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Old 01-26-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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Stream video with Mac or iPad on Airport wireless LAN?

Maybe one of you techno-wizards can help. I've been gradually converting various media including pBooks (recently) and analog audio (2 years ago) to digital. Now I want to venture into converting DVDs and video streaming but I'm not sure what I need to do that. My home network setup is Apple based. Presently I have a MacBook Intel OSX 10.6.6, Time Capsule (Airport Extreme wireless router with built-in 1TB hard drive and USB port off which I can hang a harddrive), an Airport Express connected to my old analog stereo system which streams audio nicely, a new wireless iPad, and a iPhone3 wireless/3G.

1. I want to put DVDs of movies on either the Time Capsule drive (space is limited for video) or some other higher capacity Network Attached Storage (NAS) device and stream them to a Samsung HDTV. I previously converted a bunch of VHSs to DVD, and have some store-bought DVDs too. What would I need for new equipment or software to get them from separate DVDs to video files I can steam from a harddrive or NAS device on my network?

2. I also want to stream video from U-Tube, Netflix, and other online video sources through iTunes or some other app from either the MacBook or the iPad. Do I need any particular apps so that I'm not locked into Apple and iTunes for this? Do I need the AppleTV receiver or can I go with some other brand such as Buffalotech LinkTheater, which is DLNA compliant/compatible, while apparently Apple products (and AppleTV) are not DLNA compliant?

3. I'm testing a Buffalotech NAS quad. I'll probably return it to Amazon in the next week or so. It turns out that to update its firmware, user must do it from a Windows PC. I don't have a Windows PC and don't want one. In addition, it can only stream video and audio to DLNA compliant receivers. Apparently it can't stream audio to Airport express attached to my stereo, or stream video to non-DLNA-compliant receivers such as AppleTV. Buffalo was not very helpful, telling me I need to go DLNA-compliant rather than Apple. Know of any workarounds to this problem so I can keep the Buffalo NAS rather than return it?

4. Are there other NAS's, receivers, and software apps that will work with my hardware set-up plus iTunes and any other necessary streaming app, so I won't have the problems in #3? That I can use to stream audio and video starting from my Mac or iPad, tell it to play that media, and automatically stream it from my network storage to my stereo or TV?

Technowizards, as a confused video-streaming and NAS noob, I'm grateful in advance for any help.

Last edited by unboggling; 01-26-2011 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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This can get tricky with the copy protection on DVDs, but it is possible to do!

1. I use handbrake to rip DVDs, but you do have to find extra software to allow copy protected DVDs to be ripped on Windows. I think on OS X it's still built in.

2. To stream video to the iPad, I like Airvideo. You set up a little server (no difficult configuration) on the machine you keep the video on, and it will stream and convert the video to the proper bitrate and size for your device. There are other apps, but I've found AirVideo to be my favorite. As far as Netflix goes, there's a dedicated app for the iPad. I believe there's other ways to stream it, but they're usually difficult to set up and don't work as well. Youtube also has its own app on the iPad. As far as using OS X goes, you should be able to alias the video folder into your movies folder and it should be accessible through front row.

I'm not sure about the Apple TV question as I use Windows Media Center for my needs.

3 and 4, I avoid iTunes for anything more than syncing my iPad/iPhone and managing music personally, so I can't give a good answer to these questions. I believe I've read that it's possible. Unfortunately I don't remember much more. Wired and Lifehacker tend to have good articles on the sort of stuff you're asking for though.
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:33 PM   #3
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Caltsar, thanks for the info. I downloaded AirVideo to iPad and iPhone, spent some time on lifehacker and wired, looked at a few DVD rippers discussed at handbrake. So that's a start.

For some reason I assumed converting DVDs to streamable would be easier. I didn't realize it's somewhat like eBooks where generally you need different readers/viewers for media in proprietary formats from different vendors. I also forgot about the copyright/DRM issue, until you reminded me. And I never even knew FrontRow was there in OS X. quadruple ow.

Thanks again for getting me started looking in good directions.
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:13 PM   #4
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Not sure about using an NAS in conjunction with a Time Capsule, but you could hang a large external HD off the Time Capsule's USB port and store your movies on that.

+1 for Handbrake as a DVD ripper - the best there is on OSX, no question, and very, very rare to find a DVD it can't handle; I use one of Handbrake's built-in presets for all my DVD rips, and files are all iTunes/iOS/MacOS compatible MP4/M4V. If you have any AVIs then you can either convert these to MP4 using Handbrake, or just use Airvideo like Caltsar suggests above to stream to an iOS device.

I don't own an Apple TV (still waiting hopefully for BBC iPlayer integration here in the UK) but my understanding is that it'll stream anything you have in an iTunes library (photos, movies, music, podcasts) to the TV it's connected to. From what I've seen the Apple TV front end is very similar to Front Row i.e. pretty painless to use. If you're already Mac/iTunes based I wouldn't look at any other media player, personally, as I think it'll do everything you want.

HTH Pete
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:55 PM   #5
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Peter, thanks.

Oh, I was looking at the wrong handbrake site before. I take it the correct one is the open source HandBrake download, which I just found at sourceforge.net.

AppleTV is $99 now, it must have gone down in price recently. AppleTV, 2TB harddrive hanging off the 1TB Time Capsule - I'll probably go with something like that after I do a little more research. The TC has only 1 USB port. With that setup I'll have to consider another way to backup the movies drive. hmmm...
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:13 PM   #6
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BBC iPlayer looks interesting even for folks in the US
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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Update re NAS and streaming

Well, I boxed up the Buffalo Linkstation NAS today to return to Amazon. I got it to stream audio but the setup was clunky and time-consuming, the device was noisy and expensive and had an annoying noise occurring every 5 to 15 seconds, and I couldn't update its firmware because that required a Windows PC.

Meanwhile, a little investigating turned up this info: for US$9.99/mo to NetFlix, I can stream unlimited number of videos and TV shows directly from them to my TV once I buy a wireless video receiver for the TV, such as AppleTV. And for US$10.00/mo I can do the same with music from Rhapsody (as someone just mentioned in a different thread. And they have apps for mobile devices. No muss, no fuss. No ripping or messing with codexes. No DRM stripping. No need for expensive network storage devices. No need to buy music or video from Apple or any other vendor.

So I'll see how that works for awhile instead of buying a NAS.

Last edited by unboggling; 01-28-2011 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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If you don't care about DVDs in the mail, the $7.99 plan is cheaper and has unlimited streaming as well. As far as a box for Netflix, I've preferred Roku to Apple TV personally, but it's really mostly up to taste.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:44 AM   #9
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Caltsar, thanks re Roku and cheaper netflix plan.

I decided I'll still have to rip some of the old DVDs I previously made from old VHS stuff, some it's not available anywhere else. I think I'm set for ripping with MacTheRipper supplemented by HandBrake where necessary but I'm waiting on the arrival of the wireless video receiver before I start.
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