Originally Posted by tightasadrum
They have said that anything on my hard drive can somehow be watched via AppleTV. But so far it's just a little block of Apple engineering sitting on the shelf, plugged into my projection system.
Things on your hard drive that are in your iTunes library can be watched via Apple TV. (yes, I know that some folks are opposed to using iTunes for various reasons. I don't know of a workaround for them.)
I have a Mac set up as a media server for the house. TV content gets added three ways.
1) buy something through the iTunes store. I don't do much of this.
2) record off the air programs using EyeTV. I use one of their gadgets that looks like a tiny cable TV adapter with a USB cable coming out he other end. I pick shows to record off the TitanTV web site, and set the recording options to convert he programs to AppleTV format and add them to my iTunes library.
3) convert DVDs to digital files using HandBrake, a utility that can read a DVD and convert the bits to formats usable on devices that didn't exist when DVDs were invented, and add those to my iTunes library.
The iTunes library is physically stored on a two terabyte disk ($100) attached to the media server, and backed up via the built in Time Machine hourly backup system to another big drive. All drives are "whole disk encrypted" so if stolen I won't become a MPAA litigation target. :-)
ITunes is set up to share the library across only my password protected and authorized machines, what Apple calls "Home Sharing". This lets my AppleTV devices and iPad have access to my purchased or timeshifted content.
The AppleTV gadgets are usually used to watch this local content, stream Netflix content, or play slide shows from iPhoto.