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post #1 of 11 Old 06-06-2011, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if the answers to my questions have already been posted elsewhere. I've searched many forums with little help so far.

I recently bought a Seagate NAS 220 6TB drive to house my estimated 3TB's worth of media and hopefully play that media through my Apple TV2. However after reading reviews online it seems that this particular NAS runs extremely slow. I have 15 days to return the item, but if I open the box to test out the speed I would have to pay a 15% restocking fee.

1. From what I've read so far there are two ways to play media from an NAS through AppleTV. The first is through iTunes on another computer. The second is through Jailbreaking and installing 3rd party software. Is that correct?

2. Why not jailbreak? I've heard some hesitation without much reason.

3. Is the Seagate NAS 220 6TB drive too slow to stream media?

4. Is the streaming speed more dependent on the drive or the router? (My router is n)

5. If the Seagate NAS 220 is too slow, what other drives do you recommend?

6. Are there any other options that I may not have seen yet? Looking for cheap and easy. The Seagate only cost me $500 for 6TB.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-08-2011, 10:13 AM
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Since some/most of your questions have to do with the Seagate NAS, and very few of us own that, this might not be the best place to seek those answers.

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1. From what I've read so far there are two ways to play media from an NAS through AppleTV. The first is through iTunes on another computer. The second is through Jailbreaking and installing 3rd party software. Is that correct?

Well, generally, this is correct up to a point, you can jailbreak--something most of us in this AVS forum do not do--or you keep iTunes open on a Mac. Obviously, I strongly suggest the latter. The media itself can reside on a NAS, iTunes doesn't care. But there actually are other ways to get media from a NAS to an aTV2 that bypass iTunes running on a Mac somewhere. For instance, I stream media all the time to my un-jailbroken aTV2 that 1) is located all over my house, 2) is not in iTunes and 3) is not even in iTunes compatible formats, thanks to AirPlay, an iPad or iPhone and a little iOS app called AirVideo. You still have to have a Mac running somewhere in the house--so the AirVideo server can live transcode your video--but you don't have to have iTunes open and don't have to waste any time transcoding video to "fit" into iTunes. The iPad/AirPlay/Air Video combo is quite nice to the aTV2. When I'm in my living room, there's always an iPad a foot or two away. (And I've kept a Mac on 24-7, or accessible to wake up on demand, for at least 5 years now.)

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2. Why not jailbreak? I've heard some hesitation without much reason.

There actually are many reasons not to jailbreak: as we get older, some of us appreciate keeping things simple and reducing complication since "home theater" can be complicated enough, we don't mind fitting within the very few restrictions of the Apple walled garden, and (at least in my case) I wouldn't willingly choose to waste any amount of time hacking an already great little $99 device, maintaining things behind the scenes and troubleshooting when those hacks invariably break with an update, etc. There is a lot of good work being done in this area, it does seem fairly fool-proof these days to jailbreak, so definitely go for it if you are so inclined, but any minute I don't spend w/r/t jailbreaking an aTV2 is a minute I can spend watching or listening to something.

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3. Is the Seagate NAS 220 6TB drive too slow to stream media?

No idea.

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4. Is the streaming speed more dependent on the drive or the router? (My router is n)

Too vague to answer; streaming video over your network can be affected by a lot of things.

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6. Are there any other options that I may not have seen yet? Looking for cheap and easy. The Seagate only cost me $500 for 6TB.

There are many NAS threads here at AVS, some in this forum, but most are in the main HTPC forum and the Content Streamers forum.

I don't have a true NAS, but I do have 7TB of media plugged into my Airport Extreme over USB, Apple calls that AirDisk and I've always thought of it as a poor man's NAS. I went this route because I wanted media on regularly formatted drives that I could swap in and out, move to different enclosures, move to a Mac and easily backup or recover if need be. Very easy to set up, very easy to maintain and even though it is "slow" (it is slower than typical external USB speeds to a Mac) it is still fast enough to stream blu-ray rips over a wired gigabit network. What it is not is redundant--it's just bulk space for content for me, anything I need backed up I back up (several times) and don't rely on the redundancy of a NAS type device to protect me. The other drawback of an Airport Extreme/AirDisk approach is that it isn't designed to serve up video files to multiple users at the same time--as a real NAS is designed to do. In our use case, I don't need that capability: it's just my wife and me and usually we're watching the same thing at the same time. Plus, that 7TB AirDisk represents only about 1/4 of the media storage and backups we have around the house.

I can also attest to this: using an Apple Extreme basestation instead of a third party router is a big advantage if you have a house filled with Macs, iOS devices and aTV2s.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-13-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Is the airport extreme a gigabit router? All of the products in our house our mac. My wife and I both have iPhones. I operate mostly off of my iPad, and when doing freelance design work I use a MacBook Pro.

From what I've been able to find the NAS that I got isn't much more than the equivalent in regular external hard drive space. Would you recommend keeping the NAS and plugging it into an airport extreme? Or just ditch the NAS altogether and get a slightly cheaper external drive to plug into an airport extreme?
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-13-2011, 03:37 PM
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Is the airport extreme a gigabit router?

The very first of the new-style square Extremes was not gigabit, but all the models since the end of 2007/beginning of 2008 have been gigabit. I've had 2 Netgear gigabit switches, a 5 and an 8 port, feed into mine for several years now without any trouble.

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Would you recommend keeping the NAS and plugging it into an airport extreme? Or just ditch the NAS altogether and get a slightly cheaper external drive to plug into an airport extreme?

One big advantage of the NAS, size and drive configuration aside, is that unlike local USB and firewire storage, you can put it anywhere on your network--so if it is bulky or noisy you can stash it out of the way and keep your home theater quiet. Never underestimate the value of fans in keeping drives up and running and happy.

Since you have the device, why not hook it up and experiment with it in the way that you plan to use it? Then you can find out for yourself whether it's up to your tasks. My thinking on this is it doesn't really matter what you use, you still need to have several devices and multiple drives not only for storage but also for a good backup plan. Never rely on one device for everything; a NAS running some form of RAID is not a substitute for a backup strategy.

Is your Seagate 6TB two 3TB drives in RAID 1? (That would show you just under 3TB of space.)
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-14-2011, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I know this may sound ridiculous but I don't want to open it up to see if it's up to the task, because then if I need to return it I'll get hit with a 15% restocking fee.

It seems as if my current router is going to be the biggest issue in terms of speed. I have a couple year old belkin n router. Apparently I'm going to need a gigabit router if I'm going to be sending video to the apple tv. Is that right?

So now it becomes a question of should I return the NAS and purchase a slightly less expensive 6TB USB drive without all the bells and whistles of the NAS and use the difference to buy a new gigabit router? Or just stick with what I've got (the NAS and N router) and see how it does?
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-20-2011, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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So I ended up returning the NAS because my 15 days was up.

Rather than starting a new thread, I'll try and salvage this one for some more advice.

Now it seems to me like I have two options to get my content through iTunes to my AppleTV2.

1. An airport extreme with an external USB drive

2. Any gigabit router (including the airport extreme) and a NAS

What do you suggest and why?

It seems like option 1 is much simpler to set up but doesn't have as many bells and whistles (ie. access to storage from any internet connection, airport express only has 1 usb port so I can't keep mulitple drives going)

Option 2 though seems more complicated. I've never set up a network before and also slightly more expensive.

Or even is there a third option of hooking up a NAS into an airport extreme or is that just overkill and redundant?

What are your thoughts?
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-21-2011, 06:31 AM
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2. Any gigabit router (including the airport extreme) and a NAS...Option 2 though seems more complicated. I've never set up a network before and also slightly more expensive...is there a third option of hooking up a NAS into an airport extreme
As you note, an Extreme is a gigabit router, and yes, plenty of AVS folks have a NAS device wired over gigabit into an Extreme.

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1. An airport extreme with an external USB drive...It seems like option 1 is much simpler to set up but doesn't have as many bells and whistles (ie. access to storage from any internet connection...
You can access your Airport Disk from the internet, at least Apple say so. I've never done it, but there's a setting tab for it in Airport Utility.

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...airport express only has 1 usb port so I can't keep mulitple drives going
You can keep multiple drives connected to an Extreme even though it only has one USB port, just use a hub, or an enclosure that has multiple drives but connects over a single USB cable. As I mentioned previously, I have 7TB of USB storage on my Extreme.

You can't connect any USB drives to an Express.

What you cannot expect to do with a pool of AirPort Disk storage is serve files up to multiple users simultaneously.

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What do you suggest and why?
Since I'm the only one who has been giving you advice, and based on the questions you've asked, here's what I really think you should do: instead of buying a NAS, buy another Mac instead.

Dedicate that Mac as your iTunes Home sharing and media server, stick big drives inside it or connect drives to it over firewire or USB, wire it to your network over gigabit, connect your aTV2 over gigabit, then sit back and enjoy controlling everything with your MBP, iPad and iPhones.

Keep it on 24/7 if it is energy-efficient like a Mini, or allow the aTV2 to wake it on demand if it is a power-hungry beast, like an old PowerMac. Dedicating a Mac as a whole house media server shares a few advantages of a NAS in the sense that you can put it anywhere, even out of sight if it is too big and noisy, and can easily be controlled remotely. It's easier to set this up than a NAS or an AirPort Disk, too--nothing tricky about sharing media from a Mac to an aTV2, iOS devices or other Macs on your home network--whereas it can be moderately tricky and time consuming moving a big iTunes library over to a NAS or AirPort disk and then managing it remotely as you go forward.

So, that's a roundabout way of getting back to this, if you want an aTV2, my advice is don't be tempted by moving your iTunes media library to a NAS or to an AirPort disk: while both approaches can be done, it isn't as easy or seamless to maintain a single "centralized" networked iTunes library as it should be this way. The web has been littered for years with complaints of loyal Apple users wishing this WAS something Apple would tackle and hit a home run with, but it hasn't been in the cards.

So instead, if you want an Apple TV, reduce complication, don't fight what Apple wants, and what Apple really wants you to do is set up iTunes Home Sharing on a Mac, and then keep iTunes running on that Mac with all your media stored locally. Your overall user experience will be much better this way.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-22-2011, 08:58 PM
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This is exactly what I want do. I want to put all my media in iTunes and stream it via a dedicated computer in my garage via gigabit network. I have an atv1 and looking to switch to atv2. Would an older Mac mini work? I mean as a server only? I am looking to be as cheap as possible. I don't care about bit perfect video or audio. I am looking to keep my 4 year old out of my disc collection. So would an older g5 or g4 Mac mini or tower be my ticket. I have never had a Mac but all my colleages have them and swear by them.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-25-2011, 07:29 AM
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I'm coming to this thread late, but I bought a second USB Newertech Voyager docking station that I have plugged into my AirPort extreme. Currently, I have a 3GB green drive in it and I've added what is currently about 1.5TB of video media to it by unchecking the preference in iTunes that says copy media to local drive. Presumably, that offers the ability to have unlimited storage in iTunes spread across multiple drives.

So, my media is stored on a network drive, but in iTunes. My Apple TV 2 and iPad connect to that iTunes library when I want to stream to either device or use the iPad as remote for iTunes. The only slight problem with that is the USB drive connected to the Airport Extreme will power down and it takes a few seconds after that for it's information to come up.

My Airport Extreme is a first generation model with only 10/100 ethernet so I have an external gigabit switch that I called all my devices to, including two Macs, my Apple TV 2 and my Philips TV. The Apple TV 2 the Philips are both 10/100 devices so the main benefit of having gigabit capability is when copying from one of the Macs to/from the Airport Extreme; it makes no difference for streaming.

BTW, I have two iTunes libraries, one for music, stored on my Mac Mini and which I sync with my iPhone and iPad, and one just for video that I use for streaming. I also still use Air Video to play music from the Airport Extreme directly to the iPad sometimes because it's very convenient.

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post #10 of 11 Old 04-23-2012, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I thought I might try and revive this thread with an update and some more questions. It's been nearly a year, and my family was gifted an iMac at the end of last year! It has 1TB of storage so we've been using it to stream files to the AppleTv and it works great.

However we need about 3TB for all of our media, and we are now in the position where a client is willing to purchase an 8TB NAS for for us. I would need 2TB dedicated for the client and could use the other 6TB for our media. Pretty awesome. However I have no clue where to start in terms of which NAS to drive to buy. I've been searching to no avail. So can someone point me in the right direction. I've heard QNAP, Synology, and NetGear are good, but no reasons why.

I'm hoping to have my media stored on the 8TB NAS streaming through the iMac to an AppleTV2. What are your recommendations for the NAS drive.
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-23-2012, 08:18 PM
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Although not a NAS drive, G-Technology started shipping its 8TB Thunderbolt drive last week. List price is $1K, which seemed like a pretty good deal to me.

I have a Buffalo CloudStor with a pair of 2TB drives in it that I bought a month ago. It's adequate for streaming 720p HD video, but 1080p BluRay video tends to get bogged down on the network and it's really slow when browsing files in the Finder. The Apple TV 3 still only has 100-Base-T ethernet so I'm not sure if it's that or the CloudStor, but I had the same problem when streaming 1080p video off my Macbook Pro to the Apple TV. Despite the slowness of the CloudStor, I'm reasonably happy with it because the NAS enclosure including a 2TB green Western Digital drive was only about $10 more than a bare drive.

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