7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2008 9:06 AM by Alley_Cat
1uke Level 1 Level 1
Hi there,

I've spent a while trying to see if anyone has already posted this, so apologies if I missed it... I've recently been won over by the whole iTunes/iPod platform and I am now considering going over to Apple TV for video streaming.
I have a very large video collection (around 2TB and growing) so before I make the commitment to doing this it would be good to know if iTunes can cope with such a large library and if there is a hard limit (other than the usual OS considerations)?

Many thanks

Windows XP Pro
  • Rudegar Level 7 Level 7
    when you stream the atv recieve data and plays it as required
    it dont get the whole libary
    only the name of the items it can pick to have the computer
    stream to it
  • 1uke Level 1 Level 1
    Hi Rudegar,

    I realise it only streams one video at a time (so maybe 4-6 GB) but my concern is for the size of the total databse on iTunes. Some video streaming systems I have looked at have a total database (or library) size limit of 2TB (or even 1TB), which would be too small for me.


  • Rudegar Level 7 Level 7
    4gb seems to be the size limit for 1 file streamed

    but you need to understand that with streaming you dont even get the 1 item you are streaming put on your harddisk it send it a bit at the time
    like when you view a movie in a browser

    but the 4gb filesize is still there i believe
  • 1uke Level 1 Level 1
    I would have thought most DVDs were more than 4GB, but I guess it's an easy thing to test. I still need to know if there's a limit to the total database (or library)size though...
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    As far as the library size is concerned I don't think there's any definite known size limit - I stream from a 500GB external drive without issue, I believe some people have 1TB drives or above.

    There seems to be a 4GB single file size limit (yes DVD VOBs are larger unless compressed but it can't play VOBs anyway).

    If you think in terms of database size, 1GB of songs will generate 100's of database entries for say MP3s of 3-4MB each, but only 1 entry for a single video of that size - so it may be more dependent on the content mix rather than overall size.

    One thing for sure, the larger the number of items, the longer it takes to read the database list from iTunes when you start a streaming session - but it retains the list until the connection with iTunes is broken by one or the other shutting down or network disconnects occur.

    Importnat - AppleTV can only playback video encoded in either MP4/h264 with rather stringent encoding parameters. See here:


    If you have a massive library of video be aware that converting that to compatible files will take a very long time even on a high end machine, though there are several tools to do so. Less of an issue for audio unless you have incompatible WMA files.

    Also be aware that digital 5.1 surround output for movies is not currently supported, being downmixed to 2 channel when encoding with various tools.

    It will be interesting to see if there are any upgrades/announcements to AppleTV next week as there is lots of talk of iTunes based movie rentals, though chances are it'll get rolled out in US first.

    AppleTV has a brilliant simple interface and streaming works very well, but it really needs better codec support to become a more widely adopted solution - converting video formats is such a chore.

  • 1uke Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks for that. No 5.1 support rules it out for now (for me at least). I wasn't too worried about the conversion process as I work in the IT sector so have access to some powerful kit For most people though, I can see that it would be a pain. With new HD formats and content becoming more common it will be interesting to see what they do.
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6
    I would add that some clever modders have hacked AppleTV to add other codecs and VLC playback, but that's beyond most folks - Google as appropriate.

    Might be worth checking if Apple release any new products next week.

    I bought a PS3 earlier this year as i thought it would be more flexible for media playback with perhaps a worse interface. it's great that you can attach external drives via USB and play content from those, but again even if you get a VOB into the correct format it won't give you 5.1 out, only a downmix! Hardly used the thing - bulky, not discrete and noisy fan - but AppleTV gets used a lot.

    Will buy another AppleTV soon but just waiting to see what happens next week.