Htpc

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by senbozakuraa, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. senbozakuraa macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    I am considering buying an Airbook for two purposes, 1. HTPC connected to the TV and 2. Laptop.


    My question for Airbook is as follows:

    - can the output be 1080p? if not to the laptop, then to the tv?
    - is it possible to access NAS windows home server shares for streaming content?
    - Is this a good decision, i have neever owned an apple laptop/pc

    Advice is welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #2
    It's a "MacBook Air", not an "AirBook". :)

    You don't specify whether you are interested in the 11" or 13" model. The screen resolutions are different on each model, but neither of them have 1920x1080 screen. They can certainly output 1080p to an external monitor or TV set however.

    You have not mentioned what software you want to use with your media. With iTunes, it is possible to put the media library on a NAS and I tried it for awhile. It works, but there are some "gotchas" that I finally got tired of so I no longer do this. If the network share is unavailable for any reason and you start iTunes, you will have problems. It will also be a problem if more than one person tries to use the library at the same time. I ended up with a corrupted iTunes Library that I had fix a couple times.

    There are things you can do to improve this, but all in all, I found it awkward. Apple has something called "home sharing" which is their solution for accessing a remote library on multiple devices. It requires a Mac or PC running iTunes to act as the server however.

    "Is this a good decision"? I love my 11" i7/8gb/512gb MacBook Air, it's the best computer I've ever owned and that goes all the way back to my "Fat Mac 512k" in 1985.
     
  3. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #3
    Only YOU know whether it's a good decision.

    The Air will be good enough for an HTPC but you need to purchase an external TV tuner if u need that functionality at all.

    It would drive me batty to have to hook/unhook that sucker plus having the machine tied up for HTPC and I won't be able to surf while watching a movie would be a major inconvenience to me, but hey if you just like to have htpc functionality (first foray into the htpc world) wo spending on a dedicated machine, go for it.
     
  4. Delmar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    I used to do the same as the OP is asking about. It got old really fast connecting & disconnecting my MBA to the TV & not being able to use it while watching a movie on the TV. That's when I bought my used early 2009 Mini that is my HTPC & home file server.
     
  5. Boyd01, Oct 11, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014

    Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    I also have a Mac Mini for this and agree the MBA alone isn't ideal for the reasons you mention.

    But if you want the MBA and don't like plugging things in, you could get a refurb Apple TV for $75 and use Airplay to wirelessly send the sound and picture. Or if you have a PC that can run iTunes, you could use it for a server which would be available to an Apple TV and your MBA.
     
  6. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #6
    Picture quality with AirPlay is kinda crap. It's cool that it works at all but I don't think you'd want to watch it for very long.

    I used my MBA as an HTPC for several months. I agree that it's inconvenient to unplug it when you want to go somewhere with it, and plug it back in later to watch TV. It's only 3 cables (power, video, USB hub) but that was still enough to make me reluctant to take the laptop anywhere. It was also annoying to have to constantly resize all my windows when switching between TV and laptop screens.

    But, it's still doable. It works fine. These complaints are fairly minor.

    In the end, I ended up building my own small custom PC to watch TV. Unfortunately there aren't very many fast, small, quiet, cheap PCs on the market for HTPC use. The ones that are available are generally pretty underpowered, using Atom processors or similar. If you know how to build your own (I built a mini-ITX system) I'd recommend that. You can set yourself up with a nice Haswell for around $300. As much as I like OS X, the operating system you use for an HTPC is fairly irrelevant. Most of your TV watching will be done in a web browser, and Chrome on Windows is basically the same as Chrome on a Mac.

    If you are willing to spend an extra $100-$150 then you should be able to get a used Mac Mini (2011 or newer) and that would make a great HTPC. That way you don't have to worry about building your own, plus the Mini has a built in power supply (no need to use an ugly external brick) and the Mini is actually smaller than any mini-ITX system you might build yourself. And it's very quiet.
     

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