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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:02 AM   #1
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(G4) Mac HTPC - Front Row isn't quite there... (+ HD?)


Just set up a last gen G4 Mac Mini as a HTPC to replace my AppleTV 160GB (1.5GHz, 512MB RAM, 64MB video card, Combo drive, Airport/Bluetooth).

Installed 10.5.8, upgraded Quicktime to 7.7, installed latest Perian, upgraded Front Row to 2.1.7, added VLC...

Added Rowmote and Hippo to my iPhone, as well as turned on Screen Sharing on the Mini so I can remotely control it using MacBookPro or G5 PowerMac.

I had been using NitoTV on the ATV to play my AVIs/etc, and liked that I could tell it to play an entire folder at once... This appears to be something Front Row cannot do... which is annoying, as otherwise it would be perfect - a nice simple interface even my 5yo could use.

Instead, so far I'm looking at VLC, which can play an entire folder by drag/drop... but the simple Rowmote interface wont cut it...

Can anyone recommend a simple solution to this?

ALSO... The ATV struggled with any HD files... When I tried the Mac Mini, it also failed miserably to play a HD avi. Would this be due to the RAM, or will the 1.5GHz G4 processor just never handle a HD file? Is there a better program to try than FrontRow/VLC for playing HD? (Not urgent, as I'm only using a 32" S4 Samsung LCD with 1368x768, but I'd like to know for later)



24" Early 2009 iMac
iPhone 5S
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 10:24 AM   #2
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A G4 mini will never play an HD file, unless you are able to put in a Crystal HD card. You'd be better off spending a few hundred bucks on a later mini, a 2009 or later should do all the HD files you can throw at it. (Depending on the bit rate, the earlier intel models can play them as well).
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 10:34 AM   #3
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Not sure about playing a full folder, but I had a PMG4 MDD set up as my HTPC a few years ago. It would play 720p MKV / AVI without issue, but choked on anything over that. I dumped Front Row for either Plex or XBMC; I forget which.

... and then the PSU died and it was all over.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:31 AM   #4
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XBMC is getting there and looks polished IMHO.. It is constantly changing so sometimes running alpha/beta s/w may cause trouble.. (instability or odd behavior)...
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:20 PM   #5
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The G4 Mini was at the right price (ie free + $12 postage + $25 power supply)... As noted - HD isn't a huge issue right now... and I have a DVD player/home theatre, so the lack of 5.1 audio output isn't too bad either, as not many AVIs are 5.1... Hopefully when I can afford a full HD TV, I'll be able to look at an Intel Mini to replace this one...

Just tried the PPC version of Plex, and couldn't even find how to play a file?? "Search" appeared to be an online search, and Directory just showed a blank screen with "Applications" at the top...

Downloaded the latest xbmc, and it looks ok, though crashed on first attempt at playing an AVI...

If nothing else will work, Front Row will be ok - just instead of being able to set an entire folder of Warner Brother cartoons to play for my son, they'll have to be played individually... (for example)


Good Dorl... Trying to use xmbc via Rowmote, and suddenly Plex starts up... Driving me nuts.
24" Early 2009 iMac
iPhone 5S

Last edited by cosmichobo; Jan 10, 2013 at 03:19 AM.
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