ATV3 - Plex Connect - HT Set Up

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by warrell, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. warrell macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2013
    Hey Guys,

    I confess to be a total noob when it comes to this!

    Here is what I currently do I have about 1TB of movies stored on a external hard drive, which are also in my iTunes library which I hook up to my MBP and then am able to play through my ATV3.

    What I want to do is be able to do is play all my movies through my ATV3 (with the possibility of adding more ATV's to the house) at any given time without the need for cables etc.

    Would a Mac Mini G4 enable me to do this if so how would you suggest setting it up? Running Plex Connect a possibility?

    If not what alternative should I look at NAS?
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    i would check out, and ask questions in the plex connect forums, instead of here, you'll get people with much more knowledge about that software.

    if everything is already in iTunes, that's probably your best option.
    a G4 would be able to handle running iTunes, and sharing to the aTV.

    if it's movies you've purchased from the iTunes store, then you must play them with iTunes, or using the native options on the aTV.

    for plexconnect, depending on what format your movies are in, a G4 might be a bit slow, If they are already in a format supported by the aTV, it will be fine, if the server is having to convert, you'll probably run into issues.

    the plex server will run on some NAS devices, but you'll run into the same horsepower problem that you have with the G4.

    plex connect is still very new software, and the install process can require a decent amount of software troubleshooting at the moment. and you may run into limitations or bugs that haven't been addressed yet.
  3. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2011
    I think plex is Intel only. So it won't run on your Mac mini at all.
  4. dugbug macrumors 65816


    Aug 23, 2008
    Somewhere in Florida
    I think itunes home sharing would be your best option if you want to try your G4 out. You may run into iTunes version problems (being so old).

    Plex server+plexconnect with the ATV3 CAN play itunes DRM media. this is one of the only clients to support this. So that is an option. There are several NAS options for it, check plex forums for more.
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I've been trying to tackle the Plex problem myself for a while now.

    As far as NAS devices go I've ruled them out. They offer too little power for the price. Then I tried Ubuntu, Fedora and Mint Linux. I couldn't get any to work quite the way I wanted. Mint was the best overall but was slow using SMB.

    I finally settled for using Windows to run my Plex server. It is fast, responsive and easy to use. The only downside is no ZFS configured in RAID-Z. So I'll just use independent drives since you can't expand RAID 5 without destroying the array.

    I didn't use a Mac since they are too expensive just to use as a Plex server and media center. Plus I'd have to stack up a bunch of external drives around my TV than putting everything in a case. The only advantage I could see with using a Mac is that I could get ZFS drivers which I really wanted.

    I tried hackintoshing the server but the hardware would not work with Lion or Mountain Lion. Since I was using old parts to save money I had to stick with Windows and live without ZFS. I had considered building an i3 Customac from Tonymacx86 but decided I didn't want to have the headache of sleep issues or getting HDMI audio to work.

    As for the Apple TV. I was looking at using my Roku 2 XS and then looked at switching to the AppleTV. Ultimately I concluded none of the set top boxes would work. So any media I serve will have to be to computers. The Roku and AppleTV are too limited in formats and bitrates they can handle. Which would require either ripping my Blu Ray library in too low a bitrate for my tastes and being careful about other media I store or use transcoding. They also require the server to be up and running 24/7 as they will not send magic packets for wake on lan.

    I'd find transcoding acceptable if wake on LAN would work. I can barely stomach the idea of a 9W AMD APU running 24/7 let alone alone the power hungry Quad core Intel CPU needed to transcode 1080p content.

    So for my setup I have a Core 2 Duo heavily underclocked and undervolted with a 80+ Gold PSU as my Plex server with a Radeon HD 6450 hooked up via HDMI to my familyroom TV. It has four 1TB hard drives installed that I had lying around. Two are in RAID 0 the other two are independent and backing up the RAID array. It uses 40 Watts idle and 90Watts at full load. I've deleted the Plex transcoder as it would try to run when not needed bringing the server to a screeching halt. All other computers now connect via the Plex client and use wake on LAN to get the server running.

    If I actually end up using it I'll switch out the hard drives with 3TB or 4TB models as I run out of space. If I don't end up using it I'll be out $30 for the video card as I already had all the parts lying about.

    Now the next part is finding the best format to RIP my Blu Ray and DVD library. I've found that Video_TS and MKV folders don't work with Plex. So I won't be able to store direct rips. Instead I need to find the best method for ripping the film and audio in the best possible quality.

    Does anyone have a preferred container preferably one that would allow me to turn subtitles on and off yet remain Plex friendly? I don't want to downgrade the bitrate. Space is not an issue and everything connects via gigabit Ethernet.
  6. dskmac macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2011
  7. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 25, 2008
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV

    You realize that Mac Minis have Intel processors right? The requirements state an Intel Core Duo processor (or better).

    A G4 Mac Mini is not Intel. It won't run on his Mac Mini....

    I use a Mac Mini (2011 Model) and I have it connected to a 3TB external HD via FW800 for my Media. In my room I have an Apple TV 2 jailbroken running Plex.. and for the other rooms I purchased Roku 3s. I think I like the Apple TV 2 interface better for the Plex app, but the Roku is super fast and works well.

    And yes, I would recommend staying away from a NAS unless you rip all you own files into a format the NAS can play natively. To get a powerful NAS that is able to transcode content is very $$.
  8. dskmac macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2011
    Sorry bud, missed the G4 part...I stand corrected.
  9. brettO5 macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2012
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini connect to my ATV3 and was using home sharing until recently testing Plex Media Server. I now use the Plex app on my iPad to Airplay to my ATV which works well, but I would prefer to take the iPad out of the equation. So I've only just (15mins ago) installed PlexConnect as an app on my mini as per this method. I will test this tonight on my ATV3 and hopefully it gives me what I need until Plex provide an officially supported method.

    Cheers, Brett

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