Advice on my Home Media Distribution

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by quicksilver77, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. quicksilver77 macrumors 6502


    Nov 30, 2005
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    First off please excuse this longish post.

    Currently I have 2 Mac's in the house:
    iMac G5
    Macbook Pro Core Duo - Connected to Westinghouse 32" LCD

    Pioneer 5080HD
    Samsung 42" Plasma
    Westinghouse 32" LCD

    Lately I have been struggling with the best way to start serving my media to my tv's in the house. Currently I use the PS3 hooked up to the Pioneer to watch media housed on a WD external HD hooked up to the MBP. I use PS3 media server and usually copy the files to my PS3 unless they are mkv files. I find i get tons of network issues when I try to stream avi's or mkv's from the drive.

    I downloaded Plex 2 days ago and started to investigate it as a front end for media serving. I am enjoying it so far and it has led me to this crossroads. We just had a child about 4 months ago and I see the need for some educational dvd's in his future and as he grows the ability for him to watch things I want him to watch.

    I have nothing connected to the Samsung and this will be his play area. I have toyed with the idea of a Mac Mini but they are kind of expensive. I have a Core 2 Duo 6400, 2gb of Ram and an Nvidia card laying around. Those parts are making me think of building a Hackintosh as a front end for Plex on the Samsung. I would then buy a couple of 1tb external USB drives and hook them up to the MBP (Intel) and serve my media through it. Does anyone have a hackintosh in this manner? Are you happy with it? Will those components play back 720p mkv files ok?

    I am also going to attempt to rip my (70+) DVD's over the next couple of weeks using handbrake. Since I will be getting a couple of largish TB HD do you have any recommendations on rip settings through handbrake? I am not to concerned with quality since my sets are only 768p.

    My final plan is to have everything available on all the tv's in the house. I know I will still have to use the PS3 or Xbox 360 on the Pioneer to get to my media but really I will be the only one using that system for the most part.

    Once again sorry for the long post but being at this crossroads has my head spinning a bit. I have been considering an Apple TV but Plex will not run on it.
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    You could have a few Mac Minis streaming videos through Plex from a central location, likely one of the Mac Minis. You will need a working network capable of streaming unless you want to buy software that will sync the media between computers, requiring enough storage on each machine.

    Also, Plex is based off of XBMC, which does run on the ATV. Boxee is another piece of software that is based off XBMC. These will all have very similar interfaces.
  3. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    I went though this dilemma last week what I did was drop my cable completely, and now use apple TVs on all my TVs. I great them their own wireless network using a Airport Expressed served from my iMac, sharing its internet connection though ethernet. That way they could access the itunes with there own dedicated wireless network.

    as for the TV shows, I by them, if they are worth watching, rent movies now and then, and I ripped all my DVD's to my iTunes library use 3 macs, some scripts I got from here, and handbrake.

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