Movie Server

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jer446, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. jer446 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    #1
    Well not exactly, just something to get movies from all my other computers in the house to play on a tv.. Let me explain my situation..My father is going in for surgery and will be stuck in the house for about two months.. hes asked me to get him tons of movies.. So hes going to buy a nice new hdtv for his room, probably plasma, maybe dlp, but both should have ports to hook them up to.. So i need a computer that will hook up to the tv, and show up pretty clear, and will have wireless and bluetooth.. im thinking mac mini right?? Would that be the right decision? Would he be able to do emails on it? Would it be clear enough to read websites? (at least a 42inch display sitting a few feet)
    Also, have all revisions of the mac mini had bt in them?? I havent checked in a while.. i didnt think so.. so i will need to add wireless and bluetooth.. any other suggestions??
     
  2. jer446 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
  3. jer446 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    #3
    if i hooked up an external hd to this, would it be fast enough to play off the hd? Does the video look good? my freind was elling me something about vedo video card or something that makes the text for movies. Also, if i have a widescreen tv, will the movies take up the full screen raher than be widescreen?
     
  4. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #4
    I've had my mini hooked up to my Hitachi 51 rear projection HDTV. The mini (OS X) was quite brilliant in that it knew the TV's capabilities. It could even drive it to 1920x1080 interlaced. Flicker of window boarders was annoying. At 1280x720 progressive it didn't have flicker. But a little fuzzy.
    I suspect a plasma lcd, or DLP should look good.
    For movies, you can either watch DVDs with DVD player. I think you could "rip" the contents of the disk to hard drive. But that would take a lot hd space. You convert them to quick time (H.264) with Handbrake or such. Then view with quicktime PRO (to get full screen). This compressing takes a while (like hours) but creates about a gig per movie file.
     
  5. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #5
    If it can wait until January the Mini's may be getting more robust multimedia capabilities with FrontRow built-in. Personally, I hope it is an Airport Express with 802.11n that is released though. In any case, I think in the next 2 months to a year having a computer or a streaming device in your living room to interface with a Plasma/LCD etc will become more compelling. Make sure that the TV you buy has a DVI in so that you can hook straight into it. Also, content that is available right now is pretty much 800x600 or lower unless you pay your cable provider extra for very few channels of HD. I purchased a Panasonic 42" ED model earlier this year for $1799 from Costco. I really recommend it if you don't want to shell out another $800 to $1000 for an HD model. The picture is superb for anything that is available right now and I don't think in 3-5 years the picture will be any worse. By that time HD sets will be more inexpensive with more content available and I will retire this one to the bedroom. Also, online video distribution may make the whole HD content debate a moot point because it will be so convenient to just download movies and tv programs ala cart that most people won't care or notice that it's not in HD. Just my thoughts...A mini will work fine with most high end TVs these days!
     
  6. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #6
    A Mac mini would work fine for what your describing, providing you're not planning on playing any high-res HDTV content on it. If you're just going to stream DVD rips or MPEG/XVID or whatever, it will be fine. If he plans on using his new TV as his computer monitor as well, I'd stay away from plasma. Plasma TV's burn in static images, like your menu bar, dock, or so many other pieces of the UI. Also, the ED plasma ddrueckhammer mentioned above, while being a great deal and providing a great picture for watching content, has a lower resolution not capable of HDTV-quality. This means your going to be working in an 800x600'ish resolution, which would make everything on-screen HUGE. Either an LCD or DLP would be fine for surfing as well as watching content. Most of these have 1280x960 resolution which is not bad for reading things a short distance away from the set.
     
  7. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #7
    Hook the drive up via Firewire and you won't have any problems. If you buy a widescreen tv, 16x9 movies will fill the entire screen. 4x3 content will either have to be stretched or be watched with bars on the sides. Many movies are shot in aspect ratios greater than 16x9, so you will have small bars at the top and bottom on your 16x9 widescreen set. Check out this site for more info on aspect ratios.
     
  8. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #8
    Sorry I never noticed this response...I have my powerbook hooked up to and am typing on my ED plasma right now...For video output there currently is very little HD quality content. There are the 10-15 channels mostly flavors of the Discovery Channel you can purchase for $10-$15 per month, you can possibly pick up a few over the air channels if you have an over the air receiver, there are HD Xbox games but you wouldn't want to play those on a plasma for fear of burn-in, and you could buy an HD-DVD player or Blue-Ray player for $1000 plus dollars. To me this doesn't justify spending over a thousand dollars more on an HD model plasma. Like I said, HD may not even take off if internet delivery does first...

    Current DVDs and Digital cable output at less than "800x600". While text in your browser may look large at this resolution you will want this for veiwing from 6-10' away. With a DVI input the picture will not look blurry but the icons and text will be larger which is a plus to me.
     

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