Got my new Mac Mini setup as a media center!

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by rogersmj, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #1
    [​IMG]

    This was my project today. I picked up this 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo Mac Mini with 1.5GB of RAM from Craigslist, and today replaced my hacked Apple TV with it. I'm running the great Plex software, and so far the whole user experience is fantastic. These Minis are great little machines!

    More info and pictures in a quick post on my blog. I'm lovin' it.
     
  2. kalex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #2
    Nice setup.

    powerful and clean. this is actually on my to do list. I'm trying to find a decently priced mini and so far its not working out. My xbox running xbmc is getting old and mac mini would be an awesome replacement.

    I just read your blog and its almost same as me. I tried AppleTV but after using xbmc, it just sucks :)

    Hopefully i'll be able to get a good deal on mac mini, then my setup would be complete and my xbox will go to electronic heaven as a wounded soldier.
     
  3. mpshay macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    #3
    Looks good. Mine pretty close to yours. I've got a 2.0 GHz mini, 1 TB harddrive in Newertech mini stack feeding a Samsung LCD. Is that a Tivo? I've got 3 in the house including a Series 3 next to the Mini. I've got Plex installed, but end up using Front Row most of the time because my wife and my 4 yr old like it because it's simpler.

    I've also got a 1.83 GHz mini in the master bedroom mainly for watching video podcasts at night and the occasional ripped DVD.
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #4
    That's a nice setup, for sure. And Plex is tops for HTPCs. Now, you just need to get rid of that LCD TV and get a 1080p projector. ;)
     
  5. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #5
    i have been wanting to get an apple tv for a long time, but have also considered getting a mini. i know the mini would be more expensive, but i really don't know which one would be better as a media device
     
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #6
    1. What types of media are you wanting to play?

    2. Are you willing to invest half an hour a week managing the system?

    If #1 is anything other than MPEG4 H.264 720p or #2 is "yes", then you want a Mini with Plex installed.
     
  7. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #7
    Yeah that's a Tivo HD. I upgraded the hard drive in it to 500GB.

    My Mini pulls its content from my 2.4 TB main machine in the next room over a gigabit ethernet connection. So far my wife likes the new Plex interface just as well as the Apple TV interface. All the button sequences I programmed into my Harmony help.
     
  8. donga macrumors 6502a

    donga

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    AZ
    #8
    are there step by step instructions on how to set the cables up with the mini to the tv?

    also, does the apple remote work with plex? or only front row?
     
  9. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #9
    Well i guess i would just be using all my music and podcast from itunes, then ripping all my dvds onto an external HDD. What kind of managing would you need to do?
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    hey OP,

    wonderful setup!!

    we recently got an HD panasonic TV, and i am comtemplating getting a Mac Mini to play some of my ripped BluRay content.

    have you had any experience playing back 1080p movies on the MacMini yet? it would be awsome if you could test it out for me as im not 100% if it will play it flawlessly :)

    love your setup
     
  11. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #11
    Oh yes, the Apple Remote works with Plex.

    Thanks! My TV is 720p, so I don't know about the 1080p content. Someone else might be able to chime in though.
     
  12. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
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    #12
    oh ok then, how does 720p content play with the mini (if you've ever done that?)

    thanks
     
  13. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #13
    It plays 720p perfectly smoothly. Today I watched the Battlestar Galactica miniseries in 720p, streaming over the network, and it was flawless.
     
  14. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
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    #14
    The Mac Mini only has 10/100 Ethernet so no matter what it connects to that is as fast as it will go.
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
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    #15
    thanks OP for that :)




    HAHA-read that, the specs are clearly 1000mbps.

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/specs.html
     
  16. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #16
  17. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #17
    Give this a re-read, then download Plex. You'll be in Blu-Ray heaven with your Mini. ;)

    In that case, an Apple TV would be best for your needs. If you were wanting to play other file formats (e.g., MKV, Blu-Ray), then a Mini with Plex would be the way to go.
     
  18. Aegelward macrumors 6502

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    Jul 31, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    How well does streaming work for high definition files under plex?
     
  19. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #19
    Nice setup. I went back and forth on the Apple TV vs. Mac Mini decision for about a month. Plex was so enticing after having used XBMC for years and having a Mini readily available sounded great. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized how much extra time I'd have to spend keeping everything running smoothly for my wife and with a baby on the way, I just didn't want to deal with the whole XBMC-type set ups anymore. Not that they are cumbersome once set up but my wife and anyone else who would be at the house would find some way, some how to mess it up. <sigh>

    Who knows, I might get one anyway.

    Question: you said you control everything with a Harmony? That includes control of the Mini? What Harmony is it?
     
  20. ChevyAppleJR macrumors newbie

    ChevyAppleJR

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    #20
    Want to do this on a 1.25GHz G4 PPC Mac Mini

    I want to do this on my my 1.25GHz G4 PPC Mac mini with 1 GB Ram and 100 GB HD Can anyone help me?

    Garett:apple:
     
  21. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
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    127.0.0.1
    #21
    If you bothered to check out the Plex website and more specifically the FAQ you would find...
     
  22. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #22
    im sorry but i doubt it. had a quick look on google and couldnt find anything, so thers maybe a slight chance?
     
  23. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #23
    Scroll up 5 or 6 posts.

    Interesting that you mention the maintenance issue...I ditched the hacked AppleTV because it was such a headache. It crashed periodically when playing my videos, and of course every time there was a software update I'd have to re-hack it, which wasn't trivial for me because I needed the SMB filesystem stuff too.

    Any Harmony will work, but I have the 550. It controls everything in that room, including my lights via X10.
     
  24. Aegelward macrumors 6502

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    UK
    #24
  25. rogersmj thread starter macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #25

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