Looking for computer to act as a media server.. Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Atothendrew24, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Atothendrew24 macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2010
    I just bought a new house and with it comes new things that I want to do. I have a jailbroken apple tv that has xbmc installed and I have a 1TB HDD filled with movies from my DVD collection. In the past, I would stream from my laptop but I want to get a desktop that is always on that will be used to streak movies and nothing else. (can be Mac or pc) is there anything I need to keep in mind while looking around on craigslist? What is the worst hardware specs that can stream movies?

    Thanks. Sorry if this has been asked before, I searched but found nothing.
  2. wrz0170 macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2008
    Hi there. I am by no means a guru at this stuff but many have bought Mac minis for their media center and put PLEX on it. Always on. Many also have NAS hooked up to them as well. If I could harvest the money tree for the cash, I would do this set up. One caveat; the mini is due for an update any time now. So either you can wait for the new one or get one now. Hope this helps!
  3. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    If you have a hacked ATV, why not just plug it into the USB port?

    What about using the hard drive as a NAS hooked up to your router?

    If you think you need a desktop to stream, anything will work to host it. An old powermac G4 will be fine with a SATA adaptor.
  4. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Yup, streaming media takes very little power. You can do it with a NAS box if you've hacked. If you haven't you'd want to use an older Mac Mini with some external drives connected via USB. Make sure you run the Mini off a wired network connection instead of trying wireless. It might work, but you'll be pushing that network pretty hard. Wired is much more stable and performant.
  5. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    As Dustin says, use an older machine, I use an old MacBook, with 2 external drives, one to host, one to backup. Been running this way for years. I am using iTunes to serve the content, works well with the 3 :apple:TV's, 5 computers, 2 iPods, 2 iPhones and an iPad. no trouble streaming across an 801.11n network. But my itunes is hardwire to the wireless routers hub using gigabit ethernet, with jumbo packets set.
  6. Bill.the.Cat macrumors member

    Feb 13, 2011
    Get an Apple TV 1 off ebay for $50. Install Leopard 10.5.8. Attach your USB storage drive (or put it in a USB enclosure if it's an internal drive) and share it on your network. Should work just fine, plus you don't need to JB your ATV2 if you just leave iTunes running on the ATV1-Leopard machine. It will only draw about 20-25W, too, far less than anything short of a newer Mac Mini, and will run an essentially full-blown OS.
  7. jljue macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Brandon, MS
    I vote for a Mac Mini--they don't use much power and are reliable. If a used Mac Mini isn't your budget, you can get away with an Intel Atom-based small form factor CPU for just little less money, but not much after buying a copy of Windows. The only real problem that I have with a Windows box is the maintenance involved with the OS and the sluggish anti-viruses that are a must on Windows.
  8. Penquin79 macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2011
    Media Server

    I use an older intel mini, 1.8 dual core. It is powerful enough to stream one movie to my ATV2 using iTunes and a different movie to my iPad1 using Air Video at the same time! Can even do one movie to ATV and stream eyetv to the iPad at the same time even though eyetv says it needs at least a 2GH machine. The rest of the set up is an N speed router and a firewire400 drive connected to the mini. That pretty much max's out the mini, bet a dual core 2 would work even better.

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