Will an AppleTV be able to access movies on a hard drive that plugged into and shared across the Airport Extreme?

Airport Extreme streaming to AppleTV

  • Asked by Don J from Wenatchee
  • Mar 13, 2010
QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

QA AirPort Extreme Base Station

Product No Longer Available

7 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    While the movies do have to be associated with an iTunes account, the movie files do not need to be on the same drive as the iTunes account. If you deselect "Copy movies to iTunes Media Folder when adding to library" located in Advanced in iTunes preferences before you add the movies to the library, the files will remain on the external drive and will not be added to the drive that runs iTunes. AppleTV will be able to play those movies through the iTunes account.

    • Answered by Dede E from San Jose
    • Jun 3, 2011
  • When I read that question as written the answer is No. I wish. Let me explain.

    Of course the apple TV can communicate with your Mac/PC and find an alias folder on a separate hard drive connected to the Extreme and run the assigned movie. However, what good is that and I hope you aspire for a machine that can do more.

    It seems to kill the point of an apple TV to have to have your computer running at the same time so that the ATV can communicate with the Mac/PC which can communicate with the hard drive. Too many steps. I want an ATV that communicates directly with the hard drive and doesn't make me go turn on my computer. Lets cut out the middle man. LAME.

    I have taken a lot of time ripping my DVD's to an external hard drive so that my movies are digital. If I want to watch these on my ATV I need to open each one into iTunes. If you have hundreds of movies this could be a pain, not to mention, again, that you always have to make sure iTunes is open and your computer awake to stream to ATV. LAME.

    There are other devices on the market, one of which I am a huge fan, that will communicated directly with the HD and stream your movies cutting out the need for your computer and iTunes to be running. YAY.

    So where so many reviewers say Yes, the real answer is No because the ATV DOES NOT access movies on your Airport Extreme, your computer does. If your ATV did there would be no need for the computer. Sad.

    Where ATV excels is AirPlay. This feature is killer and the only reason I own both.

    • Answered by Nathan F from Salt Lake City
    • Nov 29, 2012
  • Why is it that people who haven't tried it, answer the questions? Kills me.

    The answer is DEFINITELY a Yes. Explained:

    Apple TV simply talks to the iTunes account on the Mac/PC. True that iTunes has to know of the movie file... and it's location... but it does not have to be on the Mac/PC hard drive to work. As long as the external drive is on and visible to iTunes, then it just works.

    I've tested this over and over and the only thing that I forget from time to time, it to turn on the Mac/PC and start iTunes. My external drive (on the Airport Extreme) works just fine.

    Worth noting... I do not run a Seagate/Western Digital chassis... as they seem to go to sleep a lot... using an aftermarket enclosure and hard drive... works like a champ.

    • Answered by Joseph E from Folsom
    • Mar 27, 2012
  • Yes. As the other answers mention, the movie file must belong to an iTunes library that is shared with the appleTV through activation of home sharing. Where the actual movie file is is irrelevant, so long as the iTunes program knows of it's location (also known as the file's path). So the file can reside on an airport extreme connected disk.

    When you play a song or movie with appleTV and the song file or movie is on a hard drive connected to an airport extreme, the computer will 'handle the file', in other words the file will pass from the disk on the extreme to your computer running the iTunes app and then finally be sent on to the appleTV. This may be a disadvantage over wifi as the file is taking an indirect path to the appleTV and it could slow your wifi network down (as opposed to other setups that deliver the file directly to the TV e.g. DNLA). In practice it seems to function just fine.

    • Answered by Ethan F
    • May 24, 2012
  • if the hard drive is plugged into the router, you can access it (from your laptop and everything is wireless). In other words i have all my movies on the external plugged into the router. my laptop is on and apple tv can access my laptop-the reason for this is so that i don't have to drag my external hard drive with me.

    • Answered by David N from Germantown
    • Mar 13, 2012
  • Unfortunately you will not be able to access movies from an external hard drive via the Apple TV, you will need to put all the media you have into itunes and then stream it from your computer to your TV via the Apple TV. You may want to consider buying a Mac Mini instead if you wish to do something like this. Hope this helps.

    • Answered by Spencer Y from Sydney
    • May 12, 2011
  • It will not. AppleTV will only be able to access media saved in an iTunes folder. Because the AppleTV is not a "computer" it doesn't know where else to look for your media files other then through iTunes.

    • Answered by Addison S from Fort Lauderdale
    • Mar 5, 2011