Mac Mini Media Centre.. requirements?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Uplift, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Uplift macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Another mac mini media centre thread.

    I've got my mini hopefully turning up today, but what else do i need. I want as little interaction with it as possible

    i know i can schedule start-up, shut-downs so i don't need to keep manually doing it.

    what about a remote? i'd rather remove the need for mouse/keyboard. I have an Apple remote from my ATV, will that work, is it limited?

    i'd like it to sleep when not in use, can a remote wake it up?

    what software is best, XBMC or Plex or something else?

    easy way to launch software? i'm thinking i can load plex/xbmc automatically on boot, but will probably want some other software on there as well, whats easiest way to switch between?

    anything else i should have to make life easy?
     
  2. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    No one?

    Been reading lots about Plex and XBMC but i can't decide, i know i can try both but what works best on OSX?
     
  3. ezramoore macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Washington State
    #3
    I'll chime in.

    A remote can wake it up from sleep. No problem there. I keep an Apple keyboard in my theatre area, and I don't think it looks too out of place. The Apple bluetooth keyboard is reasonably elegant.

    I use a Harmony remote with mine (to control projector, mini, sound, even the room lights) and I think that it's great.

    If you want ease of use with minimal interference, use Plex. Plex is very clean, easy to use and the developers are constantly innovating.

    When the mini is asleep is uses almost zero electricity, I don't ever shut mine down. I have mine setup to perform lots of other services, so you may choose to shut yours down if you don't use it like I do.

    One of the major benefits to Plex is the ability to share all of your media organized by the server (the mini) across and beyond your network. Every one of my computers has the Plex client software installed and we can run many streams over our Gigabit network (some run over wifi).

    Software is easy to launch on boot. I have auto-login enabled for the account that I call "mediacenter." I have a very basic password set so that I can SSH and remote desktop into the mini whenever I want.

    In the User Accounts section of System Preferences there is an option to specify Login Items. These are things that are launched evert time the system starts (and the user logs in, which as I mentioned happens automatically).

    I recommend the combo of Screen Sharing and a bluetooth keyboard for maintenance access. Let me know if you have more questions. I've been using a mini as a home theatre media center/server for several years.
     
  4. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Thanks for this, i've done exactly just that. PMS on the mini along with Plex client to load at login and controlled with the apple remote, schedule shuts off the mac when i'm not going to be using it, really happy so far, i'm loving the clean organisation, the video art and the way it plays the theme tune of the series your viewing, very authentic.. i don't feel the need to try XBMC, going to dig into the customisation later.
     
  5. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Excellent post ;)

    I also use Plex. Love the way it works and can use it nicely across my iDevices also. I use a standard apple remote with it.

    Yes, the Mac mini can be woken from sleep when you screen share, VNC, use Plex from an iDevice, and so on. The only issue I have had is trying to wake the mini remotely. Tried several apps, such as TeamViewer etc, but no job. Not a biggie, but would be nice.

    Harmony remote - I'm interested. Does this wake the Mac mini as well?
     
  6. ezramoore macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Washington State
    #6
    Glad I could help!

    I have my mini set to never sleep, etc. but I have used LogMeIn in the past (I don't use it anymore, I use TeamViewer now) and left it installed on a couple of machines that I have. Recently they have added a WakeOnLAN feature that I got to test the other day. It worked for me just fine. You could try that.

    The Harmony remote just mimics the IR codes sent by the Apple remote, so yes, it wakes the mini up just fine. If you want to really give people a show, get a Lutron IR light switch and use the Harmony to control that.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. I love this setup.
     
  7. jimbo1mcm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #7
    Ram?

    Not sure how much you have or need, but I am upgrading from 4GB to 16GB for $71
     
  8. Uplift thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    What apps do you guys run as well as Plex?

    I'm thinking of ways to also use it as a torrent downloader but don't want to do too much that means i'm forced to login to the machine every time i want to do something.

    Any other suggestions to get the most out of it?
     
  9. ezramoore macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    Washington State
    #9
    I run Transmission to handle my torrent downloads.

    Transmission has a web interface available by typing the Mac mini's IP address and the port number 9091 into your browser bar (http://192.168.1.XXX:9091).

    You enable this in Transmissions preferences. I would also recommend enabling and setting a username and password for authentication.

    If you have a static IP (or one that doesn't change often, or setup dyndns) you can port forward 9091 to your mini and add torrents from anywhere you want via the web interface.

    I also run sabnzbd and sickbeard and Calibre (to serve ebooks to my Kindle when I've run out of books on the go).
     
  10. kappaknight macrumors 68000

    kappaknight

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #10
    If you run the Plex Media client on the mini, the system should stay awake at all times. I've also remote in via Remote Desktop and it's always woken up for me, unless it's crashed.

    I also recommend the sabnzbd + Couch Potato and Sickbeard setup. It automates the downloads and it's close to zero maintenance. In the CordCutters subreddit, there's a PDF guide on how to setup the whole thing.
     

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