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Inside iOS 4.3: mobile streaming with iTunes Home Sharing

post #1 of 45
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Apple's release of iOS 4.3, due for public release next week on March 11, introduces iTunes Home Sharing to the company's mobile devices, allowing iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to stream content from their local iTunes computer.

Home Sharing in iTunes

Home Sharing is a feature of iTunes that is currently restricted to Macs or PCs. It allows up to five computers running iTunes to stream or transfer music, videos and other content between the system's iTunes libraries.

On each computer running iTunes, the user activates Home Sharing as a feature within preferences. The user then logs each into the same Apple ID, and then only needs to be on the same local network to allow other similarly configured local systems to stream content from the other computers' iTunes libraries.

Computers running iTunes can also use Home Sharing to both manually transfer (import) iTunes content from other Home Sharing libraries, or configure them to automatically transfer new purchases from another library on the network.



Home Sharing in iOS 4.3

With the release of iOS 4.3 (and iTunes 10.2), Apple brings Home Sharing to its mobile devices, allowing users to access content from their local iTunes library without downloading or syncing content; it simply plays wirelessly.

To use the feature, iOS users log into their Apple ID under iPod Settings, which then allows the device to discover the Shared Libraries on the local network and access them from remote streaming of songs, movies, TV episodes, podcasts, iTunes U and audiobooks.

An unlimited number of iOS devices can access content via Home Streaming, just as iTunes supports any number of iPods, iPhones and iPads via sync. In order to use Home Streaming in another location with systems tied to a different iTunes account, the user would simply enter the new account information.

Remote streaming of iTunes movies and music appeared to be very high quality on the high speed 802.11n WiFi network. While initial playback of a commercial movie took a few seconds to begin, we were subsequently able to scrub through the movie to jump to another point with playback resuming instantly.

Playback requires a WiFi network, and is limited to iOS devices that can support iOS 4.3 (which currently excludes both the older first and second generation iPod touch, iPhone and iPhone 3G models from 2008 or earlier, and the newest CDMA Verizon iPhone 4, which won't support iOS 4.3 until Apple releases a parallel update that includes its required firmware.)



post #2 of 45
So yeah, obviously same feature could be used to stream from your backed up version of itunes, will be saved on the Apple Data Centre and available anywhere there's wifi

Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?
post #3 of 45
So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?
post #4 of 45
After this feature was announced yesterday I kept saying to myself just one word:



FINALLY
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post

So yeah, obviously same feature could be used to stream from your backed up version of itunes, will be saved on the Apple Data Centre and available anywhere there's wifi

Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?

ATV's don't so I doubt it. It's 5 computers and as many idevices that are authorized under the same account or I guess now as many idevices that are shared?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?

From the pictures of the iOS control panel, it appears to be the case that it won't work that way. Isn't that kind of what airplay is for though? Not the computer part, just the push part. Pull from computers push to ATV. Seems a little convoluted doesn't it? We'll have to wait and see
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post #6 of 45
Does iTunes have to be open for this to work? Or can it just work as a service?
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbadrobbo View Post

Does iTunes have to be open for this to work? Or can it just work as a service?

I believe iTunes has to be running and the computer must be awake.
post #8 of 45
I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!



But I have to post issue details to developer site.
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post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

I believe iTunes has to be running and the computer must be awake.

indeed it does
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post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?

Very correct. What's interesting is I can use an iPad IPod app to pull from an iTunes library and ship it to my AppleTV. Nice for when viewing on the iPad move to Family Room TV then to hide from noise in the den or the display in the kitchen while I prepare an adult beverage.. The lag while it shifts is a bit long. While iTunes is the source content is passing through the iPad. Can still swap out and look up the proportions of that drink she likes. Convincing me to keep the iPad for home use and the iPad 2 to look secksy at SBUX.

Played with it tonight watching the iPad2 podcast.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post


Does the mobile device count as one of the 5 allowed machines to use home share?

Home Share devices don't count against the 5. A drawback is that if your home has several libraries with different ITunes accounts feeding them, they have to use a common AppleID for Home Share to see each other on the Home Shared network. And it's not possible yet to have an iOS device participate in more than one Home.

Edit: You can send the same DRM protected content to two iOS devices at once. I'm pulling digital copy of Dark Knight to and iPhone and to an AppleTV at the same time. Of course different content works too. Not sure yet how many. Only 6 iOS devices at the moment.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Home Share devices don't count against the 5. A drawback is that if your home has several libraries with different ITunes accounts feeding them, they have to use a common AppleID for Home Share to see each other on the Home Shared network. And it's not possible yet to have an iOS device participate in more than one Home.

Edit: You can send the same DRM protected content to two iOS devices at once. I'm pulling digital copy of Dark Knight to and iPhone and to an AppleTV at the same time. Of course different content works too. Not sure yet how many. Only 6 iOS devices at the moment.

Maybe I'm missing something...

How is this different from the Remote app?
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So I guess iTunes can't pull /stream content from an iOS device?

That's somewhat of a trick question. Yes, iTunes can do this, but the iOS device has to enable sharing to iTunes, which neither 4.3 or any other Apple approved app does.

However, you can jailbreak your iPhone and then run FireFly Media Server and share publicly to anyone on the WiFi network. I do this all the time and have gotten interesting feedback from random people playing music from my iPhone.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Maybe I'm missing something...

How is this different from the Remote app?

The Remote App won't play content to the iOS device you're holding. It'll play to ATV or Airport Express.

With AirView you could have done something similar, video only. Not as easily though.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/airview/id412370918?mt=8
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Maybe I'm missing something...

How is this different from the Remote app?

What's different is the remote app controlled the AppleTV. Mobile iOS devices did not have the ability to stream from iTunes but required the content to be stored on local flash to play. They've added a way for the iPod app to connect to a Home Share and stream from any iTunes library in that Home Share. I hadnt thought of streaming the same DRM content to multiple devices before this evening so hadn't yet tried it on both Apple TVs. Also, in the past you told the AppleTV to get the content from the library so it didn't pass through the iPad/iPod remote. Perhaps they are bypassing the mobile device. Next is connecting a network sniffer to watch the flows.
post #16 of 45
I wonder if this will let me stream over the radio stations in iTunes. I don't know why I can't do it on my iOS devices.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmikeo View Post

I wonder if this will let me stream over the radio stations in iTunes. I don't know why I can't do it on my iOS devices.

Still doesn't. This used to work with old AppleTV if you made a playlist that linked an iTunes Radio Station. That stopped with iOS AppleTV and I'm forced to create favorites on the AppleTV Internet Radio. At least I can control those with the remote.
post #18 of 45
Very interesting, I think this will take sales away from some specialized home A/V systems.

I envision having an iPod touch or an iPad in each room, docked to an A/V device. For more rooms and/or situations where simultaneous video feeds are requested and could saturate the wireless network, just have several wireless routers each serving a subset of the rooms (configure the routers to use different channels). As long as gigabit ethernet is used to link the server and wireless routers, this should be sufficient for most homes.
post #19 of 45
This feature is very handy - I'm stunned that it has taken so long to implement it. Is it March 11th yet?
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!

I'm okay with Home Sharing for iTunes, but you're right in that ServeToMe/StreamToMe can handle non-iTunes files on an iPad or later generation iPhone or iPod Touch. That would include EyeTV recordings before they've been exported into a file format that's compatible with Apple mobile devices. It's a tremendously flexible app and costs just a couple bucks. Moreover, it works with 3G wireless, though video quality degrades as the app adjusts to lower bandwidths.

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post #21 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I am very disappointed -- ServeToMe is better!



But I have to post issue details to developer site.

I'm curious to know what you are disappointed about. Does it not function as detailed by Apple? Is it buggy?
post #22 of 45
I haven't seen anyone confirm that you can "move" as well as "play" from homeshared iTunes. That's the neatest thing about going iTunes to iTunes, you can get it to show only the differences between 2 libraries (to remove duplicates), then drag content from one to another. If I can copy albums selectively and individually from iTunes to iOS without syncing, I'm going to be very pleased. I hate syncing over cables, am never in the same room as the romputer when I want to do it.
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

... A drawback is that if your home has several libraries with different ITunes accounts feeding them, they have to use a common AppleID for Home Share to see each other on the Home Shared network. And it's not possible yet to have an iOS device participate in more than one Home.
...

I don't think the highlighted (BOLD) one is correct although I have neither proof nor confirmation that it is. If you have one or several (cool) NAS devices in the same network that has iTunes Server capability (essentially files that are stored in the NAS drive are published as shared e.g. Buffalo LinkStation HDD or D-Link DNS-320 NAS drive or Amahi Home Server OS ) then the files can be accessed from many iTunes app in the same network w/o requiring using the same common ID. I believe this new iOS 4.3 home sharing feature uses the same function i.e. does not need to use any ID (although can be password-locked) beyond what the NAS is called.

I the case of multiple libraries/multiple accounts, as long as they are published as shared and your (or their) iTunes app is looking for shared library then it can be accessed.

For one iDevice to participate in more than one home (share), I believe the new (relevant) account credentials has to be put in before it can pull the contents so that only suck if you change location every so often I guess..
post #24 of 45
Can anyone tell me a single good reason why Apple allows wireless streaming but not wireless syncing?

The Zune has had it since 2008, for god's sake and most Android devices do the same...
post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by STecchino View Post

After this feature was announced yesterday I kept saying to myself just one word:

FINALLY

Now we just need wireless syncing, only been waiting around 6 years for it.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

I don't think the highlighted (BOLD) one is correct although I have neither proof nor confirmation that it is. If you have one or several (cool) NAS devices in the same network that has iTunes Server capability (essentially files that are stored in the NAS drive are published as shared e.g. Buffalo LinkStation HDD or D-Link DNS-320 NAS drive or Amahi Home Server OS ) then the files can be accessed from many iTunes app in the same network w/o requiring using the same common ID. I believe this new iOS 4.3 home sharing feature uses the same function i.e. does not need to use any ID (although can be password-locked) beyond what the NAS is called.

I the case of multiple libraries/multiple accounts, as long as they are published as shared and your (or their) iTunes app is looking for shared library then it can be accessed.

For one iDevice to participate in more than one home (share), I believe the new (relevant) account credentials has to be put in before it can pull the contents so that only suck if you change location every so often I guess..

Shared library does not equal home share library. ATV2 won't even see my firefly library.

Libraries must have the same apple id to be on the same "home share", however you can have multiple home shares on the same network.

I've tested all of the above.
post #27 of 45
I might not fully understand this feature. I have my entire iTunes content on my iMac, iPad and iTouch. Why would I want to play the content on my Mac iTunes library if it is already on my mobile device. So the thought there is that I don't have to have my music loaded on all my devices. Except if I do that when I leave my house I leave my music behind. See I think I don't understand how this feature gives me something new.
post #28 of 45
Kent,

Not everyone can keep their entire library on their mobile device. This feature makes the entire library available when at home, but yes, you'll only carry a subset when you leave home.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kent909 View Post

I might not fully understand this feature. I have my entire iTunes content on my iMac, iPad and iTouch. Why would I want to play the content on my Mac iTunes library if it is already on my mobile device. So the thought there is that I don't have to have my music loaded on all my devices. Except if I do that when I leave my house I leave my music behind. See I think I don't understand how this feature gives me something new.

In order to fully understand this feature, you may need a much bigger iTunes library ; ) Seriously, if your library fits on your idevice, and is not creating space constraints on that device, the feature is no big deal, but this is not the case for some folks, myself included.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

I believe iTunes has to be running and the computer must be awake.

that's the biggest drag about an otherwise fine enhancement to the home media experience.

i've really enjoyed the ATVs i've had (both the OG and the latest, streaming, version), but particularly liked to use the ATV as a media player in my home during social gatherings. i could pick a playlist and have a custom slideshow running (something thematic to the gathering), which was a nice conversation starter.

with the streaming ATV holding no content of its own, i have to have my one media center mac awake to access playlists, photos & videos. as an interim step to an eventual cloud experience, this is less than optimal...

that said, having netflix access has been a tremendous addition to the product.
post #31 of 45
1. How are rentals treated? Today, if you have a rental, you can transfer it to an iOS device, but I believe it is essentially then "checked out" to that device. Will you be able to use Home Sharing to watch a rental on an iOS device? Could two iOS devices be watching the same rental?

2. What about photos? iTunes syncs photos from iPhoto or Aperture to your iOS device. Will this new feature allow me to access all my photos and albums without needing to sync them first? (Granda comes over and you want to show her the lastest photos of the grandkids. Grab your iPad so you can look at them at the kitchen table instead of crowding around a computer.)

If those two things are possible, you've essentially turned an iPad into a portable AppleTV that you can take anywhere in your house to watch content. Add in the new video output capabilities and you can plug it into any TV in the house.
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ratay1 View Post

that's the biggest drag about an otherwise fine enhancement to the home media experience.

Would be nice if there was a simple way to configure iTunes or Home Share as a server service that would run w/o a user being logged in. When I saw this coming, I picked up a Mac Mini and just run it headless with auto-login and have iTunes run hidden from the Login Items. RAID 0 stripe for now but I'm going to hit 1TB in library content this year so I'm going to have to go external.
post #33 of 45
Instead of playing music through my mobile device I'd like to play it through a good set of wifi speakers - I think this means AirPlay. Does anybody recommend a pair of AirPlay speakers or a site listing good options.
post #34 of 45
For those saying you need your local iTunes running to use the iOS homeshare, having your iTunes on a remote server will allow you to access the service anywhere there is wifi, even if local machine is unavailable. Should be fairly soon now.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

If those two things are possible, you've essentially turned an iPad into a portable AppleTV that you can take anywhere in your house to watch content. Add in the new video output capabilities and you can plug it into any TV in the house.

If you have an EyeTV tuner and their latest software along with the EyeTV Remote app, you can also watch live TV or EyeTV recordings on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. See http://www.elgato.com/elgato/na/main...TV-app.en.html

The app has been around for quite awhile, now.

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post #36 of 45
SO, what is going to happen with the Apple Remote app? Will this be built into 4.3 or added to the Remote app?
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammie View Post

SO, what is going to happen with the Apple Remote app? Will this be built into 4.3 or added to the Remote app?

Remote still controls playback on a machine running iTunes and AppleTV. As it applies to Home Sharing, the Remote is restricted to devices connected to a single Home Share. It still control Apple TV1 outside of Home Share. Looks to still be a free app but doesn't come preinstalled from what I've seen. I don't think any changes were necessary for the Remote App since it just controls devices and doesn't send/receive media streams.

It's the iPod App on the iPad/iPhone that allow connections to the Home Share that pulls content from libraries.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

Remote still controls playback on a machine running iTunes and AppleTV. As it applies to Home Sharing, the Remote is restricted to devices connected to a single Home Share. It still control Apple TV1 outside of Home Share. Looks to still be a free app but doesn't come preinstalled from what I've seen. I don't think any changes were necessary for the Remote App since it just controls devices and doesn't send/receive media streams.

It's the iPod App on the iPad/iPhone that allow connections to the Home Share that pulls content from libraries.

Okay, so the iPod app will allow the streaming via Home Sharing. That's cool. I was sort of wondering since very little has been mentioned that I have been able to find about this feature.

Thanks!
post #39 of 45
My question is why not allow syncing via this feature as well? The data is already being streamed. Then it would finally be goodbye stupid wired syncing!

The other thing that will make this awesome is if they eventually allow you to have zumocast-like features such as using your AppleID to set up your Mac as your own personal cloud that you can access from anywhere you can connect to the internet.

"Personal Cloud Computing" is my version of the "Cloud Computing Future" keeping personal content personal instead of requiring you to sacrifice that privacy to hand over your documents and media to a 3rd party in order to access it from the Cloud. This is much more exciting to me than uploading and storing all my files to MobileMe or iDisk or DropBox, etc...
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post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyopicPaideia View Post

My question is why not allow syncing via this feature as well? The data is already being streamed. Then it would finally be goodbye stupid wired syncing!

The other thing that will make this awesome is if they eventually allow you to have zumocast-like features such as using your AppleID to set up your Mac as your own personal cloud that you can access from anywhere you can connect to the internet.

"Personal Cloud Computing" is my version of the "Cloud Computing Future" keeping personal content personal instead of requiring you to sacrifice that privacy to hand over your documents and media to a 3rd party in order to access it from the Cloud. This is much more exciting to me than uploading and storing all my files to MobileMe or iDisk or DropBox, etc...

The issue with wireless syncing would be corrupt backups and other potential files. This is why many electronics companies state that firmware should not be updated over wireless. This could potentially brick an electronic device.
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