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wartnig
Jun 17, 2009, 11:36 AM
hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?



coogee
Jun 17, 2009, 05:29 PM
I went this route (ditched ATV, now use Mini as HTPC).
Personally, I love it, much better but I use Plex and I'll never buy an iTunes movie. 5.1 no problem from Plex.

jahama
Jun 17, 2009, 06:37 PM
I setup my mac mini with eyetv hybrid, and turbo264 from elgato and everything works well. I would probably beef up the RAM to 4 Gig for performance. The cool thing is right after a show is recorded, eyetv 3 will compress it for access over wifi by either another computer or my iphone.

Also records clear QAM ("free" of my regular analog cable - which I pay $12/month for), and it looks great.

Remote is ok, could be better.

Also installed cytv to stream the eyetv signal live to my other computers in the house (pseudo slingbox).

Also running plex but haven't hooked up the TOS cable to the mac mini to try out the 5.1.

the2j
Jun 17, 2009, 11:26 PM
+1 for the mini !

After upgrading you will never miss your Atv again (well maybe the HDMI)

azdunerat
Jun 17, 2009, 11:37 PM
Love my mini and plex has a great GUI, so easy my wife can use it without issue. My only suggestion is if you have an iPod touch or iPhone download snatch and the custom plex remote screens! It makes using plex much easier and a lot more fun.

bartzilla
Jun 18, 2009, 02:54 AM
hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?

Never had an apple TV but I sold a windows media centre machine and replaced it with a mini running plex. And I'm very glad I did. Can't hear the mini during use (to be fair, couldn't hear the windows machine either, just making the point that the mini is silent as I expect your apple TV is), except for the usual noises any player makes while loading and unloading DVD drive.

Bye Bye Baby
Jun 18, 2009, 04:23 AM
I really find that both the ATV and the mini work well together.

The mini is a great server for music and movies throughout the house. I have a drobo attached to it and it works a charm.

The ATV really does an excellent job at getting the stuff onto the tv.

wartnig
Jun 18, 2009, 07:16 AM
cheers for the advice guys.. I have had a play around with Plex (About 6 months ago).. so will have to reinstall it on the Mini and see how it works.

I take it you wont be able to play any itunes purchased movies?

The only reason i am selling my ATV is becasue bothe the ATV and the Mini are hooked up to my TV!! So kinda makes sense to drop one.My only concern is the 5.1 surround... fingers crossed i can get this working with my movies i have converted with handbrake (ATV preset).

Does plex play MKV files?

scotthayes
Jun 18, 2009, 11:02 AM
I really find that both the ATV and the mini work well together.

The mini is a great server for music and movies throughout the house. I have a drobo attached to it and it works a charm.

The ATV really does an excellent job at getting the stuff onto the tv.

That the exact route I'm planning. Any tips or advice?

kadeschs
Jun 18, 2009, 11:54 AM
That the exact route I'm planning. Any tips or advice?

Get a second job to pay for it? LOL Seriously, I've been thinking of doing the same. I just can't justify the cost. I do like what the Mini can bring to the table though. Let me know how it goes.

srexy
Jun 18, 2009, 01:30 PM
cheers for the advice guys.. I have had a play around with Plex (About 6 months ago).. so will have to reinstall it on the Mini and see how it works.

I take it you wont be able to play any itunes purchased movies?

The only reason i am selling my ATV is becasue bothe the ATV and the Mini are hooked up to my TV!! So kinda makes sense to drop one.My only concern is the 5.1 surround... fingers crossed i can get this working with my movies i have converted with handbrake (ATV preset).

Does plex play MKV files?

Plex will play anything - even rar's of non-specific formats apparently (not that I've tried this one)

I had the :apple:tv for over a year before the Mini came into being and I'm looking forward to putting it in our bedroom when my father's day gift (32" LCD panel) arrives. W/xbmc installed on the :apple:tv I should be able to stream the content off my Mini...

richard.martin
Jun 18, 2009, 02:00 PM
hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?

Buy it. 5.1 is no bother.... DTS, 2.0 it all comes thru. I use Plex and remote buddy and EyeTV - perfect, my 5 year can use it - literally....

geoffreak
Jun 18, 2009, 03:52 PM
The mini Toslink to Toslink cable I use to connect my Mini to my 5.1 surround system makes a HUGE difference over an analog connection, even if the audio isn't surround. Most receivers can handle turning stereo sound into surround sound with little effort and a great effect.

bartzilla
Jun 19, 2009, 02:15 AM
I take it you wont be able to play any itunes purchased movies?

I've never tried it
Keep in mind you could AT WORST, if it does't 'just work' in Plex, just play these via front row, which I think you can access through plex anyway. You won't be stuck with stuff you just can't play.

Antares
Jun 19, 2009, 02:39 PM
Can you get the Apple Remote to work well with Plex?

brentsg
Jun 19, 2009, 02:42 PM
Can you get the Apple Remote to work well with Plex?

Absolutely. I find the Apple remote to be sufficient.

geoffreak
Jun 19, 2009, 04:45 PM
Sometimes I want the Apple remote to control iTunes while Plex isn't running, but it can't do that.

Bokes
Jun 20, 2009, 07:01 AM
What is the major benefit of going with mac mini vs Appletv?
Is it the ability to use different codecs and get better quality?

SpeedFleX
Jun 20, 2009, 09:26 AM
What is the major benefit of going with mac mini vs Appletv?
Is it the ability to use different codecs and get better quality?

yes, you can also watch a dvd without the need of converting if you dont already have a dvd player.

the possibilities are just alot more with a macmini since you can add things to it

Pigumon
Jun 20, 2009, 06:37 PM
I had the :apple:tv for over a year before the Mini came into being

The mini was released two years before the :apple:tv... did you mean came into being at your house?

I ended up buying a NMT (hdx-1000) instead of apple tv or mini. I have a mini, but it doesn't have HDMI, doesn't output 1080P very well, and the framerate drops during 1080P playback.

So for now, the NMT is leaps and bounds better. I have a 1.5TB installed, has HDMI, Composite, Component, optical audio, no fan (no noise). Drawbacks- need parallels to take advantage of the extra linux apps, otherwise, you can just format as windows and mount it on your mac. Also, some codecs are not yet supported, but so far almost all are. Has DTS output.

aduteau
Jun 26, 2009, 03:00 PM
Sometimes I want the Apple remote to control iTunes while Plex isn't running, but it can't do that.

Try this out, I've been using this on my Mac mini for Plex, iTunes, Safari, Google earth and more .. all on the living room big screen using only the Apple remote (even shutdown the mini from the apple remote):

http://www.iospirit.com/index.php?mode=view&obj_type=infogroup&obj_id=24&sid=9635907G6688d9eee1483390

Its really worth the look if you only want one remote to access everything on your mini :)

Hope this helps :)

srexy
Jun 27, 2009, 03:35 AM
The mini was released two years before the :apple:tv... did you mean came into being at your house?
... snip

Yes

soLoredd
Jun 27, 2009, 05:37 AM
I really find that both the ATV and the mini work well together.

The mini is a great server for music and movies throughout the house. I have a drobo attached to it and it works a charm.

The ATV really does an excellent job at getting the stuff onto the tv.

Agreed. I bought a $250 Mini off ebay after getting my 40GB Apple TV. I don't need the Mini to do anything but stream from an attached 1TB MyBook. I thought about doing the Mini-only thing but this way I can keep my Mini hidden away with the attached HDD and the Apple TV leaves a small footprint. One HDMI cable, one TOSlink cable, and power cord.

mscriv
Jul 7, 2009, 11:19 AM
What would you guys say is the lowest available system requirements to use a mini as a successful home theater system? I'm mainly looking to use it for movies and internet on the big screen in the living room. Movies are obvious, but using the net I would like to do basic surfing, google maps, hulu, and other media access like tv shows availalbe online, etc. Do you need the latest model maxed out to be able to do all of this or would a previous generation work. I'm assuming you need to have an Intel model, but would a 1.5ghz be sufficient? My budget is pretty tight and if I can buy a used mini to make this work that would be great.

geoffreak
Jul 7, 2009, 11:23 AM
I can only confirm that a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is enough to play 1080p without any problems. I wouldn't recommend going any lower than this model.

Cave Man
Jul 7, 2009, 01:54 PM
I can only confirm that a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is enough to play 1080p without any problems.

That really depends on the bit rate of the file. The 2 ghz GMA950 has trouble with some very high bit rate Blu-ray rips.

geoffreak
Jul 7, 2009, 01:58 PM
That really depends on the bit rate of the file. The 2 ghz GMA950 has trouble with some very high bit rate Blu-ray rips.
I was more thinking of the average bit rate rips not being able to be played on lower processors.
Any computer's processor can be topped if you get a high enough bit rate :rolleyes:

Cave Man
Jul 7, 2009, 02:09 PM
I was more thinking of the average bit rate rips not being able to be played on lower processors.
Any computer's processor can be topped if you get a high enough bit rate :rolleyes:

The 9400m Macs are better. My 1.83 MacBook Air plays Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Bourne Ultimatum, better than my 2 gHz mini, and those are among the highest bit rate movies you can get on Blu-ray.

geoffreak
Jul 7, 2009, 03:02 PM
The 9400m Macs are better. My 1.83 MacBook Air plays Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Bourne Ultimatum, better than my 2 gHz mini, and those are among the highest bit rate movies you can get on Blu-ray.

Yeah, I upgraded my 1.83GHz to a 2.26GHz Mini for the extra power and the 9400m. Once SL comes and software like Plex starts to use OpenCL, I think we'll be able to play movies in Super Hi-Vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision). :D

rower
Jul 14, 2009, 09:58 PM
I am interested in using a mini as a pvr and tuner for off the air broadcasts (replace cable tv).

is the software interface easy enough that others can use it? that is very important to me.

I assume elgato is the tuner/pvr? Is the UI good?

How would plex help me?

I don't want to add complexity to the UI or I will get shot down and have to have the cable box.

I have an apple tv now, btw. great interface. wish I could have a tuner/pvr attached to that!

Tower-Union
Jul 14, 2009, 10:44 PM
Yeah, I upgraded my 1.83GHz to a 2.26GHz Mini for the extra power and the 9400m. Once SL comes and software like Plex starts to use OpenCL, I think we'll be able to play movies in Super Hi-Vision (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Hi-Vision). :D

Holy hell. . . I would never even dream of that!

meulemaster
Aug 11, 2009, 04:29 PM
Sorry if this got asked before but is the lower end model mac mini currently offered good enough to serve as a media centre. I will mainly be using it to play movies and stream by using plex

I dont have too many HD movies.

I want to know what some good some good reasons are to drop an extra 200 on the higher end model.

Any advice would be much appreciatted!

Cheers,

Colin

brentsg
Aug 11, 2009, 04:33 PM
Sorry if this got asked before but is the lower end model mac mini currently offered good enough to serve as a media centre. I will mainly be using it to play movies and stream by using plex

I dont have too many HD movies.

I want to know what some good some good reasons are to drop an extra 200 on the higher end model.

Any advice would be much appreciatted!

Cheers,

Colin

You should be fine but until Plex is able to take advantage of the GPU at some point in the future, it'll always be possible for some HD encode to skip some frames. That doesn't mean it's likely, or that it happens a lot, or that should happen at all... but I spent the extra $200 just to know that I'm getting the best playback that I could get.

meulemaster
Aug 11, 2009, 04:47 PM
You should be fine but until Plex is able to take advantage of the GPU at some point in the future.

When do you think that will be? and will upgrades of the mac mini be possible then?? (sorry for noobness)

natasha69
Aug 11, 2009, 06:07 PM
hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?

i have both. ATV is easy for the wife/family to use. macmini is what i have in the office - have the DROBO attached so it can share all the media to the ATV's located throughout the house.

livingonvideo13
Aug 12, 2009, 05:21 PM
I don't have an Apple TV to compare to but I just bought refurbished mini mac from computer geeks a few weeks ago

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=MB138LLA-3R

I actually bought 2 of them (one for my parents) and one of them came with 2gb of ram even though on the web site they only say 1gb.

They ran out of them but they may get some more.

It has been able to play everything that I have thrown at it including some 1080p movies.

The 1080p movies had a hard time playing with VLC but plex plays them great.

Chris Rogers
Aug 13, 2009, 10:49 AM
Sorry if this got asked before but is the lower end model mac mini currently offered good enough to serve as a media centre. I will mainly be using it to play movies and stream by using plex

I dont have too many HD movies.

I want to know what some good some good reasons are to drop an extra 200 on the higher end model.

Any advice would be much appreciatted!

Cheers,

Colin

Yes, it is great.

Even the older 1.83ghz would be sufficient. I play video (some HD some not) while downloading media and burning cd/dvds simultaneously with no complications. Save the extra money and up the RAM & buy a dinovo edge keyboard (mac edition) ;)

I suppose the higher end model would be more useful for other things like video/photo editing?

mscriv
Aug 13, 2009, 01:04 PM
It seems like there's no straight answer to this question. In my situation, I just want to play back content that I have put on the mac mini that would be connected to the TV. I'll use my other more powerful computers to download, convert, edit, etc. So, would a previous generation simply be able to play 720P or 1080p content back without any major difficulty? Take your pick of players, VLC, QT, Mplayer, etc.. Take your pick of formats, AVI, MKV, MP4, etc. Do you have to buy the latest model if you just want store and playback the content? Is there a general consensus or no? :confused:

Cave Man
Aug 13, 2009, 01:12 PM
My 1.66 ghz Core Duo Mini plays 1080p Blu-ray rips with Plex that have been transcoded with Handbrake using the following settings:

1. Apple TV Preset
2. MKV container
3. CQ set to 63.xx%
4. Audio set to passthrough (DTS or AC3)

rkdiddy
Aug 13, 2009, 03:18 PM
As soon as a newer version of the Mini comes out - I'm all over this. By them I'm sure I will be ready to upgrade. :D

srl7741
Aug 13, 2009, 07:58 PM
I've really been thinking about going this route also. I've been waiting and waiting for something to happen with the :apple:TV and it's just not happening.
I would really like to be able to watch Hulu and Netflix on the big screen.

How practical is using a Mini with a BT keyboard and Mouse and just leaving the Mini running 24/7 out of site?
Will Mini DisplayPort to HDMI work?

Wicked1
Aug 13, 2009, 09:32 PM
How Do I get Plex software and what is there to the setup, I have a 2009 Mini 2.0Ghz, with 4GB ram and internal 320GB HD with TB's of external space.

What do I need to get it all working?

Chris Rogers
Aug 13, 2009, 09:58 PM
How Do I get Plex software and what is there to the setup, I have a 2009 Mini 2.0Ghz, with 4GB ram and internal 320GB HD with TB's of external space.

What do I need to get it all working?

http://www.plexapp.com/

It's easy breezy.

GoCubsGo
Aug 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
As soon as a newer version of the Mini comes out - I'm all over this. By them I'm sure I will be ready to upgrade. :D
Given the Mini's upgrade cycle you'll be waiting a very long time.

tbayrgs
Aug 13, 2009, 11:21 PM
I could use some help/advice from any Mac Mini home theater experts. Sorry if it's a bit long winded but I wanted to try and include all relevant details.

Here's my current setup:

Macbook (early 2008) 2.2 GHz C2D with 4 GB 667 Mhz DDR2 SDRAM connected by USB to 1 TB WD My Book Studio via Time Capsule (newest version with dual band) kept in the Office. My media library is kept on the External HD. I have a 40 GB :apple:TV in the bedroom--all media is presently streamed wirelessly from the External connected to the Time Capsule/Macbook which is obviously alway on.

I just sprung for a refurb of the latest 2.0 GHz Mac Mini (should arrive in a couple days) that will be used in the living room. I'll be installing 4 GB of Crucial RAM but will leave the stock 120 GB HD as I plan on keeping the media on an External--will also likely be moving the media to a 4 TB WD My Book Studio II that will be set up RAID 1 (mirrored).

My initial plan was to just connect the Mini to my network and leave everything else as is but after thinking about it, made more sense to keep the iTunes library on the Mini since it would be easier to leave it on instead of the Macbook. If I go this route, a couple of questions:

1) I can either connect the Mini to my network wirelessly or wired via a 4 port SlingLink Turbo that's already in place. As I'm not sure of the data transfer rate of the SlingLink, which would yield better performance?

2) Should I keep the External connected to the Time Capsule or move it to the Mini and connect it directly via firewire? I'm guessing the latter would yield better playback of video on the Mini since it wouldn't be streamed but would it adversely affect streaming on the :apple:TV in the bedroom?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Chris Rogers
Aug 14, 2009, 09:09 PM
I could use some help/advice from any Mac Mini home theater experts. Sorry if it's a bit long winded but I wanted to try and include all relevant details.

Here's my current setup:

Macbook (early 2008) 2.2 GHz C2D with 4 GB 667 Mhz DDR2 SDRAM connected by USB to 1 TB WD My Book Studio via Time Capsule (newest version with dual band) kept in the Office. My media library is kept on the External HD. I have a 40 GB :apple:TV in the bedroom--all media is presently streamed wirelessly from the External connected to the Time Capsule/Macbook which is obviously alway on.

I just sprung for a refurb of the latest 2.0 GHz Mac Mini (should arrive in a couple days) that will be used in the living room. I'll be installing 4 GB of Crucial RAM but will leave the stock 120 GB HD as I plan on keeping the media on an External--will also likely be moving the media to a 4 TB WD My Book Studio II that will be set up RAID 1 (mirrored).

My initial plan was to just connect the Mini to my network and leave everything else as is but after thinking about it, made more sense to keep the iTunes library on the Mini since it would be easier to leave it on instead of the Macbook. If I go this route, a couple of questions:

1) I can either connect the Mini to my network wirelessly or wired via a 4 port SlingLink Turbo that's already in place. As I'm not sure of the data transfer rate of the SlingLink, which would yield better performance?

2) Should I keep the External connected to the Time Capsule or move it to the Mini and connect it directly via firewire? I'm guessing the latter would yield better playback of video on the Mini since it wouldn't be streamed but would it adversely affect streaming on the :apple:TV in the bedroom?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Great choice!

#1 My Mini is connected to wifi. Works great, wired would just allow for faster downloads.

#2 Connect directly to the mini. The setup you have now is EXACTLY what I had and I didn't like relying on the network to watch a movie. It's simpler to connect directly to the Mini and I've had less issues. I've since gone from an external drive to a Drobo (GREAT!) The new setup works so well I want to go on tour and spread the word to all Apple TV users :D

mrob44
Aug 18, 2009, 10:27 AM
I'm using a 1.83 ghz dual core Mini with 2GB RAM, running PLEX and its amazing. Hooked up to my 42 inch HDTV and have no issues at all. Hands down beats the Apple TV simply because of all the other apps you can run, for ripping, encoding and downloading, etc. If it wasn't for sports I'd cancel my satellite and use only this.

Getting the eyeTV soon for local chanel DVR.

gertruded
Aug 18, 2009, 11:02 AM
My 1.66 core duo Mini does just fine with both recording, using Handbrake, and watching movies on my 24 inch LCD. I have 2 gigs of ram and 500 gig external firewire 400 HD. I have hybrid Eyetv dongle and software that works just fine. I see no need to upgrade.

rkdiddy
Aug 18, 2009, 06:38 PM
Given the Mini's upgrade cycle you'll be waiting a very long time.

That is the very reason I pulled the trigger. The Internet is great for research, but it is very easy to fall into the watch and wait game.

I'm slowly trying to condition myself to enjoy my purchases I have, instead of always trying to search for the next best thing.

The first step is acceptance. :D

GoCubsGo
Aug 18, 2009, 06:40 PM
The mini for me is the second step in that direction. The MB Air was one I turned my nose to and suddenly it's nearly my favorite machine. The mini, similar to the air was not powerful enough and yet I am watching movies on it, streaming media from the internet and the likes. I love my mini.

Sol
Aug 18, 2009, 09:19 PM
Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

First of all, you may have some trouble playing iTunes Store HD rentals in their full resolution on the Mac Mini; this is a limitation of the DRM that Apple uses that requires a HDCP compliant monitor to play HD movies.

My brother has an iMac and an Apple TV connected to his plasma TV and he tells me the video looks better from the iMac. Mac Mini would probably have better than Apple TV playback too since it has a better CPU, GPU and the full QuickTime instead of the crippled MP4-only version of the Apple TV.

As for surround audio, it is a pity the following Griffin FireWire audio interface is no longer available:
http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/firewave

With that device you could get your Handbrake MP4 files with pass-through DTS audio to play in discreet 6-channel surround sound, something that Apple TV does not do. To be fair Apple TV plays surround sound from files that have Pro Logic 2 audio tracks and iTunes Store movies feature discreet channel Dolby Digital, all through HDMI or Toslink/optical cables, so you would get a clean digital signal.

You should also consider the interface in your decision. With Apple TV all you need is the Apple Remote but with a Mac Mini you need the remote, a wireless keyboard and mouse. Personally I find it a hassle to use a keyboard and mouse on my couch and prefer the intuitiveness of the remote.

lhgraphics
Sep 14, 2009, 10:54 PM
I am interested in using a mini as a pvr and tuner for off the air broadcasts (replace cable tv).

is the software interface easy enough that others can use it? that is very important to me.

I assume elgato is the tuner/pvr? Is the UI good?

How would plex help me?

I don't want to add complexity to the UI or I will get shot down and have to have the cable box.

I have an apple tv now, btw. great interface. wish I could have a tuner/pvr attached to that!

Rower, Did anyone answer this question for you? I didn't see a response to your question. I am looking to do the same thing. I would like to replace my cable companies cable DVR with an mac mini so that I can also get internet and other apple computer usage to display on my 42" lcd.

My friend, who is a avid PC fan, is trying to convince me to go with an ATI card in a PC running Windows Media Center. There has to be a solution for us Apple people. I know that my cable company, Charter Communication, will only allow content to come into a PVR through means of a "CableCARD".

Does anyone have a solution for this? I would much rather use a Mac Mini like a tivo device. Does anyone have any solutions for this problem?

tricouleur
Sep 15, 2009, 03:26 AM
lhgraphics,

I have a 1.83 2GB RAM mini acting as my PVR and media center on a 32" 720p LCD.

For the PVR function, I use EyeTV as the software and a Plextor ConvertX unit for the analog-digital capture and conversion. The digital cable box is connected to the converter via RCA composite cables.I have been using this setup since 2005, first on my Titanium Powerbook G4, then on a powerpc Mac Mini, and finally on the Intel mini. I don't know if you can still buy the Plextor unit but EyeTV now sells their own hardware. One more thing that is essential is an IR blaster so that EyeTV can be scheduled to record from your digital cable box without you having to change the channel for scheduled recordings yourself. This I do with a Zephir IR blaster. A really fantastic product; can't recommend it enough. Other people on this thread have sung the praises of EyeTV and I have to agree, even if the software is a little buggy (slow startup, for example, although I rarely restart the program since I rarely shut down the mac mini).

For the media center use, I use Plex, as others have mentioned and it makes the whole experience a lot more cohesive. And the apple remote works very well with it too, which is a great bonus. I have done away with the mouse and the keyboard as well (when I am out of Plex and want to browse the web for example) by using the Air Mouse app on the iphone. A pretty well thought out app.

Hope this helps.

mscriv
Sep 15, 2009, 11:01 AM
tricouleur are you able to watch and record HD content this way? From reading your set up it sounds like you are still paying for cable service, so are you just saving on the DVR box fee by using your mini this way?

tricouleur
Sep 15, 2009, 02:05 PM
HD recording doesn't happen with this setup. You'll need at least a component hookup (Hauppage HD PVR has that ability). I have stayed away from HD recording as editing HD files really needs a beefier processing power than the mini.
I've found this PVR setup to be the easiest solution for exporting the recorded video to view on the road (iphone, laptop or over Wifi) or on other computers in the house.
Regarding keeping cable, I would get rid of it if I weren't as addicted to watching football (soccer)....

lowonthe456
Oct 1, 2009, 02:28 PM
ok, phew, lots of info tot ake in LOL

I want to do the mini and record cable with the elgato...doable?

anyway to use the mini as an airport express?

kumrabai
Oct 22, 2009, 01:32 PM
So how do you get surround sound if you can't find the griffin any more?

Cave Man
Oct 22, 2009, 02:09 PM
So how do you get surround sound if you can't find the griffin any more?

What do you mean?

srexy
Oct 22, 2009, 06:41 PM
...snip...


You should also consider the interface in your decision. With Apple TV all you need is the Apple Remote but with a Mac Mini you need the remote, a wireless keyboard and mouse. Personally I find it a hassle to use a keyboard and mouse on my couch and prefer the intuitiveness of the remote.

That is unless you're using Plex which has support for the Apple remote and Harmony Universals. Any computing that needs to be done can be done remotely via Screen Sharing (native to Leopard) or on the TV with one of the air mouse apps available for the iphone.

So how do you get surround sound if you can't find the griffin any more?

The optical out from the Mini provides for 5.1 surround.

Gatteau
Oct 29, 2009, 04:44 AM
Would the newer Mac mini drive a 40" LED Full HD Samsung HDTV (http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/tv-video/televisions/led-tv/UN40B6000VFXZA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail)?

I'm aware the Mac mini is 1920x1080 capable. Just wanted to make sure if it can drive a 1080p full HDTV.

JLandis
Oct 30, 2009, 01:18 PM
Would the newer Mac mini drive a 40" LED Full HD Samsung HDTV (http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/tv-video/televisions/led-tv/UN40B6000VFXZA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail)?

I'm aware the Mac mini is 1920x1080 capable. Just wanted to make sure if it can drive a 1080p full HDTV.

Yes, I have mine hooked up to my 1080P HDTV (Pioneer Kuro 500M). The Mac Mini has display settings for 1080P out of the box. Turn overscan on, and then use the TV to shift the picture if it is not center, with a dot by dot, type setting.

HellDiverUK
Oct 30, 2009, 01:34 PM
I'm aware the Mac mini is 1920x1080 capable. Just wanted to make sure if it can drive a 1080p full HDTV.

And the rest - my 23" Dell screen is higher than 1080p res and it runs just fine.

matruski
Nov 3, 2009, 05:05 PM
I'm thinking about setting things up a little bit differently as well. Has anyone used one of the USB/miniport or optical audio/miniport cable to HDMI? Just curious.

This guy has a pretty good review and points out some of the shortcomings of the Mini set up:

http://mattsinyourface.blogspot.com/2009/11/quest-for-home-entertainment-center.html

Still, I think I'm going to move forward with it. My only beef is wireless n stuttering. No matter how fast the spec is supposed to be, it doesn't seem to be able to play movies wirelessly without any hiccups - even when it's not being used for anything else.

dgalvan123
Feb 28, 2011, 02:06 PM
What would you guys say is the lowest available system requirements to use a mini as a successful home theater system? I'm mainly looking to use it for movies and internet on the big screen in the living room. Movies are obvious, but using the net I would like to do basic surfing, google maps, hulu, and other media access like tv shows availalbe online, etc. Do you need the latest model maxed out to be able to do all of this or would a previous generation work. I'm assuming you need to have an Intel model, but would a 1.5ghz be sufficient? My budget is pretty tight and if I can buy a used mini to make this work that would be great.

On the low end, I have a powerbook G4 1.67 GHz and it can play internet flash video on my big screen. . . but the video is a bit choppy, so if you're buying hardware I'd agree you should grab something with higher specs than this.