Mac Mini as Media Server Help

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by TEEREY16, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. TEEREY16 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Looking for suggestions on setting up a home media server that I can access locally and remotely. I bought a house about 6 months ago and have been slowly setting up the components of my network, including a full re-wire with Cat 6. Now that the wiring is complete and I have most of the components in place, I want to get a media server set up (thinking older model Mac Pro or Mac mini based system with additional Thunderbolt storage, but open to any suggestions). Here is a breakdown of my current network and hardware I have, plus the capabilities I’m looking for (see attached diagram). Also, what is the best software for ripping Blu Rays/DVDs/CDs and do I need any additional software to access the media my devices (Plex) locally and remotely?

    Hardware (4 locations):
    - Office Closet:
    - 9U rack mount case
    - 1U 24-port Cat6 patch panel
    - 1U 24-port 10/100 Mbps switch
    - 1U 12-outlet surge protector
    - Comcast modem/router
    - 4 120mm fans (currently unplugged due to lack of heat and noise)
    - Planned:
    - Thermostat for fans
    - 1U rack mount shelf for Comcast modem/router
    - Office (desk):
    - Time Capsule 3TB (newest model)
    - Family Room:
    - Airport Express (set up to extend Time Capsule network)
    - Apple TV (connected to Samsung receiver and TV)
    - Bedroom:
    - Airport Express (set up to extend Time Capsule network)
    - Apple TV (connected to Samsung sound bar/receiver and TV)

    - MacBook Pro, MacBook, Dell Work PCs

    Mobile Devices:
    - iPhone 5s, iPads

    - Time Capsule 500GB (original model)

    Cat 6 Wiring:
    - Office Closet:
    - Homeruns connect from the patch panel to a wall plate in each location
    - Office (desk): 3 homeruns to patch panel
    - Family Room: 6 homeruns to patch panel
    - Bedroom: 3 homeruns to patch panel

    Desired Capabilities:
    - Media server to store all media files (2 separate iTunes libraries, pictures, movies)
    - This is where the Mac Pro or Mac mini connected to additional Thunderbolt storage comes in
    - If Mac Pro, any suggestions for rack mounting, I've seen people cut the handles off and use a sliding shelf
    - Easy drag and drop file server to access documents locally and remotely from computers, iPads, iPhones
    - Rip Blu Rays/DVDs with metadata
    - Locally and remotely play stored movies and music on Apple TVs (local only), computers, iPads, iPhones
    - I think this covers the basics, but I’m interested in any additional capabilities that would be useful

    Attached Files:

  2. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    I don't see a lot of questions in your post, and it looks like you're already pretty adept at all of this. As far as ripping movies is concerned, I would recommend MakeMKV (which can rip Blu-ray discs). You can then downconvert them into an iTunes/Apple TV-friendly format using Handbrake, but I personally think that adds a lot of time, degrades quality, and with the cheap cost of storage these days, why waste my time. Instead, use Plex Media Server to transcode on-the-fly to your "lesser" devices (Apple TV). And in your main viewing room / largest TV room, I would put an HTPC that can play that source content at full bitrate. That can be the same PC as the Plex Media Server, of course.

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