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Old Jan 11, 2013, 09:11 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NY
Best Media App for Mac Mini HTPC

I have a current gen Mac Mini w/ 10.8.2 and a Synology DS211+ server acting as my home theatre system. I've tried Plex as a media app for the Mini, but I'm not impressed. As I use the Mini mainly for watching movies off my server,I've been using VLC and playing files via Finder on my server (everything is connected via ethernet as some encodes are BD rips). I need an app that covers a broad range of codecs with an interface akin to "Frontrow" - something simple to navigate, preferably with an Apple remote yet powerful enough to support DTS, MKV, large file encodes, etc.

Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated. Thanks
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 10:15 AM   #2
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I use XBMC "EDEN" which is the current stable version (version 11). There is an updated version 12 but it is currently in beta version. what is interesting about XBMC is that I have XBMC on my Mac Mini and the XBMC commander app on my iPad allowing access over the internet all shown at the links below:


2010 Mac Mini Server 2.66 Ghz, 1TB, 8GB RAM; 2012 Macbook Air 13" i7 2.0Ghz, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM; iPad 2 16GB; iPhone 4 8GB
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 10:21 AM   #3
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Ah Very familiar with XBMC, used it on jailbroken aTV's a few years back, I believe "Eden" 11 was in beta mode then. This is actually for my father, who is tech savvy but older and needs something easy to use. I have it hooked up to a Pioneer Elite AVR and he uses his iPad Mini or Touch with Harmony Link as the remote. I'll check out the XBMC iOS app, if it works well I'll get back on the XBMC site's and read up on the latest builds.

Does Eden finally work well with MKV DTS Blu-Ray encodes? I spent about a year learning and ripping all the physical media (including Blu-Ray) on my 12-Core Mac Pro. I used some pretty extreme Handbrake settings, but I was able to preserve all audio tracks (keeping the first one - default - stereo for iOS devices) including DTS passthru and got the encodes to ~8-14 GB's depending. I compared them to the original BD's and they were great, however the front end player needs to handle it.

I was just reading threads on a few AVR forums on the Mini, and some mentioned that OS X doesn't pass true HD/DTS via HDMI due to lack of codec's, so they went the Windows route on a Mini. Is this true?
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 01:19 PM   #4
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Did some research and decided on installing XBMC 12 RC3. Installing it remotely and will play with it later, but it seems you're spot on. Looks like the heads at XBMC have made some great improvements! Thanks.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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For awhile, I was switching between the latest XBMC release and Plex. It drove my girlfriend nuts.

I finally settled on Plex due to the newly released remote-streaming capabilities on the web and iOS. Plus, I found it just seemed more optimized for the Mac platform, design, and philosophy rather than the one size fits all "just another XBMC binary."

It was the incredible customization and plugins that always kept me going back to to XBMC, but I found I much preferred no-effort remote access to my media and ease of use than having plugins and the ability to "trick out" my HTPC.

I'd try both and see which one fits your priorities. They are both excellent and different.
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