Help me upgrade from an Apple TV to a Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by TheCheapGeek, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ok I love both of my Apple TV's but I now have access to espn3 so I need a full browser to access all of my live sports. My plan is to get a mini, either a new HDMI equipped unit or an older Intel unit and replace the apple TV. Now I already use EyeTV to record all my local programs then tag and feed them back to the Apple TV, and most of my content is recorded or ripped off of DVD. Is there one interface that I can access eyetv, and have the ability to play non copy protected video and iTunes purchased video?

    Additionally, how old can I go on the Mini and still have great espn3 playback?
  2. irishv macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    I just posted on another tread about this. The ESPN3 plugin for Plex works perfectly and has decent quality. No active plugin for EyeTV seems to exist to allow access to the EPG, but you can launch it from the Plex applications menu. When you want to close EyeTV, hit menu on the remote and it will reopen Plex.

    You can view video from you iTunes library by adding the directory as a source in Plex, but you cannot access DRM'ed video files. Front Row can be opened the same way as EyeTV, though, so you should be able to watch them that way.
  3. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    +1 for this setup. Plex is an awesome media center and short of what irishv mentioned re: DRM video content, is a jack of all trades. Takes a bit of time/patience to initially set it up (read the Getting Started wiki over at the Plex website, particularly the section on file naming conventions) but you'll be happy with the end results.

    Also, I'm using a 2.0 C2D version Mini from last year and it handles playback of Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN3 through Plex just fine--pretty much can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Make sure to install the Apps for these through the Plex app store.
  4. Lara F macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2005
    Montreal, Quebec
    I love my Mini but you might want to keep in mind that the xbox 360 will soon support ESPN3 (in HD I think?) and an Arcade version is much, much cheaper now at $150 plus the Live sub. Is there anything else you've found yourself wanting to stream?

    Lucky you - I'm increasingly pissed at both Time Warner for not paying and ESPN for not even giving me the option of an individual sub. Where I live in Brooklyn I don't have other options like FiOS. :( :mad:
  5. TheCheapGeek thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Well I feel your pain, I am using the remote login to use espn3. I would much prefer to use the xbox but i doubt that it will work with remote login. I am considering just hackintoshing a cheap nettop.

    Can a hacked apple tv with the appropriate browser and flash plugin play espn3? I dont want to spend the time if it has been proven not to work.
  6. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    I use Boxee on my Mac Mini... doesn't look like there is an ESPN3 app for Boxee yet, but I gotta figure there will be one soon. Boxee also supports MLB.TV (which is what I use it for mostly) so there's that bonus...

    Anyway, my Mini is a Core Solo (very, very old) and it plays back the MLB streams in HD with no stuttering. Just max out the RAM on any Mini and I'd imagine you'll be fine.

    As for one interface, I don't know of anything that will play back iTunes DRM files other than iTunes. I keep a keyboard and mouse around to switch between Boxee and Frontrow. There are also some iOS device remote options.
  7. irishv macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2008
    It might be possible on the AppleTV using either the web browser plugin or Boxee/XMBC if either has a plugin. Personally I don't think it's worth the effort. Any upgrade Apple releases to the ATV will likely not be based on the same hardware/software (P4/Tiger), so it might make more sense just to invest in newer hardware capable of doing everything.

    Another point, a Harmony remote can switch between applications if configured correctly. I'm planning to use my 880 to move between Plex and EyeTV (and Front Row for the 2 or 3 movies I've bought from iTunes).

    You can find advise for specs on a htpc mini here or on a few other message boards (avsforum, 123macmini, etc). If you're planning on recording live HD I would look at either the current model or one from 2009.
  8. TJRiver macrumors 6502


    Jan 14, 2009
    MY 360 sounds like a 747 taking off, rendering it pretty much useless for streaming music or videos. I will put up w/ the racket for gaming, but not music or videos. I finally broke down and bought an Apple TV. Works like dynamite, it is totally silent, plus I can control it with my phone or the kid's iPod Touch.
  9. Lara F macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2005
    Montreal, Quebec
    The newer models with the Jasper chipset aren't 747 sounding. :) You'd have to be right next to the box to notice a hum. But ofc if you already have one then it wouldn't be worth purchasing another just to be quieter.

    Wish I had a remote ESPN3 login - curse Time Warner again!!! What's more annoying is that I moved from Philly and Comcast which now of course does offer it along with all their Xfinity stuff. The only thing special to TW I can think of is Start Over and that's pretty limited.

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