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Best HTPC for Mac Mini - recommendations

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by santosmarco, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie


    Please I just bought a new Mac Mini 2011 (Core i7 8GB 750GB AMD 6330) and kindly ask for some HTPC configurations as recommendation:
    - Media Center Software;
    - Mac OS tweaks and configurations;
    - Hardware peripherals (keyboard, trackpad, etc...)
    - Cables and HDTV.
    Maybe just share your current configuration and experience.
  2. macrumors 6502

    There are literally hundreds of posts covering this in this and the Mac Mini section. In short:

    Plex, XBMC, Boxee (in order of most to least popular)

    EyeTV (really the only player in the Live TV on Mac game)

    Remote Buddy (software enabling fuller control via remotes)

    As for cables, I think most people are just using monoprice HDMI cables.

    I bought a Logitech keyboard with a little trackpad, but almost never use it, instead relying on Logitech's free iOS VNC app.
  3. macrumors 68030

    Plex hands down. It's metadata management is terrific, and has only ever had one false match, and that was a Spanish independent film.

    For peripherals, try the apps Conductor and HippoRemote for your iPhone. It would basically turn your iPhone into a trackpad and keyboard. Hippo uses VNC, Conductor I believe uses a proprietary one. Hippo is cheaper :)

    Also, if you feel like reducing costs, you can get a MagicJack and use the Mini to host the MagicJack server for your home phone. I use this configuration and it's pretty great.
  4. macrumors newbie


    Thank you for your reply, I was wondering if someone in this section has tried something new... more sophisticated in terms of Home Theater setup up.;)
  5. macrumors 6502

    What, exactly, do you want to be more sophisticated? What features do you want?
  6. macrumors member

    I use MythTV on a 2010 Mac Mini

    I have a 2010 Mac Mini that I use. I installed GNU/Linux on it and run MythTV. I can't speak intelligently on how well MythTV compares to Plex, XBMC, etc, but I've used Myth for many years and like it, especially for the automatic commercial skips, which works very well.

    The 2010 model has an NVidia graphics chip so it plays HD great due to hardware access with VDPAU. I had to set my profile down to VDPAU Slim to prevent the sound from skipping (it was exhausting the audio buffer too quickly when I had it at higher qualities). Once I did that sound was decent and video was great. I just have sound coming out of the television, though. I don't own a fancy surround sound system.

    I'm not certain you'll get the same video quality from a 2011 mac mini, though, because I believe they replaced the Nvidia graphics with Intel. I don't believe VDPAU works with Intel graphics. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

    You can run MythTV under Mac OS X if you don't want to dual boot with GNU/Linux. The quality was fair for HD when running Myth in Mac OS. Expect some stuttering when watching HD, but it's definitely watchable. If you want to try that, there are builds here, but they don't have all the features compiled in, unfortunately. It's probably better to run the backend on a GNU/Linux box too, but the Mac mini makes an awesome frontend (at least for the 2010)
  7. macrumors newbie


    I would like to know if someone has configured:
    - TrueHD, DTS HD, DD Master bistreaming by some new software or version from XBMC, Plex, Boxee, etc.
    - Video Accelerators drivers or codecs to take advantage from the AMD 6330;
    - Audio MIDI setup fine tuning (I have ONKYO HT-22HDX amp);
    - Mac OS tweaks on Lion to enhance some components from the system (audio/video) take advantage from the new hardware;
    - Thunderbolt peripherals recommended;
    - NAS recommended (Synalogic, QPAP, Drobo, etc.), I have today two 3TB WDC (mirrored) and 1 TB My passport (time machine only for the system) connected to the Mac Mini, I would like to centralize my whole data in just one store.
  8. macrumors 6502

    I can only speak semi-intelligently about this one. I would got with a Synology NAS if you have your mac mini connected to the network by ethernet.

    I have a Drobo S. I love it, it works, but the one thing that I cannot seem to get working is Time Machine from another computer on the network. I can share the drive, mount it on the other computer, and even begin the Time Machine backup. But if my laptop goes to sleep, or if I disconnect from the network, it never seems to be automatic that it begins working again like my old Time Capsule. I always have to remount the Drobo. It's not my Mac Mini going to sleep, because I made sure it never does.

    NAS doesn't seem to have this problem, and they are all good enough to stream HD while being able to write Time Machine backups. I'd recommend Synology purely on their excellent web interface software and download managers.

    That said, if you're just backing up the Mac Mini, which is locally connected, the Drobo would work great for you (you don't need the S version unless you need 5 drive bays). I've had good experiences with both my Drobos and the "just work" factor is pretty high. It avoids a lot of the niggles you get with NAS.
  9. macrumors newbie

    there is only one way to go, Plex. Plex is so simple to set up streaming across multiple devices, and even outside your network. IMO, the only way to do it.

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