Mac Mini as a home media centre (with Plex) questions

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by karansaraf, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. karansaraf macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #1
    I was using an ATV2 jailbroken with XBMC to run all my media from my NAS. Unfortunately, it was tethered, the power went out and I accidentally reinstalled the wrong firmware, so now I cannot jailbreak it again.

    Decided to upgrade my home theatre system, and bought a second hand Mac Mini from 2012.

    I am going to install Plex Home Theater on it for all my media needs.

    Since it's going to be a home theatre and not a desktop/conventional computer, I don't want to have to use a keyboard/mouse very often. Day to day, I want to be able to use only an Apple Remote for convenience.

    So what I want to know is this:

    1. If I set the Mac Mini to sleep after say 5 minutes of not being used (for example after having watched a movie/video on it and then just leaving it to sleep by itself without getting up to click on the button or use a mouse), can I then wake up the Mac Mini with the Apple Remote when I next want to use it?
    2. Once the Mac Mini has been woken up, can I also start up Plex Home Theater with just the Apple Remote? Or will I need mouse/keyboard for this?
    3. If the answer to either of the above questions is no, then are there any viable alternatives that will mean I can essentially achieve these two things without needing to use a mouse/keyboard?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    I have a Mac mini that runs the Plex Server and the Plex Home Theater 24/7. It never sleeps. I use the iOS Plex app to remotely control the PHT. I haven't tried using an Apple Remote for that, as I don't know if it has all the same functionality that the iOS app has. You'll still want a keyboard/mouse attached to the mini, as there may be times you need to restart Plex or deal with some other issue that requires kb/mouse input.
     
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #3
    I assume you have the mini directly on your TV?
    I have it on no-sleep, only display blackout after 3 minutes. If you run remote access, that prevents screen sleep. I have a keyboard and mouse with the mini, but I do everything on RA too. It is fully functional, and even lets you enter login passwords. If you press the home button on the remote, and that is configured to launch plex it will wake the screen too.


    When plex is running, it probabably prevents screen sleep. I use XBMC, of which Plex is a fork, and that one prevents screen sleep when movies are running. Just set it up correctly: which is, don't let XBMC manage sleep or you will get disaster! Let he OS deal with that, and XBMC will block it when needed.

    The only problem I see, is that most TV's really suck in this department. Only very few ones go black on no signal. Most ones come with annoying "No signal" messages and stay on forever.
     
  4. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #4
    I use a Mac Mini running Plex as a Media server. I have an Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse, quite honestly I would find it impossible to use it without the keyboard. Things like updating the Plex library, Correcting metadata errors from Plex, updating Plex. In addition Plex is not unknown to have problems that require a keyboard and mouse to recover from.

    I guess you could do most of that with remote access from a laptop but i just find it convenient to have the keyboard available.
     
  5. karansaraf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #5
    I will of course have a keyboard and mouse. I just don't want to have to use them day to day when I want to turn it on/wake from sleep to watch stuff.

    When I need to install stuff, run updates, configure settings, then of course I will need to use keyboard and mouse.

    However, the way I want to set up the mini is this:

    When I'm done watching something on plex, I want to put the mini to sleep. Don't want to keep it running all the time. So I would like to set it so it auto sleeps X minutes after a movie stops playing. Is this possible?

    Next, when it's sleeping and I want to watch a movie, can I wake it with just the apple remote?

    If these we two things are possible, then that's all I care about.


    As an aside, I will be getting the mini a few days before I have time to buy a keyboard and mouse. Are there any iOS apps I can use to control (keyboard/cursor) the mini to get it set up, apps installed, fully updated etc in the meantime?
     
  6. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    A small rural village in western Poland
    #6
    I have a similar setup (using XBMC though) and since Plex is quite similar to XMBC I believe this applies to Plex as well: in OS X Energy Saver prefpane I have no sleep enabled whatsoever, but in XBMC prefs I've set up 30 minutes of inactivity to trigger "power save" - in my case "power save" in XBMC is set up to "shutdown", but if I set it to "sleep" it works just as you want.
     
  7. karansaraf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #7
    Excellent.

    Is there any way to program what pressing the menu or play button on the apple remote does on the mac mini? Ie. choose an application for it to open? Like how it used to open up Front Row pre-Lion?
     
  8. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    A small rural village in western Poland
    #8
    You might want to check Remote Buddy, I didn't find it essential to my setup so never decided to buy it, but it may just be the product for your needs.
     
  9. nollimac macrumors regular

    nollimac

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #9
    I think you don't have to have the keyboard, and the mouse attached however, you should have them available on-demand...I keep mine in an Ottoman close by the server.
     
  10. karansaraf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #10
    Yeah as I mentioned, I will definitely have a keyboard/mouse. Just don't want to have to use them very often.

    What I want to know, is if it's possible to wake up the mini from sleep with just the apple remote? And whether you can start Plex HT also with only the apple remote by assigning the application to the button on the remote?

    Kind of like Front Row used to open when you pressed the menu button on the remote.
     
  11. nollimac macrumors regular

    nollimac

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #11
    I use Remote Management and my MacBook Pro to wake my Mini anytime. I haven't installed Plex, yet...you should though.
     
  12. karansaraf thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    #12
    Yeah that's the thing, it's going to be for use by my housemate and friends, who won't have access to my MBP for remote management, which is why I wanted to try to keep it as simple as possible with just a remote. I get the mini and the keyboard in the next few days so I'll have to have a play around to see how is best to do it.
     
  13. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    A small rural village in western Poland
    #13
    Just checked - yes, if I set my Mini to "sleep" in XBMC, a single press on the remote wakes it up and it goes back to XBMC, so I am pretty sure it will work with Plex just as you intended in your scenario.

    BTW - I used to have a BT keyboard and mouse for my home theater mini, however the XBMC/Plex interface calls for both of them very rarely - to the extent I didn't notice the batteries went dead after a year or so and I repurposed them since. I use remote desktop if need arises.
     

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