Mac mini home theatre set up

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Cbdboz, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Cbdboz macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    #1
    I have finally got a 2012 mini, and in process of setting it up.

    1) I have a 1tb hard drive, but wondering if I put all my videos on this or a separate wd my book 4tb external ?

    I will look to buy the server software as also want to create a nas for external access

    2) I connected hdmi to tv, but only picture comes out..,. The sound appears to stay with the mini ( until I connected the audio out to my amp)

    ... Does hdmi not carry picture and sound from mini?

    3) picture kept flashing back to a green screen... Is this a resolution issue or hdmi problem

    I chose scaled in the set up and this is connected to pioneer tv.

    4) is there an app i can use to control the mini .... Or is it just keyboard / mouse etc?

    5) resolution on screen seemed pixelated (certainly websites) and picture quality was not great on Amazon streaming.

    .., is this normal when using a tv as the screen? (Would hope not as wanted the mini to be the hub of all my home theatre)

    6) do I need ATV if I have a Mac mini (other than for AirPlay from iPad / iPhone etc)

    Welcome any advice and feedback as I start to set this up.

    Thanks
     
  2. Toubro macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    #2
    1) I put 2 harddrives in my Mini. A 128Gb for OSX and a 1TB for media. 1TB isn't much to be honest, and I have to transfer TV shows back to my NAS to make room for new ones. I never saw a reason to change OSX to OSX server.
    2) I definitely have sound out of mine. I'm not at home right now, but I think there's an application called something with MIDI in OSX. If I remember correctly you can change the output in there.
    3) Sounds like a bad HDMI cable. My Mini is just set to automatic, so it chooses resolution and frequency itself.
    4) You can get apps that replicate keyboards/mouse, I believe there's mediacenter remotes as well, and of course Apples own Remote app for iTunes.
    5)Not normal. I run 1080P and iTunes, Youtube, BBC everything is crisp, (if the base material is of course).
    6) Not necessarily. I have one because I prefer the interface and the simplicity, and only use my mini for storage and when I have to stream from websites or services that does not have an app on the ATV.
     
  3. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    #3

    Thanks for the feedback.

    1- Do you use your Macmini as the NAS .... Or do you connect to a separate NAS

    5- do web sites come up crisp on your TV as well? Mine looks positively SD...#. (Tv is pioneer plasma kuro)
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    Sounds like something is odd with either your cable or TV. I have mine connected to an old TV with a DVI adapter though so I can't really help.

    I use my mini with two Apple TV's, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Also with my MacBook Air. The Apple TV's are connected with gigabit ethernet to the Mini. I use the fast 802.11ac wifi with an Apple Time Capsule for the MacBook Air.

    I use the built-in screen sharing to control the mini from my MacBook Air sometimes, but I also have a cheap wireless Logitech combination keyboard/trackpad directly connected to the mini. I also use the Apple iPhone "remote" app sometimes. It can control the mini, MBA and Apple TVs.

    I have three fast USB 3 external 3tb drives for my media. One of them is the primary drive and I rotate the other two as backups with a Carbon Copy Cloner script that runs nightly.

    Not sure if you really need the server software if you just want to use the Mini as a network drive. Using the regualar OSX file sharing, I can copy files at over 100MB/sec over ethernet. I think you would only need the server software if you want the other features.
     
  6. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #6
    4) is there an app i can use to control the mini .... Or is it just keyboard / mouse etc? - If you want to contol it with the display (TV) on, I like the Rowmote app. If you want to control it with the screen off, I prefer Splashtop. If you want a Remote app that can handle macros and the rest of your equipment, I prefer Roomie Remote app (it may require additional hardware if you have components that can't be controlled via IP).

    6) do I need ATV if I have a Mac mini (other than for AirPlay from iPad / iPhone etc) - I like having an ATV because it is more user friendly for most, but I have the mini (2010) hooked to a TV in case I want to run XBMC, Rdio, Plex, etc.. There is definitely some overlap in features, but I prefer having both.

    Personally, I have a Synology NAS and use it for backup and its own apps. In my experience (2010 mini) iTunes works faster with USB attached drives. However, I have my NAS set to sleep and wake up when sent a signal. Having it stay awake 24/7 may fix this lag.
     
  7. Dameatball macrumors member

    Dameatball

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    Feb 7, 2014
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #7

    Sound via Hdmi with the mini works right out of the box. You need to plug it in to your tv's ARC port.
    Definitely should not be pixelated, go into your display settings (assuming source tv/file is good). Definitely do not need an Apple TV.
     
  8. DaPhatty macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #8
    I bought a NewerTech Mini Stack and put a 2 TB hard drive in it. Since I have an older MacMini, I use the Firewire 800 interface to connect it to my MacMini. It works very well and has little trouble hosting files to my numerous Apple TVs.

    I originally intended to keep my media files on my Synology NAS but playback was atrocious for larger files. I never could figure out why so I moved my files to a local drive and haven't looked back.
     
  9. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #9
    It does. Check System Preferences->Sound and verify that the correct output device is selected.

    Don't used scaled. Select a resolution that the TV supports. Text isn't going to be as clear as it is on a monitor. Streaming could also be due to bandwidth issues.

    Depends on what you're trying to do. You'd need to clarify.
     
  10. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

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    Oct 31, 2013
    #10

    RESPONSE - system pref / sound / output - just shows (1) digital out and (2) apple tv. no mention of HDMI ???
     
  11. Cbdboz, Feb 2, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015

    Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    #11

    re control of Mac mini - I am fine accessing it via screen sharing etc from my iMac. But would be good if could also make it very user friendly as part of my home theatre set up for other users, who just want to pick up a remote - point at the screen and select media to watch.....however as it stands they would need to enter password, navigate to I tunes (or poss plex in the future) and then choose....this just seems too much hassle and maybe should just access Mac mini content via my apple tv instead??


    re media storage. - currently have transferred my old iTunes library to the mac min internal 1TB drive - tho maybe this would make more sense if put it on one of the externals. - Is there any benefit to doing so, other than poss more space etc?

    ----------

    hmmmm - def not working out of the box, and per other post - I don't even see HDMI listed in system preference / sound / output......? (I really hope my refurb isn't a dudd)

    its the web page that looks poor quality, the video wasn't too bad, but SD at best (may be poor streaming quality from Amazon prime tho)

    have 2 Apple Tv's already being used - so just trying to understand how and if I should weave them into my new setup (perhaps as the interface into the mac mini..??)
     
  12. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #12
    You could clock the internal drive and see how it rates. I have the base model 2012 mini with a 500MB internal drive. It clocked around 100 MB/S. The external USB3 drives I'm using clock around 170MB/S. Shouldn't matter for playback, but you would see less latency (movies open faster and more responsive when "scrubbing").

    For me, 1TB isn't big enough. But I also like the idea of keeping the library self-contained on an external drive. That would let me easily swap it to another computer. And my two backup drives are clones than can also be used interchangeably. I just let Time Machine backup the internal Mini drive to my Time Capsule. The internal drive only has 32GB on it (basically just the standard out-of-the-box installation).

    ----------

    For what you describe, the AppleTV would be perfect. I like the simple "clicker" interface. It certainly has its limitations, but it's a lot easier to access your movies than itunes. You can also program it to recognize any remote control, if you already have a multi-function one.

    At $75 for an refurb, it's definitely worth considering.
     
  13. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #13
    Personally, I think Roomie Remote on an iOS device is the easiest way to control it (it will launch the app and do all of the stuff a universal remote can do, in addition to controlling Plex), but it still won't be as easy as the AppleTV.

    If you can fit the entire library on the internal drive, I would just go that route. However, make sure you back it up.

    If you go into Audio Midi do you see the HDMI source?
     
  14. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

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    Oct 31, 2013
  15. Southern Dad macrumors 65816

    Southern Dad

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    May 23, 2010
    Location:
    Georgia
    #15
    You can use the little white remote just fine. They are very inexpensive.
     
  16. dbanderson1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    #16
    TVs aren't great monitors

    How big is your TV and how far away are you from it when trying to view websites. TVs in general make horrible monitors because they are only 1920x1080 and often large... 40". The dots per inch on these are extremely poor so most of your desktop images and websites will be pixilated, unless you sit very far away (in that case you won't be able to read them). It should not however be pixilated when streaming, though this depends primarily on your bandwidth. I have my mac mini hooked up to a vizio television right now, but it is only 24"... the smallest 1080p I could find in retail stores. Anything larger would have had worse DPI than my 19" 720p monitor. An apple TV would have a much better 10 ft interface than trying to navigate OS X with a mouse and also have a remote with a very simple user interface. We have also been very spoiled because we are so used to "retina" displays, which means they have packed so many dots into small screens that we are unable to distinguish actual pixels at most differences. Plug in your tv's specs into this site to calculate the DPI and what distance you would have to be at not to see pixels. On a 40" HD set you would have to be 5'2" away.

    http://isthisretina.com
     
  17. Cbdboz, Feb 3, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015

    Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    #17
    50" screen, and is retina at just under 2 metres....does that sound right?

    44.06 DPI

    ----------

    I assume I should be able to see HDMI as an option...the fact that I can't...anyone have ideas why???


    will also try and call apple tomorrow...but given this should work out of the box...and it is a refurbed unit...must say I'm concerned...
     
  18. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular

    Cbdboz

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    #18
    HDMI now recognised in the mac mini "sound" under preferences, and now both audio and picture are passed.

    ...no idea why this wasn't working before hand...but will keep an eye on it....and if happens again will change the cable first.

    cheers
     

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