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Question: What is the point of an iTunes server?

I have an iTunes server running on a NAS drive (Synology), but since I cannot connect my iPad or Apple TV to it I am wondering what on earth is the point in it?


I understand that I can connect my PC to the iTunes server, but as I have no need to I've not even tried. From my PC I can just point iTunes at the directory on the NAS drive where the music, videos, etc, is stored, so there really is no need to connect iTunes on my PC to the iTunes server. However, I really want to access all my content from my iPad and Apple TV, but Apple just doesn't seem to want to allow that.


The only option Apple provide is Home Sharing, but that means that I have turn my PC on and leave it on just to access content stored on the NAS drive, which is ridiculous. If I have to tur my PC on to access the content on my NAS drive then I might as well use m PC to access it, so why have I bought an iPad and Apple TV?


It appears that I have been very naive in assuming that Apple devices would be able to connect to an Apple iTunes server. And I am wondering what on earth is the point in having an iTunes Server?


Is there anyone out there who agrees? Or are there people out there successfully using an iTunes Server on anything other than a Mac or PC?

AppleTV 2, iOS 6.1.3

Posted on Apr 13, 2013 7:25 AM

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Jun 23, 2013 4:56 AM in response to RobMinch In response to RobMinch

Hi Rob


Don't worry, you posted your question in exactly the right place. You experience is almost exactly the same as mine and you are asking the exact same question. And as you may have already gathered from this thread, there appears to be o point whatsoever in the iTunes server.


The approach I have taken is to change the setting in iTunes on my laptop to point directly to the folder on my NAS drive where I store all my music. Note that this is different to just adding a folder to the library. By doing this it means that the iTunes folder where iTunes stores it's database, apps, music, videos, etc will be on the NAS instead of on my local PC.


The downside to tis approach is that everything is stored on the NAS and not my laptop, but the upside to this is that everything is stored on the NAS and not my laptop ;)


However, to access your music and videos on apple devices through the native apps you still need to synchronise via iTunes so it will copy the files to your device. This of course means that you cannot access all your music/videos from your iPad/iPhone if you have a large volume of media as it will not all fit.


The only way to access all your media from your ipad/iPhone is to use non-Apple apps. For example my NAS drive comes with an app that plays music and will access it all directly from the NAS. And I'm sure here are a number of third party apps that will do the same.


So basically, my advice to you is to ignore the iTunes server, it is a complete waste and I feel sorry for the developers who built it, and third party companies such as those selling these NAS drives should stop using it as a marketing tool for their own products as it also reflects badly on them (in my opinion anyway).


I know it's not the response you wanted, but hopefully it's of some use to you.


Regards


Mark

Jun 23, 2013 4:56 AM

Question marked as Helpful

May 4, 2013 10:18 PM in response to gail from maine In response to gail from maine

While I appreciate that you need to have the last word (an admirable trait), I can tell you as a former Engineer in the Apple iTunes group that you are wrong.


Maybe you don't understand media protocols (they are not necessary to QA Bank software), but iTunes Server is a general marketing term for a proprietary Apple technology.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Access_Protocol


The purpose of this thread is to discover what advantage using an iTunes server (ie - a networked device with the DAAP protocol) has over pointing iTunes in the direction of a networked drive.

May 4, 2013 10:18 PM

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Apr 30, 2013 6:13 PM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

The closest I've gotten to what I consider a reasonable media server relationship with all of my devices is by using Plex Media Serve with a $75.00 lifetime membership (PlexPass). It allows me to sync music, movies, tv shows, and pictures to all my devices and computers and lets me put everything where I want it. The MAJOR problem with plex is that it currently has no playlist support (?) as it has been primarily used for home theaters up to this point. Hopefully, that should be resolved within the next year. Then it will be as good a solution to the problem as I can hope for.

Apr 30, 2013 6:13 PM

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Apr 30, 2013 11:15 PM in response to ravenwritingdesk In response to ravenwritingdesk

Hi ravenwritingdesk


Thanks for the response but your comments don't have any relevance to this thread, and consequently sound more like a sales pitch for Plex Media Server rather than adding merit to the discussion on what is the point of an iTunes server.


BTW: it seems that no one is able to provide any answer as to whether there is any value or point in an iTunes server, but lots of people appear to have the same question. So is the conclusion that there is no point to an iTunes server? Did the developers of this just waste their time?

Apr 30, 2013 11:15 PM

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May 4, 2013 8:24 PM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

I agree with your comments, but think the advantage is that the Synology library shows up as a shared server in iTunes.


You mention "From my PC I can just point iTunes at the directory on the NAS drive where the music, videos, etc, is stored, so there really is no need to connect iTunes on my PC to the iTunes server."


If you do this (by option-opening iTunes) then you no longer have access to your local files (and you library index becomes complicated to manage.) Having a server would also allow multiple users to access it.


But ultimately I agree - it seems lame.


I assume you tried the DS Audio app from Synology (Free). It supports the use-case you're talking about.

May 4, 2013 8:24 PM

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May 4, 2013 9:11 PM in response to gail from maine In response to gail from maine

Thanks for your the helpful input Gail.


iTunes is an Apple product, and an iTunes Server is inherent to it.


Synology is not the only NAS company that allows you to create an iTunes Server. It's possible that the protocol was deprecated in favor of 'Home Share' but, as Scuby Marky notes, that developers were in too deep to not release something.

May 4, 2013 9:11 PM

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May 4, 2013 9:34 PM in response to mn2006 In response to mn2006

Hi mn2006


I am aware that iTunes is an Apple product but an iTunes "server" is not. HomeSharing is an inherent part of iTunes and does not require a third party application server to be used.



Not even sure what your last sentence means....


No one on this forum knows what the point of an iTunes server is....that would be something that the person using the server would need to determine.


GB

May 4, 2013 9:34 PM

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May 4, 2013 9:37 PM in response to gail from maine In response to gail from maine

"No one on this forum knows what the point of an iTunes server is...."


We do, but the original question was why someone would want to create one. My last sentence speculates as to why.


An iTunes Server just means that the data is delivered in a DAAP compliant format.


DAAP is Digital Audio Access Protocol, which is a proprietary Apple Technology (hence the discussion on the Apple Support board.)

May 4, 2013 9:37 PM

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May 4, 2013 10:02 PM in response to mn2006 In response to mn2006

Since the OP specified that he had an "iTunes server running on a NAS drive (Synology)" and was wondering what use it was since he could not connect his iPad or Apple TV to it, that would not be something that we could answer here.


Apple does not sell Synology DiskStations. And "iTunes Server" is an application provided by Synology:


User uploaded file

Apple is not the seller or supporter of this software or technology....


Cheers,


GB

May 4, 2013 10:02 PM

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May 4, 2013 10:18 PM in response to gail from maine In response to gail from maine

While I appreciate that you need to have the last word (an admirable trait), I can tell you as a former Engineer in the Apple iTunes group that you are wrong.


Maybe you don't understand media protocols (they are not necessary to QA Bank software), but iTunes Server is a general marketing term for a proprietary Apple technology.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Access_Protocol


The purpose of this thread is to discover what advantage using an iTunes server (ie - a networked device with the DAAP protocol) has over pointing iTunes in the direction of a networked drive.

May 4, 2013 10:18 PM

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May 8, 2013 8:47 PM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

Scuba -


The Apple iTunes service on the NAS device was prior to home sharing and the now thinner clients of apple TV. The service would index all of your music and share it globally so it could be found on your client computers. Remember this is prior to home sharing and airplay. Now with the newer technolgies and updates in iOS there has been no updates to the iTunes server software, leaving it audio only.


I used to use it, but now my focus is more on the video and since it can't handle video it does not do me any good.

May 8, 2013 8:47 PM

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May 10, 2013 3:18 AM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

The synology itunes server is a good repository for previously listened to Audible books (and those ripped from CDs and tapes). I use it as an archiving tool; almost 2TB now.


The family simply copies a book to their laptop itunes before syncing to their iphone.


Not the most useful piece of software in the world, but arguably worth the price (free) and does better than file folders for sorting by genre and storing metadata. Great when looking for a 'children's book, scfi, less than 3hrs' for a road trip.


too bad that it doesn't work with apple tv or my ipad. That *would* be cool.

May 10, 2013 3:18 AM

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Jun 23, 2013 3:11 AM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

Hi


As a relatively new user with Apple, I've got a couple of questions - but seeing as sometimes this post seems to have got a little terse, may I ask your forgiveness in advance if this is deemed to be the wrong place to post them!


I feel they are related.


I've just purchased a WD Book Live NAS which also has a so called itunes server, but I dont really know what its for. Ive never liked Itunes - over the years it has seemed to have generated multiple copies of music on all my network PC's, but seeing as I now have Apple Tv, two ipads and three iphones in the house we thought we would try to get it working properly.


The idea of the NAS is obviously to provide network access to my files and in addition it provides a DNLA service for my SMART TV.


Ive just set up itunes for the first time on my new laptop (Windows 8) and found the NAS, added the folder to the library, assuming foolishly that this would somehow synchronise the files into the library and stream them from the NAS. No, its copied the whole library to the laptop and just about filled its hard drive.


I foolishly assumed that the term itunes server meant that it would stream the files to itunes capable products. Obviously not, or at least, I havent discovered how yet.


So, my second question is, can anyone point me in the right direction to setting up our network so the files stay on the NAS and can be played directly to laptop, ipod, ipad, iphone etc using itunes without physically copying them over?


All and any assistance to a novice gratefully received.


R

Jun 23, 2013 3:11 AM

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Jun 23, 2013 4:56 AM in response to RobMinch In response to RobMinch

Hi Rob


Don't worry, you posted your question in exactly the right place. You experience is almost exactly the same as mine and you are asking the exact same question. And as you may have already gathered from this thread, there appears to be o point whatsoever in the iTunes server.


The approach I have taken is to change the setting in iTunes on my laptop to point directly to the folder on my NAS drive where I store all my music. Note that this is different to just adding a folder to the library. By doing this it means that the iTunes folder where iTunes stores it's database, apps, music, videos, etc will be on the NAS instead of on my local PC.


The downside to tis approach is that everything is stored on the NAS and not my laptop, but the upside to this is that everything is stored on the NAS and not my laptop ;)


However, to access your music and videos on apple devices through the native apps you still need to synchronise via iTunes so it will copy the files to your device. This of course means that you cannot access all your music/videos from your iPad/iPhone if you have a large volume of media as it will not all fit.


The only way to access all your media from your ipad/iPhone is to use non-Apple apps. For example my NAS drive comes with an app that plays music and will access it all directly from the NAS. And I'm sure here are a number of third party apps that will do the same.


So basically, my advice to you is to ignore the iTunes server, it is a complete waste and I feel sorry for the developers who built it, and third party companies such as those selling these NAS drives should stop using it as a marketing tool for their own products as it also reflects badly on them (in my opinion anyway).


I know it's not the response you wanted, but hopefully it's of some use to you.


Regards


Mark

Jun 23, 2013 4:56 AM

Reply Helpful (8)

Jun 23, 2013 12:14 PM in response to Scuba.Marky In response to Scuba.Marky

Hi Mark


No that's fairly helpful and informative thanks. Ive also talked to a friend who knows more about this and he has said the same about making the NAS folder the itunes library folder. Ive seen where to do this.


I'm not overly confident that itunes wont wipe my NAS in the process so Im doing nothing until I have it backed up properly.


On the idea of playing from ipads etc, then i agree there isnt enough room to copy everything to them, so i'd be interested in which apps you use to navigate back to the NAs and play them from there.


Then I just need to go to the NAS and delete the duplicate files that itunes made on my PC ages ago! I noticed in the itunes library that I just created on my laptop that theres two of everything again!


cheers Mark.

Jun 23, 2013 12:14 PM

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Question: What is the point of an iTunes server?