Using Windows Home Server 2011 with Apple TV
In this guide we will show you how to use My Movies for Windows Home Server 2011 to copy your DVD or Blu-ray movies* for use with your Apple TV. The Apple TV requires a special video format, and this is what will be created from your existing movies if you follow this guide.
You will need to have My Movies for Windows Home Server 2011 installed, in addition to iTunes with a working AppleID set up on a client computer. The benefit of using My Movies is that it will enable your Apple TV to access our meta-data (in the form of a movie cover and a description of the film) when you watch your movies. A simple conversion from a movie folder to an mp4 file would not include this information. My Movies identifies your movies, copies them to your server, converts them to an Apple TV-compatible format and implements our high quality meta data automatically.
This guide applies to both Windows and Mac computers. The server software is Windows Home Server 2011 in both cases, but the Apple TV can be set up to stream movies from your home server using iTunes on both types of computer. It is also possible to install iTunes directly on the home server through remote desktop, if you do not wish to use a client computer.
The Movie Disc Copier
The Movie Disc Copier allows for automatic copying of DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray movies* to your server. You can set it up to make a full one to one copy of your movies for playback through your media player of choice. Just put your disc in the drive and the movie will copy automatically*. This function is the basis for the rest of this guide, as the data copied using the Movie Disc Copier is what's used to make the Apple TV versions as explained in the following chapters. Before you start copying your movies, please read the following section of this guide.
Configuring My Movies for Windows Home Server 2011
To set up the conversion process, click the My Moves icon and open the "Settings" menu on the right side of the screen, then go to the "Video Converter" tab. Under "Target Video Profile" select the correct profile according to which version of the Apple TV you have. We use an Apple TV 3, so that is the profile chosen in the screenshot below. Remember to select a folder on your server to where the converted files are to be stored, and take note of the location, as you will need to specify this in iTunes later. This menu also gives you a host of different options as to selecting audio tracks and subtitle tracks for conversion. Configure these according to your own preferences. If you put the Apple TV version of the movie in the same folder as the original file, you can choose to delete the original copied format after the Apple TV version has been created. Of course you should only do this if you do not plan to watch your movies on anything but the Apple TV.
There are two ways to convert movies to your preferred format. You can right-click on a movie folder in the "Movie Disc Copier", "Monitoring" or "Title Collection" tabs and select "Add to Converter Queue". Conversion will begin shortly, assuming there are no conversions ahead in the queue. The other way is to check the option to automatically put discs copied with the "Disc Copier" in the conversion queue in the aforementioned "Settings" page. Put a disc in the drive, let it copy* and wait for conversion to start. It should look like the screen below when your movies have been converted or are being converted.
Activating Home Sharing
For local streaming of movies to work you must activate the feature called Home Sharing on your Apple TV and in iTunes. In the latter it is quite simple, as you just click "Advanced" and then "Turn On Home Sharing". After that you just have to enter your password to activate the function. On the Apple TV you have to do much the same, but the process is a bit longer. We have chosen to illustrate this in a short picture gallery, as shown below.
Adding the movie folder to iTunes
To watch your converted movies on the Apple TV, you need to go through iTunes. On a Windows-based pc, open iTunes and go into the "File" menu and select "Add Folder to Library". Here you must locate your server and consequently the folder in which your Apple TV-formatted movies are located, which will enable the Apple TV to locate them on your local network. You must be logged in to the same account in iTunes as on your Apple TV for this to work.
On a Mac there is one important matter that needs to be taken care of before you add the folder to be shared with the Apple TV. Click "iTunes" at the top left of the screen and select "Preferences". Here you have to open the "Advanced" tab and remove the check-mark next to "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library". If you do not, the movies you are trying to stream from your home server will be transferred to your Mac, which does not really make much sense.
After you have made the above mentioned adjustment to the settings, it is time to find the folder on your server. Go into "Files" and choose "Add To Library". You will be shown a dialogue like the one below. Here you will have to locate your server and specify the folder to where you have saved the converted movies.
Watching the movies on your Apple TV is about as simple as it gets. Simply select "Computers" in the main menu and choose "Movies" to see your Apple TV-ready selection of films. Here you will be able to enjoy the benefits of using our meta-data, as you will get a cover for the film as well as a description of its contents.
This concludes the guide on how to use the My Movies plug-in for Windows Home Server 2011 to create movie files that are compatible with your Apple TV. If you run into any problems, please create a topic in our support forums so we may assist you.
* Due to legality in several countries, My Movies do not backup copy protected DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-ray titles. Users in countries that allow circumventing CSS and AACS copy protections when backing up their movies can install SlySoft AnyDVD or AnyDVD HD to remove these copy protections.