Using the Mac Mini as a Media Centre

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by PodHead, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2006
    Boise, ID
    Anyone doing this? After I upgrade my Macbook to a "Pro" I want to use the mini as a Media Centre. I suppose it's possible if your TV has the DVI/VGA input. I just wanted it hear some success stories.
  2. macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I haven't done it, I just got my Mini and it replaced my G4 in my office. I did however get a miniStack and put my 120GB HDD in it. I have ripped a few movies with it and use Front Row to access them. Of course you would want to get the bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I have a macmice Mouse BT aluminum. From what I have heard you can hook it up to the tv, but it may take a little fiddling to get the display to work right, if I remember right, mostly to do with playing a DVD with Front Row or the DVD player app and how the tv processes the pulldown. If your tv has HDMI input get a DVI-HDMI cable, other wise a DVI-DVI cable. If neither of those are options, before going VGA, I heard that Radio Shack has component to DVI converters. Don't know if they are a cable or a box, but one of those is the way to go. VGA as a last resort. The Mini will drive 1920x1080 which is an Apple 23" ACD so that is perfect for any widescreen tv.

    Edit: yes component. Thanks balamw for catching that.
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    ?!? :confused:

    Straight VGA would be far better than converting some other analog signal like composite of all things to DVI/HDMI. Especially given the fact that not all HDTVs like a computer on their HDMI ports. Or were you suggesting going from DVI to component.

    I'd say. If the display has a VGA port designed for computer use, use it. Works great for my iMac to my family room HDTV.

  4. macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2006
    You dont need a DVI or VGA input, a regular TV is ok with the right apple adaptor.

    Do a google search for these products too:

    Miglia TVMax
    iEye Captain
  5. macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Works Great!

    I've my mini set up as a video/music media centre, I couldn't be happier with it.

    The mini itself is connected to a 26" Samsung HD-TV via the VGA PC Input, sound goes to the TV via the PC Input also (3.5" Jack-to-Jack cable), and a network cable between the mini and my Mac Pro's second Ethernet port.

    I have my iTunes library shared on the network, so the mini picks that up via Frontrow and works as if it were actually stored on the mini itself. I mounted my Mac Pro's Hard Drive on the desktop of the mini and created an alias to it in the 'Movies' folder. Again, Frontrow jumps straight over to the Mac Pro whenever I select 'Movies'.

    Responsiveness is fantastic! I used to connect wirelessly but although iTunes worked really well, it took a few seconds for frontrow to generate the previews of large movie files which made it a little sluggish when navigating a large list of movies. However, now that it's connected directly to the Mac Pro via Gigabit Ethernet, it simply flies.

    It's also great how I can sleep the mini and wake it up with the remote, and it even remembers the connection to the Mac Pro, so once it's set up, all you need it the remote and no more (even the TV switches itself off whenever it detects no more input coming from the mini!)

    All-in-all, as a one-stop machine for allowing you to watch videos and listen to music stored on another machine in your house it simply can't be beat (and the video/sound quality is superb).

    Hope this helps you with your question :)
  6. Sol
    macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2003
    The Intel Mac Mini has one limitation that the G4 Mini did not; composite and S-Video output does not support widescreen resolutions. I suspect the Intel GPU is to blame.
  7. thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2006
    Boise, ID
    Spot on!!! Thanks!!
  8. macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    This is exactly what I'm hoping the 'iTV' will do... link our MacPro to our living room.

    ... although I keep looking at refurb'd Mini's, but feel it'd be a little overkill.

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