First gen Mac mini as media center

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ancap80, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Ancap80 macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2012
    I dug up my old first gen Mac mini from back in grad school. I am not too tech savy but would like to use this for a media center. Particularly I would like to put all of my DVDs onto a external hard drive and use the Mac mini as the media center. Now I have recently gotten a iPhone 4s and iPad 2 so I don't want to invest much more, but it looks like there may be some possibilities with these??? The major thing is playing DVDs and I do not care about HD stuff. What are my possibilities and where should I go?
  2. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    If by "first generation", you have a G4, then it will be best used as a boat anchor. None of the modern home theaterish apps will run on it, it is slow, and the graphics chip won't be able to handle HD.
  3. Ancap80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. Is there upgrade possibilities or should I start saving for a new mini or something?
  4. dolphin842, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

    dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    If you just want to use it for playing DVD rips it should work. You won't get the advanced deinterlacing capabilities for the video, but it'll play back. There are a few remote control apps for iOS (I use the free Logitech Touch Mouse) that will let you mouse around and type stuff in if necessary.

    If you want to encode the video, it's probably best to stick with the older MPEG-4 format, as H264 video likely will not play back smoothly.
  5. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    I used my first gen G4 mini for years as a media center and it had trouble playing anything other than standard definition .avi files. I couldn't use it for Netflix, Hulu or even YouTube, and there was no way it would play any high definition content. If you're planning on using it to rip and encode DVDs then it's going to be very slow. If you're planning on just making a disc image of each of your DVDs then and storing them on an external hard drive then that would be a bit faster and you'd probably be able to play them in VLC with no problems. (Not sure if the Apple DVD Player will load disc images.)

    Do you happen to have an Xbox 360 or PS3? I'm currently using my mini as a media server, storing lots of TV shows and movies on an external drive and sharing them to my Xbox using an application called Playback. That way I can use my Xbox for just about anything I want to watch: downloads, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube. The best part about this set up is that even though my mini can't process HD video or Blu-Ray rips it has no problem streaming them to the Xbox.
  6. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    The 2009 mini (9400M) is the oldest one worth using. All prior models to that are fairly limited, esp in the graphics dept. A used version of those can be found for not too much.

    Otherwise... I can highly recommend the latest model!:D
  7. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Indeed it does. You can even drag a video_ts folder onto the icon and it'll load normally.

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