Home Theater Mac

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
I am currently using a HTPC with MCE installed for all my movie, music and TV needs.
I am considering upgrading to a newer system because the old one is getting a bit old.

I would love to do it with a Mac Mini, but I don't now if it will for fill my needs.
I know that the music and movie part will be doable out of the box, but what about the TV part? I need to have 2 tuners and a TV guide as I have in my PC setup. Can this be done or do I need to go to the dark side and buy a PC again?
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
Depends...

I am a mac owner. I am also seriously into the whole home theater thing.

The truth is non of the computer stuff works as well as it should. It is more expensive and just doesn't work very well. So it tends to come down to the amount of piracy you are into, and what you need to do.

By this, I mean. TiVo works better than anything out there. Slingbox works very well. DVD recorders work well. And for music stuff, your existing PC is probably fine.

None of this really allows full level piracy. But you know what, except for music, it doesn't matter as much. There are some Tivo'd shows I have had for ever. But I haven't felt the need.

So my setup.
TiVo Hr10-250
SlingBox AV
Region Free DVD Player
DVD Recorder
Nice Stereo with Nice 5.1 sound
Stereo hookup for my 60g Ipod
XBR2 Tv
NEC1100 Overhead projector
DirecTV subscription
Local HD OTA
Blockbuster Subscription
Amazon Membership
Target for week of DVD purchases. (for those 10 a year that I make).

This answers my media needs. Media is important, it is where a large portion of my entertainment time goes. I spend a bit more in some areas, but not even close enough to be a deal in my time commitment. And trust me if HTPC made sense, and I have looked over and over again, it would be there. But it never crosses the finish line.

But if you go with the Mac, the elgato stuff is pretty much the only solution. TiVo is just much better.
 

Mammoth

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2005
938
0
Canada
Get 2 Elgato EyeTV Hybrids and a Mac Mini 1.83Ghz with 2GB of RAM. Wireless keyboard and mouse. Use PC as server to store all your video funstuff.
 

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
TiVo is not an option (they are not out in Denmark where i live)

Isn't there any tuner which has 2 tuners? How are the software for the guide and TV watching?
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
Ok, your not sharing all of your "needs" and that is a bit unfair in asking for recommendations.

So, one of the most important, since you are in Denmark, is which are even available to you. Including guide information.

Elgato is really the only decent solution on the mac. So you only have one site to go explore for mac side.

The next questions is: Why are you updating your existing PC. You mention it is getting "old". If that is truly the only consideration, mearly updating to "less old" is going to be by far the cheapest solution.

But generally there is nothing magical about the Mac solution over existing PC solutions. They both blow in their own special ways.
 

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
Sorry i forgot to mention that. In MCE the guide is working flawless.

I'm beginning to get some hardware failures on my current HTPC and because it's an old machine I would rather change the whole setup instead of trying to fix my current. I like the simplicity of frontrow and the design of the mini, which is why I'm considering a Mac instead of PC.

I will try looking in to Elgato
 

khisayruou

macrumors 6502a
Aug 21, 2004
539
0
There are no dual tuners available on the mac side. But the two you should look into are elgato and miglia. They both use eyetv software for viewing and recording. Don't expect a smooth transition from MCE to eyetv. Eyetv is no where near what MCE can do with just a remote control. Eyetv also has bugs when it comes to two tuners, they have yet to fully support it.
 

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
I'm starting to think that Apple don't for fill my neeeds in this area. Maybe i should go for another HTPC instead.
 

kenrobin

macrumors regular
Apr 15, 2006
106
0
San Francisco Bay Area
.dingledorph said:
I'm starting to think that Apple don't for fill my neeeds in this area. Maybe i should go for another HTPC instead.
I think you're probably right. I tried using a Mac Mini for this purpose and it left a lot to be desired. While I was able to utilize it some (mostly for watching short music videos downloaded from iTunes), it never proved to be the "it just works" solution that I've come to expect from Apple products. Most of the time, my Mac Min sat unused because the experience was not satisfying. I sold it on eBay a few weeks ago.

In sum, don't buy a Mac Mini for this purpose unless you're willing to experiment endlessly with the configuration in search of the perfect solution.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
Depends on how much you're willing to compromise in order to have a Mac.

Until very recently I was using a Mini as my 'HTPC'. The only reason I even considered it in the first place was because I had thought my need for an HTPC would be 90+% music. As it's turned out I want more video/TV in the mix, and nothing from Apple cuts it. They don't have anywhere near the pieces in place - not by itself and not via third parties - to have a complete HTPC setup. I'm not 100% sure they will do even when the device currently known as iTV hits the streets.

Windows Media Center, or a couple of other build-it-yourself Windows-based setups are the best solutions right now for computer-based, as-near-complete-as-possible HTPC use. As a music-only 'HTPC', I think the Mini reigns supreme, although the lack of precaching in Front Row is annoying if you have a large collection. But if other media is equally important or more important, the Apple solutions fall flat on their faces.

If this HTPC will be a HTPC nearly all of the time, upgrade your MCE setup with a newer MCE system. It'll definitely be better than anything you can cobble together on the Mac. If on the other hand you want to try out a new experience with a more elegant OS for general computing, get a Mac.
 

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
If this HTPC will be a HTPC nearly all of the time, upgrade your MCE setup with a newer MCE system. It'll definitely be better than anything you can cobble together on the Mac. If on the other hand you want to try out a new experience with a more elegant OS for general computing, get a Mac.

I think you’re right. I use Macs for my everyday needs so I would just love to use them all the way around, but I think I would have to compromise to much doing so.
Unless I stumble upon a solution that is as good as MCE in the TV-tuner part, I will be sticking to it MCE. Maybe I will wait for Vista.

I just don't get it. Why isn't Apple interested in the HUGE growing market of PVRs and HTPCs?
 

jwp1964

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2004
207
22
Enterprise, KS
iTV?

If you like Apple products the solution will probably be introduced in January. Mr. Jobs previewed iTV and I don't think he covered the entire capabilities at the preview. If you can wait I think your Apple/Mac solution will come in January.

You may want to review th iTV thread if you haven't already. My personal opinion is that Mr. Jobs will try to take over video media the way he did music with iTunes and the iPod. I'm holding off until January for that reason.
 

.dingledorph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2005
26
0
Denmark
jwp1964 said:
If you like Apple products the solution will probably be introduced in January. Mr. Jobs previewed iTV and I don't think he covered the entire capabilities at the preview. If you can wait I think your Apple/Mac solution will come in January.

You may want to review th iTV thread if you haven't already. My personal opinion is that Mr. Jobs will try to take over video media the way he did music with iTunes and the iPod. I'm holding off until January for that reason.
Is the iTV gonna sport tv-tuner?! I thought it was more of a "media streamer". I can can wait until Jan if the iTV for fill my needs.
 

jwp1964

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2004
207
22
Enterprise, KS
It's just a hunch...

.dingledorph said:
Is the iTV gonna sport tv-tuner?! I thought it was more of a "media streamer". I can can wait until Jan if the iTV for fill my needs.
...but I think that the USB port is for something we haven't seen yet...;)
 

mdntcallr

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,467
135
bit density said:
I am a mac owner. I am also seriously into the whole home theater thing.

The truth is non of the computer stuff works as well as it should. It is more expensive and just doesn't work very well. So it tends to come down to the amount of piracy you are into, and what you need to do.

By this, I mean. TiVo works better than anything out there. Slingbox works very well. DVD recorders work well. And for music stuff, your existing PC is probably fine.

None of this really allows full level piracy. But you know what, except for music, it doesn't matter as much. There are some Tivo'd shows I have had for ever. But I haven't felt the need.

So my setup.
TiVo Hr10-250
SlingBox AV
Region Free DVD Player
DVD Recorder
Nice Stereo with Nice 5.1 sound
Stereo hookup for my 60g Ipod
XBR2 Tv
NEC1100 Overhead projector
DirecTV subscription
Local HD OTA
Blockbuster Subscription
Amazon Membership
Target for week of DVD purchases. (for those 10 a year that I make).

This answers my media needs. Media is important, it is where a large portion of my entertainment time goes. I spend a bit more in some areas, but not even close enough to be a deal in my time commitment. And trust me if HTPC made sense, and I have looked over and over again, it would be there. But it never crosses the finish line.

But if you go with the Mac, the elgato stuff is pretty much the only solution. TiVo is just much better.
I agree, tivo is best, but as a Directv user, in 2007, be prepared to kiss it goodbye. sadly Directv is making it extinct because new channels from the new sat's being launched. which arent compatible with TiVo Hr10-250, it will only work with newer mpeg 4 boxes.

back to topic, apple will need to release video cards which will work better with home theater environments. not just sell iTV type boxes.

Basically apple needs a mid range desktop between the imac and mac pro. something that can work in a home theater.

no dont tell me mac mini will do this. it is so basic and can't handle much, doesnt even have a decent GPU.
 

bagleyb

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2005
41
0
What about Myth using a Mini as a front end? I don't have one yet, but that's what I'm looking at doing. From what I've seen, Myth is great for video and DVD, and a Mini works well as the front end. Then you have the Mini to handle all the audio, which it's great at.
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
.dingledorph said:
I just don't get it. Why isn't Apple interested in the HUGE growing market of PVRs and HTPCs?
Three reasons. The first is that the price is too high. The second is that they don't really care, they expect others to make the software. But most importantly... Intellectual Property.

Most all of the IP in this space is owned by three parties ReplayTV, Microsoft (UltimateTV and WebTV) and TiVo.

There has been a big lawsuit against Echostar by TiVo (they haven't sued DirecTV their biggest customer, and Comcast their biggest wannabe customer), and there is sort of a pause in the marketplace. And TiVo one.

And really, all of the stuff that makes a DVR more than an electronic VCR is covered by this. Apparently nobody is licensing any of this.

There has been talk from time to time of Apple buying TiVo. The problem is nobody really knows how much they are worth. There is a lot of room in the marketplace because of the slow uptake of the TiVo, and it isn't clear that TiVo will win (but so far they have). The other problem is what the true cost of TiVo will be.

TiVo is by far the best of experiences. ReplayTV had the best anti-commercial technology (though that creates a lot of heat), and Microsoft owns the best technologies for things like text display (though that may become less important with HDTV).
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
mdntcallr said:
I agree, tivo is best, but as a Directv user, in 2007, be prepared to kiss it goodbye. sadly Directv is making it extinct because new channels from the new sat's being launched. which arent compatible with TiVo Hr10-250, it will only work with newer mpeg 4 boxes.
If you need HD content from DirecTV. Currently, the only HD I get from them is the one premium channel from whatever package I subscribe to at the time. (Weeds V. Soprano's).

I get most of my HD content OTA, which works pretty well with the Hr10-250, and much better than DirecTV's mpeg4 current offerings. They will eventually make it extinct, but it will be further away than 2007 that it will really be necessary for me to pull the trigger, and it is my hope that series3 and cablecard will be a viable option. Yes, TiVo is worth changing subscription methodology for, it is also worth being "behind" for awhile. (If you have every used TiVo you would understand <grin>)
 

bit density

macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2004
398
2
Seattle
bagleyb said:
What about Myth using a Mini as a front end? I don't have one yet, but that's what I'm looking at doing. From what I've seen, Myth is great for video and DVD, and a Mini works well as the front end. Then you have the Mini to handle all the audio, which it's great at.
All I gotta say, is nothing really works better than existing boxes like TiVo. Really.

And if you are going to Myth, just buy a freakin PC. They are cheaper and better at this particular function. And the Mac's DVD player is quite good. And there is Itunes for the PC, if you really need Itunes.

But mostly this is a barely researched answer, with no practical experience.
 

bagleyb

macrumors member
Dec 14, 2005
41
0
bit density said:
All I gotta say, is nothing really works better than existing boxes like TiVo. Really.

And if you are going to Myth, just buy a freakin PC. They are cheaper and better at this particular function. And the Mac's DVD player is quite good. And there is Itunes for the PC, if you really need Itunes.

But mostly this is a barely researched answer, with no practical experience.
I agree 100%, but the OP already stated he can't get a TIVO. He also stated he would like to use a Mini, but requires dual tuners and TV guide.

If he converted his existing box to Myth, and bought a Mini to use for DVD and music, then used it as a front end for Myth to get broadcast TV with dual tuners and a guide, he has exactly what he wanted.

All I was trying to do, give him the ability to use the setup he wanted, with the required options. Myth with a Mini does that. I never said it was the best option.
 
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