Mac Mini as HTPC

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by lickitysplit, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. lickitysplit macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    I plan on getting a mac mini in the next few months. And I plan to use it as a media center. I am aware that OSX does not allow Bluray playback so i plan on just using it in a windows 7 bootcamp the majority of the time.

    I will be ordering an internal bluray drive and putting it in an enclosure for Bluray playback.

    I read in a few threads that the mini isn't the best for sound. If i were to use a USB soundcard would that help? Any input on this?

  2. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    in terms of quality so long as you use the optical i'd say you'll be fine.

    will it support all of the different standards associated with movies - suspect you'll have some limitations.
  3. MunnyGuy macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Have you considered just using the Mac Mini as your HTPC and pairing it with a PS3 for Bluray playback?

    I have my Mac Mini connected to my Denon receiver with a digital earphone to Toslink cable and it sounds great!

    Good luck!
  4. HalVII macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2010
    Surely hdmi into an av receiver will give all the quality you require?
  5. acribb macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2007
    You can get stand alone blu-ray players in the sub $100 range now. I would just use that when you want to play blu-ray discs. It would look nicer too. Unless your intent is to archive into your local disks.
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You can play Blu-ray discs provided you have MakeMKV and VLC. However, the Mini doesn't have the horsepower to do so. You need a quad-core chip to get it done without dropping frames.

    A Mini is as good as any Mac - Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 surround.
  7. acribb, Nov 29, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010

    acribb macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2007
    The 2010 Mac Mini should be able to play uncompressed 1080p bluray m2ts or mkv (~40mbps). If it has the Dolby True HD or DTS MA soundtrack, it will extract the core Dolby Digital or core DTS and play that out over HDMI or optical.
  8. tanousjm macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2009
    Using Plex, my 2.66GHz Mac Mini (previous generation with 9400M Graphics) can play straight Blu-Ray dumps (made using MakeMKV) pretty much flawlessly. It's true that it won't play the lossless audio, but I keep the DTS and DD core audio and it works great. I haven't yet encountered a movie that the Mini couldn't play, including high bit rate titles like Avatar.
  9. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    If you re-read my post you'll see that I was referring to playback off of a Blu-ray disc. Right now, there is only one app capable of doing so - VLC (MPlayer Extended does as well, but it has audio sync problems with every disc I've tried). VLC's playback is not as efficient as Plex or XBMC, thus it will stutter because of the on-the-fly extraction of AC3 or DTS cores. If you are having success in playback straight from the discs, then you should post your methods of doing so, because that would be news to me.
  10. acribb, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    acribb macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2007
    I would think if you want to play back bluray discs you would just buy a bluray player for 100 bucks and call it a day......
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Take that up with the OP. He generalized about Blu-ray disc playback under OS X, to which I responded.

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