What's the most elaborate setup you have?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by unplugme71, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    A lot of us have a Mac with an external drive streaming to your Apple TV(s). But what about the few of us that go beyond that, adding TB's of storage maybe in a RAID array on SAN devices, multiple Apple TV's, multiple Mac's, running OS X server, WPA2 Enterprise Authentication, etc.

    Describe your setup, list specs, etc.
  2. ahall52 macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2013
    I'm very interested in this topic as well. I've amassed quite an array of Apple products and while they already work together with all of the out-of-the-box bells and whistles, I'm quite certain I could get more out of my two iPhones, three iPads, iMac, Air, rMBP, AirPort, AirPort Express and 4 AppleTVs.

    I've not had much time to spend on this endeavor for the last couple of years, but I would really like to do a better job of sharing my iPhoto library across all of my devices. I would also like to add a really fat RAID array and rip my DVD collection, pulling all of those videos to my AppleTVs.

    Super-curious to find out what others have managed...
  3. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    I'll start...here's the main equipment that feeds our viewing...

    21.5" iMac 2010 model
    Drobo 4-bay enclosure with 4 3TB hard drives, connected via FireWire to iMac
    Time Capsule as main router
    Airport Express on 1st floor as extender
    3 AppleTVs (family room, basement home theater, and master bedroom)

    Both the family room and basement home theater have Harman Kardon receivers with Aperion Audio 5.1 surround setups.

    The family room has a 52" LCD TV. The basement a 100" screen with HD projector.

    Here are some photos from my basement, which I did myself a few years back:

  4. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    wow that thing is AMAZING MAN!

    Do you have the basement wire or wireless?
  5. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012

    With the time capsule on the 2nd floor and the Express on the 1st floor as an extender, the coverage in the basement is great. I stream 1080p all the time.
  6. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    are you streaming blu ray rips? if so what file size and how do you find it compares to straight blu ray on such a large screen?
  7. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    thats, you use appletv to show your movies/tv shows? how do you keep everything organize!? I have over 600+ movies and its hard to keep organize
  8. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    Yes...most of the BluRay rips are in the 8-12gb range with Dolby 5.1. I will say it is a slight step down from actual BluRays.

    Yes, I have about 350 movies and about 40 complete TV series. About 95% are 720p or 1080p. I have everything in iTunes, with the files sitting on my Drobo. It is perfectly organized and super simple to navigate.
  9. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    im thinking of doing this eventually, just didnt know how much of a downgrade i was looking at. would love to not have the blu rays all lined up on the wall but stored somewhere
  10. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    The quality is still excellent...and my eyes are not what they used to be anyhow. ;)

    The convenience trumps any slight quality loss. And we enjoy the collection WAY more because it is all at our fingertips without having to grabs physical media.
  11. ZeRoLiMiT macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2010
    Southern California
    Drobo? How to you keep everything organize? Do you drag and drop everything? You have to scroll down every movie? or you have another way?
  12. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    Here's the structure of the Drobo drive:

    Drobo root
    ........TV Shows

    Within the Movies folder, each individual movie is in its own folder, then the movie file is within that folder. I would have not used the folder, but that's iTunes default so I left it.

    Within the TV Shows folder, each series has a folder. Then within that folder, each season is separate, so for instance:

    Drobo root
    ........TV Shows
    ....................Season 1
    ....................Season 2
  13. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    The Waste
    My setup is not too extravagant, aside from the size of my storage. I use a unibody Mac mini (2.4GHz C2D, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD) running Plex. Connected to it are two Drobo 4-bay enclosures, each with four 4TB Hitachi HDDs. One is for films and music, the other is for television. There is 29.1TB of useable space. I'm using a little more than half of that, so there is room to grow (~750 movies, ~120 tv series, ~17,000 songs in iTunes).

    The entire house is wired with Cat6. There are three Airport Extremes to provide a roaming wireless network, as well as an Airport Express for AirPlay. Two jailbroken :apple:TV2s running Plex in the family room and den. Office/media room has an :apple:TV1 running Crystalbuntu 2.0. I also share my Plex library with five remote users (30Mbps upload connection helps with that).
  14. Otago Lad macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    New Zealand
    My set up is as follows:

    Ultrafast Fibre Internet - 100Mb down and 50Mb up.

    Homemade WHS2011 Server (i7, 256GB SSD, 38TB storage) - I use StableBit DrivePool to duplicate files and currently have only 4TB left (so files, videos, pic's etc. equal 17TB). This provides hard wired and wifi access to all files through the house with a mixture of devices accessing. I run iTunes on the server and have no issues with this, contrary to some suggestions that this can't be done (not running it as a service).

    HP PC (i7, 24GB Ram, 256GB SSD) - this is my work from home machine and ripping and encoding machine.

    Sony VPCZ22TGX (i7 256GB SSD) - only use this for travel now or access downstairs if can't do something with iPad or iPhone. Have an ASUS AC wifi dongle attached for super fast streaming from the....

    ASUS RT-AC66U WiFi Router - speed and strength of signal is awesome and can't wait for Apple to start releasing iPad's, iPhones and aTV's with AC wifi chips (although will only need for one of the aTV's as others are connected to Cat6 - weirdly the master bedroom didn't have a cable run to it; previous owners must have wanted an oasis of calm away from technology - weird or what :confused:).

    Panasonic VT50 55" Plasma.

    Hooked up to the Panny is a Denon AVR-4520 and connected to that is:

    B&W CM9's, CM Centre, CM5's and ASW10CM.

    Oppo BDP-103 Multi-zone blu-ray player.

    PS3 and XBox 360

    Boxee Box

    aTV (gen 3)

    MySkyHD (New Zealand)

    In the family room we have:

    Sony KDL55W900A 55" LED.

    aTV (3rd gen)

    MySkyHD (New Zealand)

    Master Bedroom:

    Samsung UA32F5500 LED


    aTV (2nd Gen jailbroken)

    I use UnoTelly to get around region blocking to use Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer, ABC, 4OD etc. I subscribe to MLB, which in NZ has no blackouts - go Red Sox - and the NFL Gamepass is free here in NZ - go Pats - and it is pretty good quality airplayed to the TV's. Would be awesome if Apple either acquire the rights to online NFL in 2015 or at least for us here in NZ allowed the NFL Gamepass app to go on the aTV.

    I also have:

    4 iPad's (1x iPad1, 2x iPad2 and 1x iPad3 - looking to get an iPad mini for the missus when they release the retina version).

    2 iPhone 5's

    iHome IW1 - quite useful for using outside where the integrated speaker system doesn't reach.

    There's a bit of other stuff but that's it mostly. Will go down the projector route next time we renovate (remodel for those in the States).
  15. unplugme71 thread starter macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    I'm currently house hunting and plan to create this setup:


    1 Fibre Internet
    1 Cable Internet (Backup)

    2 - Firewall (supports DUAL WAN)
    2 - 48port Switches (allows one switch to fail)
    5 - Cisco Wireless Access Points (2 first floor, 1 garage attached, 2 outdoor)
    Support for WPA2 Enterprise - username/password for increased security

    2 - Mac Mini Servers running DHCP, DNS, Open Directory, File Sharing, Messenging, Contacts, Calendar, and VPN (Replicated). Mac Mini's will have Thunderbolt Gigabit to support LAN failover.

    2 Drobo B800i's (replicated data) shared between both mac minis. 2TB and 3TB drives mixed.

    HP LJ Color Pro 200 in house
    HP LJ Black/White in garage - not attached

    iTunes Server:
    Mac Mini (always on) runs iTunes Home Sharing

    Apple TV's located in Main Room, Office, and Bedroom
    iMac in Office
    MacBook Air

    3 Car Garage - Not attached to house:

    2 - 10GBit Connections to House
    1 - Mac Mini Server (host for Drobo)
    1 - Drobo B800i (stores backup data)
    2 - Cisco Wireless Access points to provide wireless in the garage and surrounding area
    1 - Apple TV (TV in garage)

    Yes, this is probably the most extreme for a consumer. But coming from a Sys Engineer (prev Sys Admin) this **** excites me.
  16. unplugme71 thread starter macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    nice setup!
  17. hamiltonDSi, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013

    hamiltonDSi macrumors 68000


    Jul 29, 2012
    My setup :

    TV : SONY KDL-R470 LED Full HD (40")
    Audio : Sony 3D Receiver 7.1

    Apple TV 3
    Macbook Unibody '08 Server + 1.5 TB External HDD + 3TB Synology NAS Server.
    Sony PlayStation 3.
    Nintendo Wii.

    Also, my AirPort Express is hooked up with the Receiver for AirTunes.
  18. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Are you planning to run Air Conditioning in the detached garage? That alone seems extreme to me. I'm surprised that you would go to the trouble of dealing with WAN Failover in the home, then use Drobo. Drobo makes life easy for those who don't want to bother with RAID but still want big redundant volumes. You obviously want to make the most complex home system on the planet, so Drobo seems out of character - why not FreeNAS or something along those lines?
  19. Lord Hamsa, Aug 23, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

    Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    Here's my current plan for when I make the "cord cutting" jump this winter. Items marked (*) are already owned.

    Family Room
    57" Mitsubishi LCD projection TV (*)
    Sony 5.1 stereo receiver (*)
    Bose 5-speaker "cube" system (*)
    JBL subwoofer (*)
    Panasonic BD player (*)
    Mac Mini
    Synology NAS with 4 x 2TB drives (*)
    Elgato EyeTV Software
    SiliconDust HD Homerun (waiting on 4-tuner, native H.264 model)
    Wireless router plus additional ethernet bridge (*)
    iMac 21" (*)
    Multi-function Laser Printer/Copier/Scanner (*)
    Uninterruptable power supply

    The iMac is the desktop computer of the house, and is currently how I do the ripping and iTunes management. The Mac Mini will be the new home theater system (and possibly an OS X server for the house, though I'm not sure what I'd actually use besides profile management), so iTunes will be managed from there (for home theater purposes, at least) although the iMac is still going to be the "ripping" machine. The Mini will be used via iTunes directly for TV in the family room, probably no need for an ATV as well on this TV. (Note: the BD player has access to Netflix.)

    The HomeRun would be hooked to an antenna for OTA capture, with the Elgato software running on the Mini actually doing the recording, and then post-processing (comskip, then load into iTunes).

    With the ethernet bridge, all of the networked devices - which is just about everything on that list, minus the stereo, speakers, and TV - are wired, not wireless.

    The UPS would be there primarily to prevent the occasional power flicker; we get them from time to time, usually less than a 30-second outage, so a long-lasting UPS isn't necessary... just something to prevent certain things from an unexpected shutdown. Highest priority items would be (in order) the NAS, the Mini, the iMac, the router, and the HomeRun.

    42" LG Plasma TV (*)
    Sony BD player (*)
    Wii (*)
    Playstation 2 (*)
    Apple TV
    Windows 7 PC (*) (for the kids)

    Nothing fancy here, just replacing the current satellite system with ATV. Everything runs wireless, though I may consider using an old powerline ethernet adapter I have paired with a bridge to have a wired setup; everything but the TV does have ethernet (though it's unused on the PS2). (The powerline adapter is a pair of devices, of course; the other half of the pair would be in the family room.)

    Master Bedroom
    32" Heier LCD TV (*)
    Apple TV (*)

    We've been testing ATV3 in the bedroom, the transition here would just be ditching the satellite box. The ATV3 works fine on wireless. There's also a DVD player up there that's currently unhooked (the TV only has two HDMI inputs, which are used by the ATV3 and the satellite box), which may get hooked up again once the satellite box is gone... but probably for no other reason than we already have it.

    Antenna (specs TBD)

    In theory I can get away with a low-end directional, but a larger omnidirectional might not be a bad idea to improve close signals and pick up more distant stations so I could, for example, get NFL games from a different market if I don't want my local game. In an ideal world, I'd run the antenna to all three TVs in addition to the feed to the HomeRun, but I'll have to see what that does in terms of amplifiers, etc. The coax wiring already exists due to the existing satellite, so installation should be pretty easy.

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