Need some advice with home entertainment system
I have the following setup in my home to accomodate my grandkids' desire to watch their movies, and my desire to have them do so without having to handle the DVD discs...
1 Mac Mini (mid-2010 version) with 320GB internal drive running OS X Lion.
3 AppleTVs attached to various televisions in the house.
I have ripped all of our movies and stored them in the iTunes library on the Mac Mini. All AppleTVs are connected to the Mac Mini using the Home Sharing option to be able to stream any of the ripped movies to any of the AppleTVs throughout the house.
The problem that I am trying to solve is this:
The iTunes library has outgrown the size of the Mac Mini hard drive. To get around this, I moved the iTunes library to an external 2TB drive connected via USB. Now all of the media fits on the drive, but I am regularly encountering issues with the external drive going to sleep and dropping the connection to the Mac MIni... which causes me to constantly having to go to the Mac Mini and reawaken the external drive. I have tried a couple of utilities that are supposed to keep the drive awake and connected, but so far nothing is working.
I have considered upgrading the internal hard drive, but according to Apple, the biggest hard drive that is supported by that computer is 500GB - which is NOT enough to solve my problem. Even upgrading to a new Mac Mini (starting at $999) will only afford me a max configuration of dual internal 750GB drives. Clearly I could resolve this with something like the Mac Pro, but that is extreme overkill... like dropping an A-bomb on an ant colony.
Does anyone have any ideas for an inexpensive solution?