Mac Mini Media Center

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Jshwon, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Jshwon macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    Nov 2, 2007
    #1
    Along with the iMac i plan to buy after the 1st of the year for my office I am also looking into getting a mini for my living room. The use for the mini will be primarily a media center. What I am trying to do is find a solution that will allow me to use the HD tuner in the TV and utilize 3rd party software on the mini to record as a DVR.

    I have been looking into Elgato's eyetv250 but dont think this will allow me to use the HD tuner in the TV as it wants a direct input from coax/antenna connection. The set up now is I have basic cable and have the coax running into the TV then use the TV tuner to capture over-the-air HD plus some cable HD. Is there any way to get the mini in between this so that I can capture and record?

    Anyone? :confused:
     
  2. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #2
    How on earth do you capture over-the-air HD with your TV's internal tuner???
     
  3. X1Lightning macrumors 6502

    X1Lightning

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    #3
    i would assume his tv has a hd tuner built in it, Mine does...
     
  4. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #4
    Correct.
     
  5. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #5
    and then... it goes to the screen...
     
  6. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #6
    That's the crux of his question: is there a way to output HD from the TV to the Mini....

    Do you have any video outputs on the back of the TV?
     
  7. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    Nov 2, 2007
    #7
    That I will have to check. And there-in lies my problem. I could easily buy a tuner from eyetv and have the coax plug into that then out of the mini into the tv. But I'm thinking the tuner within the TV would pick up more HD channels etc.

    So I dont know if this would work but if the TV has a video out it would go like this: cable from wall > TV in > TV out > mini in > mini out > TV in. Problem is I dont think the mini or the TV has the video in's (mini) or outs (TV) to make this work. I may just have to see if the eyetv tuner will pick up the HD if the cable coax is plugged in like the TV would.
    :eek:
     
  8. ADent macrumors 6502a

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    #8


    No - not in HDTV. The uncompressed HDTV (DVI/Composite/HDMI) is way to fast to record with a regular computer (wait 5 years). Firewire was a HDTV standard to move the MPEG2 compressed stuff around, but it didn't really catch on. I think cable boxes are required to have a Firewire output.
     
  9. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #9
    Yeah I don't think I would be able to use the TV tuner and the mini to record. I may just get the eyetv HD tuner and plug the cable into it then out of the mini to the tv. My hope is that it will pick up the HD channels like the TV would (which include more HD channels than over the air).

    Are there any other external HD tuner options for the Mac?
     
  10. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #10
  11. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #11
    Yeah I've looked at that one. Seems to do the same thing that the 250 plus does but shares the feed to other macs. Not sure if the 250 will accept cable, that might be what pushes the scale.
     
  12. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #12
    You would need an HD output such as HDMI and that is not likely.

    Plus, how would you automatically change channels, and turn the TV on to record while your away?
     
  13. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    Nov 2, 2007
    #13
    man I dont think this going to work. I mean I could just hook up an HD antenna to capture OTA hd but I wouldnt get nearly as many channels as I would having the cable connected to the tv and use its tuner. I can't think of any way to do it.
     
  14. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #14
    This is how I'd think about finagling it:

    1. Split the cable TV feed coming from the wall.

    2. Plug one of the cable feeds into the TV (like you currently have it).

    3. Plug the other cable TV feed into one of the HDHomeRun inputs. Plug a HD antenna into the other one.

    4. Connect the mini to the TV using a DVI -> HDMI connector.

    5. Set the mini up to record whatever.

    With this setup, you should be able to watch cable TV directly, or press the INPUT button on your TV and watch whatever the mini's doing. This gives you the flexibility of watching something on a different channel (using your TV's tunder) while your mini is recording something else from the HDHomeRun.

    Since the HDHomeRun supports two computers, it sounds like you could also watch/record TV on your iMac as well as your mini.
     
  15. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #15
    Brilliant!!!! :D I think this is just exactly what I will do. Only caveat will be some HD channels I will not be able to record (ie: the ones the tv is picking up from its tuner that the antenna cant pick up). But this sounds like the most reasonable solution.
     
  16. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    Nov 2, 2007
    #16
    Oh one last thing. Could I use a regular DVI cable out of the mini to the TV (if the TV has a DVI input) instead of DVI -> HDMI cable?
     
  17. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #17
    DVI should work, but you'll need to supply audio as well. HDMI carries both.
     
  18. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #18
    I looked on Apple's site for refurbished mini's but they didn't list any for sale. I'd rather not buy one off ebay and would prefer a warrenty. Any other places to look for refurb's?

    Oh and regarding the audio. There should be usb to audio cables around right?
     
  19. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #19
    FWIW, with my old TV, I used the Apple DVI -> SVIDEO converter for video and the cable below (which plugs into the mini's headset port on the back) for audio.

    http://www.amazon.com/3-5mm-Stereo-...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1196890946&sr=8-1

    There may be a USB cable that does that too, but I had one of those cables laying around, so I just used that. :)
     
  20. Jshwon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jshwon

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    #20
    You guys have been a tremendous help! Nice to know there is such a helpful/friendly community in the Mac world. Makes switching even more sweeter. Any recommendations on where to find a good refurb'd mini? I'm checking MacMall.com and they have good prices but no refurbs that I see.
     
  21. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

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    #21
    I'd try waiting around on Apple.com to see what comes up. The supply of refurbs is small, so they get scooped up quickly. I'd check each day to see what new supply is there.
     

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