Thinking of getting a new Mac mini to use as a HTPC and I have some questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by warvanov, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #1
    My current Mac mini is an old first gen that I use to store media that I watch on my Xbox 360. I'm considering upgrading to a new one, installing Plex, and using it as a HTPC instead of the Xbox. I have a couple of questions:

    1) Can use an Apple remote (the one that comes with an ATV) to control Plex running on a Mac mini?

    2) Will a universal remote work to control the Mac mini at all? For instance, can a Logitech Harmony be used to launch and then control Plex without requiring the use of a keyboard/mouse?

    3) Am I correct in my understanding that I can use Plex to store media files on my Mac mini at home and then warch them on my MacBook Pro or iPhone when I am away from home?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Idgit

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    #2
    1) Yes.

    2) You can purchase Remote Buddy which works with several brands of remotes. As for a free solution, I don't know. Someone else will have comment on that.

    3) Yes.

     
  3. macrumors 601

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #3
    If you go with Plex understand how to name the files so that the program gets it's data automatically for the Film/TV program. The first thing is to bookmark the site(where Plex gets it's data and the are (for Movies) TMDb-The Open movie database and (for TV) Online TV Database - An open directory of television show for HTPC software.

    In my setup for movies i just go to the TMDb-The Open movie database, find the movie I was looking to name, then copy the name (on the page for the movie) and paste in for name of the movie file itself(including the year part of the name).

    For TV shows is just a little different. Just go to the url=http://thetvdb.com]Online TV Database - An open directory of television show for HTPC software[/url] and find the TV program. Then figure out what episode it was and clicking on the episode to go to that episode's page. There I copied the name of the episode and when name the TV episode putting the th string (S1E3) (this means season 1 episode 3) so the name of the TV episode would be something like "Justice League (S1E03).mp4". This is how Plex will go get the TV episode data.

    You can read about doing this at the Plex Media Naming Organization Guide.
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #4
    2. i use a harmony remote + remote buddy.
    setup instructions here - http://miniharmony.blogspot.com/


    3. with the understanding that the quality will be not that great, unless you have a smoking internet connection. i've got 5-7 Mb/s up, and it's just watchable.

    with plex sync (currently a paid beta service) you can sync videos to your iOS device, for playback when you're not at home, you can get good quality video that way. but it's still a little buggy, apparently they've submitted a new iOS app, that's supposed to fix a lot of the problems.
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    #5
    2) I have a Logitech Harmony One, and require no extra software at all. It works with Plex + my MacMini out of the box.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    #6
    Same here. The Harmony One works great. No need for another remote. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, the plex app is a must. You can access all of your media anywhere and use it as remote as well. I don't have a mouse or keyboard hooked up to my mini so if I need to search for a movie on Netflix, I just use the plex app and type it in.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #7
    Thank you for all of the responses.

    I've installed Plex on my MBP just to get a feel for it. One of the first issues I've found is that Plex doesn't add shows to my library that have a date instead of a season/episode number. This sort of defeats the purpose of having Plex for me. Is there a workaround for this that doesn't involve having to manually change the filenames?
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Idgit

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    #8
    Can you gives us a couple of examples? Which shows and how do you have them currently named?
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #9
    I'm not at home so I don't know the exact filenames, but it's shows like Craig Fergusson or The Daily Show, where shows are labeled by date and not by season/episode number.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #10
    I'm not an expert with plex, but I do think you'll have to rename them to match the season/episode number format. Just look at the Daily Show on thetvdb: http://thetvdb.com/?tab=series&id=71256&lid=7

    The episodes are numbered and separated into seasons. You'll probably have to reference that and rename the files based off how they're listed on the site.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Idgit

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    #11
    For example, the Jan 31 ep of the Daily Show with Jason Bateman needs to be named like this: "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - s18e54 - Jason Bateman."

    You don't even need the part after the season and episode info. Use thetvdb.com as your reference.

    To auto-rename your TV shows, use Filebot or iDentify.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #12
    Thanks! Manually renaming the files would completely defeat the purpose of using Plex in the first place. (If I have to navigate to find them in the Finder to rename them, I might as well just open them and play them with VLC.) But if I can get one of those automated solutions to work, that would be fantastic.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Idgit

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    #13
    Both Plex and XBMC rely on external sites to scrape TV and movie info. These sites can't possibly account for the many variations on file names given to ripped TV shows and movies on P2P sites.

    So a file naming standard exists to keep things simple. Unfortunately, many uploaders don't adhere to these standards and so it's left to the user to rename the files so they adhere to the standards set by thetvdb.com and other sites used by media players.

    There are various ways to automate the renaming process but they still require maintenance and time to have them working accurately.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    #14
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #15
    I have used an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Track pad on my Mini for 3 years and works for me. You can also use the keyboard on an Apple TV. I purchased the Mac Mini for my entertainment centre and sits in a cabinet under the TV with my time capsule.:)
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Idgit

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    #16
    I use Rowmote on my iPad and iPhone.
     

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