Macs/Apples/networked entertainment


First I'll list the equipment I have for integration then I'll go for specifics. iMac 27" 2.8 GHz quad core i7 12gig ram 2 terabyte HD,  Mac Mini 2.4 Core 2 Duo 2 GB ram 320 GB HD.3rd Gen. iPad. 4th Gen iPod. iPhone 5. Latest Apple TV. Various .5 to 1.5 terabyte hard disks. 2 terabyte NAS western digital My Bookworld. 2 older iMacs and 2 laptops. 15 hardwired ethernet locations. BellAliant DSL router. D-Link wireless router. Denon 1913 AirPlay enabled AV Receiver. Various other AV receivers no ethernet/wireless connection but could be integrated with extra Apple TV's via HDMI. 2 Samsung Smart TV. One is wireless/ethernet and the other is ethernet only.

Now the question is how to integrate all of this so it can be controlled using the iPod/iPad/iPhone via airplay and apple remote and the Denon remote app. Samsung Remote app and Sony remote app. I think this requires having them all using the same MAC address and DNS address but I'm not sure. Any help would be much appreciated.


diagram networked entertainment
diagram networked ente  
ANSWER: Robert,
Thanks for writing!

It sounds like you'd like to set up a home entertainment system based on your iTunes library.  I'll pose some questions and then pose a setup based on what I think is the best scenario.

1. Are you storing your iTunes library on your iMac or Mac Mini?
2. How large is your iTunes library?
3. Are you looking to locate your smart tv in the same room as your stereo and/or are the two inextricably linked?
(put another way)4. Are you looking to stream music to a different room than your video entertainment?
5. If you pull content from your iTunes library to your Apple TV, hooked up to your smart TV, what is the Samsung app going to do? (i.e, what are its capabilities? I'm not familiar with the Smart TV)
6. What do you want to do with the older iMacs, laptops?
7. How does this equipment fit in your house layout ultimately? How many rooms/people does it need to serve?
8. What switch to you have that is serving your 15 hardwired connections?

Thanks and see attached network diagram!  Please write back.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

There was a 404 on the diagram.
1. I'll use the mini as the controller. The Library & Album Cover (I think) are stored on the mini and the media is on a separate disk. The iTunes media is around 400gb.
4. Stream to different rooms, mainly music with the possibility of streaming video.
5. Overall the Smart TV is irrelevant, it is giving similar options as Apple TV or any other DVD player. I have 2 Blueray DVD players which I want to control with the iPod/iPad/iPhone for the video. What I'm trying to do is circumvent the IR of the equipment and control everything with Wireless. For example I can use the pod to access the Denon AV Receiver( which has Airplay), if i have the Blueray DVD Plugged into the dedicated HDMI Blueray input of the Denon then I should be able to control the functions of the BR player, which at the moment I don't; I think this is an issue with DNS settings. The BR players have ethernet but not wireless; the Denon and the players are connected to the internet through a ethernet switch.
6. The older Mac's could be integrated into the home network and NAS server. ??? I haven't messed with the NAS to have it streaming I'm just using it as a music backup for files in the Public folder.
7. As many as possible, lets start with 10. As a rudimentary system I could control that many for streaming music using the Mini with airplay and Airport express modules but the question here is which would better serve the purpose; Airport express or Apple TV.????  If in that instance is it possible to control the Mini with iPod/iPad/iPhone directly without using a monitor by using a iOS app.???
8. I have all structured wiring terminating in a Levition Structured Media Cabinet, I have 2 ethernet switchers in there for the hardwired ethernet which I can jump from port to port if needed.



ANSWER: Robert,
Thanks for getting back to me.  The image should be here:

Assuming the Mini sits anywhere on your network, in the closet or at a desk you should be fine.  Make sure you have adequate battery backup for the Mini and the disk (assuming it's wall powered) and a directly-attached disk or Time Capsule for backup.

Holy moly.  10 rooms/people.  I haven't done such an extensive setup before.  It should be possible with no issues, though with increased equipment there are increased (possibility of) issues.  Try and stick to wired connections wherever possible for such a layout.

If your BluRay player (Sony?) has ethernet, and you can plug it into one of the 15 wired connections, then it should be available on the network.  
I'm looking at the app now (  I haven't looked into details on how the BD players get their info on your network, but I'm assuming there shouldn't be any weirdness with DNS.  Defiinitely do not attempt to set any device's MAC address to the same thing (usually this isn't possible anyway), it will really screw things up.

AirPlay will enable you to set iTunes to push content (or your iOS devices to push content) to the Denon receiver.  If you use the Remote app on an iOS device, you can select your iTunes library, and then set the output to the Denon.  This is slightly different than pulling content directly using an AppleTV, (for instance you can have two Apple TV's pulling content simultaneously in different rooms.

Are the older computers providing only a backup?  Is there another purpose?

It's only possible to control the Mini via iPhone/iPad/iPod (iOS device) with the Remote App and that app controls playback of the iTunes library only.  You can remotely log in to the device for managing content, but this is usually more trouble than it's worth.  I would manage content via a directly attached monitor on a weekly basis or whenever you add content.  
The remote app will allow you to push content from the Mini to an AirPlay enabled device, like the Airport Express or Denon, one or multiple devices at a time.  This is nice if you're moving from room to room; you can set the output to one or more devices, or change as you move throughout the house.

AppleTV differentiates itself by allowing direct on-screen browsing of content either with the IR or Remote App.

I'll update my network diagram to reflect your plan in a few hours.  Please let me know if you still cannot access it.

Thanks and good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

I've been messing with setups using Airport express and apple tv and old amps etc. I've ordered another 4 Apple TV's which will give me 9 locations inc, the mini and Denon. Everything seems to work fine and I'm assuming that the extra Mini's will just show up in the Airplay list and be selectable. ( I see in settings for the mini that I can change the name as required). With the old av receivers I have without ethernet / HDMI I can use the optical audio on the Apple TV and AV Reciever.
Which is the best way to store my media/library files ( for a start I have too many library files scattered on different computers/hard disks); at the moment, I think, iTunes is accessing my Library and Album Art off the Mac Mini and definitely accessing the media files from a separate hard drive. My media is over 400 gig so can't be stored on the Mini 320GB. Should I dedicate one of the WD 1 terabyte disks just to media and use the WD My BookWorld (2 terabyte) as a time machine for the main computer and media disk backup.???? If so any suggestions how to do this.???



Thanks for writing back! It sounds as if you need a dedicated consultant to this project :-)

I would dedicate one of the WD 1 TB disks to your iTunes Library in total (album art, movies, music, etc).  Messing with the location of an iTunes library can be dicey.  Make sure you rename the drive to something like "iTunes Library" before migrating it, then change the location of your iTunes library media from within iTunes preferences.  I haven't done this in a while, so I'd google "migrate iTunes Library" or similar.

Time Machine won't write to a NAS (please check on this, I have heard that there are some newer NAS units that can accomplish this)  unless it's an Apple Time Capsule, which I suggest as an essential piece of hardware in a multi-computer environment anyway.  If it has a direct-access feature (USB/FireWire) then you can at least use it for one computer.

Good luck!


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Ed Dyer


I don't answer Mac OS 9 questions anymore, thank you. Current Tech: Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.8, Some shell scripting, cron, Mac OS X Server 10.2-10.6, AD-OD Integration, Automator, Word Press Blogging, All CURRENT Mac models, iLife '09 and previous, iWork '09 and previous, Apple Remote Desktop, WiFi, iOS jailbreaking/unlocking, some MS SharePoint (design, not development) Devices: iPhone(original-4s) & iPad(through 3rd gen), AppleTV(all models), Airport Express, Time Capsule Old Skool, meaning I have this experience as a base, but don't answer questions on it anymore: Mac OS Environment 7.5.3-OS 9 (please upgrade for pete's sake!), PowerBook G3/G4(all models), Mac/Windows Networking, PowerPC 604-G4 desktop models, Outlook 2001, Photoshop 7 and previous, Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX Mac OS X Public Beta-10.4, all Windows Server operating systems and use. Dabbler: Newton 2100 w/ WiFi and NSync, Yellow Dog Linux, Suse Linux (PPC), Ubuntu Linux, Vista Business


I worked in IT for ten years with a specialty in Macintosh technologies and Project Management.
I've worked with the Macintosh Operating system and various machines since my first PowerMac 8500 running Mac OS 7.5.3 in 1996. I support my friends and family in keeping their Macs healthy and upgraded. Now I use a MacBook Pro for our home media network and we're pretty much down to iPads and iPhones for daily use.
Most important: I've also worked on PCs for a number of years with various flavors of Windows(95,98,NT4,2000,2000Server,2K3Server,SBS 2K3Server,Mil,XPHome,XPPro, Vista Business), but I've always used the Mac as my platform of preference.
Publications : VPNs and Outlook(2001)

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I'm an Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) through 10.4 and have the lower certs as well (ACTC for 10.1 - 10.6), an Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist for 10.3 (ACHDS) and a member of the Apple Consultants Network, as well as an Apple Product Professional for 2002-2009.
I have an MCP cert. from MS as well...

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