Mac Mini as a Media Center Extender?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ColoradoCruiser, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #1
    Hi -

    I have a Vista media center pc that I would like to move into a closet, but continue to record off-air tv.

    I want to replace it with my Mac Mini, but the missing piece is how to access the recorded tv on the Vista box.

    I've spent the last couple of days searching and reading, but haven't seen any way to accomplish this.

    From another Windows box it's easy to get to the video, I just can't figure out how to do it with the mac.

    I'm not interested in recoding the video, if that's necessary I'll leave both computers attached to the tv.

    Is there a relatively simple way to make a Mac act as a MC extender?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    So you want to access your files in Windows PC? In that case you need NTFS 3G so you can read NTFS formatted HD in OS X
     
  3. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #3
    I believe you're going to need to install Windows on the Mac mini to be an extender from the Vista machine as host.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #4
    What I want to do is have the Visya box continue recording tv via media center, but I want to play back the recordings on the Mac in OS X without the tedium of recoding the video.

    Seems like there should be an easy solution to this one, but I haven't been able to find it.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #5
    I thought about that, but I want the mini to stay in OS X. If it's too much of a pain I'll just leave the vista box attached to the tv and put the mini next to it and use each for different purposes.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #6
    You can easily mount a Windows share on your Mac via SMB. This gets you file level access to all your Vista recordings on your Mac. That's an easy part.

    The next thing you need is a OS-X media player that understands the Vista Media Center recorded TV format - MS-DVR. As far as I know, your only Mac OS option is mplayer. I have never tried it, but give it a shot.

    But to be honest - your whole setup with Vista/Mini is pretty cumbersome. Ditch the Vista box. Invest in Eye TV and HD HomeRun. This way you have a fully integrated Mac-based DVR solution, without the pains of SMB shares and MS-DVR playback.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #7
    Thanks for the pointer to MPlayer, I'll check it out. As it stands, the Win box is fully functional for the HTPC role - I'm just trying to figure out a migration strategy towards OS X and I have an extra 2009 Mini sitting here. Spending more isn't an option at this time, I'm trying to use what I already have - otherwise I wouldn't even be asking, I'd just add a couple of tuners to the mini.

    The Win box is actually running Windows 7, so I am hoping to take advantage of the upgraded streaming capabilities to stream live and recorded tv to the mac.

    The ideal solution would be software that lets the mini act as an extender but I doubt such a thing exists,
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #8
    Another thought that I had is to use Parallels Desktop (which I already own) and create a clean Vista or Win7 virtual machine. If it's running in coherence mode it should be transparent, and surprisingly the mini has enough horsepower to do this since I upgraded it to 4gigs of ram.

    Not an ideal solution, but workable. Obviously I'd prefer native OS X software though.
     
  9. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #9
    Give it a try. I'd test the video playback first before committing.

    I have no clue why everyone else seems to think you need some sort of SMB antics. Extender support is limited to Windows and a few other devices.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #10
    Been a while since I touched Windows Media Center.. but I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a software WMC extender (a.k.a. SoftSled), even on Windows.

    So I don't see how running a Windows VM on your Mini helps your situation.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #11
    I can point WMC to the shared folder where tv is recorded, and play it from there.

    I did just discover that VLC on OS X can play the ms-dvr files, but there was an occasional stutter. I'll have to investigate VLC a bit more also.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #12
    I think Windows Media Centre isn't a bad platform but it does assume you're going Microsoft (or microsoft supported hardware extenders) all the way.

    Personally I just use a NAS box (which you could use your windows machine as anyway) and do my media centre stuff via a Mac Mini running plex. Plex might not be what you want, but I think one way or the other you'll get nothing but hassle if you try and use a combined solution vs. a dedicated one way or the other one.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #13
    Right but it's not quite the same as WMC extender ;) If you can get stable MS-DVR playback in MacOS (MPlayer or VLC) - you can get access to your recordings without an overhead of VM/Parallels.
     
  14. macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #14
    Yeah it's really annoying. I have the same problem with my recordings and VLC.
     

Share This Page