Will this setup work?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sarahfelldown, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. sarahfelldown macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    Alright, I'm buying one of the new MacBooks in the next few months and I'm trying to plan...I apologize for the long post...

    I currently have an Early 2009 (I know, I know!) iMac and a regular old 2TB external hard drive. A partition on that drive serves as the destination for my automatic Time Machine backups. The other partition holds my movie and TV files (music is still stored on the iMac).

    This iMac also serves as a kind of "media hub" for my house. I keep it constantly on so I can access my iTunes Library from my AppleTVs.

    So there's the history.

    I'm planning to get the new MacBook Pro and keep the iMac (so it can still function as my media hub...unless you all think the MacBook can handle that task).

    My end game:

    1. Make sure I still have easy/seamless access to my iTunes library from the AppleTVs in my house...even when the MacBook is shut. (I've never had a MacBook, so I'm not sure how HomeSharing would work but the gist is that I don't want to have to grab the laptop and leave it open for HomeSharing to work.) If the MacBook isn't going to be good for this purpose I can keep the iMac for use as a media hub but that brings me to goal #2...

    2. I want my music/movies available to me on the MacBook for when I travel or otherwise just want to watch or listen on that device, but I also want to preserve the ability to easily call up my music/movies via HomeSharing. Ideally I'd love to store all my music and video on an external drive with cloud access (like the WD My Cloud) or on GoogleDrive/Dropbox so I'd have it not only at home on the iMac and AppleTVs and on-the-go with my laptop, but also at work (on a desktop Windows Machine). What are your suggestions here? (While this is #2 in my list, it's probably the most important to me.)

    3. Make sure my MacBook is being backed up regularly via Time Machine. (Enlighten me on how this works with a laptop? Do I have to make sure I plug the thing in to power and/or the external drive and then leave it open to ensure the backup runs? Again, never had a MacBook so I'm unsure.)

    So those are my three wishes and any advice/expertise/experience would be helpful.

    (Preferably I'd like to find native solutions, but I'm not opposed to 3rd party tools if they're reputable and not outrageously expensive. I've used both AirVideoHD and Plex to watch my movies on the iPad and AppleTV when HomeSharing has acted up.)

    Thanks all!
  2. adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    For (1) and (2) – Apple Music will be your best bet. That will include iTunes Match so that you can keep all of your music "in the cloud" and just download some of them that you need to listen on while off the grid. Of course you should make archive of your current iTunes library on an external hard drive before subscribing, just in case.

    For (3), don't trust Time Machine over the network as it has burnt me a few times. Always backup to a wired external drive, and use that drive (or partition) exclusively for Time Machine.

    Maybe you can even sell your iMac and use it to pay for several years' worth of Apple Music.
  3. sarahfelldown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    Thanks for the response!

    I have an aversion to Apple Music and iTunes Match for a few reasons... Aside from my music snobbish ones :) , my actual reservations are: One, I have a lot of local and regional band's stuff, bootlegs, etc. that I don't think it will match. Two, even on the major artists I have I've changed some of the info (genre mainly, but sometimes song/artist titles) to get it to sort or work in a smart playlist the way I want and I'm afraid of losing that work. And third, most of my movies are rips from DVDs I own, so I don't know if they'd match either.

    Assuming I did sign up for Apple Music though, how would all those files that didn't match be stored? Would I still have to maintain the files on both computers or would they be uploaded to and available from the cloud as well?

  4. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015

    If I'm not mistaken there is Sharing and then there is Home Sharing. Sharing simply allows anyone with access on your network to access your stream media files. Home Sharing allows streaming and synchronization the files. I may be mistaken but I'm not sure if there is an autosynchronization or if you must hit import on all the files you want officially moved over. Note: Home sharing ONLY works with iTunes audio and video media. It sounds like it would be best to have your iMac be the "media hub" so to speak.

    If you have movies not stored in your iTunes library, then home sharing will not work. You either have to import the files to iTunes (and probably have to convert the file format using something like Handbrake- iTunes is picky). Otherwise have a couple options off the top of my head
    1) Use Cloud Storage program (i.e. Google Drive) to synchronize your movies folder. This may/may not be practical depending on how big your library is.
    2) Use the Back to My Mac feature if you have an AirPort Extreme Router or TimeCapsule to remotely access your computer's files- this system tends to be flakey for some people.
    3) Use Google Remote Desktop to remotely access your Mac anywhere and then copy over the files you need.
    4) Take the hard drive with you.
    5) Look into TimeCapsule, AirPort Extreme + HD, or another Network Attached Storage system with remote access.

    Keep in mind even if you have your movies in your iTunes library, you can always select for your Cloud Storage program to synchronize that folder. Therefore the videos will always be there, provided you have enough space.

    If you have a Time Capsule or AirPort Extreme + USB hard drive you can go over WiFi with the backups. There are also some 3rd party router manufactures that now support TimeCapsule in a similar fashion. As others have said, your best bet is to plug in the HD, that way you know it's happening. However if you did get a TimeCapsule, that would probably cover a lot of the things you're looking to do here!

  5. sarahfelldown thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    Thanks! I didn't think about having my iTunes folder sync to my Google Drive or Dropbox. That could work if I have the space. I think I read something about issue with the iTunes library file being finnicky though, so maybe I should only have the folder with the audio and video files syncing with the cloud rather than the entire iTunes folder?

    The verdict definitely seems to be to plug in the HD for backups, so I'll just make sure to do that on a regular basis.

    Thanks again!

  6. adib macrumors regular


    Jun 11, 2010
    Music that doesn't match gets uploaded as well if it has a high enough bit rate. Look at their support document on iTunes Match for details.

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