Use FreeNAS with Apple TV 3

Discussion in 'Sharing' started by baglio, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 23, 2012

    Hello everyone.

    I'm currently running FreeNAS-8.0.4-RELEASE_MULTIMEDIA-x86 (10351) on my own NAS.
    With the installation of miniDLNA I can stream contents directly to my Samsung Smart TV in the living room. But I'd like to do a bit more.

    I'm thinking of buying an Apple TV 3 and hook it up to my HD Television.
    I'm wondering if there's some special plugin which allows me to stream my movies and TV shows form NAS to my new device.
    At the beginning, I was waiting for Apple TV3 Jailbreak to came out... in order to install XBMC... but it seems to be a bit late, or nobody has interest in it.

    So, since I'm very meticulous with my media organization... metadata artworks etc... I'd like to have a "candy" look while I'm browsing my library.
    Long story short... Is there any plugin to make it possible?

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. Offline

    jgreco Resident Grinch

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,862
    Message Count:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    WHO(1)ville, Unixland
    jgreco, Oct 23, 2012

    If you're playing in Apple's ecosystem, your choices are to use Apple's "plug-in" which is called iTunes and only works with PC's and Mac's, or to jailbreak the device, which last I checked hasn't been possible for the ATV3, which is why ATV2's are going for such silly prices on eBay. I'm not sure if the problem with jailbreaking is one of insufficient beer donations to the appropriate crew, or what, but it seems likely it'll happen sooner or later.

    But really, you've got a Samsung TV with SmartHub or Internet@TV on it? Pick up a cheap used Mac mini. Put iTunes and Plex on it. Load the Plex client on the Samsung TV. Don't worry about jailbreaking the AppleTV. Around here, we mostly use the AppleTV's as a screen saver (pictures!) or as an AirPlay target. Plex does all the heavy lifting. No multiple remotes! Or maybe skip the ATV and just buy a cheap used Mac mini to use as a HTPC, if you've got a single TV, that might make just as much sense.
  3. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 23, 2012

    Hi mate! Thank you for your answer... I like your style!
    Anyway... It's not an Apple ecosystem or something... It was the cheapest way to achieve a media center that is come to my mind.

    My first choice of course would be XBMC.
    Now i'm using the PLEX application for Samsung TV to have a glimpse of organization on my TV screen, but it's not convenient due I have to run the plex server on my Mac and tell it to scrub my Media content from a AFP mounted disk which stay on my NAS.

    As far as I know there's no PLEX plugin for freenas as the plex "technology" is proprietary and they wouldn't release any goodies that helps 3rd party developers... So I come up with this unconfortable solution.

    i've already thought about a mac mini solution but isn't convenient at all.
    Here in Italy Apple products are expecially overprized compared to the rest of the whole world... In fact... Is the country where the iPhone 5 is the most expensive... Plus the mac mini starts from 600€ which is outrageous and since here it hasn't a great commercial success is hard to find a used one.

    The best I can do is to build a htpc from the ground up an spending around 250€... But I was looking for cheaper alternatives before to do that.

    Thank you very much... If you have any other suggestions I would be happy to hear them!!!
  4. Offline

    jgreco Resident Grinch

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,862
    Message Count:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    WHO(1)ville, Unixland
    jgreco, Oct 24, 2012

    There are other nifty little boxes of varying capabilities that will attach to your TV, and many of them are more competent than the AppleTV. AppleTV is fine if you have an established iTunes video library, or plan on buying content through Apple, but if you plan to jailbreak the device, expect it to be less convenient. MUCH less convenient, with that teeny remote, than using the nifty little box already built into your TV set.

    With that said, if you're not happy with DLNA, and I can see why you wouldn't be, consider again looking at a used Mac mini of some sort as a Plex and iTunes server. These don't need to be particularly powerful devices to do the job. You can probably also consider an old Windows PC, or if you don't mind not having Apple iTunes, Linux. These are just shuffling and indexing data, transcoding is optional.

    As much as it'd be nice to have a Plex server running on FreeBSD, it doesn't look like there are any plans to do that in the immediate future. There may be other options out there for you, but I'm not really familiar with them. Plex has done quite well here for serving media.
  5. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 24, 2012

    Thank you again jgreco.
    Yes, for truth I don't like the Apple media distribution system.

    I would really like to know some alternatives to Apple TV... I'd be happy if you can mention a couple of them.
    I also have a couple of old PC's that I could use as media center... But I dunno if a Pentium 4 can handle the whole transcoding thing; plus I would have to buy an 1080p capable graphic card and a WIFI one, yes that machine is very old is't it?... But this won't be a great problem since i can find them at not too high price nowadays as the fact that I don't know how to make an old PC works with IR interface.

    So this is what I'm asking myself... Is it worth to spend money and time in restructuring an old PC instead of buying a more recent all in one solution?

    I took a look also to raspberry and cubox... They're cool but... Maybe too underpowered solutions...
    So if you have some products suggestion, possibly under 200€ and XBMC capable, I'd really like to study them.

    Thanks again!
  6. Offline

    fracai FreeNAS Aware

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Messages:
    534
    Message Count:
    534
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    18
    fracai, Oct 25, 2012

    I'd recommend the WD TV Live. It's pretty much the same size as an Apple TV, should be a bit cheaper (mine was 90 USD), and supports Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, ... several others. Plus, you can have it connect to your NAS via NFS, AFP, or Samba without having to use DLNA or Plex.

    I don't think it supports XBMC, but you could always get the previous generation, WD TV Live Plus, and install WD LX TV (3rd party firmware) and XBMC on that. You may also be satisfied with what WD natively provides for network shares with the current Live.
  7. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 25, 2012

    Well... It seems to be a nice object!
    According to some Google searches though it seems there's no way to install xbmc on this things... Either this and the older model you suggested me.

    Sure it seems to have great capabilities in terms of media sharing... I see it supports a wide range of protocol. Despite this... I think I'm gonna feel incomplete without xbmc functionality on this thing.

    It's also pretty good in services supports... Too bad that in Italy we are light years behind you...

    Hulu... Not supported
    Netflix... Not supported
    Pandora... Not supported
    Spotify... Not supported
    Youtube... Well... Thanks God we have it at least... XD

    Thank you so much for your suggestion... But I'm seriously thinking of build a media center from scratch....
    It seems to be the cheapest way to get xbmc works in all it's functionality...
  8. Offline

    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    13,672
    Message Count:
    13,672
    Likes Received:
    706
    Trophy Points:
    113
    cyberjock, Oct 25, 2012

    I have not done this, but I've heard Roku boxes support plugins from the community via an sdhc card. I've read that all of those and XBMC and Plex are supported for the roku.

    A friend owns a WDTV Live and he accesses his file shares from the WDTV box. It works great at home, and was significantly cheaper than a full blown HTPC. Of course, now that he and I both use Plex, we're somewhat regretting the WDTV because it doesn't support custom made plugins and Plex is not supported. He and I both agree that if he were shopping for an HTPC or equivalent, we'd certainly try a Roku because of the Plex support.
  9. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 25, 2012

    I always been fascinated by that purple tiny box.
    Unfortunatly, as for the WDLTV XBMC isn't supported in anyway...

    Of course it has PLEX... Even if I really like Plex it dosen't solve my problem relating to freeNAS server.
    In order to use plex I have to run a server on another machine whereas xbmc is ready to directly stream content from DLNA...

    It's such a shame that xbmc isn't supported by rocku or it would be a sure choice!
  10. Offline

    jgreco Resident Grinch

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,862
    Message Count:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    WHO(1)ville, Unixland
    jgreco, Oct 26, 2012

    So, just to help you see the nature of your problem, the problem is either adding one kind of box (AppleTV, WDTV, Roku, etc) or another (anything capable of acting as a Plex server).

    I would point out that the instant you have any second device that wants to access your media library, like maybe a second Samsung SmartTV, a Plex-cable BluRay player, a laptop, a tablet computer, etc., the Plex server pays off because it can deal with those additional devices.
  11. Offline

    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    13,672
    Message Count:
    13,672
    Likes Received:
    706
    Trophy Points:
    113
    cyberjock, Oct 26, 2012

    That is precisely why I use Plex. I have friends that had XBMC, and they've switched because Plex is just more rounded.
  12. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 28, 2012

    Yes you're right... Sice I have another devices running I can easily run a ples server.

    plex is a great piece of software but I don't see any reason to run a server on another device since I already have my server running... I think is both a question of logic and power consume.

    Plus there's nothing as customizable as XBMC; Plex is a great alternative.

    At the end, i think I'm going to buy a compact PC... Maybe a Zotac or Asus.
    I'm thinking about which solution I should apply by chossing the CPU+GPU...
  13. Offline

    jgreco Resident Grinch

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,862
    Message Count:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    WHO(1)ville, Unixland
    jgreco, Oct 29, 2012

    That brings us back to my original suggestion; a Mac mini is a very competent box to use as a HTPC and/or a Plex server.

    In theory you don't need to run the server on another device. You *could* run ESXi on your NAS box, run FreeNAS as a VM, and then run a Linux Plex instance alongside. In practice, the two-device scenario is easier. If you obtain a small HTPC, you gain the ability to transcode and stream your library to other devices as well. It's pretty cool...
  14. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 29, 2012

    Yes, a Mac Mini would be the best choice... but as I said before it's a little pricy...
    Instead... I'm looking for something like the Zotac ZBOX ID41-E; It's a 1.8 Dual Core Intel Atom and it mount an integrated NVIDIA ION 2 graphic memory...

    I think with this I can expect the maximum performance for a HTPC.
    Plus, I could also install some Arcade retro-game they should work just fine!

    I don't get the point of this procedure.
    I think this makes FreeNAS useless... I don't understand why I should install a common operating system into my NAS box just to run freeNAS as a Virtual Machine... sounds crazy to me...

    In this scenario I would choose a Linux server distro and keep it. Whereas I chosen FreeNAS for it's low requesting specification and the simplicity of use...
  15. Offline

    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    13,672
    Message Count:
    13,672
    Likes Received:
    706
    Trophy Points:
    113
    cyberjock, Oct 29, 2012

    If you use an Intel Atom, don't expect to transcode video to other devices.
  16. Offline

    jgreco Resident Grinch

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    3,862
    Message Count:
    3,862
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    WHO(1)ville, Unixland
    jgreco, Oct 29, 2012

    When you find a Linux server distro that supports ZFS, maybe that would make sense.

    Virtualization is typically used to allow administrators the flexibility to run their preferred operating systems and segment applications on less hardware than it would have taken to run the systems otherwise. For example, we have dozens of FreeBSD servers, some Linux, some Windows, some FreeNAS, and some other various boxes all running on a small cluster (between two to six usually). In the old days, we used to have to cram several services onto a server in order to make it "worth it," but when you heap a dozen different subsystems onto a mail server (http for webmail, SQL, IMAP, POP, spam filtering, antivirus, logging, etc) you end up making a nightmarish system to upgrade. So now we can run half a dozen MUCH simpler VM's to form our mailcore and not worry about the capex and opex involved for supporting physical machines in those roles, and development expense is reduced as well.

    In your case, you are seeing that FreeNAS might not - by itself - suit your XBMC/Plex needs completely. Running Linux might not - by itself - be able to be a ZFS-capable NAS. Those two situations are essentially unresolvable without some fundamental change: you could compromise on some of your requirements, or you could compromise by getting two machines, or you could virtualize.

    Virtualization isn't the easiest solution, by the way, but it's an option, and it's not "crazy." It makes a hell of a lot of sense in many situations. Is it for you? Quite possibly not, but now I hope you at least get the point of that procedure.
  17. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 29, 2012

    Well! Thank you for your explanation... Don't misunderstand... I didn't mean to be critic about your suggestion...
    I just didn't know this methodology.

    Can I ask you a question? Why did you specified the ESXi version of VMWare? I ask it because I don't know much about it... I only ever used the most known VMWare fusion which, I guess, has different usage.

    About that... Does an MP4 container (H264 video file with ACC audio) need to be transcoded in order to be streamed from FreeNAS to my "potential" Zotac HTPC?
    Isn't the transcoding used only for certain type of files?

    Thank you!
  18. Offline

    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    13,672
    Message Count:
    13,672
    Likes Received:
    706
    Trophy Points:
    113
    cyberjock, Oct 29, 2012

    Transcoding is based on the device. If your device can play the resolution, format, and bitrate, then Plex just send the file. For instance, if I try to stream any high definition movies to my Droid Bionic, I can't because my Plex server is too slow. SD works fine though.

    For a HTPC, if it's a good Mac or PC then it should be okay. You need a firm grasp of when transcoding is or isn't required to make a decision of when you're likely to encounter it.
  19. Offline

    baglio

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Message Count:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Student - Web Designer
    Location:
    Lombardy, Italy
    baglio, Oct 29, 2012

    Well... The NVIDIA ION 2 integrated graphic card is capable of full HD 1080p output...
    I don't know about the bitrate amount limit but the general standard of this kind of video file say that full HD can reach a maximum of 4000Mb/s so I think that if a device is signed with full HD output can handle it... Of course this is just my opinion... I could be wrong.

    Beside this I use to convert all my BRD and HD DVD into MP4s with an avarage bitrate of 2500Kbps.

    I know I know... Could sound crazy for some purist... But it's the only way to keep this file at decent file dimension for storage...

    What do you think about it?
  20. Offline

    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Messages:
    13,672
    Message Count:
    13,672
    Likes Received:
    706
    Trophy Points:
    113
    cyberjock, Oct 30, 2012

    Your graphics card has nothing to do with transcoding. You need to go read up on what transcoding is. Transcoding in Plex is strictly CPU bound. It is more loading than just watching the video.

Share This Page