Is it possible to use AppleTV as an extender via HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 08-14-2013, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the situation:

I have a HTPC in a dedicated HT. I have AppleTV in the bedroom and living room. The HTPC has a hard drive which has all of my media on it. Is it possible to hook up the ATV via ethernet to the HTPC and play the media from it? If not, what would be a relatively inexpensive extender? Ideally, I'd like to use XBMC on the ATV in the bedroom and living room, yet still be able to access all of my media from the HTPC.

Any input would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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post #2 of 23 Old 08-14-2013, 01:24 PM
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The answer is maybe. The media you want to play has to be compatible with the Apple TV.

What sorts of files are you trying to play? You need to know the containers, codecs, and bitrates to determine if your player on the other end is compatible.

Or, you could set up a transcoding server like Plex to change your files from one type to another on the fly. That is pretty CPU intensive on the host computer.

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post #3 of 23 Old 08-14-2013, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I've modified both ATVs to be able to play 1080p (changed out the wifi card with a Broadcom Crystal HD card). The only things that I need for the ATV to play off of the HTPC are mkv, avi, and mp3s.

I'm assuming the ATV could handle that?

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post #4 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Welp...anyone?

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post #5 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:15 PM
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It needs to have the proper splitters and decoders installed to actually open the container (mkv?) so it can split it and decode it to allow the ATV to put out the signal so you can see and hear it.

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post #6 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:25 PM
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http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=91581

This doesnt seem to have been updated recently so I'm not sure if it is still correct for XBMC on the ATV
Quote:
1080p playback is not smooth for all files. At present, the ATV2 can decode 1080p video, but output is limited to 720p. Though 1080p output may be possible, it is not a priority at the moment.

Hardware decoding is for h264 only. As a result, 720p XviD, WMV and other HD encodings stutter. SD should work fine.

Where are you getting your files that you want to play? Not all 1080p is equal.

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Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
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post #7 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:28 PM
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Use PlexConnect.
I have this set up right now for my bedroom. It tricks the trailers app using the dns to forward the plex media server.

What you need.

Plex media server.
PlexConnect(python)

one you have scanned all your media with plex server run the plexconnect script.

change the DNS on the appletv to the ip of your computer running plexconnect.

Then go to the trailer icon on the apple tv.
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post #8 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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@ pittsoccer33: I can play 1080p content just fine with the Broadcom Crystal HD card. All of my own files (blu-ray rips) are mkvs and the 1080p content from XBMC itself (via Navi-X) plays fine, too.

@ sammy: when you say it has to have proper splitters and decoders installed, do you mean on the server (HTPC) side or on the ATV side? How would I do this? Is there a guide you can direct me to?

Thanks.

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post #9 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slateef View Post

@ pittsoccer33: I can play 1080p content just fine with the Broadcom Crystal HD card. All of my own files (blu-ray rips) are mkvs and the 1080p content from XBMC itself (via Navi-X) plays fine, too.

Thanks.

Where do they play fine at? The PC? The ATV?

How are you ripping your blurays? Are you using MakeMKV and just remuxing them from disk to mkv, or are you running them thru Handbrake and re-encoding them a certain way?

My HTPC front end set up
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Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #10 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

Where do they play fine at? The PC? The ATV?

How are you ripping your blurays? Are you using MakeMKV and just remuxing them from disk to mkv, or are you running them thru Handbrake and re-encoding them a certain way?

Sorry for the confusion.

They play fine with the ATV itself, via an external USB HDD, using XBMC to access/play them.

All of my bluray rips are mkv via MakeMKV.

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post #11 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:42 PM
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There are some ideas for you here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1515652

In the HTPC world, an "extender" is a device that has a Windows Media Center interface and streams media and live TV from Windows Media Center. You're not really doing that. You just want to use an Apple TV to stream files from a PC. So an Apple TV forum is probably your best bet for advice.
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post #12 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slateef View Post

@ sammy: when you say it has to have proper splitters and decoders installed, do you mean on the server (HTPC) side or on the ATV side? How would I do this? Is there a guide you can direct me to?

Thanks.

That means the device has to be set up to play the given file container (mkv) and the codecs inside (h264, mpeg2, vc1, xvid, ac3, dts, aac, etc).

The first limit you have is hardware. Is the hardware designed to play the given file? Based on the link I read h264 is a yes. VC1 (on many blurays), MPEG2 (on HDTV), is a no. So no amount of hacking the device will be able to make the GPU doe things it wasn't designed for. If it can't use the GPU to decode it would have to rely on software and the device is just not powerful enough to do that. So maybe a standard def MPEG2 video will work fine.

This is why I asked if you are running your files thru Handbrake - you could recode them to make them 100% compatible.

The second limit is software. I *think* XBMC will allow it to play some more file types that it supports on its on, but I don't know that for certain. You will still be limited by the first part.

Plex is a fantastic idea. I use it to get media to my Google TV and Android phone. It works really well.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #13 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slateef View Post

Sorry for the confusion.

They play fine with the ATV itself, via an external USB HDD, using XBMC to access/play them.

All of my bluray rips are mkv via MakeMKV.

So your question is really a matter of "if I move the external USB HDD to my computer can I set the Apple TV up to see it and pull movies" ??? Will the computer and ATV be wired together?

My HTPC front end set up
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Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #14 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

So your question is really a matter of "if I move the external USB HDD to my computer can I set the Apple TV up to see it and pull movies" ??? Will the computer and ATV be wired together?

Yes, they will be wired together using Cat5e.

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post #15 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:00 PM
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Bandwidth wise you should be fine. I don't even have gigabit networking gear and I have no problems getting HDTV and movies around my wired network.

You shouldn't lose file support going from USB to ethernet. I think a few devices are like that though. I would be shocked if XBMC on the ATV couldn't see your files.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #16 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, great, thanks for your help pitt.

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post #17 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:12 PM
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I don't know what the Plex client looks like that space2001 mentioned, but I really think Plex is awesome. That is something you should definitely look into, especially if you have any issues. In the last two years it has really become the most fully featured digital media server software.

-if you had a non compatible file Plex on the computer can turn it into a compatible one in real time
-if you have bandwidth issues (which you shouldnt) Plex can shrink the file size
-you also get access to everything on your phone, tablet or on any computer in the world

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Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
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post #18 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, that sounds great, pitt. I'll definitely look into it!

oh, and thanks to you too, space2001.

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post #19 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, I wonder if Plexconnect will work on my ATVs - they're jailbroken first gens.

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post #20 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:55 PM
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I don't know if it will work on first gen, but I have a 2nd gen in my bedroom, While the picture quality is lower(you can set the quality) do to the trans-coding this allows me stream to my bedroom. All my files are MKV blu-ray rips or dvd mkv rips.
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post #21 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slateef View Post


@ sammy: when you say it has to have proper splitters and decoders installed, do you mean on the server (HTPC) side or on the ATV side? How would I do this? Is there a guide you can direct me to?

Thanks.

No, on the ATV but I haven't a clue how to do it and don't know if you can. I don't have apple products... If it is jailbroken you may be able to do it.

Or you can Plex but you will be transcoding and loosing HD Audio I believe.

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post #22 of 23 Old 08-15-2013, 09:19 PM
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post #23 of 23 Old 08-16-2013, 12:40 PM
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Ok first of all i as well have 2 original atv's both reformated apple is wiped due to openelec xbmc being installed: 2 ways to do it and everything is good to go:

1st: usb install and that way u can pull the usb if u have itunes only content

2nd way: install by way of usb to harddrive wiping apple os and thus making itunes only stuff non usable! I DID MINE THIS WAY

Have an atv 3rd gen for all itunes content...

Xbmc frodo 12.2 is running well with a ton of add ons a d i can access any of my content from any computer that ive got shared files from...just my .02

The crystall card is great but 1080p under a subpar network will not work as well as ud hoped it would... Bottlekbecks at router,switches etc... And remember the og atv DOES NOT have a gigabit ethernet so ur stuck with 10/100 regardless... Thats why i plan to upgrade mine to something else so ican stream gigabit...
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