Blind Alley - why use Media Player?

After wrestling with Media Player for the better part of a couple hours.  Have to ask the question why?

1)  We have COMPUTERS and the HOME SHARING possible with a mac or PC running ITUNES.  So just wonder why bother.

2)  We have XBMC that can handle files from multiple sources and in lots of ways.

3)  We have PLEX that can also look at media files.


So why do we need a fourth type of media player in ATVFlash?  Just not getting it.  Maybe because it is easy to make this work with an apple mac system. 


My wrestling is mostly focused on getting a shared drive to function under an APPLE EXTREME router.  With WINDOWS 7.  No luck there.   Suppose I can just set up a shared drive under WINDOWS 7 , but I still get some redundentcy with ITUNES.  Yes I realize that many have there media files in other formats.





iTunes only supports .mp4 video, I believe.

I use XBMC and never mess with the media player due to the hassel with meta being so slow to post (I turned it off) & .iso or video_ts folders. Since I rip both formats depending on future needs the media player isn’t a consideration to me.

iTunes is very limited in what formats are supported. Only MP4 and M4V (within a narrow scope of bitrates) can be streamed.

XBMC lets you stream other formats, but forces you to leave the native (simple) AppleTV interface. 

PLEX requires a paired computer running the PLEX server software. Playback quality depends on having a relatively fast computer that can transcode files as needed. Not all file types are supported.

The goal of Media Player is to provide support for additional video formats through the native AppleTV interface. This allows you to stream media files directly from a NAS drive or networked computer without having to convert them to a special format, launch a separate application or run special server software on a computer.

The upcoming Beta6 version brings huge improvements to Media Player, both from a UI standpoint and with regard to playback performance. More details will be available once Beta6 is released later this week.

Great thank you James, can’t wait to see what’s new!

James - I thought your reply really hit the nail on the head regarding the benefits of Media Player. It really is a killer app.

I use XBMC and I’m a big fan but it’s not easy for noobs. I’m mainly using it to watch streaming content from the web because Media Player is so good at playing from shares. OK, it can stutter sometimes on high-def files but there are promises of improvements in Beta6 so let’s be patient.

Now here’s the flip side of ktjensen’s argument; last week I tried to watch a 720p mkv file using XBMC but the file stuttered at the beginning and there was no sound. I re-booted the ATV2 and re-started XBMC several times with exactly the same results. I wasn’t ignoring Media Player, just trying to remedy a fault with XBMC but I eventually gave up. I then opened the file in Media Player and it was smooth and the sound played. My joy was almost short lived when I got an “out of memory” error after about ten minutes but I could resume the file immediately from the fail point and it never fell over again.

In short, for this particular file Media Player was the only option for viewing and I only had one hiccup. With the promised better memory handling of Beta6, hiccups should be less frequent and it will be the only player I use to access content from SMB shares. I love it.

While that is a detailed guide that you pointed to, for most people I suspect it is over-complicated.  It may be useful to those who have troubles getting SMB networking working.    However, I simply told both Media Player and XBMC that i wanted to use SMB, and they found my servers and allowed me to configure them for use without me ahving to take any special actions.

Just so everyone is aware.  Getting SMB (the file sharing protocol between computer devices) to work correctly, will not be easy.  It seems to be needed for Apple TV to use though.  On the MAC environment you have some native file sharing protocol called AFB (or something - forgetting its name); while on the Windows environment you have SMB.  Here is a discussion about fully activating SMB file sharing on windows 7 (aka WIN7) workstations (aka servers) in your LAN.  

I admit that JAMES may be onto something, but you still need a server in your LAN for MEDIA PLAYER to use. 

Will MEDIA PLAYER allow access to UPNP streams? If so then it would maybe be an XBMC killer.   Most of the internet stream sources are some version of UPNP stream.    

Hello All,

I am new to Firecore but after having used the Media Player I can say one thing that no one else has that really made the difference for me.

It provides Volume control with the Apple TV 2 remote!.

No other Media player allows you to control the Volume with your Apple TV 2 remote.

If you keep you Media files relitivly neat and tidy in a good Filing system It is simple to navigate and you don’t have to worry too much about your Metadata coming up wrong.

Metadata is just such a pain to get right sometimes, I hade 2001 a Space odessey as a file name an it came up with Caroline(a cartoon movie) I mean G’s, how does it get that wrong?

After useing numerous Media players on the ATV2 I can honestly say that these guys have got it right, and, with the fixes being put in place for the memory issue I can tell you, it is going to be excelent, just wait and see.

Plex is alright and pretty but with having to have it transcoded and then transmitted to the ATV2 on the go it is a drain on your PC/MAC and your home network.


I do like the plug-in’s for Plex, especially iMovies, and would love to have that added via nitoTV or as a favorite in the Media Player in some future edition of the Media player, but for now I would be happy to wait for the cream to come to the top later down the track, you cant push the Boffins too hard.


And thats my 2 cents.

I’m not really sure where the difficulty is. SMB shares have been supported by Media Player since Beta5 - I know because I only have a Windows XP Pro PC. All I have to do to do in WinXP is to select a folder to share with the network and it becomes available to Media Player. You have to go through the process of adding the share on ATV2 but that’s cool; you might not want to share every folder with every device. You’re right about needing a server but Windows, Linux and MacOS can serve files to the network without additional software such as Plex or TVersity. The only need for these programs is to transcode from an unsupported format to another supported by the viewing device. If the device supports the file being shared, there is no need to run media server software; simple file serving will do.

I’m streaming video from SMB shares on the PC and an O2 Joggler running Ubuntu Maverick - setup was easy for both and they are both available to Media Player and XBMC. For those interested, the Joggler is a 7" tablet device once made by OpenPeak.

The Windows 7 process mentioned in the xbmc forum is admittedly a PITA to implement but I think we’ll all have to put up with stuff like this in the future; it’s part of the price to be paid for better system security. It’s not dissimilar to the process of setting up Samba shares in Linux.

It’s not fair to criticise Media Player for the difficulty in setting up a share on a PC; that’s a Windows task and Microsoft should take the flak. Once it is set up though, Media Player can find it and handle most video files thrown at it.

AFP is the Apple networking process. smb is common in the PC world. The various versions of samba make things tricky. DLNA or UpNP is a mess. I would hope it wasn’t a piority. I very much doubt your claim about it though it may be true in some areas. In any case Apple has not gone that route and I really don’t feel they should just follow Windows.



just to note:


1)  SMB is working on my WIN7 workstation now.  Working completely after following numerous notes.  Just selecting to SHARE the directory is not everything you need to do.  Per the notes of many persons.


2)  MEDIA PLAYER is working great to play my local server content.  no problems.  no stuttering.  SPOKE TOO SOON.  It stuttered once while playing a movie.  will need to watch to see if it will continue to stutter randomly.  Once is not bad.  Watching MP4 (aka M4V) files shared from a WIN7 machine running SMB sharing.  Also noticed that if you pause for a rest room break, and then come back, the video and audio might go out of sink.  Will need to test that more.



I used to have this problem with Beta5 but haven’t experienced it in Beta6. I’ve found “pause and restart” in the new Media Player to be quick and trouble-free for all the files I’ve tested so far. Having said that, I don’t normally run test procedures. I just watch stuff and if I encounter any problems, I’ll note the file type and report the error.

 After pausing in Beta5 I used to rewind a few seconds before restarting; this seemed to fix any audio sync problems. It might also work with Beta6.