMicro motherboard and Xeon processor). It's overkill for a home server but I like it.

    I've been using this setup for over a year now and it works great.

    Agreed :)

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