Mac MINI as Movie player?

marknicholls

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Original poster
Aug 7, 2004
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I am thinking of getting a mac mini and an external 500gb hdd to connect to my TV so i can rip all my buffy, angel, xfiles, smallvile....bla bla bla and use it as a video storage system

Does anyone else have similar ideas?
 

MacsRgr8

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Sep 8, 2002
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I have ordered the Mac mini too for media purposes. No monitor will be attached, just the DVI to Video adapter hooked up to my TV.

One thing I am not certain of:
ATi have these gr8 utilities for their cards, and the Retail cards with TV out on the card itself (Radeon 9200 and 9800 for instance) have this extra util called Mac2TV .
This enables a couple of features which makes viewing on a TV so much better (well, at least for video and DVD and stuff). You can enable "Movie Mode" which also enables "Overscan". With these options turend on, a DVD looks much better, quite the same as a real DVD player.

I wonder of Mac2TV will work with the adapter. If not, the quality of DVD playback could be less than expected. :confused:
 

maya

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Oct 7, 2004
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somewhere between here and there.
marknicholls said:
I am thinking of getting a mac mini and an external 500gb hdd to connect to my TV so i can rip all my buffy, angel, xfiles, smallvile....bla bla bla and use it as a video storage system

Does anyone else have similar ideas?
Mac mini = PVR


Why or why didn't I or anyone else for that matter think of that. :rolleyes:

joking aside, yes indeed however it lacks a TV tuner which means more expense and an external box to the whole package.

You can however make it a video server. ;) :)
 

marknicholls

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I know this has been talked about a lot but different people say different things.

Here is what i wanna do:

Buy 3 x 500gb externall HDD's, hook them to the mac mini, and rip all my DVD's to the HDD's and run all movies through my mac.

So all i would need to get is a mac mini, an AV adapter, and some HDD's?

Also, i currently use salling click on my PDA to run all my music on my mac. Can this be used to select which DVD i want to run? If so, can my one PDA control the music on my mac, and the DVD's on my mac mini? Can one PDA control 2 different macs doind different things? or would i need a new PDA to control the DVD's....

Gonna be so great when all this is setup!
 

brap

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May 10, 2004
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marknicholls said:
Buy 3 x 500gb externall HDD's, hook them to the mac mini, and rip all my DVD's to the HDD's and run all movies through my mac.
Dude. That's 1.5 Terabytes. And very pricey... what do you have against just using DVD player?

No, seriously. You want to spend the time you'd need to rip ~160 DVD9 movies? Wow... I'm both awed, and confused.
 

marknicholls

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brap said:
Dude. That's 1.5 Terabytes. And very pricey... what do you have against just using DVD player?

No, seriously. You want to spend the time you'd need to rip ~160 DVD9 movies? Wow... I'm both awed, and confused.
Money isnt a problem

Me and my partner are massive American Season Buffs, Angel, 24, smallville, Xena....LOADS!

Its the same principle as having 500 CD's isnt it? why spend time copying them all to a mac ro run them when u can use a CD player?
 

clayj

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brap said:
Dude. That's 1.5 Terabytes. And very pricey... what do you have against just using DVD player?

No, seriously. You want to spend the time you'd need to rip ~160 DVD9 movies? Wow... I'm both awed, and confused.
Yeah, that seems pretty excessive... far cheaper to buy a Sony 400-DVD changer for $399 and load all of your discs into it.
 

clayj

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marknicholls said:
Money isnt a problem

Me and my partner are massive American Season Buffs, Angel, 24, smallville, Xena....LOADS!

Its the same principle as having 500 CD's isnt it? why spend time copying them all to a mac ro run them when u can use a CD player?
Well, that's an easy question to answer: 400 CDs ripped at 128 kbps doesn't even fill 25 GB of disk space... almost any laptop can handle that.

The same number of DVD-9s (dual-layer DVDs) would require 400 * 8.5 GB = 3.4 terabytes of space (I don't think you can use compression with DVD ripping).
 

clayj

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marknicholls said:
All i want is my series stuff ripped. i have worked out 1.2 terrabytes will be enough....

has know one else had such a radically stupid idea!?
I bought a DVD changer... much cheaper, does what I need it to do, and I don't have to worry about an HD crash that takes out all of my movies. Maybe when you can get a terabyte of disk space for $100, I'll consider it... but probably not.
 

marknicholls

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clayjohanson said:
Well, that's an easy question to answer: 400 CDs ripped at 128 kbps doesn't even fill 25 GB of disk space... almost any laptop can handle that.

The same number of DVD-9s (dual-layer DVDs) would require 400 * 8.5 GB = 3.4 terabytes of space (I don't think you can use compression with DVD ripping).

But if money isnt the issue, then stacking 8 500gb drives together is a viable solution....is it not?
 

kgarner

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Jan 28, 2004
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Should work fine, but you can't use Salling from the PDA to control two macs. I am pretty sure that you can only pair it to one computer at a time. Of course you could always set the Mini up on a network and rip your iTunes to it and share then to the other Mac. That way you could control the Mini via Salling and play movies ont he Tv and iTunes over the stereo. and still listen to iTunes when you are working on the other computer.
 

marknicholls

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kgarner said:
Should work fine, but you can't use Salling from the PDA to control two macs. I am pretty sure that you can only pair it to one computer at a time. Of course you could always set the Mini up on a network and rip your iTunes to it and share then to the other Mac. That way you could control the Mini via Salling and play movies ont he Tv and iTunes over the stereo. and still listen to iTunes when you are working on the other computer.
So all the music would be on my main mac, but the mac mini would share them or access them via the network? is that right?

Could be a good idea....i really believe this syetem could be awsome...even though some people here think im slighly mad!!!
 

Bibulous

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Jan 19, 2005
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If money is not a problem, why are you using a mac mini as the base for this system? Sure it looks cool, but not next to 8 HDD's. There's got to be some real high end equipment (stuff they don't sell at best buy and you might see on MTV cribs at speilbergs house) that could do this for you.

I had ideas of ripping some of my DVD's in the same concept as my CD's, but it took my over 11 hours to rip the godfather with handbreak, during which I thought my powerbook G4 667 was going to melt onto my desk.
 

Manzana

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Jul 19, 2004
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Bibulous said:
I had ideas of ripping some of my DVD's in the same concept as my CD's, but it took my over 11 hours to rip the godfather with handbreak, during which I thought my powerbook G4 667 was going to melt onto my desk.
:D
dude, that's funny. i had the same great idea and after i ripped ~15 dvd's using mactheripper-->ffmpegx I gave up because it takes too much time to rip it, then setting it up for compression. then i started getting a few bad rips, so i got tired of it...even though i usually would set this up to go overnight.

i can't wait until we have an itunes-like way to download movies (see cringely ), it would probably be quicker than ripping ourselves!
 

jsalzer

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Jan 18, 2004
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Protect the Originals

Hey, I think it's a great idea if for no other reason than to keep the original DVD's protected. I'm like you - nearly all of my DVDs are season sets from television shows. (Gotta have my RDA of RDA). ;)

I spent a weekend trying to figure out how to back up my DVD's onto DVD-R's, but they tend to have around 7 GB on them. Tough to get that onto a 4.7. :(

Of course, at the current cost of storage, I suppose you could buy second copies of all the DVD sets for the cost of the external hard drives. Hmmm.
 

Makosuke

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Aug 15, 2001
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To me the math on 160 DVDs works out like this:

Based on your calculations, you're planning on ripping them directly at full quality (no re-compression) to your multi-drive Mini. That saves time, though it would still take about 40 to 80 hours to actually get that data onto the drives (4x or 8x DVD read speed), and you're going to need 1.2TB of space (plus overhead for the future). So you're going to be paying $600 (mini + wireless) + $1200 (3 Lacie 500GB Big Disks) = $1800. Or, go with one of the new Lacie Biggest Disk 1.6TB (or preferably 2TB version, which you can use with RAID5 so you don't have to re-rip everything if one drive crashes), which will set you back $2300 or $3000 respectively.

Alternately, you could get a $310 Sony 400 DVD changer, load all your discs into it (an hour?), and be done. Or, if backup is your worry, assuming roughly $10 a disc for TV series box sets (maybe too cheap), you could buy an entire second set of DVDs for about $1600, and you're still only $100 over the cost of the bare minimum Mini-based system, and half of a cleaner one.

Then again, if money is no object, then who cares about backup or which is more expensive; the 400 DVD changer will save you 79 hours loading movies, and will probably work better playing them back, plus it will use way less energy and make a lot less noise (those external drives aren't as quiet as the mini) if you leave it on all the time.

The alternate option would be to rip all the DVDs in, say, XviD, where a couple hours of video takes maybe 1-2GB of data, depending on how much of a stickler for quality you are. Assuming 500MB/hour, you could get by with only 320GB of hard drive space, so a single 400GB external Seagate would only run $330, bringing the total cost to under $1000. Except at 10+ hours to rip a disc, it would take you 80 days to finish. Again, the $310 Sony seems like a much more efficient solution, and you could still buy the Mini to go with your TV for other purposes.


Don't get me wrong, I love the Mini, and I want one to hook up to my TV as a media center, too. But trying to use it to hold 160 DVDs just seems like a waste of effort when there are far cheaper, less time-consuming, and more effective solutions available for expressly that purpose.

Oh, and the difference between ripping your CD collection and your video collection is that songs are 4 minutes long, something you turn on walking by on a whim, play in the background during other activities, and people love to randomize them or mix and match them. Plus, your entire collection will fit on a handheld portable player, so you can enjoy it while out and about.

Video comes in at least 30 minute chunks, is generally something watched as a primary activity, isn't exactly something you put on "party shuffle" (which you couldn't do effectively with the Mini even if you wanted to), and takes up WAY more space--a $300 pocket-sized iPod to hold 280 CDs is not the same thing as a $2000+ computer set-up consisting of multiple external disk drives and a lot of work for half as many DVDs.
 

OutThere

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Dec 19, 2002
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If you insist on ripping the DVDs -

Use handbrake, which will recompress them into DIVX or MP4, and save them to your hard drive. On a fast-ish computer you can do two each day (start one before bed, wake up in the morning, start next rip). (On a dual 2.5 g5 :D, you can do one every, maybe 2 hours.) Depending on how much quality you care about, you can rip a movie to 700Mb (mediocre) or, say, 2gb, which will be good quality. I think an investment of more than 1000 dollars is waaay too much at this point in time. :)
 

marknicholls

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Aug 7, 2004
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Ok, i must be honest, i really didnt think it would take 12 hours to rip a DVD to a HDD!

I still think its a great idea mind! :)

So what compression would still be DVD quality? and even at this compression rate, would it still take a half day?
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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clayjohanson said:
Yeah, that seems pretty excessive... far cheaper to buy a Sony 400-DVD changer for $399 and load all of your discs into it.
I thought about getting one of those, but user reviews have been unkind, and I have stalled my plans. Anyone here using one? (the sony 400 dvd player that is)
 

marknicholls

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Aug 7, 2004
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on a 1TB drive (or 2 500gb) if we can compress a DVD to 700mb and fit 1428 dvds on it

Much more afordable. The whole setup would cost about £700 (i can get 2 500gbs for 370)
 

clayj

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stubeeef said:
I thought about getting one of those, but user reviews have been unkind, and I have stalled my plans. Anyone here using one? (the sony 400 dvd player that is)
Yes, I have one (that's why I suggested it). It works great... no complaints whatsoever. I also have a Sony DVP-S9000ES DVD player that I use when I want to play a single disc that's not in the changer. (I have WAY more than 400 DVDs. The changer just makes it easier for me to store everything... I am able to put all those DVD cases in offsite storage.)