Going the Mac mini Home theatre route

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wartnig, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #1
    hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
    Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

    I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

    PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #2
    I went this route (ditched ATV, now use Mini as HTPC).
    Personally, I love it, much better but I use Plex and I'll never buy an iTunes movie. 5.1 no problem from Plex.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    #3
    Mac Mini media center

    I setup my mac mini with eyetv hybrid, and turbo264 from elgato and everything works well. I would probably beef up the RAM to 4 Gig for performance. The cool thing is right after a show is recorded, eyetv 3 will compress it for access over wifi by either another computer or my iphone.

    Also records clear QAM ("free" of my regular analog cable - which I pay $12/month for), and it looks great.

    Remote is ok, could be better.

    Also installed cytv to stream the eyetv signal live to my other computers in the house (pseudo slingbox).

    Also running plex but haven't hooked up the TOS cable to the mac mini to try out the 5.1.
     
  4. macrumors member

    the2j

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #4
    +1 for the mini !

    After upgrading you will never miss your Atv again (well maybe the HDMI)
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #5
    Love my mini and plex has a great GUI, so easy my wife can use it without issue. My only suggestion is if you have an iPod touch or iPhone download snatch and the custom plex remote screens! It makes using plex much easier and a lot more fun.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #6
    Never had an apple TV but I sold a windows media centre machine and replaced it with a mini running plex. And I'm very glad I did. Can't hear the mini during use (to be fair, couldn't hear the windows machine either, just making the point that the mini is silent as I expect your apple TV is), except for the usual noises any player makes while loading and unloading DVD drive.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #7
    I really find that both the ATV and the mini work well together.

    The mini is a great server for music and movies throughout the house. I have a drobo attached to it and it works a charm.

    The ATV really does an excellent job at getting the stuff onto the tv.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #8
    cheers for the advice guys.. I have had a play around with Plex (About 6 months ago).. so will have to reinstall it on the Mini and see how it works.

    I take it you wont be able to play any itunes purchased movies?

    The only reason i am selling my ATV is becasue bothe the ATV and the Mini are hooked up to my TV!! So kinda makes sense to drop one.My only concern is the 5.1 surround... fingers crossed i can get this working with my movies i have converted with handbrake (ATV preset).

    Does plex play MKV files?
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #9
    That the exact route I'm planning. Any tips or advice?
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #10
    Get a second job to pay for it? LOL Seriously, I've been thinking of doing the same. I just can't justify the cost. I do like what the Mini can bring to the table though. Let me know how it goes.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    #11
    Plex will play anything - even rar's of non-specific formats apparently (not that I've tried this one)

    I had the :apple:tv for over a year before the Mini came into being and I'm looking forward to putting it in our bedroom when my father's day gift (32" LCD panel) arrives. W/xbmc installed on the :apple:tv I should be able to stream the content off my Mini...
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    #12
    Buy it. 5.1 is no bother.... DTS, 2.0 it all comes thru. I use Plex and remote buddy and EyeTV - perfect, my 5 year can use it - literally....
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #13
    The mini Toslink to Toslink cable I use to connect my Mini to my 5.1 surround system makes a HUGE difference over an analog connection, even if the audio isn't surround. Most receivers can handle turning stereo sound into surround sound with little effort and a great effect.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #14
    I've never tried it
    Keep in mind you could AT WORST, if it does't 'just work' in Plex, just play these via front row, which I think you can access through plex anyway. You won't be stuck with stuff you just can't play.
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #15
    Can you get the Apple Remote to work well with Plex?
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #16
    Absolutely. I find the Apple remote to be sufficient.
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #17
    Sometimes I want the Apple remote to control iTunes while Plex isn't running, but it can't do that.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #18
    What is the major benefit of going with mac mini vs Appletv?
    Is it the ability to use different codecs and get better quality?
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Interwebz
    #19
    yes, you can also watch a dvd without the need of converting if you dont already have a dvd player.

    the possibilities are just alot more with a macmini since you can add things to it
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Pigumon

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    #20
    The mini was released two years before the :apple:tv... did you mean came into being at your house?

    I ended up buying a NMT (hdx-1000) instead of apple tv or mini. I have a mini, but it doesn't have HDMI, doesn't output 1080P very well, and the framerate drops during 1080P playback.

    So for now, the NMT is leaps and bounds better. I have a 1.5TB installed, has HDMI, Composite, Component, optical audio, no fan (no noise). Drawbacks- need parallels to take advantage of the extra linux apps, otherwise, you can just format as windows and mount it on your mac. Also, some codecs are not yet supported, but so far almost all are. Has DTS output.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    #21
    Try this out, I've been using this on my Mac mini for Plex, iTunes, Safari, Google earth and more .. all on the living room big screen using only the Apple remote (even shutdown the mini from the apple remote):

    http://www.iospirit.com/index.php?m...ogroup&obj_id=24&sid=9635907G6688d9eee1483390

    Its really worth the look if you only want one remote to access everything on your mini :)

    Hope this helps :)
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    #22
    Yes
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #23
    Agreed. I bought a $250 Mini off ebay after getting my 40GB Apple TV. I don't need the Mini to do anything but stream from an attached 1TB MyBook. I thought about doing the Mini-only thing but this way I can keep my Mini hidden away with the attached HDD and the Apple TV leaves a small footprint. One HDMI cable, one TOSlink cable, and power cord.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #24
    What would you guys say is the lowest available system requirements to use a mini as a successful home theater system? I'm mainly looking to use it for movies and internet on the big screen in the living room. Movies are obvious, but using the net I would like to do basic surfing, google maps, hulu, and other media access like tv shows availalbe online, etc. Do you need the latest model maxed out to be able to do all of this or would a previous generation work. I'm assuming you need to have an Intel model, but would a 1.5ghz be sufficient? My budget is pretty tight and if I can buy a used mini to make this work that would be great.
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #25
    I can only confirm that a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is enough to play 1080p without any problems. I wouldn't recommend going any lower than this model.
     

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