Apple TV with a NAS?

Discussion in 'Video Hardware' started by Alan Browne, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    What I'm looking at doing is adding a file server for flicks and audio
    on my network, probably Linux. But the Apple TV spec page specifies:

    "For streaming media from a Mac or PC:
    iTunes 10 or later; iTunes Store account for Home Sharing"

    This implies that it will only talk to an iTunes "server" (client on a
    computer). Is that so?

    I'm currently copying some CD's into my iTunes collection (v10) and for
    giggles tried to do it via the network from a PC. No dice (iTunes not
    running on the PC; eg: could see the files with Finder but not with
    iTunes). So iTunes seems to have a narrow system view.

    If so, then I'll probably get something like the WD Live TV widget
    instead of Apple TV.
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 6, 2010
    #1
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  2. Yes, this is the route to go.

    Not sure if you are talking about the "new" Apple TV or the old one, with
    the hard drive, but yes, it basically talks to iTunes only. On the old ATV
    there is even a USB port, but you can't use it for anything like attaching a
    hard drive. Besides iTunes, there is no other support for using an NAS or
    share from another machine.

    With the old ATV there is a "crack" to do all of that, mount and play files
    from something else including playing formats it can't out of the box, but
    it's not worth it. The old ATV was severly underpowered for HD material so
    file formats like .mkv will play jerky to not-at-all.

    I have both the ATV and a WD Live and the WD out of the box will do all you
    want. Can mount files from an NAS or samba share over the network and also
    has a pair of USB ports built in so you can attach a drive directly. It also
    can do HD easily, even the high bitrate .mkv's play nicely.

    Main fault with the WD is the user interface, it stinks. Especially compared
    to the ATV. It's primitive and does the job, but thats about it.

    The new ATV seems like a step backwards to me, besides only streaming, they
    once again missed the HD mark and are only making it 720p. Maybe ok for
    today but in a couple years seems like it's really going to be obsolete.

    There are others, seen good things said about Popcorn Hour and supposedly
    Boxee is coming out with one, if it's not out already. And ASUS has had one
    out for a while too. Any of them (along with the WD) are far more flexible
    for creating a home media center kind of thing over the Apple products.

    -bruce
     
    Bruce Esquibel, Sep 7, 2010
    #2
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  3. Alan Browne

    Warren Oates Guest

    It plays my iTunes music library too, even shows the album art. There's
    a cute one from Iomega that has a 1 TB drive built in, but I haven't
    played with it.
     
    Warren Oates, Sep 8, 2010
    #3
  4. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Talking about the new ATV.
    That is a major part of my hesitation.
    Definitely worth some patience. My cable provider has begun selling
    (sale prices) on its various HDTV terminals/PVR's ... probably means
    something new is in the pipe...
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 8, 2010
    #4
  5. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Pricey? Insanely expensive for the IP capable unit (5 bay).

    Thx.
     
    Alan Browne, Sep 10, 2010
    #5
  6. I had trouble getting a WD Live to stream from TwonkyServer running on
    various Macs (mostly recent vintage MacBook Pro and Mac mini models). It
    refused to proceed more than a few minutes into any .mkv file.

    The LaCie LaCinema units, however, seem to work quite well.

    Steve

    --
    steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
    skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
    used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
     
    Steve Fenwick, Nov 16, 2010
    #6
  7. Alan Browne

    Warren Oates Guest

    I don't use mine that way. I've never had success with _any_ of the
    streaming servers I've tried. I set it all up as a Samba share, with
    it's own little user on the Mac Pro, and a tidy smb.conf, and it works
    flawlessly, including all the Matroska stuff I throw at it. It even
    upscales the oul' Woman's little motion jpegs to 720p in a very tasty
    manner.
     
    Warren Oates, Nov 16, 2010
    #7
  8. Alan Browne

    Frank Guest

    Just bought a Sony SMP-N100 at Costco for $99.

    Turns out I had to install a DLNA server on my iMac (TwonkyMediaServer) to get
    my files to show up on the unit. Plays every .avi file I throw at it, but does
    NOT like .mpeg, .mp4 or .mov. I'm using a direct ethernet connection, and there
    is no lag.

    I have not been able to get it to sucessfully play music from my iTunes
    collection (AIFF format), or display photos from iPhoto.

    Q1: Has any one sucessfully played music from iTunes with this unit?

    Q2: Has anyone sucessfully displayed photos from iPhoto albums with this unit?

    Q3: What's the best server software to use on my Mac with this unit?

    Q4: Should I stick with the Sony, or get something else like the Western
    Digital TV Live Hub? (I want to play as many video formats as possible, view
    my photos, and hear my music.)
     
    Frank, Dec 21, 2010
    #8
  9. Apple TV is probably the best bet for anything that plays through
    iTunes, video or music, or displaying photos from iPhoto.

    If the OP needs to play non-iTunes files, I'm partial to the LaCinema
    Mini. Does great with .mkv and .mp4 files; should be able to play .avi,
    although I haven't tried. I am using it with TwonkyServer; I don't know
    if it will play from iTunes directly.

    I have trouble with a WD Live Plus unit--using TwonkyServer, it would
    routinely hang a few seconds into any .mkv file.

    Best,

    Steve

    --
    steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
    skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
    used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
     
    Steve Fenwick, Dec 21, 2010
    #9
  10. And that's plenty:

    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes#File_format_support>[/QUOTE]

    It's some; and ATV may be a subset of that. It certainly doesn't include
    ..iso, .mkv, .avi, and probably others.

    ATV is definitely the best for streaming content from iTunes. Others may
    have content that isn't supported by ATV, so it may not be the best
    choice for them.

    Steve

    --
    steve <at> w0x0f <dot> com
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
    skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, sidecar in the other, body thoroughly
    used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"
     
    Steve Fenwick, Dec 22, 2010
    #10
  11. Off the cuff response, which will possibly sound daft: if it's
    usually a Windoze box, does it like .mpg files? If it's working
    from the extension rather than actual content, the small difference
    might be enough to screw it up.
     
    Andrew Brydon, Dec 22, 2010
    #11
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