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View Full Version : Best design for new mac media/theatre setup




jdebeer
Aug 18, 2009, 09:04 PM
My household has multiple macbook pros - for different family members - and because of that, media files (iTunes, Aperture, Miro library, and other video) are stored and served from my 2TB time capsule.

I'm upgrading to a new HDTV (yet to buy) and want advice on the best setup to run all my media through a new system.

1. For hardware, should I get ATV, which has HDMI output? Can that stream effectively from my TC through a MBP to the ATV? Or should I get a MINI instead? Or, should I just get the output cables to connect a laptop straight to the HDTV, through the minidisplay, for example?

2. For software, any comparisons to be made between plex, boxee and/or xbmc? I see reference to all of the above throughout this forum. Can someone offer me specific opinion on the relative merits? (Note I live in Canada, where I can't stream much online TV without a proxy, which is too slow for my liking.)

3. Related to all this, any feedback on eyetv? What can it do for me that my current DVR (rented from the satellite company) can't already do?

Thanks all. Fire away with your advice ...



rgarjr
Aug 18, 2009, 10:10 PM
You can of course use one of those macbooks to connect to your HDTV however if you want a dedicated machine then yeah, a mac mini is the perfect solution.

Shuttleworth
Aug 18, 2009, 10:32 PM
I've just set up an eyetv Hybrid on my iMac, and use it to record digital free tv. It is very easy to use, with an extensive and customisable program guide that helps you set up series recordings for example.

The editing facility is very easy to use and it only takes a couple of mins to remove the adverts from a film.

A show can be converted for use on an iPod or AppleTV automatically or as I do, by clicking the relevant button after editing. This converts the file and loads it into iTunes for you (as a TV show). I find the picture quality on the AppleTV version seems comparable to normal digital TV quality on my 40" screen i.e. very good.

It can also make a (small) verion that can be streamed to any other computer or iPod touch on the local network, a web page is loaded on device to stream to and you can access the library of available recordings. I get the feeling this is a stepping stone to streaming the content over the internet, handy for iPhone users.

In all I think it's a really good piece of kit, th esupporting software is what makes it so good. You do need a good TV signal to get it to work, the receiever isn't as strong as most set top boxes from what I can tell.

Depending on the availble content it could well replace a cable or satellite subscription, for me it is only the lack of sports coverage that I notice.

My only criticism at the moment is that the metadata editing facility is quite poor. I like to have it looking nice in iTunes and I want certificate ratings so I still need to put the recordings through MetaX after conversion.