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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Oct 14, 2011
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    3
    Options for a media server - Apple TV or Mac Mini?
    I am currently running a Macbook Pro (2009, 13.3") Snow Leopard with a 250GB. I have a pretty large media collection, with iTunes and iPhoto growing rapidly. I am facing the inevitable that the hard drive will soon be full, and I need a solution.

    Ideally, rather than just farm rarely used video to a USB drive, I would like a media server that houses iTunes and iPhoto. This means that presumably I can point the laptop to that source when using that, my iPhone can sync normally and I can also connect that to my TV to make playing videos, watching slideshows from iPhoto, etc. nice and easy.

    The challenge I face is how to do this. One option is to buy an old Mac Mini, which seems fairly straight forward (although I am not sure about how iPhoto will work with this option?). The second option is an older Apple TV, but again not sure about the iPhoto option and how big the HDs are (and if they can be upgraded easily). The UI on that would be be nicest in terms of enjoying the media.

    I am sure others have done exactly this, but I am not sure the best way to go.

    Any thoughts on the best option, how easy it would be or any other alternatives would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Neil

  2. #2

    fleurya's Avatar
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    If capacity limits on your laptop's HDD is the problem you're facing, I would just move all my my iTunes content to an external drive. then you can point iTunes to that drive to make it available on iTunes.

    If you're looking for a way to stream your media to your TV, I'd stick with my advice above and add an Apple TV to you home theater.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  3. #3

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    I have an Apple TV2 (the hockey puck version) and a 2009 MacMini both of which I bought with the same intention you have. IMO what works best (at least for me) is to move all the media files to a NAS and then use FileBrowser APP on my iPad or iPhone to connect and then stream to the ATV2.

    FileBrowser is cheap (or at least it was, think I paid $0.99 for it) and is AirPlay compatible.
    I could do the same thing using Home Sharing from the Mac Mini but that requires the Mini to be always on and logged in. The NAS (D-Link DNS323) is always on.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  4. #4

    fleurya's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 18, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    I have an Apple TV2 (the hockey puck version) and a 2009 MacMini both of which I bought with the same intention you have. IMO what works best (at least for me) is to move all the media files to a NAS and then use FileBrowser APP on my iPad or iPhone to connect and then stream to the ATV2.

    FileBrowser is cheap (or at least it was, think I paid $0.99 for it) and is AirPlay compatible.
    I could do the same thing using Home Sharing from the Mac Mini but that requires the Mini to be always on and logged in. The NAS (D-Link DNS323) is always on.
    Good point! I didn’t even think of using an app like that. I wonder if Stream2Me works the same way. I’ve nothing but good things about that app.

    Also, you can use remote desktop apps like Splashtop and LogMeIn to remotely access your desktop from your iPhone/iPad and then wirelessly mirror it up to the TV if you want your computer’s desktop on your TV like an HTPC would provide.

    Man, I’m really loving this! After wanting an HTPC for so long I’m finally getting what I wanted all along at a much cheaper price point! It makes me want to go home right now and start ripping my entire library!
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  5. #5

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleurya View Post
    Good point! I didn’t even think of using an app like that. I wonder if Stream2Me works the same way. I’ve nothing but good things about that app.

    Also, you can use remote desktop apps like Splashtop and LogMeIn to remotely access your desktop from your iPhone/iPad and then wirelessly mirror it up to the TV if you want your computer’s desktop on your TV like an HTPC would provide.

    Man, I’m really loving this! After wanting an HTPC for so long I’m finally getting what I wanted all along at a much cheaper price point! It makes me want to go home right now and start ripping my entire library!
    Handbrake is wonderful and I have it set to put the output file directly on the NAS.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Specs:
    27" 2011 iMac // 12GB RAM // 1TB HDD // 6770MB 512
    Well, what's your budget? There's so many ways to set something like this up. I have a pretty sophisticated setup myself.
    15" 2010 Macbook Pro / i5 // 8GB RAM // 128GB SSD
    Late 2009 Mac Mini // Snow Leopard Server
    Drobo FS - 9.02TB
    iPhone 4 16GB

  7. #7

    Kevriano's Avatar
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    20" Intel iMac 2.4 Ghz/3G Ram/320HD, Snow Leopard. PBook G4, 1.5Ghz/1.5 Ram/250 HD, Leopard 10.5.6.
    Netgear's Neo TV 550, and Airport Express would do all you wan't and a lot more to.
    Definitely worth looking at. It's what I use, and love it to death.
    Try my custom Mac Forums Search Engine: Mac Forums Google Search

    Please use the reputation system if you consider any help given useful (it's the little ✓/✘ on the left <---)


  8. #8


    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
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    Chicago, IL
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    Specs:
    27" 2011 iMac // 12GB RAM // 1TB HDD // 6770MB 512
    I just bought an AppleTV 2 and it came with firmware 4.3, which I jailbroke with Seas0npass, then installed a Plex client via SSH. It's working really well, and this is replacing my setup from using a PS3 with Playback Media Server on OSX!!

    Not to mention native youtube, vimeo, netflix, and hulu (with jailbreak) support, and a wonderful interface.
    15" 2010 Macbook Pro / i5 // 8GB RAM // 128GB SSD
    Late 2009 Mac Mini // Snow Leopard Server
    Drobo FS - 9.02TB
    iPhone 4 16GB

  9. #9

    fleurya's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 18, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanlon View Post
    I just bought an AppleTV 2 and it came with firmware 4.3, which I jailbroke with Seas0npass, then installed a Plex client via SSH. It's working really well, and this is replacing my setup from using a PS3 with Playback Media Server on OSX!!

    Not to mention native youtube, vimeo, netflix, and hulu (with jailbreak) support, and a wonderful interface.
    I'm really bummed I didn't do my homework before updatng my firmware to 4.4.x. I found out about how great Plex and XBMC are and how I can get tons and tons of web content with them including free Hulu (which is better than Hulu+ on mobile devices) Now I'm going to have to wait for the dev community to catch up with 4.4.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Oct 21, 2011
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Specs:
    27" 2011 iMac // 12GB RAM // 1TB HDD // 6770MB 512
    That is a bummer. At the same time I wish I could do 4.4 to use the Mirroring feature, and the photostream with iCloud.
    15" 2010 Macbook Pro / i5 // 8GB RAM // 128GB SSD
    Late 2009 Mac Mini // Snow Leopard Server
    Drobo FS - 9.02TB
    iPhone 4 16GB

  11. #11

    osxx's Avatar
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    Jan 19, 2008
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    09 MBP 8GB ram 500GB HD OS 10.9 32B iPad 4 32GB iPhone 5 iOs7 2TB TC Apple TV3
    You could find an ATV 1 and use this. http://firecore.com/atvflash
    then purchase an ATV2 and update it to 4.4 and use the newer Apple only functions.

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