How can I play video on my airport network?
May 9, 2007 1:04 PM   Subscribe

How can I watch video saved on my iMac's external firewire HDD through an airport express on my MacBook?

My current setup is an iMac (intel) with an external firewire HDD where I'm keeping all my media. I've got an airport express across the hall in my apartment. In the living room I've got my macbook, and soon my TV. My non-appleTV solution is to use my macbook hooked up to the TV to watch videos saved in the other room. I can mount the hard drive on both computers, but when I try to play any videos using FrontRow or VLC it's full of hiccups to the point of being unwatchable. Copying files over to the macbook when I want to watch them isn't an option since it takes far too long, and I'd like to keep the wear to a minimum on the macbook HDD. I've also thought about keeping the HDD in the armoire with the TV and mount it whenever I want to use it, but then it's not accessible for copying from the iMac, which is its primary purpose. Is the only realistic option to unmount and unplug the HDD, run it down the hall, plug it in, and mount it on the macbook? Should the video be playing better on my setup than it is?
posted by monkeymadness to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know what format your movie files are in. Have you tried iTunes sharing from the iMac, and viewing video in iTunes on the MacBook?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: Sorry, Blazecock. They're varied -- mpeg, avi, all different codecs, but all can be opened in FrontRow. A couple did import, but not most. Those that did import are low quality so it's hard to see if there's any improvement. I guess I could convert them all, but that won't solve the problem of what to do when I get more. The sneakernet idea is more appealing to me.
posted by monkeymadness at 1:59 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: Gosh, I hate when I waste a question I've been saving. I tried MPlayer and turned on the buffer (default at 8mb) and it works great. I do wish I could use FrontRow, and if anyone's got any other ideas then I'd love to hear them. Here's to hoping someone else who does a search on this gets some benefit.
posted by monkeymadness at 2:40 PM on May 9, 2007

Are you using 802.11n or 802.11g? "N" should have enough bandwidth for video, but it's no surprise that "G" does not.

I'd like to keep the wear to a minimum on the macbook HDD I wouldn't worry about that too much.
posted by adamrice at 2:42 PM on May 9, 2007

It should be playing better on your current setup than it is - I've mounted and played from TS_VIDEO dirctories.

Consider as well just copying stuff onto a thumbdrive - you can get a 1Gig model for less than $20 on newegg.

I'd like to keep the wear to a minimum on the macbook HDD.

Yeah. You're not going to be able to do that.
posted by mzurer at 2:45 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: adamrice: It's just g. I don't think the express has n support yet. Even if it did, though, my imac is the core duo, so there would be a bottleneck between it and the airport.

mzurer: Good point about the thumbdrive. It wouldn't be as "on demand" as I'd like, but easy and cost-effective.
posted by monkeymadness at 3:04 PM on May 9, 2007

Monkeymadness, try converting one of your movies to an MPEG4 format, so that you can stream it over iTunes. If you still have stuttering problems, at least you know that the problem is with your network.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:51 PM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: Update: I found the buffer setting in VLC (prefs>input codecs>access modules>http(s) ), and I set it to 5000ms. I also went into my airport admin utility under airport>wireless options and set the multicast rate to 11. Supposedly this "increases performance of certain types of network activity [but] reduces wireless range". Just trying one of the above doesn't do it, but things seem to work pretty well now.
posted by monkeymadness at 7:35 AM on May 11, 2007

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