Organizing Photos on the Apple TV
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Q: I have thousands of photos and videos on my Windows 7 PC that I stream to my third-generation Apple TV. The problem is, the Apple TV puts ALL of my photos and videos into very large “buckets” in the browsing interface, making it very difficult to find a particular video or picture. Is there any way to browse by folders on the Apple TV similar to the way you can with the Roku or PS3 Server?
A: When accessing photos from a folder, the Apple TV will organize each top-level folder into a separate album, however sub-folders within those are basically ignored, with all photos aggregated into an album named for the primary, top-level folder.
If you’ve already built a photo folder structure more than one level deep on your PC, this means that there’s really no way to reflect this organization on your Apple TV without either reorganizing your existing photo collection into a single tier of folders or copying them to a separate folder structure exclusively for sharing with the Apple TV.
Note that you do not have to share ALL of your photo folders with the Apple TV; you can choose the Selected Folders option from the Photo Sharing settings in iTunes to see a list of all of the top-level folders and choose which ones to share with the Apple TV.
As another alternative, you can selectively share photos via iCloud Photo Stream with the Apple TV, where they can be accessed from the “Photo Streams” section. This requires the iCloud Control Panel for Windows to upload the photos to a free iCloud account, from which they can then be accessed on the Apple TV without requiring your computer to be powered on. However, although this allows you to organize your photos into albums independently of your PC’s file and folder layout, it still only supports a single, top layer of albums.
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