Mac Mini G4 as File server / Video Streaming

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by pwheeldon, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. pwheeldon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #1
    Hi All.

    I am new to the forum though I have read many posts and got some great help already. I cant seem to find an answer to my specific problem / project so realised it was time i registered!

    A bit of history: I was always very pro PC, then I got an iPhone, then an iPad and then realised that I preferred Apple products and have been migrating slowly. In our house we now have 3 iPhones, an iPod touch, 4 iPads, a Macbook Air, an Airport Express, an Airport extreme and Apple TV.

    The Project: I am in the process of getting a new van (6-8 seater) which I use for work generally but also to tow the caravan when we go on holiday. The van I have now has the built in DVD headrests, which are Ok but not great, 6 hrs + of driving with 3 kids needs more than some paper and pens! Anyway, I decided that as 2 of the kids have iPad minis and the other 1 can use my iPad, I would set up a server in the van to stream movies to the iPads as we drive. I therefore bought an old Mac mini off eBay and I am in the process of setting it up as a server.

    The problem I have is that I was planning on using an app called Airplayer on the iPads, but the problem I have is that it doesn't seem to be able to see the Mac Mini, no problem with my NAS or the old Media PC I have at home though. And the other streaming software I have come across wont install on the Mac mini as the spec is too low.

    So can anyone help?

    Cheers
    Paul

    ----------

    Just had another thought. I will also need an app to control the Mac with my iPad, preferably a separate app to the streaming one so the kids cant mess about with the server!
     
  2. pwheeldon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #2
    Hi

    I don't know if I've upset anyone, but surely someone must be able to offer some advice or help. My post seems to be the only one with 0 replies!
     
  3. KevinGrabher macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    #3
    it's honestly very hard to get such things running on that kind of mac.
    Most new software requires at least 10.6 in terms of software (which won't run on a G4, since it's a different cpu architecture)

    I think the reason noone has replied yet, is that nobody has a solution ready for you (that includes me.)
     
  4. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #4
    You're really pushing the boundaries of what a Mac mini G4 was designed to do, but that's what makes it fun! I am just speculating, but make sure you're running the last release of OS X "Leopard" (10.5.8, August 2009) as earlier versions may not have all had AirPlay support. Also, while your G4 supports Ad-Hoc WiFi ("Create Network"), you'll have to ensure that the Sharing & Firewall settings are all correct. Your G4 will not support AirDrop (10.7+ only) so if the iOS apps need AirDrop to work -- it won't.

    For what it's worth, my WiFi home network includes an iMac G4, PowerMac G4, and an iBook G4 -- all running OS X 10.4.11 "Tiger". They can all talk to each other, and my current-generation Mac's, flawlessly. So the networking part is easy and pretty much automatic. Although I've never tried to get them to serve media files to iOS devices.

    Oh and one more thing I'll mention simply because I'm not sure if it matters, but I did have to install Apple's "AirPort Disk" on all my Tiger Macs in order to get them to recognize my NAS plugged into my Airport Extreme.

    Good luck!
     
  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #5
    Yep, sounds interesting but I have no experience with the PowerPC Macs & not sure what they are & are not capable of doing. It would be straightforward with an Intel mini for sure. Depending on the inputs available on your DVD system you might even be able to pipe a signal into that.
     
  6. pwheeldon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #6
    Guys,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply. I am beginning to think along the same lines, in that I need to get a better spec Mini. Basically I am going to sell the G4 and buy a slightly newer model.

    I can probably come up with some work arounds, but I have gone for the Mac over PC so that everything will run smoothly and i wont have the kids asking me to fix something when were doing 60mph down the motorway with the caravan in tow.

    Ill keep you posted on how things go!

    Thanks again.

    Paul
     
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #7
    Good idea. I'd suggest getting a new base mini on Apple's 12month interest free finance. Becomes pretty affordable at that point. [I'm based in Asia; I'm assuming the same offerings are a ails me elsewhere.]
     
  8. justperry, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #8
    I have a Powerbook G4 1.67 (And a new Mini) and I ran into too many problems with streaming, my TV has a plex client and there is no Plex server for PPC, I also had Eyeconnect on the PB but I don't have an iPad so I never tested if this would work, don't know if there is an App for this on the iPad, there must be though.

    But, I think the G4 Mini is not capable of serving multiple movies well, your best bet is to get an Intel Mini, does not have to be a new one, you could save yourself a bit of money by buying a refurb 2011 Mini, even a 2010 would do.
     
  9. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #9
    G4 is really weak for what you need it to do. I can imagine streaming one movie maybe, but multiple? forget it. I also think it wont be possible because of the version of OS, you might run into issues. I am also not sure if G4 had N-wireless.

    If i can give my advice, get 2011 or 2012 dual core mini, they're much better machines, eat less power and you can just simply put Plex media server on it and install Plex App on your kids iPads. Problem solved.
     
  10. pwheeldon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #10
    Hi,

    In an ideal world I would get a refurbed new unit from Apple, unfortunately budgets wont allow. The portable router I have bought has an ethernet connection, so dont necessarily need the mac to connect wirelessly. I am thinking about this model now:
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-Mac...mputing_Apple_Desktops_CV&hash=item3f2372b9e3
    it is dual core processor so should be a bit better! this way I can also get Lion or Mountain lion OSX.
    I would imagine that worst case it would have 3 films being accessed by the 3 iPads, and potentially paying music via the jack plug. Would you think this would be doable?

    What format would you think would be best for the films? it is unlikely theyll be played on a large screen, I may hook up a monitor to is as well, but not 100% on that. so most of the time, if not all, they would be viewed on an iPad or iPhone.

    What is "plex"?

    Any other advice, help or suggestions would be much appreciated. As i say though, budget is a real consideration and it was a push to convince my wife it is worth getting the old Mac mini!

    Cheers
     
  11. justperry, Mar 26, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013

    justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #11
    Lol, 275 Pounds, way too much for a 5-6 year old Mini, for a bit more you have a 2011 refurb!

    287 Pounds = $435 ( + Shipping)
     
  12. comatory macrumors 6502a

    comatory

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #12
    I hear you. First of all, that Mac mini you posted is kinda overpriced. With such a small amount of RAM you will have big issues running anything 10.6 and beyond (I recommend at least 4 gigs, my Mini has 2 gigs and it struggled on Lion). Unfortunately that unit can only use 3 gigs of RAM at max.

    I know you have budget constraints but buying this... I wouldnt be happy with the purchase. Its way better than G4 (its 2x-3x faster) but the upgrade path isnt that great.

    On the other hand you can stay on Snow Leopard (10.6) and it should work OK more or less.

    Plex is a suite of software that enables you to manage your media library, view it and simultaneously stream to other devices (macs or iOS devices if you buy the app.) It downloads all the metadata automatically and there is almost zero configuration to use it the way you want it to (if the iOS devices are on the same network as Mac mini, it will simply work). I can highly recommend it.

    I am, myself running Mac mini 2009 with 2 gigs of RAM and Snow Leopard. The machine works OK for what I need it to do, it handles streaming to two devices at once with no problems so I guess the 2007 model should do fine, the CPU is very similar in performance.
    I had to downgrade to Snow Leopard because on Lion, it really struggled. I know I should put 4 gigs in there to have a good performance.

    I dont know, seeing 275gbp for used 2007 model is too much, I saw used base 2011 models for not much more. If I were you, I'd look at least on 2009 model or wait a bit and save up for 2011 models that offer significant performance over pre-2011 models (as well as HDMI out which is handy if you decide to retire the Mini to living room).
     
  13. bumper314 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    #13
    I have that mini and it's not powerful enough to do what you're looking to do.
     
  14. pwheeldon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    #14
    I have seen one of a similar spec for £150, which is bout my budget, doesnt have the track pad but ill be using the ipad to control it so thats not really an issue.

    In terms of retiring it to the house, i already have Apple TV and a NAS in the house and a media PC (which I only got about a year ago so not getting rid any time soon).

    Unless I can find anything better at about that price, I think ill give that one a go. It has Leopard already so i will just run with that at least for now and see how things go.

    Worst case if the system principle works well but have issues with speed, then I may be able to convince the wife that its worth the extra money to upgrade, and TBH i dont think I would lose too much on this Mac.

    I have had a quick look at Plex and it looks nice, so if thats got a good rep Ill give that a go as well.

    Thanks guys for the advice!
     
  15. Donka macrumors 68020

    Donka

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #15
    Look at RowMote Pro for controlling the Mac Mini from your iPad as it offers remote control, extended keyboard and track pad - a genuinely superb app. If you don't have a display connected to the Mac Mini then you will need to use a different tool such as VNC, LogMeIn or TeamViewer.
     

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