"looks like AirPlay is used to stream directly from the NAS to an AirPlay device"
And that's the issue.
My QNAP NAS has had AirPlay support for almost a year. But, as far as I know, Apple has not released a legal software dev kit for Home Sharing... so if any NAS (or other device) claims to stream directly to the ATV3, they're either lying or, well, no... that's it... they're lying.
Streaming through an iDevice (Remote) has been giving me fits of late. If I push my music from iTunes to my ATV3 via AirPlay, it'll play on 4 devices (ATV, 2 Airports, and a set of AirPlay speakers) all day like a champ. If I try to use the Remote app on my iPad to control it all, I'm lucky if it lasts longer than half-an-hour before the music suddenly stops. I'm guessing it's because my wi-fi network is struggling to keep up with doubling the load.
It'd be so much more reliable if the ATV could pull media directly from the NAS.
I've used Airplayer, yes.
It works. It's main advantage is that it will work with NAS hardware that only supports DLNA (most do). If your NAS supports Airplay, you might as well use the Apple Remote app, as it's more refined and usabilty is better and the functionality is the same.
The interface of Airplayer is a little clunky, but moreover it suffers from the same drawback as the Apple Remote solution in that, when streaming media, the file must first stream to the iPAD/iOS device, then to the ATV. Which means it practically doubles the bandwidth needed on your WiFi network, and defeats the purpose of having your ATV hardwired to the ether.
Have you tried using the Raspberry Pi? That's what I'm doing; have it plugged into the USB port on my TV so when the TV turns on, so does the Pi. I simply popped iTunes on it and I stream the videos and music from my NAS drive, through the Pi and to my atv3. Cost me £30 in total including the wireless adapter for the Pi; have set it to instantly boot to iTunes when turned on so I don't even have to touch the Pi at all! Works a treat!
Hope this helps (also hope this hasn't already been said as I have neither the time nor inclination to work my way through 8 pages )
Interesting idea. While the OP stated they didn't want to buy any other equipment, it'd be tough to pretend that the cheap expenditure of a Pi would be a deal breaker.
BUT... given that there is no Linux version of iTunes, I'm assuming you're using something like WINE or VirtualBox on your Pi in order to get it to run? Not really something I'd be up for, but it's great it's working for you ;-)
Hello. I am thinking about getting a NAS/Apple TV for the same reasons and ran across http://www.synology.com/support/tutorials_show.php?q_id=498#t2
This is for windows wanting to access a library on a NAS but I am assuming Apple TV/ Apple products would be obviously work since it's their native software. It appears you can run a iTunes server on your NAS through the Synology web admin interface.
Unless I am reading incorrectly.
So, a couple of things to understand.
The "iTunes server" that runs on Synology NASes (and other NASes that advertise an iTunes server) is an open source media server that supports Apple's DAAP protocol, rather than a true Apple product. Notice in the screenshot, though, that it allows iTunes clients to see the media on your NAS as a shared library, instead of using Home Sharing.
Unfortunately, the Apple TV (at least, the ATV3) requires the library to be available over Home Sharing (and linked to the same Apple ID) to be able to utilize the media directly. Not something that is currently possible using any currently available NAS product, as far as I know (Apple has not licensed Home Sharing, yet).
That isn't to say Synology NASes aren't awesome products, though. You can definitely use them to share the library, and then AirPlay media from the NAS to the ATV via Apple's Remote app on an iOS device. It just means that you need that iOS device (iPad, iPod or iPhone) and you likely need at least a decent 802.11n WiFi network to support the dual streaming load.
I do believe that older ATVs (2's and 1's) are able to see iTune's shared libraries. It just means the solution is a generation behind in other aspects (HDMI, optical audio, etc).
Using Synology's Audio Station application, you can stream directly from your NAS to an Apple TV. csteinola is correct in that you will not be able to access your iTunes library going from the Apple TV to the NAS. But, you can have the Synology NAS send music to your Apple TV.
For more information, check out this article:
(BTW, I have one of these beauties and this little feature works flawlessly. I use my Windows work laptop to send music straight from the NAS to my Apple TV. It's wonderful.)
You need to leave a computer on to use iTunes. The whole point of this is streaming music, pictures and video from your NAS to AppleTV WITHOUT having to leave a computer on all the time to do it. My computer is in another room and I dont want to have to keep going in there to turn it on, my partner does not know how to use Macs, I dont want it on permanently.
Basically, it is a ridiculous requirement to have a computer on to stream NAS files to AppleTV.
Most if not all NAS boxes provide a version of Firefly which was based on mt-daapd which acts as a daapd compatible server. This can allow a Mac or PC to connect and play music from that NAS server. However it is not compatible with the Apple TV or the Apple Remote iOS app.
Firefly is long discontinued and has only had minor emergency patches to keep it (barely) working with iTunes updates.
An alternative to Firefly has been developed called forked-daapd this does support connecting directly to an Apple TV (or Apple Remote for iOS). Therefore in theory running this on a NAS would be a solution.
Unfortunately forked-daapd is not very portable code and relies on some libraries that most NAS boxes do not have as standard. (NAS boxes tend to run very out of date software.)
It has been ported to at least one model of ReadyNAS and I believe also at least one model of Synology box. Note however that there are three totally different families of ReadyNAS boxes and it would have to be ported to each.
If better programmers than me could help out I am sure users would be very grateful. See https://github.com/jasonmc/forked-daapd
Ironically, forked-daapd might be more portable to a Rasberry-Pi than a NAS box as I believe the Rasberry-Pi would run newer code than most NAS boxes. In fact this looks like it has already been done.
See the following -
I understand what you are trying to do. I have pondered the same issue.
why apple tv does not have a usb input to plugin an external disk that can be accessed throughout the home network is beyond me. Greed, Control, and Arrogance come to mind but that is another issue...LOL
The only way to stream from your external disk using apple tv is by complicating your life with itunes and have your computer running 24/7 just so that iTunes can access the library which is stored in the external drive anyway. ridiculous.
My work around so far is to use the WDLive TV. it has all the basics as the Apple TV, Netflix, hulu, etc..PLUS 2 USB inputs that can share media in an external drive to your devices and the WDLive TV box does NOT have to even be turned on. (except when you want to watch your media on your tv obiously.)
I have a 2T disk with all my media, connected to the rear USB, and a wireless keyboard with the receiver connected to the front USB input. I sit on my couch, power up the boob tube, (TV) and navigate my little heart away using the keyboard. Also, The WDLive TV does not make you feel like someone's hand is in your pocket like AppleTV does.
another workaround, minimal expense involved but worth it. an atom mini-pc, you know, those little useless pcs that may find a place in this application, Install itunes, ext drive attached to it. point your itunes library to the attached ext drive, leave it on, close the the lid and tuck it somewhere in your cabinet. better than having a desktop with a 750 watt power supply on 24/7.
another good option, router with usb input. your hard drive will be available throughout the network. nothing but the router needs to be turned on, and your ipad can access the media with such apps as OPlayer, LuberPlayer etc..
One positive note on the apple tv is, you can't beat the navigational performance.
Other than that we have to recognise that, just like all apple products, it too, is a consumption product.
Good Luck in your own search for an answer.
Off topic: most people around here need to understand the concept of "workaround". It is "how to use the setup you have a bit differently to achieve the same goal". It is NOT "here's a workaround explaining how to use all completely different hardware and software.
A workaround, for example, would be using plex through plex connect and an unbroken Apple TV. Especially if someone is going to suggest getting a NAS.
Replacing an appletv with a wdtv is NOT, by any stretch of the language, a workaround on how to use an appletv without iTunes running in a separate machine.