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Old Jun 14, 2009, 09:27 PM   #1
acrahm
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help me setup my home theatre system

I want to set up an home theatre system and am not sure exactly how i want to do it. I have the TV already and the surround sound system.

What i am not sure on is the mac side. i am thinking of getting a mini, hooking up my 1tb external to it (with all my videos) and then hooking that all up the tv. This will all be set up in my entertainment room.

ideally, i would like to be able to access the same itunes from my MBP pro in my room and from the mini in the entertainment room.

What would be a good mini to get, and how can i do the 2nd part (accessing itunes from anywhere in my house)
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 12:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acrahm View Post
I want to set up an home theatre system and am not sure exactly how i want to do it. I have the TV already and the surround sound system.

What i am not sure on is the mac side. i am thinking of getting a mini, hooking up my 1tb external to it (with all my videos) and then hooking that all up the tv. This will all be set up in my entertainment room.

ideally, i would like to be able to access the same itunes from my MBP pro in my room and from the mini in the entertainment room.

What would be a good mini to get, and how can i do the 2nd part (accessing itunes from anywhere in my house)
Get any mini with a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo or faster processor. You do not need the integrated nvidia graphics of the later minis. The processor alone is more than enough to handle bluray rips. Hook it up to your receiver using a DVI to HDMI or mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable (depending on which mini you buy). Hook up the audio using a mini-toslink to optical cable. Buy both from monoprice.com.

Then, place your entire iTunes library on the mac mini (or it's external HD). Via the iTunes preferences, enable "Share my Library on my Local Network." Your library will pop up on your Mac Pro in iTunes.

As for your videos, I suggest Plex. There is a minor learning curve but it is well worth it if you want to watch 1080p videos with a harmony or apple remote.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 04:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Capt Crunch View Post
Get any mini with a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo or faster processor. You do not need the integrated nvidia graphics of the later minis. The processor alone is more than enough to handle bluray rips. Hook it up to your receiver using a DVI to HDMI or mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable (depending on which mini you buy). Hook up the audio using a mini-toslink to optical cable. Buy both from monoprice.com.

Then, place your entire iTunes library on the mac mini (or it's external HD). Via the iTunes preferences, enable "Share my Library on my Local Network." Your library will pop up on your Mac Pro in iTunes.

As for your videos, I suggest Plex. There is a minor learning curve but it is well worth it if you want to watch 1080p videos with a harmony or apple remote.

Hope this helps!
Sounds like good advice
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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This is not a necessity, but as my two cents I'll add that 2GB of RAM is sufficient for playing your media as well. 1GB works... but you'll be much happier with 2. 4 is over the top.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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This is not a necessity, but as my two cents I'll add that 2GB of RAM is sufficient for playing your media as well. 1GB works... but you'll be much happier with 2. 4 is over the top.
Wondering what the best setup for a browser is for a HTPC... I've seen a Mac Mini connected to a 42" LG, but at HD resolution, the navigation bar in Firefox is so tiny, there's no way to read it from 6+ feet away!

Is anyone using any specific theme to make browsing easier on the eyes? Or is there a way to make menus bigger?
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acrahm View Post
I want to set up an home theatre system and am not sure exactly how i want to do it. I have the TV already and the surround sound system.

What i am not sure on is the mac side. i am thinking of getting a mini, hooking up my 1tb external to it (with all my videos) and then hooking that all up the tv. This will all be set up in my entertainment room.

ideally, i would like to be able to access the same itunes from my MBP pro in my room and from the mini in the entertainment room.

What would be a good mini to get, and how can i do the 2nd part (accessing itunes from anywhere in my house)
Have you ever thought about keeping your media on your current mac and getting an ATV and hacking it using aTV Flash? You can then connect an external HD to the ATV.
I'm suggesting because I'm in the exact same situation you are. Except, I'm trying to play all of my DVD rips (VIDEOO_TS files) and aTV Flash plays them.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 01:52 PM   #7
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Plex plays VIDEO_TS on any Mac, but the ATV can only do 720p max resolution.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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Plex plays VIDEO_TS on any Mac, but the ATV can only do 720p max resolution.
Oh yeah. I forgot about that. And I use Plex. Even though it can only do 720p, it is still a dedicated box used for media. The same as the Mac mini would be. It's just an option if the OP doesn't WANT another Mac. Me for example, would like to have a new Mac that could be used for media. But I don't really need one. Like how often would I use the mini for regular computer tasks when it's sole reason for purchasing is for media? I just think that the UI of ATV is great and the hack is just a nice way to expand your content to your TV while not having to buy a computer, keyboard and mouse.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 02:57 PM   #9
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Get any mini with a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo or faster processor. You do not need the integrated nvidia graphics of the later minis. The processor alone is more than enough to handle bluray rips.
Not sure about this. Normally I'd agree with you, but I'm in the process of swapping out my busted-screen Black MacBook 2.4Ghz media center with a new 2.0Ghz Mac Mini with 9400m chipset. With Snow Leopard coming up and OpenCL, I'm hoping Plex and other media programs would program with that in mind and I'd think the 2.0Ghz+9400m combo has more potential power than a 2.4Ghz MacBook with x3100.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 03:17 PM   #10
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My Mac Mini 1.83GHz (2GB RAM + Intel graphics) has no troubles playing bluray rips. 2GHz is not necessary.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 04:43 PM   #11
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Video_TS equivalent with Blu-Ray??

Originally Posted by geoffreak View Post
Plex plays VIDEO_TS on any Mac, but the ATV can only do 720p max resolution.


Im new to blu-ray rips, but is there some kind of equivalent to the Video_TS folder when using something like Mac The Ripper? Can I just extract a single folder off the blu-ray and play it through Plex or something along those lines?
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 05:22 PM   #12
geoffreak
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You need Windows to extract blu-ray. Macs don't do blu-ray.
There is a blu-ray equivalent of VIDEO_TS though. I forget what it is called.

Cave Man posted a great guide to blu-ray ripping in this forum.
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