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Large quantity of Apple TV's

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I was just curious if anyone has setup more than 10 AppleTV's with Home Sharing to one PC? I am thinking about getting 13 AppleTVs (one for each TV) and having them linked to a PC running iTunes with a massive movie library...

Its really hard to find anything concrete if there is any software limitations to how many AppleTVs you can have. Hardware wise I can easily install a 10gbit network card to the server which is not a problem (all my switches are connected via fiber to each other).

What I am worried about is that the iTunes library will only allow a fixed amount of Apple TVs? There are some Apple support articles which say that only 10 devices can use a iTunes account. But I already have 2 Apple TVs and they don't show up as a registered device when I check my iTunes account... Also the support article (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4627) says it applies to "iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iTunes, iTunes Store" so no mention of Apple TV there...

Also I believe the first and second generations of Apple TVs had a limitation where you could only use 5 of them with a library, but I believe this has been removed in the third generation?

Just to clarify I am not really interested in downloading content to the Apple TV etc, I am just after setting up Home Share...

Any insight before I go out and buy 13 Apple TV's would be great!
post #2 of 17
You have a hard wired connection to each TV location? If so, I think your best bet is to just try it! You can return the Apple TV units if they don't work out.

Let us know what happens!

post #3 of 17
Wow that's quite the setup. Maybe see if you can pool that many between your friends? Have you emailed Apple? I feel like they could give you a definitive answer.
post #4 of 17
In the early days of Apple TV 1 there was a limit of 5 atvs connected to a iTunes library. I think there's still a limitation though. It's either still 5 or upto 10 per account ... Since that's how home sharing works.

I think you will run into issues with 13.
post #5 of 17
More than 10 has been reported to cause connection issues with the iTunes Homesharing server. iTunes itself it seems can only handle 5-10 even if your only streaming local media nothing related to iTunes purchases.

There doesnt appear to be any limits with Airplay but that would involve using iOS devices to control playback with the Apple remote app.
post #6 of 17
I just got an Apple TV? How to confirm if V3? And how to JB?
post #7 of 17
No idea, and if its v3 you can't jailbreak it, and probably never will be able to.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! Can you really return them if you have opened the box up, connected them, configured them and tested them?

I havent tried emailing Apple but I have called them and gone in store and you get a different answer depending on who you speak to. Most people refer to the limitations that apply to iPods etc to iTunes but no one has been 100% confident about how many AppleTVs you can have...

If iTunes can only handle 10 clients, then what I am thinking about doing is running multiple servers with the same iTunes account and then have all the shared media stored on a NAS drive which both librarys can access. This should work shouldnt it? I can put access control lists on my switches so that the AppleTV's can only speak to their dedicated server...

Has anyone tried this setup? Or can anyone see any flaws with this as a backup plan?
post #9 of 17
You can run 2 separate iTunes accounts if it is a 5 ATV limit.
post #10 of 17
Would a Roku box work or are you tied to iOS/iTunes? Will the 13 boxes be used at once? How many are being used at once?
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
No Roku won't work as I need to play iTunes DRM content...

I've heard back from Apple now who has confirmed that there is no limitation to how many AppleTV's you can have to a iTunes library. The only limitation is your networks so I'll buy the 13 Apple TV's in the next couple of weeks and try it and see how it goes!
post #12 of 17
we have 9 apple tvs in our house. Here is the basics of how I have them configured.

• we ONLY have 1 itunes account. everything is purchased with that account. It is set up on every device to use that one account.

• 2 media servers. One is the main library with all the normal content. the second is a kid safe one.

• Main library is config'd as homeshare#1. It is set up with itunes match. It is also set to automatically download any music, movie, tv show or app that is purchased on the account (regardless what device purchased it).

• kids is config'd as homeshare#2. It is set up with itunes match, but set up not to show content in the cloud.

• While the main library has ALL purchased content, there is many ripped movies and tv shows on the kids server that is not on the main sever. This is only so my wife and I don't have to scroll through their stuff when looking for something to watch.

• tvs connecting to main are unrestricted. They have full access to all media in library, all network services, and full itunes store access.

• tvs connecting to kids are near-completely restricted. The only things they can see is the kid library. no youtube, no movie trailers, nothing. Also, they are set to not be able to access the itunes store. the reason the itunes account is connect to them is so they can access movies and tv shows purchased for the kids. No other media is accessible. No other device or service is on the kids tbs (including live tv). Becouse they are in the homeshare#2 zone, it is impossible for them to browse any other deivce unless it is also set in the same homeshare zone.

By doing this, I have created a single itunes account infrastructure with a perfect kids-safe zone of content.

Hope this helps. let me know if you have any questions.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your response mmcxiiad with the detailed explanation of your setup. Unfortunately your setup would not work in my case as I can not use iTunes match (I have a very limited internet connection). I know what you are thinking now, whats the point in having AppleTV's if you have a limited internet connection. But that is actually the whole point of this setup. I wanted to get Home Sharing working was so that I could buy movies and only need to download them once (overnight for example) to my iTunes library and then allow all the AppleTVs to view any of the content stored there.

So in the end I went out and bought 13 Apple TVs. Unfortunately there is a limitation to how many you can have per iTunes library, and that limit is 5 devices. I am not sure if this is on purpose because iTunes and the AppleTVs won't give you a user friendly error or warning, they will just fail to connect.

Basically from my testing it would appear that iTunes must have a internal "list" of AppleTV's it has seen contacting itself with the Apple ID it is configured to use for Home Sharing. It will populate this list as soon as it is polled by a AppleTV and it would appear that the list will not get cleared until you have restarted iTunes (restarting just Bonjour did not do the trick). So basically the first 5 AppleTVs who report in to iTunes will function fine, any other AppleTVs who then try to connect will just fail and produce a generic Could not connect to your iTunes library error.

So I was potentially going to expand even further and have 35 more AppleTVs, but due to these limitations I am planning to just stay with the 13 I have now. What I am doing now is I have just setup a Windows Firewall rule to block each Apple TV from connection to my iTunes server. I have then written a little script which is called by my home automation system every time a user selects AppleTV in one of the rooms. The script then temporarily disable the firewall rule for that one AppleTV, allowing the AppleTV to connect to the iTunes library. My script will then restart iTunes every time the amount of AppleTVs in use drops to 0. That way I can have up to 5 AppleTVs out of 13 being used at once (which realistically I dont think I will ever hit).

I know I could technically just have setup 3 VM machines running iTunes and then manually copied movies across and add them to each iTunes library but it just felt a bit messy and I wanted a easier system to maintain. So far my work around seems to be working, but time will tell smile.gif

Thanks for everyones help and input!
post #14 of 17
I recently just ran into Apple's stupid 5 Apple TV limit. I have 6 apple TVs and the "last" one in cannot connect.

My iTunes server is a Mac Mini, not a Windows PC.

Can you explain how you scripted iTunes to restart when the # of Apple TV connections drop to 0?

Can you share that (presumably) AppleScript? Or is your Home Sharing server Windows-based?

I don't have a firewall in place to run connection rules on it but I would appreciate all technical details and could then add one.

I would happily take this on as a fix since right now I just installed a SECOND mac mini just to support the 6th Apple TV - bad hack!

Edited by brandtroo - 11/15/13 at 3:39pm
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey, its actually a Perl script on a Windows machine. I am currently on holiday but I can upload the script here when I get back to work in 4 weeks from now.
post #16 of 17

I appreciate your insight on how you set up your apple tv's. I do however have a question about your network, routers and internet speed. I am currently trying to run 5 apple tv's, and continue to have them dropping home sharing. I am using a D-link N router and my internet is 10 mbs downloading speed. Do I need a better router, do they need to be hard wired or is my internet speed to slow. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Just a side note all apple tvs have no problem connecting to Netflix, just problems getting them to connect to my library on my pc. I'm using windows 8.

post #17 of 17
I've thought about doing the same thing on a smaller scale in my house, only it would be with 3 AppleTV's. What kind of drive do you store all your media on? All of mine is on a plain old external 2TB hard drive. If I set up something like this, would it be bad for the drive if all three AppleTV's were streaming different (potentially 720p) media off the same drive at the same time? Would it even be able to support three simultaneous streams?
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