Mini HTPC setup questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by HE15MAN, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #1
    I would like to thank everyone in advance. I am just very new to HT setups and would like the best setup possible with the hardware I am looking to use.

    I am starting to order everything I want to use and am not sure the exact cables I will need and what is the best way to do it.

    Am I going to need an HDMI splitter since my TV only has 2 HDMI ports on it?

    I will need to have these all connected

    Sony Bravia KDL-46V2500

    http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs...1&langId=-1&productId=11040895#specifications

    Sony STR-DH500 Receiver

    http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs...10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665788586

    Apple Mac Mini

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html

    DirecTV HR21 Reciever

    http://tech.yahoo.com/ps/directv-group-hr21-700/1995451050

    Hauppauge HD PVR

    http://www.buy.com/prod/hauppauge-h...sonal-video-recorder/q/loc/111/208088259.html

    Playstation 3

    My main goal

    I would like to be able to watch saved shows and movies through Plex and the Mac Mini on my TV.

    I would like to be able to watch and record DVD's from the PS3, through the Hauppauge onto the Mac Mini.

    I would like to be able to record shows from my DirecTV box and DVR onto my Mac Mini through the Hauppauge.

    I already have the TV, PS3, receiver with surround sound, and DirecTV box already setup and running. I am wanting to add the Mac Mini and Hauppauge to my setup but am not positive how the best way to connect all the cables.

    The Mac Mini is already in the mail. I bought the LogiTech Dinovo Mini but I am not to thrilled with it so I think it is going to get returned.

    So mainly I am just not positive what cables and hardware I need to order from Monoprice and since it takes it 4-5 days to deliver to Florida, I prefer to get everything at once!

    And I was planning on using this to connect the Mini to HDMI, this is the right cable correct?

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...cs_id=1041912&p_id=4852&seq=1&format=2&style=

    This for the optical audio out

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...cs_id=1022902&p_id=1556&seq=1&format=2&style=

    Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #2
    You shouldn't need HDMI splitter - your Sony AVR already supports HDMI switching.

    The MonoPrice video/audio cables look right.

    Using Hauppauge to watch/record DVD's seems like a big cludge.. Your Mini already has a DVD drive - you can use it to rip/encode DVD's and obviously you can watch them with either Mini or PS3.

    You can also use PS3 blu-ray drive to watch/rip blu-ray movies (although the latter is a bit more involved). I've invested in a Blu-ray drive for my Mini, so ripping Blu-ray movies is simple. ;)

    Good luck.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #3
    Thanks for the response. I am using Hauppauge to record things off the TV and DVR for the most part, as well as any blu ray quality movies I watch through the PS3 (but that is very rare) I mainly will be using the Hauppauge for as I said, recording TV. I will obviously use handbrake to rip hard copy DVD's I have.

    How much are the Blu-Ray drives for the Mini? Although I dont see a real purpose off the top of my head for them instead of using my PS3..

    Also, doesnt the Hauppauge have to be setup between my Directv receiver and the Mac Mini, and also plugged into the PS3 all somehow at the same time? Anyone have info on how to do that with the audio and video connections I will need?

    Thanks!
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #4
    You can get one on eBay for ~$140 or so. You certainly don't need it, if all you want to do is playback hard BD disks - PS3 is fine for that. My main use of it is BD ripping.

    I don't know much about HD-PVR.. I believe it needs analog component as an input.. and outputs H.264 via USB to your computer/Mini. If it supports multiple Component inputs, you can connect it to both your PS3 and DTV box at the same time.. At least until they close an "analog hole" which HD-PVR is taking advantage of right now.. at which point it will no longer be able to capture HD video from PS3 ;)
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #5
    I got it all setup this afternoon

    Everything looks great! Only issue is for some reason I cannot see the top options on the desktop. I can see the dock and all fine but the top toolbar is not visible. It is on the 1080i setting under display

    Also since my receiver only has 2 optical audio in's, I just unhooked my PS3. That allows me to still use the directv box with surround on or off. I guess I just need to buy an HDMI switch so I can hook the PS3 back up.

    Any ideas?
     
  6. macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #6
    You should connect as follows:

    HDMI from PS3 to receiver
    HDMI from Mac Mini to receiver
    HDMI from DirecTV to receiver

    HDMI from receiver to TV

    Why use optical audio for your PS3 when you get the audio via HDMI?


    As for cutting off the toolbar, that's overscan. Cycle through the video modes of your TV and you'll probably find one that doesn't overscan.
     
  7. macrumors 601

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #7
    Yeah, I had the same problem with my Samsung plasma. The picture size option on Samsungs that fixes the problem is Just Scan (vs. the 16:9 ratio I previously had it on).
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #8

    Thanks for the response! That is how I was wanting to do it, but the ole lady threw a fit and said she wanted to be able to hear sound from the mini as well as the directv box either the surround sour or the normal tv speakers. She says the surround sound is to loud and over powering.

    Hmmmm I will take a look at the video modes. Not positive how to change that though.
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #9
    I don't have a Sony TV, but we recently got a 1080p Toshiba that had overscan with our Mini ... check the picture mode on the TV. Our's automatically went into "Natural" mode but there was a "Native" setting that eliminated overscan. Presumably, the Sony will have a similar setting.
     
  10. macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #10
    Looking at the manual for your TV, you want to play with the "Display Area" setting (pg 30). It can be found under the Screen Settings menu.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #11
    That worked great! I actually just turned overscan off in OS X and it works fine. It goes full screen for plex and it is like 3/4 screen with OS X open but the entire screen is visible
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #12
    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I was wondering how you connect your Mini to your receiver? Mine won't read the receiver unless I am doing something incorrectly.

    I have the Toslink to Mini cable going from my Mini to my Denon receiver optical input and it does nothing. In the sound properties, it doesn't detect anything. Can anyone help? Thanks if anyone can.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #13
    This is what I used and plugged it into the BD section of my receiver

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...cs_id=1022902&p_id=1556&seq=1&format=2&style=

    Zero setup required other then turning the receiver to that audio channel
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #14
    How can I make the mac mini screen show full screen? When I set it to 720p it is the most tolerable. Currently there is a black border around the outside. When I turn on overscan, it looks great, but you can't view the top menu bar.

    Should I just put a shortcut for system preferences on the bottom menu bar and leave it be?
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    #15
    TV setting

    This is an issue with the TV and its menu settings - not your mac. In the Aspect Ratio Setting of the TV, you need to find the setting that gives you a 1:1 pixel. Sometimes its called "1:1" or "pixel" or "exact." This is crazy I know. The RGB port is set up that way but the HDMI port on the TV is not. On the mac side, just make sure the monitor control panel is set to 1280x720 but not to interlaced - it will just say 1280x720. And under options like you have done pick overscan.

    Doug
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #16
    Thank you Doug, I will give that a try when I get home. Is this a setting I am going to have to change every time I want to use the mini?
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Location:
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    #17
    I dont have 1280x720 as a resolution option. I have 1280x926. Also, I cannot find the aspect ratio settings on the tv. :(
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    #18
    To fix the Overscan issue you may need to play around with DisplayConfigX and/or SwitchResX, which let you create unique resolutions. I'll warn you that it's not straight forward, you'll have to learn terms like "front porch" but the end result is a screen properly fit to your TV. The most helpful part of either program was a test image on DisplayConfigX where you can see how many pixels are viewable on your screen, which you can then use to figure out the proper setting for your TV.
     

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