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Does anyone know if an Apple TV can play movies that are located on a remote share? For example, I rip my movies and store them on a NAS device. Can Apple TV be configured to play the movies over the network?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

While Boxee and XMBC can certainly enable the Apple TV product to play remote content, the answer I was looking for was more about the native capabilities. The main reason for the native capability requirement is ease of use and supportability (me supporting my wife).

So after my research and testing it became clear that Apple doesn't natively support streaming content from a NAS device.

Another point worth mentioning is the limited graphic capabilities on the Apple TV. When trying to display a streaming video from a full DVD rip produced significant chatter/jittering on the television. Not suprising considering the Apple TV is designed to display compressed content instead of uncompressed high resolution video files.

In the end the Apple TV is a smooth product for Apple users who like living in the iTunes integrated world. Unfortunately it's not so nice as a stand-alone media center device.

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Yep, take a look at BOXEE.

Boxee can be installed fairly easily via the ATV's USB port to bring Hulu and Comedy Central streaming, playback of any video or music file anywhere on your network in virtually any file type imagineable, and a bevy of internet A/V sources like Flickr,, NPR and BBC podcasts and tons of others—all upping the usefulness and fun of Apple's notoriously underachieving box by a factor of 10, easily. If you have an ATV, Boxee is a must-install, and it's 100% free.

This guide will get you up and running.

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Thanks for the info, but I was looking for info if Apple TV could do this natively... – Dscoduc Nov 9 '09 at 4:46
AFAIK no, it must use iTunes natively. – John T Nov 9 '09 at 4:54

You can also add XBMC on an Apple TV. It's one of the best media players around and supports most files. No harm is done to the original software:

XBMC is installed onto the Apple TV built-in harddrive but you will still be able you use your Apple TV software as normal, XBMC will only be an extra option that you can launch from the Apple TV's original menu when you want to utilize the extra features and functions that are available in XBMC compared to the original Apple TV software. So XBMC will not replace the original Apple TV software, it instead works as complement the existing Apple TV software.

Here's the wiki on how to install it:

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If you have a computer setup with iTunes reading from that NAS, then as long as that iTunes is running, you would be able to stream from that library with the Apple TV. You would need to have those movies in its library, but that shouldn't bee too big an inconvenience.

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