Using external drive

hi all


So here is my plan: apple tv 2 with aTV Flash connected via ethernet (or wi-fi) to an airport extreme (with an external hard drive connected to the airport).


I know that the atv can access the external HD with the media on it.


so here is my question: once i point the atv in the direction of the drive, will my movies etc. show up in the apple tv menu? i.e as if i was connecting to my iTunes library? or will i have to browse to select them?

:simple version: apple tv connects to/finds (Non NAS) drive with media on it. Will media only show up under “media” tab, or is it possible for the movies to show up in the “movies” tab? (like they would if the aTV were connected to iTunes)

If it doesn’t Already, please consider adding it as a feature, oh firecore dev team :slight_smile:


thanks in advance.

I have a lot of interest in the response to this.  I previously had the ATV1 with ATVFlash connected to a RAID1 configured external HD and it worked really well, but it was frustrating to not have access to Netflix and other streaming sources so I abandoned the setup to go to Boxee Box, but this can’t manage my itunes well.  So, I’m now following a similar path to what you’ve taken (maybe) - depends on the answer you receive.  It would be ideal if the movies showed up under movies instead of media as you mentioned (the same way it worked with the ATV1).

The AppleTV 2 works a bit differently than the ATV1 in a few regards.

  • The Movies & TV Shows menus are only used for rentals.
  • All iTunes content is listed (buried) under the Computers menu (E.G. Computers --> My iTunes Library --> Movies)
  • If using aTV Flash (black) to stream directly from a NAS drive, this content will appear in the Media menu.

Through the Media menu you can setup Favorites, which are essentially links to specific folders on the drive connected to your Airport Extreme. Many people setup Favorites for things like Movies, TV Shows, Kids Movies, etc… These Favorites will appear right in the main menu, which allow you to get to your stuff much quicker.

Thanks for the reply James. I never knew that the ATV2 worked in this way. In that case, I will be purchasing my copy of aTV Flash as soon as my ATV2 arrives in the mail.


I just have 2 more questions, if you wouldn’t mind.


1: If I move iTunes-purchased (protected by FairPlay) content to my external drive, will i still be able to play it? i.e Will the apple TV authorize it like you have to on a Mac/PC?


2: you mentioned streaming from a NAS drive. does connecting an external hard drive Via USB to an Airport Extreme count as such, or work in a similar fashion? I saw a post which detailed how to connect an ATV as such, but it didn’t specify if the drive was connected to the Airport, or how to set up the drive to be used in such a manner.


it was this post------>


once again, thanks so much for helping me out.

Protected iTunes content is not yet supported, but we’re hoping to support it in a future version.

Yep. A USB drive connected to an Airport Extreme will work just like a NAS drive.

I’ve not been able to get the NAS to connect using the current equipment I have (ATV2, D-Link 325) - at least not the way I had hoped.  I have an itunes server on the DNS325, but it doesn’t seem to find anything when I connect.  If its going to show up under computer or media, that’ll work too, but its a shame apple setup the menu the way they did.

I heard that iTunes severs were not supported, and that media HAD to come from an actual library.


Not TOO sure, but I remember someone saying this. maybe just do what I do and add an external drive to your router or something, or set up an actual library on a cheap comp. and leave it on 24/7.

Unfortunately iTunes Servers are not compatible with the AppleTV.

With aTV Flash (black) you can access the iTunes files (music and non-DRM video) directly from a NAS but the iTunes playlists will not be available.

Maybe this is a dumb question, but has there ever been an attempt to simply load standard iTunes to the AppleTv as a software program that can be navigated as you would if it were on a desktop?

A fair question, but unfortunately normal Mac apps cannot be used on the AppleTV.

Any chance there will be an update that would utilize the mini-usb port to connect an external HD?  That would simplify things dramatically for me and probably others.

That is not going to happen! The port only has hardware suitable for acting as a slave device.

I also heard that the mini-USB wasn’t capable of supporting an external hard drive, even if it was a powered drive. was designed to be used exclusively for diagnostics, i think. maybe in future (hopefully) but if it can’t be done, it can’t be done.

If all this is a huge concern, why not buy a Mac Mini and use MiRow to give an ATV-like interface? might cost a lot, but it overcomes a lot of the limitations you have. you could pick up a used old one off ebay for (relatively) cheap.

I had heard that it wasn’t being used because the HDMI and the usb couldn’t fit together.  I can solve that problem, but I can’t solve a problem involving the capabilities Apple put into the usb - guess I’ll have to go another route.  Sorry for the hijack…

Before jail breaking my 2nd generation Apple TV and installing aTV Flash black, I wish to make sure that I will achieve what I am aiming for. I have a MacBook Pro running OS10.8.2, an iPad3 and an AirPort Extreme. I have many videos in m4v format and currently watch them either direct from my iPad using FileBrowser and mirroring, or via mirroring from my MacBook Pro, each from a hard disk that is attached via USB to my AirPort Extreme. What I want to be able to do is watch these videos on AppleTV direct from the hard disk without having to use either my iPad or my computer.
Is this possible if I jailbreak the Apple TV and install a TV Flash black?

Before anyone asks, my picture is upside down because I live in the Southern Hemisphere. A further question, is it OK to Jailbreak my Apple TV when I am running iTunes 11.0.1?

Yes, with aTV Flash (black) installed you would be able stream files directly from the Airport Extreme to Apple TV without using an iPad or computer. :)

Full details on setting this up can be found here:

Thank you James. I am abit nervous about the jail breaking. I would appreciate your assurance that there is no problem with 5.1.1 on ATV and iTunes 11.1 it will work OK?

The current version of Seas0nPass will install the 5.0.2 software. An update for 5.1.1 is in the works, but not available yet.

No problems with the latest iTunes 11.0.1.

Thanks again James. Does that mean that I should wait for that upgrade before I do the jailbreak?