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View Full Version : Using a Mac Mini as a Home Theater - Buying question




transitman
Nov 14, 2009, 09:05 AM
I have read many forums on this, but I just want some easy straight facts. What is the LEAST I need to get a really great setup using a Mac Mini as my main entertainment source. I am planning to drop all cable/satellite and just watch shows on Hulu and stuff.

Specific questions:
1. Do I need more than 2GB of RAM to run the video without jumping?
2. Can I buy an older, used Mini or should I just buy a new one?
3. What hardware do I need to successfully run this setup?
4. Should I buy an external HD or upgrade the internal one?
5. What software do I need to successfully run this setup?


Here's the hardware that I either have already or plan to get:
1. LG42LH40
2. Mac Mini
3. HDMI cables and adapters
4. Optical Audio cable
5. Wireless mouse/keyboard

What is this Boxee and EyeTV all about?

Thanks for your help!



zerohp
Nov 14, 2009, 09:12 AM
1. Do I need more than 2GB of RAM to run the video without jumping?
2. Can I buy an older, used Mini or should I just buy a new one?
3. What hardware do I need to successfully run this setup?
4. Should I buy an external HD or upgrade the internal one?
5. What software do I need to successfully run this setup?


1. No you should not need more than 2gb of ram.

2. You can buy the one prior to the fall 09 update, it still has a 9400M. You do not want the older mini with Intel video. I'm using the first Nvidia mini on my Plasma TV, it works very well. No problem playing 1080p h264 video.

3. Just cables, which you have on your list.

4. There's no reason to change the hard drive unless you plan to store a lot of files on it. I use the standard hard drive, most of my use is streaming from various sites online but I also have a lot of files I store on another computer in my house.

5. Depends on your needs. I have tried Plex and Boxee but neither suited me 100% of the time. Their biggest feature is making it easy to navigate through all the videos you want to watch with your infrared remote. That was never a huge draw for me, I keep a bluetooth keyboard and mouse on my coffee table and just use it like an normal computer to find something to watch then put it in full screen mode.

transitman
Nov 14, 2009, 09:20 AM
Having already been there, is there anything that works really well for you that you discovered that I should plan to do?

The main thing that I want to do is make it convenient for my wife to use this setup. I am still trying to make this appealing enough to buy everything. I noticed one YouTube video that a guy was using an iPhone app called "Air Remote" as a trackpad and it worked well.

Any other tips?

autumnmike
Nov 16, 2009, 03:06 PM
Boxee is a front row esk program that will play other formats other than the restrictive apple formats. Good with all the different formats that are out there when bit torrenting. As far as your wife goes, make sure she knows how to press the a/v button on the tv. Haha. I say this as my gf has a hard time with this kind of thing. Also pick up the apple remote for 20 bucks. The new one is sexy and will make things go more smoothly. Yeah the air remote app is cool with the iPhone. Which definently use you know. But your wife and you will enjoy the remote. Let's say you want to skip a song that's playing. It takes nano seconds to change it with the apple remote. Or 15-20 seconds to find the air remote app, load it, and change it. I love my iPhone, but nothing beats a tactical remote that you don't have to look at. Do you really want to pull out your iPhone when ou want to pause a movie to go pee?

Also as far as boxee goes it does you tube and alot of internet video. Also great about boxee is that you can navigate it with your apple remote!

akm3
Nov 16, 2009, 03:23 PM
Make sure the TV you are plugging into supports overscan adjustment, or you are in a world of pain trying to make the picture fit properly.