Home Media Hub Set up

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fullerboy, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. fullerboy macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2008

    I am looking for some advice on how I can set up my a media system at home. Here are my requirements:

    I want to have a hard drive (possibly Time capsule??) that contains all of my music, pictures and Ripped DVD’s (Thank you handbrake!). I then want to be able to sync this with my Apple TV so that I can play all of my music and DVD’s on my HDTV. Finally I want to be able to access and control all of the these systems with my MacBook, which will be set to keep only my favourite play lists, and certain music and pictures from the last 12 months. (So if I take my laptop away I will only be interested in these pictures!)

    I am wary of filling my Macbook up with tonnes of stuff that I want to keep but do not need on an everyday basis, hence why I want to set up thus type of system

    Any ideas, concepts are welcome, as I am new to all of this!

    Thanks for you’re your help.
  2. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    As far as I am aware, Time Capsule can only be used with Time Machine as a backup device. It isn't well suited to retrieving files regularly as it controls all of the backups itself.

    For what you would like to do, I think the only option is to store the content on your MacBook.
  3. canoejohn macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008
    There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether Time Capsule can be reformatted to act as a simple network hard drive but a better option would be to simply use a stand alone USB hard drive connected to an Airport Extreme base station.

    There is absolutely no need to carry around all your files on your Macbook! Only problem I can see is that you will need to plug your Macbook in to the network in order to stream to your Apple TV (at least without third party software). Anyone else got a better solution as I am trying to get a better setup myself?
  4. albusseverus macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2007
    in a word MacMini

    Firstly, if you can wire it, don't count on Wireless.
    Everybody ends up drilling holes & running wires. Wireless works, but you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.

    Secondly, Have you already bought the TV?
    If not, a Mac Mini will serve you better - store & play all your media and it can do the job of a PVR. FrontRow is nearly as slick as the TV interface. I could never see the sense of TV, as it only does half the job - you still need a server and the price of the TV is better spent on hard drives for storage.

    If you already have the TV, it's good for what it does & it has an HDMI connector. You don't say how much media you need to store...

    Thirdly, Yes you will need a hard disk, depends on how much you want to store and your budget, 500GB is cheap, but 1TB will last longer.

    Choice of drive = reliability & QUIETNESS. Maxtor can be avoided, they work (I have one, but only for backup). Seagate & Western Digital seem to have a good name at the moment (I'm sure others can make recommendations). Firewire 400 is a minimum, USB is like wireless, you wouldn't want to be relying on it. The quieter the hard drive, the more you'll like it. If it's noisy, you'll end up trying to shut it in a cupboard and that just causes more (heat) problems.

    Mac Mini is an excellent media server. It's quiet and puts out a nice picture (DVI - HDMI cables/connectors are <$20 if you shop around), but you may not be using that feature. You can get hard disks the same footprint as the Mini and they stack nicely. Take the advice of another current forum and get an Intel, anything except Core Solo. If you can stretch, get a new one. If you want to rip, the better/faster the processor, the better. Comes down to budget.

    That's the no-worries solution.

    You can cut corners/budget as desired, but I've tried to point out the risks. Older Macs will do the job, to a lesser extent. Heck, I suspect you could run iTunes on an old Windows machine to serve up the media if you really needed to, but I 'wouldn't be relying on it'.

    Good luck.
  5. fullerboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2008
    I have got about 80Gig of pics and music at the moment, but I havent started ripping all of my dvd's.

    I have bought the ATV (160Gig) which works wonders but I agree a Mac Mini would also do the job?! (Hindsight!).

    What would be nice is to rip a DVD onto my MacBook, sync it to my ATV and then delete the file on my MacBook. And then if I wanted to use it again I could transfer it back? But this doesnt seem to be possible...

    I appreciate your help though!
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Mac Mini won't allow HD rentals from iTMS. It also cannot smart-switch between AAC (analog) and AC3 (digital) audio. There are some advantages to the ATV.

    Nope, that won't work. You'd have to somehow install AFP on your ATV and also be able to track the videos. Your best bet is to buy an external USB or FW drive for storage and simply disconnect your MB when you need to. You'll quickly learn that your 160 gig ATV doesn't have as much space as you'd like.
  7. lakerbob macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2008
    I'm looking at setting up a similar system. Never had a mac, but have an iphone and 160gb apple tv and am hooked.

    I'm thinking about a macbook for my daily use, some sort of desktop for my kids, large hd connected to airport extreme for storage of movies and music, and time capsule for backing it all up. Any thoughts on this setup?
  8. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2008
    You may want to start your own thread on this so that plenty will see it and be able to offer you advice. Sounds like a winner to me, though. :)

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