Mac as DVR/Home Theater Computer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Evangelion, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I currently have rather complicated setup that consists of digital TV-tuner/PVR and DVD-player (along with television and the like). I would like to simplify all that, and replace it with a computer. And Mac would fit my livingroom just fine :).

    Now, there are few things that the system would have to do:

    - Scheduling, recording and playing back DVB-broadcasts.

    - Playing back DVD's

    - Playing back music

    - Playing back photos

    - Playing back movies (not DVD's,but DivX and the like)

    Now, looking at the list we can see that DVD's, music and photos can be handled by Front Row. But how about DivX and the like? Then we have the PVR-functionality and DVB-broadcasts. Those can be handled by EyeTV, right?

    Photos, DivX and music would most likely reside on a network-server, so that the HD on the computer itself could be dedicated to PVR-functions. Although I would occasionally archive recorded TV-shows to the server as well, or maybe burn them to DVD's.

    How well would Mac (propably Mac Mini) together with EyeTV work in such a setup? Does anyone here have any experience with this kind of setup?

    Related to this: Since this setup would be in a livingroom, and while it IS a computer, it should be as "un-computer"-like as possible. So there would not be a keyboard and mouse around to operate the system with. Is it possible to actually use the system without a keyboard and mouse? Alternatively, there MIGHT be a small form-factor keyboard with embedded mouse (pointing stick for example). Any suggestions there?
  2. TurboLag macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2004
    Your setup sounds very simple, actually. But if you must have a computer in your theater setup, I definately recommend windows media center 2005. It is far more capable and responsive than front row. You can build a MCE PC for less than the cost of an Mac mini and tuner, also.

    I own two Macs, one with front row, but my HDTV is fed by a 1.8GHz PC.
  3. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I would prefer a Mac, and if it seems like I need to go down the MCE-route, I would much rather build a MythTV-box :). the Mac-approach appeals me due to it's simplicity. If I want the features, I will go to MythTV instead. It can be assembled for even less than MCE PC :).
  4. 68164 Guest

    Feb 27, 2006
    I have a G4 Mac Mini with twin EyeTV DTB tuners hooked up to 45 inch Sharp Aquos - I'm really happy with the system - EyeTV is great and the Mac Mini does the job nicely. Had to throw out the tv cabinet though because I had brought a big one many years back to hold all the various components but with this system, the mini and a couple of eyetvs take up no space at all.

    I checked out an Intel dual core mini the other week - sweet as - when I'm in the market for an upgrade, it will be a new mini! For now though my system is working really smoothly - highly recommend the combination

  5. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    I think you'd be best served by a mini and a good DVR (TiVo, MythTV, etc). Trying to shoehorn a mini into a DVR job is just asking for frustration, IMO.
  6. demallien macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005
    I use an iMac and an EyeTV, and I have to say that I find the set up brilliant. EyeTV, with it's EPG, gives you Tivo-like control of what you watch - skip those ads, watch only the programs you want etc. And Front Row + iTMS will let you hook in to any other programs that might not be available to you locally.

    The only downside is that Front Row is a bit slow when selecting a program in the menus. But then, you select the program you want to watch, press play, and it's done. hardly a major drama...
  7. Evangelion thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    Well, it's not like the Mini would work as DVR alone :). MythTV still needs a computer, and Mini could be it. And I do currently have a dedicated DVR, but the whole setup is getting a bit too complex, with several devices and several remote-controls. But since Mini offers no expandability really, I'm looking at EyeTV to go along the Mini.
  8. Zeke macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2002
    Greenville, SC
    MythTV will only work on a Mac as the front end (although maybe it's different now with MacIntels so if someone knows please let me know) so you'll still need something running Linux for the video handling.

  9. XNine macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2005
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    Instead of creating a new post, I've searched and foudn this thread.

    Basically, as I have it now, I have a A/V receiver, a TV, my consoles and a REPLAYTV hooked up for my entertainment needs. Well, I'm getting sick of paying for ReplayTV (14 bucks a month) and how unreliable it is. I control everything using my Logitech Harmony remote.

    So, I was wondering, will a MAc mini and an EyeTV 250 be a good DVR workaround to the REPLAYTV? Remember, this would not be hooking up to a monitor, but a TV. Just as well I'd have it stream iTunes/Photos from my Powermac G4, all controlled by my Harmony remote.

    Sound doable and with good results?

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