Just Purchased Mac Mini For Media Center

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by w00tini, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. w00tini macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ah yes... such a thing of beauty, new Apple toys!

    Anyway, I purchased the Mini today to be the hub for a home theater system I'm installing soon. This will run all of the internet media (Hulu, Boxee, ect) as well as to stream video across my network to a 52" Sony KDL52W4100. I will also be using this to push audio to five different rooms in the house when we have company over.

    I'm just wondering if anyone around here is using their Mini for such a thing and if they have any suggestions or comments.

    Thanks in advance for any tips :)
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I bought a Mini last week solely for Plex use, love it so far.
  3. w00tini thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2008
    Wow, Plex looks amazing! Thanks for the link sir!
  4. elcid macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2007
    I will be using mine as a primary and for Plex. I'm pretty pumped so far.
  5. nrmillions macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Just wondering why a mini would be good for a media center when it has no graphics card (9400M is integrated garbage), no HDMI, no blu-ray, and doesnt play 1080p very well from what I've heard? I also heard it has problems playing flash smoothly. How is it working for you?
  6. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    the 9400 is fine for regular stuff... video playback is more reliant on CPU power than GPU.

    plex uses a different video decoder (ffmpeg), so it handles 1080p on a mini without any problems. you can go DVI>HDMI and optical audio. the mini is great for these tasks.
  7. minik macrumors 65816

    Jun 25, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    I have a 2.26Ghz Mac mini and so far I don't have any issue dealing with integrated graphics, no HDMI, and no blu-ray drive. It does play well with 1080p content tho.
  8. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I've got a 2.26/500GB/4GB RAM coming this Tuesday. Monoprice MDP>HDMI and Toslink are already here.

    Does anyone have suggestions to avoid burn-in on my plasma? I figured I'd just set screensaver on TV and Mini...
  9. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Lower the brightness and contrast to less than 50 (on a 1-100 scale). Turn on pixel shifting, if available. If your plasma is already been used for 100-200 hours, you probably won't have any issues.
  10. AVR2 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2006
    The fact that it doesn't have an HDMI port is irrelevant while Macs don't officially support Blu-ray, because HDMI isn't a video signal format, it's just a form factor for a connector, as least as far as DVI>HDMI goes. Once Macs start supporting BD they might need HDMI ports so that they pass HDCP properly, but that might be possible already via DVI, I don't know. The current lack of Blu-ray doesn't bother me because I want a dedicated BD player anyway. And thus far I've had no problems at all playing 1080p, but then I've got one of the new 2009 minis - the older, slower ones may well be more prone to issues with 1080p.
  11. RealaT macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2008
    The 9400m is integrated but it is not garbage, I have been amazed at what you can actually run on this thing (eg bought Tomb Raider Anniversary last week and it runs smooth as butter on medium settings). The 9400m certainly brakes the stigma of 'all integrated graphics are rubbish' in my mind

    HDMI can be solved with a simple adapter

    Blu-ray is a valid point, but not necessary for my use (and most others) who prefer to stream their media over a network or from a HDD

    In my tests my mini plays 1080p video flawlessly using Plex, XBMC and Boxee

    Can also confirm that flash is smooth. A bit more resource intensive in OSX as it is in Windows, but still perfectly smooth.

    The other points I love about this mini are that is it so tiny you can put it anywhere near your TV and it looks neat, no need to hide it away. And also that it runs near-silent, i've never heard the fans speed up yet.
  12. cleric macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    It can play 1080p pretty well in PLEX and flawlessly in windows under MPC-HC.
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Even the old mini's GMA950 could do 1080p.

    That would handicap the Mini since HDMI is limited to 1920x1200 resolution (without dual-link). Plus, HDMI is proprietary, requiring a license to incorporate it.

    Too much baggage for BR, according to Apple. For computers, BR software is at the OS level and must constantly parse the disc for encryption info (unlike DVDs), which pulls down the OS. Apparently, this is too much for poor ole OS X to handle. :rolleyes: So says Apple, so say we all. (The real reason is that BR competes with iTunes HD content sales.)

    It will play 1080p Blu-ray rips just fine using Plex, so long as HDCP and encryption have been removed (i.e., AnyDVD HD).
  14. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    I am about to set up one of these as a bedroom media center. There I have 19" CRT TV and also want to output to a 17" LCD monitor. The latter is for playing the game " Combat Arms". It runs on Windows and from what I have heard the graphics in the new Mini run it great.

    I'll just max out the Ram to 4GB, which should also max out the allocation to the video card.

    I am going to add the Elgato EyeTV 250 as well, as this will be replacing a Windows Media Center.
    The TV though probably needs to be updated at the same time, because its only inputs are S-Video and composite. Besides a little HD in that room would be good too.
  15. Eric-PTEK macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2009
    Where did you read about Flash?

    I am disappointed in the performance of the new Mini. I took back my old Mini since I was within the grace period when the new one launched. Figured I got a good deal since I picked up a burner, extra speed, and a bigger HD.

    Plex looks fantastic and after my first night of playing with it I was ready to go get another Mini to put in the living room.

    Then it went to crap...we missed Kings when it first aired so I bought the show off of iTunes. After a nightmare of getting it to download correctly we watched one episode and were very pleased.

    Then the rest would not download or play correctly. Apple gave me a long list of excuses including the fact I was downloading the video to a Win2K8 server.

    So we said well lets just watch it off of NBC's website. It was jerky and had trouble playing under OSx. Its Flash.

    Finally after dealing with it I finally grabbed a Torrent and it played but the quality was not good, not the Mac's fault.

    Connection speed is not my issue, 16mbps down, 2 up, gigabit ethernet in the house, 10,000rpm SAS in the server...I get over 100mb per second copying from the server to my PC...

    I really liked Plex and the interface but there is just something off about this Mini.

    Last night we tried streaming some MP4's over the network to play and they were jerky, only 480p.

    It doesn't feel any faster in XP, in fact it seems slower. I had that burning smell when I first got it and this is one of the first new Mini's, the shipment just came off the truck and I took one.

    I'm reloading the OS right now and we'll see. I really do want this to work as this would be a great product for me to promote for the home user.
  16. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003

    1800-APL-CARE. Just ask for a mail-order box, they'll repair it and ship it back to you.
  17. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    The one downside with a lack of full HDMI support is that we won't get DD-TruHD or DTS-MA audio as optical doesn't have the bandwidth. Maybe if Apple is able to add sound to the DisplayPort we might get it but other than that its a no go. For me its not a huge deal as I am quite satisfied with DD or DTS 5.1 but many do like the new formats.
  18. Eric-PTEK macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2009
    Thats a hold up for me...DTA-MA sounds fantastic and I'm big into audio.

    However considering where HTPC's were 3 years ago we're leaps and bounds ahead. Except for the sound issue almost all of the big problems have been addressed.

    I'm a step away from archiving our BD's onto the server and playing them over the network.

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