Mac mini as Media Center

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by mrzippy, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #1
    I was thinking, wouldn't the Mac mini be an excellent media center?

    S-Video / Composite out and DVI (HDMI compatible) digital video out.

    I am planning to get a Plasma / LCD TV soon, therefore DVI out will give excellent picture quality.

    The Mac mini would look cool in the living room, as it's sexy, small and hopefully quiet.

    All it needs is 5.1 audio, which could be a USB sound card ie.
    http://www.maudio.co.uk/products/en_gb/Transit-main-1.html

    Then you can view DivX etc. movies with 5.1 audio with VLC media player
    Display slideshows with iPhoto
    Play music and browse playlists with iTunes

    This would really put the giant and ugly (and probably noisy) Windows XP Media Centers to shame.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    #2
    Yes, many people have already suggested this. Use the "Search" box to see those threads and contribute to them.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    What this project really needs is some momentum behind it from the open source community in the form of a software project. Windows Media Center and open source projects like X-Box Media Center or MythTV have nice user interfaces. You don't want users clicking away on their desktops to access their music, movies, etc. So what we need is a smart interface that can respond to a bluetooth/wifi or even IR control. Are there any Mac-ready bluetooth/wifi universal remotes?

    I would envision integration with iTunes, iPhoto, and media players like VLC. The software would compile a list of movies you've got from your machine as well as the local network (and do the same for photos and music) and present it all in a friendly form.

    Such a project should really enlist some good coders who can grab code from MythTV or other projects that do similar things. And it would have to be skinnable, etc.

    I would buy a $500 Mac for this purpose. A TV tuner and 5.1 sound would be optimal though. No need for SuperDrive or any more than 256 MB of RAM.

    Anyone up for some coding?
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #4
    I have had problems with these forums due to overloading recently, had not see any title threads on a media center.

    I can set up a website/forum for the mac media center if this is a help?

    Just need some programmers etc. to be interested.

    Neil
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #5
    I would be interested in observing/advising at this point (too many other projects to code). We would need a catchy name. MMC ? Mac Media Center?

    macmediacenter.com is taken... so it would need a cooler name. But yeah I'm sure if you started a web site with the ideas of the project listed out, people would come and start to help out. Or just start up a project on SF.net.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    #6
    iTheatre or iTheater. There you go.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    Dreadnought

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Almere, The Netherlands
    #7
    Also thought about using the MacMini ti substitute my complete hifi and video stuff.
    MacMini with airport to connect to my G5 and the internet,
    a remote control to scroll and get through menu's,
    an eyetv to watch tv and to replace my vcr.
    Only thing I'm missing is cableradio, no internet radio. Has onyone a solution for this? An external (usb) radio if it exists?
    Hook the Mini up to my TV and amplifier and I'm set!
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #9
    I already own an under used domain, so for now it would be:

    http://mrzippy.org.uk/macmediacenter

    If it takes off could look at buying a full domain

    Give me an hour or so and I'll put a test site/forum up.

    Neil
     
  10. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    The Shark is WAY too expensive. $70 for a radio tuner? I'm trying to find a cheap used D-Link R-100 USB tuner so I can record with my Linux box. I really want to record shows daily but I refuse to spend $70 for a radio tuner when I could spend $5 on a cheap radio and use free software (like WireTap) to record.

    itheater.com is taken too. Boo!
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    bankshot

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #11
    I posted about this yesterday on another forum, and I agree. The mini would be perfect for a set top box to control the home theater, if only it had digital audio out.

    Now, this is interesting - it hadn't occurred to me that you could do this externally. Of course it's not as elegant as having everything in the little box, but it could work.

    Question: with one of these hooked up, will DVD Player.app use it to send full digital audio out? I think I've read that it'll do digital audio out with the Power Mac G5 because that has it built in, but what about 3rd party add-ons? Will DVD Player recognize them?
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    #12
    A few other things

    I think you are right fore the most part. I don't think that Apple developed the Mini to be a stand a lone machine in the same sense we think of the iMac or Power Mac.

    I think the current release of the mini is a proof of concept for a media center Mac. I think there are two things which will need to happen before Apple makes modifications and markets the mini as a media center.

    1) the standard for HD DVD needs to be finalized and incorporated into the mini

    2) Further price reductions of large LCD displays.

    I think both will happen in the next year or two. At that time, Apple will have a media center capable of managing photos, music and HD TV. They will need to develop a good set of user interface tools as discussed above.

    Apple has always been a forward looking company; the next change in TV is wide acceptance of HD. It hasn't happened yet and Apple isn't going to waste time or resources on the current technology. They'll build HD capacity into the new system (with Sony, just a guess given the keynote) and it will be a good thing.

    Time will tell
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #13
    it's such a shame that mac mini lacks optical audio out. it would have been perfect piece of hardware if the space wasted for analog modem would have been used wiser and have that digital output instead.

    i will not buy this. maybe they add the digital output for the next revision? if they do, i promise i buy one in a heartbeat :)

    addons don't work for me as i would place the unit in a very visible space as a homage to the beautiful minimalistic design. the optical must be a builtin; i know, i sound like a whiner, but this is a showstopper for me.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    AliensAreFuzzy

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    #14
    I don't know how to check if it's taken, but what about MacMiniMedia.com?
    EDIT: spelling
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #15
    VLC Media Player will, doubt DVD Player.app would.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    #16
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #17
    optical out

    I wonder why DVD Player is not working with Airport Express? That would be a perfect way to get 5.1 audio from your movies.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #18
    I'm sure Apple knew all along that the community was going to hack the hell out of these Minis to produce cool HTPC's.... I'm wondering what their next move is. Would they directly challenge Media Center PC with a similar Apple system in the future?
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #19
    it should. mac os x recognizes firewire and usb audio input and output devices and uses them just like it does the ones inside the mac. look at the preference pane for sound>output or sound>input. external devices show up there in that list and you just click them to switch. ive heard 5 channel sound from a MOTU but thats high end firewire pro stuff, cheap usb might cause some problems.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #20
    Why? Apple didn't design Airport Express to stream audio from DVD player. However, others have been using streaming via VLC...

    http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20041023154910602&query=airtunes

    I have an M-Audio Sonica, and it allows for simulated surround sound. It works great with OS X and DVD player.
     
  21. macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #21
    Like I said in the other media center threads, the Eyetv is the only thing we can get, and it is way to expensive to make this a cost effective solution. If they drop the price, then we are all good.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    chaos86

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #22

    and isnt airport express only 2 channels out?
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2003
    Location:
    Timonium MD
    #23
    The ati remote wonder would be good for this. It can launch apps and apple scripts from the programable buttons. It has basic play, pause, next and back controls and you can move the mouse with the mouse button. http://ati.com/products/remotewonder2/index.html It works on a mac. I've used one on my PowerMac. The m-audio sonica theater thing is very good. I have one.
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #24
    macminicenter.com

    Hi, everyone, I registered macminicenter.com and macmediacenter.net last week, the idea was (and is) to build a sort of wiki-based Knowledge Library about the Mac mini as Media Center.

    So, our idea is not to build a sort of ipodlounge.com for the Mac mini...
    ... because we simply don't have the time to assure constant and up-to-dated news...

    The main goal is to build a USEFUL wiki-document about the use of Mac mini (and/or Mac in general) as Media Center, Home Server, HPTC, Digital Live Center, ... call it as you wish.
    and it has to be "self-powered" (that's why the wiki concept): anyone who has experience in this domain can share its knowledge...

    at the beginning, only users with an account will be able to edit the site, if you think YOU have knowledge to share about this topic and you're interested in the beta-phase building of this wiki, just send me a private message or email and I'll create you an account.

    more later...
     

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