I'd like to throw my situartion into the fray...
The heart of my system is a old Mac Mini and two Synology NAS (a 209 and a 212j) My 209 has two 1TB drives, my 212 has 2 2TB drive, each raid 5ed.
My 209 is my backup, music and photo, home movie NAS, my 212 is my movie (DVD) NAS.
I have an old 2008 Mac Mini (ebay purchase that you can get for < $200) that houses all my movies and home movies.
I have 3 ATVs, Mac Book, Mac Book Pro, iPad and 2 iPhones that can access and stream my movies and home movies to any TV or device in the house, as they are all on the shared Mac Mini. This works well for everyone to watch any movie or anything else anywhere in the house.. Only problem I have is I have too many movies and home movies to sift through. I want to be able to place them in different accounts or libaries to help seperate the various types. I wish I could run multiple iTunes account on the mac mini, but dont think thats possible.
So, my only issue is I wish I could have multiple 'share' sources to allow a filtering of movies and home movies to make viewing things on my ATVs (my primary viewing source) easier
Does this imply that it almost doesn't matter what server nas that one gets, although I am considering a synology dsm, the itunes server on it will only show up as a passive shared library and cannot be used to directly stream to an apple tv. The only way to do that is to have an awake mac with its itunes library pointed to to the synology.
Can someone confirm this please.
My setup includes an older (circa-2006) Mac Mini, running headless and whose sole purpose is serving content to Apple TVs. I use a MacBook Pro, and until a few days ago, I was the only user of that particular machine.
On a whim, I set my 10-year-old son up a user account on the MBP so he could play a few games without monkeying around with my stuff, and it now occurs to me to ask:What would happen if I/he opened iTunes while logged in to his account? Would he see the same iTunes library I see on my account? Or would he get a blank slate?
If the answer is, "He gets a blank slate," then why couldn't some content - i.e. children's movies, music, etc. - be moved out of the main iTunes library (mine) and put into a separate iTunes library (his), and then both of them be set to share? Would attached Apple TVs then see two shared libraries (assuming both accounts are logged in)?
You are correct that the iTunes on the Synology will not directly dtream to the ATV. There are work arrounds to this, but nothing that I have done myself.
I was under the impression that the ATV could not access a itunes account unless that user was logged in. I'll test to see if that can be done. If it can, the different user accounts could be set with different content.
You can have fully seperate accounts with different content on the itunes libary. The issue is accessing those libaries.
Well that was fun... Read this before you post on this thread
and then if you want to read on about Synology NAS features read my blog
I agree jailbroken ATV 1's aren't stable - I have found ATV 2 ok but I agree the interface is messy and does my wifes head in - on the other hand I'm still a not happy with iTunes so having got a Samsung smart TV for Christmas I have installed Plex on that and it works perfectly for straming movies from my Synology DS213 and have invested $50 in a ROKU LT Media Streamer which also runs Plex and am experimenting with using this for music. I have used an HDMI splitter to split the audio output and feed it directly into the amplifier - so I get the menu on the TV and the audio on the amplifier. So far so good and the Plex interface is simple. The only pain is you can't make playlist in Plex and have to import them from iTunes or Windows media player.
I'll keep you posted
Wow so Samsung is now running Plex client huh? Plex Server is now also available on ARM and Intel based Synology too I just found out (it was not a few months ago and could ONLY be run on Intel based DSs).... Looks like AppleTV may be a thing of the past once Plex app becomes as ubiquitous as the Netflix app
and on Samsungs
Yep Plex runs on well on Samsung smart TV - though it only works for Movies not music - as far as I can figure out. The other problem with Plex server on the NAS is unless you have a top end Synology NAS there isn't enough processor power to do the transcoding of movies. I have soved this by having my Plex library on my NAS and the server running on a mini-mac server.
As for Apple TV I used to really rate them and they still are brilliant if you want to play games on an iPad, Mac or iPhone on TV. But the restrictive nature of iTunes isn't - for a while I used my mini-mac as an itunes server for music but am now experimenting with Plex for everything and using the Plex client on a cheap and chearfull $50 ROKU LT Media Streamer for music. I have split the HDMI output with audio to my amplifier and video to the TV and so far so good - I can play music. I could use the device for both music and movies but Plex client on Samsung seems to handle full HD movies but the ROKU doesn't and the picture seems better on the Samsung Plex client.
None of this is as streamlined as I'd like but it all works and short of buying a top end synology NAS i'm pretty happy and have none of the restrictions of iTunes.
My only complaint is the inability to make playlists directly on Plex but I'll keep the apple TV's for games playing
So it turns out that my son gets a completely "fresh" iTunes install on his user account on my MBP. I added a few items to it and turned on home sharing using the same AppleID I've used for the other home shares, and sure enough, I get multiple libraries to choose from on the new 3G ATV. So there's that.
The upshot of this is (particularly for MMoxley above) that mulitple user accounts could be set up with iTunes libraries containing only a subset of iTunes media - say "Kids Movies," "Home Movies," etc. - and then each one can be shared. This would provide a smaller library to surf through when browsing.
Doesn't solve my "having to use iTunes" problem tho.
ataylor definitely hits the nail on the head with iTunes being the choke point. It doesn't play ball particularly well with NAS devices, and I suspect thats probably deliberate from apple.
I've got my movies on a Synology NAS, use a plex server running on it, and watch using plex on my Samsung tv. Movies are encoded to avoid needing transcoded. Plex is great on other devices (iPad), though it seems to me the Samsung implementation of the interface is currently a little poorer and clunkier to use.
For my other non smart TVs I'd like to use an apple tv, and of course this is where the problems start. It sounds like the best workable solution is to add my movies to my iTunes library on a mac, though keeping the media in the original place. Not great but I'll give it a whirl.
I dont think there's currently a particularly good solution to this. Ideally one of the following would happen (and here comes the wishes as none are possible today, to the best of my knowledge)
If the Synology iTunes server was upgraded to work with movies and apple tv's
Or if the apple tv could read media from nas without needing iTunes (though lets face it, that's never going to happen)
Or if Plex could run on the Apple TV
Quite why apple think people want to store all their movies on one device is beyond me, or stream everything from the cloud. Bandwidth limits alone make this infeasible. Your NAS should be your local cloud, and movie streaming from it to apple devices should not be as hard as it is currently.
This is indead a great thread.
I also have a synology NAS and was running Plex server on it but having added some TV sticks and DVB-Link (which works really well and allows me to record the HD channels available in the UK) I wanted to be able to play recorded TV on Plex without converting them to a format that doesn't require trancoding. So I now have Plex Media Server Running on my Minimac with all my movies, music and recorded TV on my NAS. This works very well. The Samsung Plex Client works very well for Movies and Recorded TV on the TV and the IOS client works well on iPads and iPhones for Movies, Music and most recorded TV. The recorded TV is in .ts files and for some reason only shorter files seem to playable on IOS running Plex (upto about an hour) I'm investigating this but haven't got to the bottom of it yet - any ideas would be appriciated.
Then we come to Apple TV's - it is really sad they don't work with Plex as they are by far the best media streamer around and I love the inteface. I don't think it will happen but i think Apple sould include Plex or the Apple TV will become redundant. I'm in the process of replacing my daughter ATV on her non smart TV with a ROKU LT media streamer (£39-00) as this will run Plex I let you no how it goes.