2010 Mac Mini as HTPC: Various questions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by LinMac, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    I ordered a 2010 Mac Mini as a HTPC yesterday after seeing them on sale. I had been experimenting with an Acer Nettop, but after seeing the level of performance vs. content I opted for something more powerful that will look nice in my TV cabinet.

    The issues I have so far are:

    1) What software should I use to organize a local content library and stream content using a standard Harmony remote?

    2) I do not own a standard PC monitor having an iMac instead. Is there any reasonable cheap way to use a Macbook Pro or iMac as a monitor (maybe windowed mode) when connected to another computer? Booting an alternative OS such as Linux, FreeBSD is fine.
  2. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    1. Plex

    2. Screen Sharing
    Hope that helps!
  3. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    In addition to Plex, you can look at XBMC or Boxee.

    Plex just did a major update, .9, which to my mind isn't quite there yet (the backend is better than .85, but the skins aren't, and from what the skinners have said I don't think that fixing the .9 bugs for skinning is a top priority for the Plex team).

    XBMC is about to drop a new version (10, Dharma) which I haven't used too extensively, but it looks nice. I'm leaning towards using it in place on Plex.

    Boxee is has its own interface issues, you either like it or hate it. I'm in the latter camp.

    Ultimately they're all fairly similar in functionality, so it just depends on what you like the look of.
  4. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Anyone know if you can stream plex or boxee to the old or new apple tv?
  5. cbdoc macrumors member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Can also connect to iMac via mini display port. That's probably the best solution for quality/performance.
  6. LinMac thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    1) I need to be able to manage a content library that will be local on the machine, shared across the network from an iMac, and occasionally via an attached portable hard drive.

    The second requirement is being able to watch streaming video from the internet most specifically MSNBC. I personally don't care about this, but someone who will be using the system definitely does so it is important that I try to make it work.

    2) Those solutions won't work. I need to be able to set this up so it can be used if the Mac Mini happens to have a critical kernel panic where it won't respond except to a local display. The displayport option won't work because I have a 22" iMac not a 27" and I would like to be able to setup my Aspire via the same setup. Is there no option for VGA to USB then have the video output in a program?
  7. EvilC5 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2010
    Hanover MD
    I set my mini up while it was hooked to my tv the 1st time, not the most ideal situation, but it got the job done. now I use screen sharing from my MBP or iMac to accomplish everything. the tv that my mini is connected to is the only tv in my house that doesnt have an apple tv hooked to it, and just this past weekend used safari to watch some netflix shows and it was fine, so i would imagine if msnbc is able to go full screen, you shouldnt have an issue there either.

    I have not tried plex or XBMC as of yet, but might get around to installing them if I get some time to mess with it.

    as for content, I have been just using itunes and transcoded all of my dvd's to the apple tv preset in handbrake and have been very satisfied thusfar.
  8. Tilpots, Nov 19, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010

    Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    1. Again, Plex. You should really take a look. Or you can just direct Safari to MSNBC's site.

    2. If your mini has a kernel panic you will see it on the TV to which your Mini is connected if your using it as an HTPC like you stated. A shared monitor will not help you in any way shape or form for this event.

    Take a look here. Right now, they're hacking the new ATVs to put Plex on it. Hopefully soon, apple will support apps natively.
  9. lovekeiiy macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2010
    I'm not following what you're trying to do. If you're using a HTPC, you should be hooking up the mini to your TV. So it's more an issue of what inputs you have on your TV. If it's a newer TV, it may have a PC mode. Heck, the OS may detect the TV perfectly. If not, you can use SwitchResX to make adjustments to fill the TV correctly. I have my mini hooked up to an old Mits 55" RP HDTV. I don't browse the web, but I watch videos on it, so I don't need pixel perfect.

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