Going the Mac mini Home theatre route

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wartnig, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. wartnig macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    hi, i have apple tv and a mac mini. I have now decided to sell the apple tv and use the funds to turn my mac mini into my home theatre system.
    Has anyone else done this? Do ppl prefer the apple tv or mac mini?

    I am hoping that i wont miss out on to many features by doing this.. i have read people struggling to get 5.1 audio from the mac mini.. aprt from that i think its a good move.

    PS is frontrow the only application that can play itunes purchased movies?
  2. coogee macrumors regular

    May 28, 2007
    I went this route (ditched ATV, now use Mini as HTPC).
    Personally, I love it, much better but I use Plex and I'll never buy an iTunes movie. 5.1 no problem from Plex.
  3. jahama macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Mac Mini media center

    I setup my mac mini with eyetv hybrid, and turbo264 from elgato and everything works well. I would probably beef up the RAM to 4 Gig for performance. The cool thing is right after a show is recorded, eyetv 3 will compress it for access over wifi by either another computer or my iphone.

    Also records clear QAM ("free" of my regular analog cable - which I pay $12/month for), and it looks great.

    Remote is ok, could be better.

    Also installed cytv to stream the eyetv signal live to my other computers in the house (pseudo slingbox).

    Also running plex but haven't hooked up the TOS cable to the mac mini to try out the 5.1.
  4. the2j macrumors member


    Oct 24, 2008
    Davis, CA
    +1 for the mini !

    After upgrading you will never miss your Atv again (well maybe the HDMI)
  5. azdunerat macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2009
    Love my mini and plex has a great GUI, so easy my wife can use it without issue. My only suggestion is if you have an iPod touch or iPhone download snatch and the custom plex remote screens! It makes using plex much easier and a lot more fun.
  6. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    Never had an apple TV but I sold a windows media centre machine and replaced it with a mini running plex. And I'm very glad I did. Can't hear the mini during use (to be fair, couldn't hear the windows machine either, just making the point that the mini is silent as I expect your apple TV is), except for the usual noises any player makes while loading and unloading DVD drive.
  7. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    I really find that both the ATV and the mini work well together.

    The mini is a great server for music and movies throughout the house. I have a drobo attached to it and it works a charm.

    The ATV really does an excellent job at getting the stuff onto the tv.
  8. wartnig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    cheers for the advice guys.. I have had a play around with Plex (About 6 months ago).. so will have to reinstall it on the Mini and see how it works.

    I take it you wont be able to play any itunes purchased movies?

    The only reason i am selling my ATV is becasue bothe the ATV and the Mini are hooked up to my TV!! So kinda makes sense to drop one.My only concern is the 5.1 surround... fingers crossed i can get this working with my movies i have converted with handbrake (ATV preset).

    Does plex play MKV files?
  9. scotthayes macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2007
    Birmingham, England
    That the exact route I'm planning. Any tips or advice?
  10. kadeschs macrumors regular

    May 4, 2009
    Get a second job to pay for it? LOL Seriously, I've been thinking of doing the same. I just can't justify the cost. I do like what the Mini can bring to the table though. Let me know how it goes.
  11. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    Plex will play anything - even rar's of non-specific formats apparently (not that I've tried this one)

    I had the :apple:tv for over a year before the Mini came into being and I'm looking forward to putting it in our bedroom when my father's day gift (32" LCD panel) arrives. W/xbmc installed on the :apple:tv I should be able to stream the content off my Mini...
  12. richard.martin macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2009
    Buy it. 5.1 is no bother.... DTS, 2.0 it all comes thru. I use Plex and remote buddy and EyeTV - perfect, my 5 year can use it - literally....
  13. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    The mini Toslink to Toslink cable I use to connect my Mini to my 5.1 surround system makes a HUGE difference over an analog connection, even if the audio isn't surround. Most receivers can handle turning stereo sound into surround sound with little effort and a great effect.
  14. bartzilla macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2008
    I've never tried it
    Keep in mind you could AT WORST, if it does't 'just work' in Plex, just play these via front row, which I think you can access through plex anyway. You won't be stuck with stuff you just can't play.
  15. Antares macrumors 68000


    Can you get the Apple Remote to work well with Plex?
  16. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Absolutely. I find the Apple remote to be sufficient.
  17. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Sometimes I want the Apple remote to control iTunes while Plex isn't running, but it can't do that.
  18. Bokes macrumors 6502

    Mar 4, 2008
    What is the major benefit of going with mac mini vs Appletv?
    Is it the ability to use different codecs and get better quality?
  19. SpeedFleX macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2009
    yes, you can also watch a dvd without the need of converting if you dont already have a dvd player.

    the possibilities are just alot more with a macmini since you can add things to it
  20. Pigumon macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    The mini was released two years before the :apple:tv... did you mean came into being at your house?

    I ended up buying a NMT (hdx-1000) instead of apple tv or mini. I have a mini, but it doesn't have HDMI, doesn't output 1080P very well, and the framerate drops during 1080P playback.

    So for now, the NMT is leaps and bounds better. I have a 1.5TB installed, has HDMI, Composite, Component, optical audio, no fan (no noise). Drawbacks- need parallels to take advantage of the extra linux apps, otherwise, you can just format as windows and mount it on your mac. Also, some codecs are not yet supported, but so far almost all are. Has DTS output.
  21. aduteau macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2007
    Try this out, I've been using this on my Mac mini for Plex, iTunes, Safari, Google earth and more .. all on the living room big screen using only the Apple remote (even shutdown the mini from the apple remote):


    Its really worth the look if you only want one remote to access everything on your mini :)

    Hope this helps :)
  22. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
  23. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    Agreed. I bought a $250 Mini off ebay after getting my 40GB Apple TV. I don't need the Mini to do anything but stream from an attached 1TB MyBook. I thought about doing the Mini-only thing but this way I can keep my Mini hidden away with the attached HDD and the Apple TV leaves a small footprint. One HDMI cable, one TOSlink cable, and power cord.
  24. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    What would you guys say is the lowest available system requirements to use a mini as a successful home theater system? I'm mainly looking to use it for movies and internet on the big screen in the living room. Movies are obvious, but using the net I would like to do basic surfing, google maps, hulu, and other media access like tv shows availalbe online, etc. Do you need the latest model maxed out to be able to do all of this or would a previous generation work. I'm assuming you need to have an Intel model, but would a 1.5ghz be sufficient? My budget is pretty tight and if I can buy a used mini to make this work that would be great.
  25. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    I can only confirm that a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo is enough to play 1080p without any problems. I wouldn't recommend going any lower than this model.

Share This Page