This is the first post I wrote in March 2012 covering what I needed to do to get my music and media to go from my devices to my stereo or tv. Now you just click Airplay.
So I've managed to put together a media center that's easy to manage.
Before, I had all our content on my laptop (Macbook Pro). So when I was gone, my family couldn't watch our movies or see our pictures via Apple TV. Backups were done using portable hard drives. It all worked, but it was clunky.
So I bought a mac mini and a Time Capsule. I moved all the content onto the mini. Then I back it all up via Time Capsule. Time Capsule is slick, but it's tricky to setup right.
So now the mini is our media server. I set it up with its own Apple ID. Moved all our pictures and vids to it. I also moved all my music over to it. So now, with Apple TV, we can listen to music, watch vids, from upstairs and down, sans my MBP. Like I say. I had everything on my MBP before and if I was gone, so was the content. Problem solved. And when we order movies now we do it on the mini, so we can watch either up or down. I use screen sharing for the mini, so didn't need another keyboard, mouse or monitor. I just do a "connect as", I'm managing it. It's neato.