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Macbook, Apple TV, Mountain Lion

by cjnc201 / March 7, 2012 6:41 AM PST

Hi all,

Im new to the mac world and have been trying to figure out what the best solution is for this set up I want to have in my house... I have a external HD full of movies I ripped from my DVD collection. They are ripped and saved as .dvdmedia files.. now that Apple announced the new AppleTV, do you think that purchasing that Apple TV would be the best option in order for me to stream the movies from my macbook/hard drive to my TV without connecting any wires?

I guess I would also have to wait for the airplay feature in mountain lion, but any thoughts?

Thanks for the help!

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All Answers

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Why not explain
by Jimmy Greystone / March 7, 2012 7:39 AM PST

Why not explain a little bit more about just what it is you are hoping to accomplish? What is it you envision being able to do?

But I would start by saying you should definitely rethink the whole wireless streaming idea. It sounds like a great idea on paper, but in practice it rarely lives up to the fantasy people create in their minds. This is definitely a case where it's worth investing a few bucks in an ethernet cable and a switch if needed.

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by cjnc201 / March 7, 2012 11:22 PM PST
In reply to: Why not explain

I am trying to rip all my DVDs onto a hard drive for better storage purposes. I currently plug my hard drive into my macbook to watch these movies, but I wanted to find a way to watch these movies on my 40 inch HDTV. Right now I would have to plug my macbook into the TV using a HDMI to DVI wire.

Im trying to eliminate the wired connection and thought Airplay might do the trick once Mountain Lion comes out. Im just not sure if I need anything else like an AppleTV or a different set up box? I tried something called a Mctivia box and found it to be very choppy since my internet connection at that time was terrible and the connectivity would not hold up. I believe Airplay does not use internet connection but some sort of dedicated wireless connection between an AppleTV and a Macbook that seems to be working for people.

While this is one issues im trying to solve, I also have to figure out a set up that plays a .dvdmedia file since most steaming set ups seem to only support iTune files. (if i am not mistaken)

I agree with you, perhaps I should just forget the whole wireless thing since it seems to be harder to accomplish that I thought. With the technology out today im surprised there isnt an easier way to do this. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks all.

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I would suggest an AppleTV that has been flashed with
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 8, 2012 2:17 AM PST
In reply to: reply

Firecore's ATVFlash.
This would allow you to leave your media on the external drive and stream from there to the ATV.

ATVFlash allows you to use almost any media format and does not remove the original functionality of the ATV will give you more information.

Wireless will work but, for peace of mind, a wired connection is preferred.


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At some point
by Jimmy Greystone / March 8, 2012 10:43 AM PST
In reply to: reply

At some point, short of the iTV or whatever they're going to call it (if indeed anything ever comes out), you're going to need SOMETHING to connect to the TV. It could be an Apple TV or one of a few dozen other existing set top devices.

Some people just buy a cheap netbook with HDMI output that is pretty much perpetually connected to the TV. Personally, I'm keeping an eye on this Raspberry Pi device, and if someone comes up with a packaged unit running XBMC, then I'm probably sold.

You really don't need an AppleTV. Those .dvdmedia files are just a dump of the ts_video folder on a DVD. So a bit of mass renaming and it should be usable with software like XBMC or whatever else you might find out there and like. For my money, the AppleTV is a bit limited by the fact Apple wants to kind of steer you towards iTunes for everything. I'm much more for a home grown solution here. Right now I have an iMac with two external HDDs with rips of my DVD collection, so similar to you. Those are then streamed over a LAN to my Dell HTPC/disaster recovery system using XBMC. You could certainly do something similar, though you don't need to go overkill like I did with the HTPC. A cheap netbook or something would probably work just as well for most things.

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The ATVFlash opens the ATV
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 8, 2012 11:24 AM PST
In reply to: At some point

to a whole new world of video formats.
Not just limited to iTunes


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But it's not free
by Jimmy Greystone / March 8, 2012 10:10 PM PST

But it's not free, like XBMC. Plus good luck getting Apple to have anything to do with an ATV with alternate firmware on it.

And while I haven't had a chance to look at the ATVv3 yet, it looks like all the older models were limited to 720p output. Finally, the one other thing I like about using something such as XBMC, is that you have a second computer you can use in an emergency. Something happens to your primary computer, you have a backup. Even if it's just some crappy netbook, it's SOMETHING. Then again, I am among the computing addicted, so might be more important to me than other people.

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This is what worked for me.
by trademan / March 10, 2012 2:36 PM PST
In reply to: reply

I bought an iPad in 2011 and wanted to watch movies that I already owned that were on DVD and watch on my TV wirelessly as well. I got a iMac also soon after. I downloaded macx dvdripper free edition. .
I took my DVDs and ripped them all to apples .mp4 format with this ripper and selected these movies and drag and drop the movies onto the top of the iTunes icon on your computer. The will automatically load into movies section in iTunes. (I would convert them to the following H 264 compression 1080 resolution. The reason that the 1080p versions of the iTunes Store videos can be a good deal better without doubling the file size—or worse—can be found in the tech specs of the new AppleTV and the new iPad. The AppleTV now supports H.264 compression for 1920x1080 resolution video at 30 frames per second using High or Main Profile up to level 4.0, the iPad and the iPhone 4S the same up to level 4.1. The profile indicates what kind of decompression algorithms the H.264 decoder has on board—the "High" profile obviously has some tricks up its sleeve that the "Main" or "Baseline" profiles known to previous devices don't support. The level value indicates how many blocks or bits per second a device can handle. (according to:

An Apple TV box was added to my Television. In iTunes under the advanced tab, click and turn on home sharing. When you set up your apple TV, it will ask about home sharing as an option. Use your wireless modem pass word and put it into apple tv. Apple tv will also give you a code that you will type in on your computer for home sharing.

Now when you want a movie from your collection click apple tv and select your library that has the iTunes icon above it. Select your favorite movie and you are good to go. You should now have a wireless movie setup. I am sure there are several other good ways to accomplish this as well, but this is my setup.

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Works great under Snow Leopard and Lion
by Sugith / March 9, 2012 9:09 AM PST
In reply to: Why not explain

I use Apple TVs throughout the house to stream movies from the external HD connected to an iMac in an office/spare bedroom. AirPlay is here NOW and you don't have to wait for Mountain Lion. You may be confused with the mirroring feature for your Mac that Mountain Lion will have.

Streaming from my iMac wirelessly works very well and I've never had any hiccups though I do use an Apple Time Capsule as the network router. Any movie in iTunes can be streamed by Apple TV.

But you will have an issue having ripped your movies to .dvdmedia files. This is a proprietary format for RipIt. If you had ripped your movies and not used the .dvdmedia format, they could have easily been streamed to a 1st generation Apple TV that had been jailbroken with ATVFlash, which is what I use. Probably to a 2nd gen Apple TV using the ATVFlash for that, though I use Plex and Airplay to stream on the 2nd gen Apple TV.

The far easier solution is to convert your movies using Handbrake to iTunes friendly M4V files and select the Apple TV setting in Handbrake for them. After Handbrake converts them, they get copied to iTunes, (you can delete the version Handbrake made), and Apple TV will stream just like a movie off the iTunes store.

You CAN do convert your .dvdmedia movies, but you will have to get rid of the .dvdmedia folder they are in and move the .TS folders inside to a new folder named for the movie. Then use Handbrake to convert to iTunes friendly files. If the DVD contains supplemental material you'll have to convert them as separate titles.

The one loss will be the menu for the DVD. But the ease of watching the movie on Apple TV's usually outweighs that for me. If I really want the movie and menu I'll rip normally, (not using .dvdmedia format) and the Apple TV that's been jailbroken with ATV Flash can play them, menu and all. (Menu loading is slower than DVD but acceptable and the movie itself plays fine.)

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I'm just going to add
by Jimmy Greystone / March 10, 2012 11:01 PM PST

I'm just going to add a little supplemental info here, after having a chance to look at the specs for the ATV3 a bit more. I have some serious doubts about whether or not this thing would have enough processing power to handle much beyond DVD level files unless they were encoded in very specific ways which the A5 CPU used in the device is optimized to handle.

You can almost certainly forget about ever being able to decode a 1080p rip of a bluray disc if you ever wanted to start adding those to your collection. I would question whether it's enough of a system to be able to handle even a 720p bluray rip.

You'd probably be better off with something like WD's TV Live thing, the Asus O!Play, or one of the dozen or so other set top boxes out there, if not just picking up a low end laptop with HDMI output. You could even build your own low profile, low power, HTPC box that runs Linux and boots straight into XBMC. The ATV hardware is designed specifically for use with certain formats, which naturally is pretty much all you find via iTunes or Apple's software. I wouldn't expect it to go well if you tried throwing other formats at it.

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