How to use iTunes Home Sharing with Apple TV

With the new Apple TV (2010) -- see our review -- Apple has done away with syncing and pin codes and everything else that complicated the process and now simply requires everything to use Home Sharing. So how does that work?

The Home Sharing feature in the iTunes 10 Advanced menu lets you easily share your iTunes media libraries among up to five computers in your household and, along with the new Apple TV, spread around the locations where you can view the movies and TV shows they contain. Turn on Home Sharing on each computer, using the same Apple ID for each one. You can then easily copy library contents from one computer to another (just drag and drop in your iTunes source column) so each person can have what they want on the computer they use when they sync their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. And everyone on the home network can immediately stream the contents from any of the libraries in the computers that are turned on in order to watch and listen. Also, you can extend this ability to your big screen via the new Apple TV. Just turn on Home Sharing in the Apple TV's Settings menu and enter the same iTunes Account information you used for Home Sharing on the computers. You can then stream the contents of any of the available libraries when you want to watch on that screen.

I'm currently streaming from both a desktop and a laptop to my Apple TV and it's working terrifically. Content is just there, I hit a button and it starts to stream immediately. Unlike the old Apple TV, where there was incredible lag or even the inability to elegantly fast forward, rewind, or skip through streaming content, this new iOS device handles it like a champ.

If you've tried it out yet, let us know what you think. If you need help getting started, check out our new Apple TV Forum.

[Apple iTunes News]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to use iTunes Home Sharing with Apple TV


Apple's strategy is to simplify the TV experience. Google's strategy is to add complexity by throwing "computer" features into the TV experience. Kind of like "WebTV HD." I think Apple is on the right track.

I just spent hours trying to figure out the best way to migrate my iTunes library to my son's new iMac. You mean I could have just dragged and dropped in homesharing?

Home Sharing sucks - I have my iTunes content (films, TV series, music) stored on a DNLA NAS that iTunes, Sonos anevens my PS3 is happy to see & work with but Apple TV demands that I have my COMPUTER turn ON all the time if I want to access/use that iTunes Library - streaming it from said NAS => Computer (running iTunes) => Apple TV - what a joke! Home Sharing / Apple TV should just see my iTunes Library on my NAS and work, just like Sonos does - go sort Apple!

@Melville your content may be on the NAS, but the iTunes library file, the physical database, is located on the computer that created it in iTunes. That is what Apple TV needs to load. I'm not sure if you can move the file or not.

So anyone know a way to display photos from the iPad/iPhone on the Apple TV? Seems to be a missing feature.

It most certainly doesn't work with Apple's new remote 2.0 app. If it is really true that ONE GUY worked on and is responsible for this app, they should drop that person into the Sarlacc pit with the drinky goof that lost his iPhone prototype!

My home sharing stopped working. I have windows 7 and wife has vista. I had copied some of her songs before, now it stopped working. Anything related to firewalls or something? Please help. It sees her library but won't open her library. She can't see my library on her computer either.

I have the Apple TV and a Mac Mini with an Extreme base station .. all new. Apple TV is working fine wirelessly , and I've logged into hme sharing from the Apple TV. It connects on my Apple Id, but doesn't display any computers. The menu"computers" has no drop-downs. I should se my mac mini. Sharin is on, pics are on, all libs are selected as published .. but nada on my Apple TV. I've been thru every discussion on this on the web, but no one seems to have my exact experience. Any suggestions would be appreciated, as I have about 15 minutes nightly to researh and try a solution. I'm a unix sysadmin, so blog away. I'm at a loss,and want to have a Pinot Noir, not read thru reams of discussion on an entertainement device.. My LesPaul is always ready to "entertain" me.. besides, netflix is treaming really nicely... :-)