Mac for home theatre

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Chinashaw, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. Chinashaw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    #1
    Hi,
    We are moving into a new flat next month and I want to set up a reasonable home theatre/tv system.

    Because the flat is not too big I want to avoid eye sore size tv's and media centre pc's. I have a decent budget (£2,000-£3,000) so was thinking of a HDTV plasma & then a mac mini & speakers. I can then start to put my dvds and music into a digital format, use airport express to broadcast the tunes all round the apartment.

    Does this make sense? Or is there a better way to do this? I am just starting so any idea's or suggestions would be welcome.

    Many thanks.
    :)
     
  2. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #2
    Some good sites to vist are below. centerstage IMO is not that good but mediacentral will play DVD's that are on your HDD and of course the Famous:D iTheatre project is due to drop tomorrow :rolleyes: well maybe.

    but all of these are still dwarfed by the useablilty of Apple's Front Row

    Mac Mini is the way forward here with regard to hardware


    http://centerstageproject.com/
    http://www.machtpc.com/
    http://www.equinux.com/us/products/mediacentral/index.html
    http://www.itheaterproject.com/index.php

    will post some more later on this subject as i'm at work at the moment
     
  3. Grasbak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I have an iMac in my lounge at home. It is a small house and I would rather not have a bulky CRT anywhere. I know that I can mirror the iMac display to an external monitor, say a Apple Cinema dispay for the sake of argument.

    Would this be suitable to watch DVDs and slideshows from the iMac?

    I have watched a DVD on the mac but its only 17". It was fine for Madagascar (!) but to watch something like the Matrix I dont suppose you get the best effect somehow!

    I would likely feed the video and audio from the iMac into my 5.1 surround system aswell assuming I can....
     
  4. d.f macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    #4
    iTheater....???

    how come the there's such a buzz about iTheater and you can't even see a single screen shot....? are the guys behind it famous for other great software. the site looks great, but there's no real info. am intrigued.
     
  5. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #5
    you know i'm not sure why there is such a buzz with iTheater but it must have to do with the need of a good media center software package for the Mac.

    Before Front Row hit there was a small ish following for centrestage and alot of talk on there forums was with the vapourware iTheater which seemed to have a grass is greener on the other side effect. Since then iTheater has been delayed for lot's of reasons and i guess the people waiting for it now are asking themself's if this is a hoax or a real app that will do the job well.

    i for one will be checking there website tomorrow , but i am for the moment happy using MediaCentral as a media solution for the mac .... but not content;)
     
  6. geeyesgee macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    #6
    When you shop around for the plasma screen, it's better that it has square pixels, so that video card does not have to perform scaling to compensate. Fine text will come up clearer and the picture willl be sharper.

    I'm waiting for the new Mac Mini to have Front Row and a remote control before I do the same. I think I'll get a Sony Bravia 40" LCD instead of a plasma screen though.
     
  7. Dr_Maybe macrumors 6502

    Dr_Maybe

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Location:
    South America
    #7
    I would get a front projector and maybe a smaller LCD for casual viewing. Front projectors can give a cinematic size picture, and when it's turned off, it's not very big.

    AirTunes doesn't supportSound from movies/TV, you will need a cable. I have heard of a hack to make it possible though, but I'm not sure about that.
     
  8. Chinashaw thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    #8
    Hi,

    Many thanks for the links and feedback. I have been to the Apple store in London and confirmed a few things with them. It looks like I will go upto 1gb of RAM but leave the rest of the middle mini specs the same, it will only be used for emailing and watching music/films etc.

    I have just tried to download the iTheater software but ended with a blank page and no download, not sure if others have had this problem? However I have played with 'media central' and its seems ok. Will try 'iTheatre' again later.

    Thank you also for the feedback on Airtunes and lack of film sounds. I think I will get a projector and LCD then run cables to both from the mini. Now comes the time to choose all of this and then play! :) :D

    Thanks again.
     
  9. budugu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #9

    Machtpc is probably worse state than linux htpc. For a home theatre you need a large storage >500GB, a high end HDTV decoder, a good graphics card that can do hardware accel. for mpeg4. A good processor for ripping & ecode fast. and a TV tuner perhaps. Nothing in the mac world except a dual core power mac comes close to the requirements. Mac mini does not have *any* of the above features (in review they thought that DVD playing it self was tough on a mac mini). Now you can add firewire external hardisks, eye tv ... all the stuff! It will just make your whole project messy and over the budget. Microsoft Media center is still way far ahead (as there is no apple equivalent yet) in this game. it will save you a lot of money too and it is fairly easy. You can use airport eexpress with windows too.

    * Not to mention maximum format compatibility (various kinds of media files!)
     
  10. budugu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #10

    If you are planning on a projector check, focus range , brightness and a lot of other factors. Most imporantly finding a right place to set up! A plasma could be a better idea as you move towards HD. good XGA projectors run above 1500$ and the lamp needs to be changes a few thousand hours. if you use 5 hrs a day on avg it will be out definitely in a year, more like half! i would suggest plasma for tvs for better contrast and bright displays.
     
  11. berkleeboy210 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    #11
    My Current Setup has an InFocus DLP Projector, and the latest Core Duo iMac. I have the iMac set up on a desk, typical computer setup. but under the rug i put a DVI-VGA cable and hooked it up to the projector.

    It looks great on the big screen. I'll try to post some pics soon.
     
  12. Chinashaw thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    #12
    Hi,
    Many thanks again for all the useful tips. At the moment I am delaying the whole mac/pc media centre issue and going with a Plasma, home theatre (Denon) speaker & Receiver and then using my Sony DVD player.
    This way I can up my budget on both the Plasma and the Receiver. In 3 months or so, will have saved up enough to look at a really decent media centre or perhaps the unit from Kiss-Technology and a high end mac.

    THanks again.
     

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