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View Full Version : Not using a Mac Mini or ATV




helloadam
Aug 17, 2009, 01:13 PM
I am planning on setting up a home theater soon because the price of TVs is going down and I'm tired of watching movies on my laptop. I wanted to set up a mac mini to run Plex. I don't have cable, and if I did I doubt i'd watch it. Gotta love Hulu.

I was looking at the pricing of the mac mini's and was kinda disapointed in them. I know I can find a macbook for the same price or less and then have an extra laptop as well as a media center. My question is, would I go about the same setting it up as I would a mini? I.E. DVI to HDMI cable, stereo to optical cables for audio (which I already have), and I have a 500gb HDD that holds all my movies and Tv shows (recently passed over 122 movies, pretty proud of it). And If I ever want to use it as a laptop (say a friend comes over or I don't want to carry around my MBP) I could just disconnect everything and have a working computer.

Does this sound like it could work? Would a MB be able to run plex with no lag just fine?



hitekalex
Aug 17, 2009, 02:18 PM
Be careful with non-Pro MB. I believe it only supports analog (no digital) audio out, like my Air does. So if you want to pass through AC3 with Plex - that won't work.

But other than that, MB should perform very similarly to Mini.

bohbot16
Aug 17, 2009, 02:22 PM
The MacBook has the same audio connectors as the MacBook Pro

Chris Rogers
Aug 17, 2009, 02:23 PM
Does this sound like it could work?

Pretty Much

Tilpots
Aug 17, 2009, 02:26 PM
The only issue I can think of is closing the lid on the MB. You'd want to keep it shut, I'd imagine... I've heard of apps that let you put the screen to sleep, but don't know how well they actually work.

helloadam
Aug 17, 2009, 02:30 PM
The only issue I can think of is closing the lid on the MB. You'd want to keep it shut, I'd imagine... I've heard of apps that let you put the screen to sleep, but don't know how well they actually work.

I'd just set up the tv screen as the main display and then I don't even need the MB open.

And awesome about this working. I just don't think I could bring myself to spend money on a mac mini just to sit there. Atleast with a notebook I'd be able to use it in other ways.

bigdaddyp
Aug 17, 2009, 02:31 PM
The only issue I can think of is closing the lid on the MB. You'd want to keep it shut, I'd imagine... I've heard of apps that let you put the screen to sleep, but don't know how well they actually work.

One is called insomnia and it works pretty darn well. Have it installed on the unibody macbook and the hacintosh. Although I have not tried it in a dual screen situation.

ftaok
Aug 17, 2009, 02:32 PM
The only issue I can think of is closing the lid on the MB. You'd want to keep it shut, I'd imagine... I've heard of apps that let you put the screen to sleep, but don't know how well they actually work.

Macbooks can easily run in clamshell mode. With our whiteMacbook (CoreDuo), all you need to do is use the Apple Remote to wake it up while it's connected to an external display.

I'm assuming that newer Macbooks work the same way.

If you don't have an Apple remote, a USB keyboard or mouse will work as well.

ft

Tilpots
Aug 17, 2009, 02:37 PM
Sounds like the clamshell mode isn't an issue. Never tried it with my MBP, but glad to hear it works well...

bigdaddyp
Aug 17, 2009, 02:38 PM
I'd just set up the tv screen as the main display and then I don't even need the MB open.

And awesome about this working. I just don't think I could bring myself to spend money on a mac mini just to sit there. Atleast with a notebook I'd be able to use it in other ways.

I have a macmini set up as a Htpc and it does not just sit there. I have it doing downloads and use it for ripping my dvd's and converting them with handbrake. However I can see the attraction of using a macbook for this and almost went the same route. However, the problem is that when closed, macbooks can get warm and the fans can get loud. Louder then a mini imho. Definitely watch out for excessive heat. Maybe try a stand like this.
http://deskstandz.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=62&gclid=CPnjw6nG2JsCFQN-xwod1jyTnA
When I need to use my macbook to convert a movie or do other processor intensive stuff I steal my wifes cookie sheet to help keep it cool. Works great but annoys the hell out of the wife.

ftaok
Aug 17, 2009, 02:55 PM
However, the problem is that when closed, macbooks can get warm and the fans can get loud. Louder then a mini imho. Definitely watch out for excessive heat.

If you're worried about heat, you can open the lid after the MB has been activated in clamshell mode and the screen will stay off. I do this when watching Hulu in clamshell because Flash heats up the MB real quickly.

I will agree that the fans can get pretty annoying.

bigdaddyp
Aug 17, 2009, 03:07 PM
If you're worried about heat, you can open the lid after the MB has been activated in clamshell mode and the screen will stay off. I do this when watching Hulu in clamshell because Flash heats up the MB real quickly.

I will agree that the fans can get pretty annoying.

Thanks I did not know that. I need to get the minidisplay port to hdmi adapter so I can hook up the mb in my bedroom. I was wondering how I was going to keep it from running the fans full blast. I was not sure how insomnia would behave in a dual screen setup. I love these forums I learn something new every day.

helloadam
Aug 17, 2009, 10:31 PM
I have a macmini set up as a Htpc and it does not just sit there. I have it doing downloads and use it for ripping my dvd's and converting them with handbrake. However I can see the attraction of using a macbook for this and almost went the same route. However, the problem is that when closed, macbooks can get warm and the fans can get loud. Louder then a mini imho. Definitely watch out for excessive heat. Maybe try a stand like this.
http://deskstandz.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=62&gclid=CPnjw6nG2JsCFQN-xwod1jyTnA
When I need to use my macbook to convert a movie or do other processor intensive stuff I steal my wifes cookie sheet to help keep it cool. Works great but annoys the hell out of the wife.

I really like that stand, Its something I'll look into for sure. I bet I could even make it myself and save a few bucks.