Advice for media center PC

clarkie604

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 20, 2010
68
0
I love my current AppleTV gen 2, but I've decided to move to something with more horsepower for 2 reasons -- (1) I want to add a video cam so that we can video conference with family sitting on the living room couch (my brother in law has a set up that works really great for out-of-state grandparents to watch all our little kids running around) and (2) I want DVR functionality for my OTA network channels. I also want to replace the current functionality of my AppleTV -- mainly, access to iTunes library and Netflix.

So, I'm thinking a Mac Mini with Plex (wish there was a Skype/Facetime plugin) and DVR software. I did a quick search for a less-expensive, comparable Windows-based alternative. With a Windows-based box, I think I could get by with Windows Media Center for both DVR functionality and to access my movie, tv show and music files. But I would end up having to figure out how to run WMC and iTunes (to serve up content for my other AppleTVs in the house) content databases concurrently.

So I recognize there are a lot of kinks to work out, but my main question is whether anybody has a suggestion for a windows-based Mac Mini alternative. I like the small form factor, but box size isn't a big issue. The Mini just appears to have pretty good specs for a media center computer.
 

maturola

macrumors 68040
Oct 29, 2007
3,863
1
Atlanta, GA
Depending on how much work and assembly you want to do, you can get more for your money if you build the machine yourself (funny since i just posted in another threat the same thing LOL).

I would recommend, you go with a AMD Llano processor (A6 at least), that would give you everything you need and more (Even 3D bluray playback if you own or ever want to update to a 3D capable TV).

The one I got running on my main TV is the following.

Case: IN WIN BP655.200BL Black Steel Mini-ITX
Motherboard: ASRock A75M-ITX FM1 AMD A75
CPU: AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz
8GB of RAM
2TB of storage
(I got a 16GB SSD for faster bootup time, but not really necessary i just got fancy with mine)
And remote.

*you will need to add the TV capture card to that since you want to record live TV, that is up to you, since you would had to add that the Mac mini as well.

hope it help, shot me a PM if you decide to go that route and need any help!
 

clarkie604

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 20, 2010
68
0
Thanks for the thought. It would be a fun project, but even though I'm pretty techie I think there would be a significant learning curve for me to build my own PC - and I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience right now.
 

maturola

macrumors 68040
Oct 29, 2007
3,863
1
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the thought. It would be a fun project, but even though I'm pretty techie I think there would be a significant learning curve for me to build my own PC - and I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience right now.
understandable ;), however just for the records, building the PC is not that bad, couple of hours including installing the OS and it would be out of the way, all you need to do is to plug "Stuff" where it "Fits" LOL :D

The setting up of the software would take sometime, but then again, you have to do it on the macmini as well. ;)
 

bearcatrp

macrumors 68000
Sep 24, 2008
1,604
3
Boon Docks USA
Running iTunes on Win7 64 works well with my ATV's. No issues streaming. Got tired of using external drives on my mini. Wish apple would make a mini that could house 2 full size disks. Would make an excellent Media center.
 

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