Mac Mini Media

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Omnius, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Omnius macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    Preface: I have an i5 mac mini. I've found, probably to no surprise to anyone here, that it's a pretty nice media machine for watching movies.

    Goal: I'm interested in really taking the movie machine to an extreme.

    Needs: I need the mini to still be my everyday computer.

    What I've got so far: I have the mini attached to a 24 inch 1080p monitor through the hdmi connection. Using thunderbolt to hdmi, I have an older 1080i 46 inch projection tv to watch movies. Currently, I've been watching movies and shows through a handful of legitimate online sources (no pirating).

    What I'm just now experimenting with as I type this post: I'm experimenting with handbrake to rip my old dvd collection and store in a more convenient manner (on the computer).

    Now here is where I need help and have had trouble getting reliable answers. Obviously the mini's 500gig HD will not suffice. I've got partitions and am already using enough of that HD that I don't see it as sufficient for this purpose.

    What should I do about external storage? I've got a free firewire port and I could probably free up one of the usb ports. I believe 1-2TB should be large enough for the hard drive. Is it advisable to go with firewire, USB 2.0, or a daisy chained thunderbolt HD? How fast should the hard drive be? Is 5400 going to be enough to play high resolution movies flawlessly?

    I know the 1080i TV has to go eventually, it's not that great. Realistically I'll replace that when financially reasonable to do so. But what would you suggest in the 32-42 inch range?

    I'm new to ripping dvds and it's already looking quite imposing. I'm ripping the dvds with an older mac mini model 2,1 because it has an optical drive. Do you have any advice?

    I've run a search but advice on various threads is mostly dated, conflicting or unclear. I apologize for the lazy newb making a thread on day 1 schtick but in this case, it seemed the appropriate approach.

    I'm not a total techie but I've got a couple decades of mac user experience under my belt and I've gotten thus far without help, so don't be afraid to be technical in your responses.

    Anything, anyone can help me with would be appreciated.
  2. jamesvdm macrumors regular


    Mar 28, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    Re storage - any of those interfaces is sufficient to play HD video. If you see two people playing HD video at the same time sometime in the future you might only consider the faster options. Gigabit Ethernet is an option not listed.

    Re DVD ripping - have a look at RipIt, it adds some automation to the job.
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    have a look at mac the ripper, you can put your DVDs on a hard drive, and then run handbrake from the copies there, from this you can also set up a queue, so dump several discs to the hard drive, and then let handbrake work on them while you're away. you could put the drive on your mini to rip the disks, then move it to the faster machine to do the converts.

    (after looking at the previous post, ripit and mac the ripper have the same functions)

    full blu-ray rips play back at about 4-5 MB/s, USB2 will handle 25MB/s. Short of the initial time to dump a 40GB file you'll be OK.
  4. Omnius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    Is there anything else that might be cool as well?
  5. Bymatt, Jul 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012

    Bymatt macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2011
    You will find that like Baskin Robbins, there is a flavor

    or 3 for every way you want to do a process here. That said, I use MDRP because over the years I have come to find it very forgiving of scratched or damaged DVDs. Handbrake's strength is NOT getting through physical damage on a disc. Then as the previous poster said, I archive the disc on my HD. From there I use HB to make the MKV file. You will find your own preference but I will give you say 3 values that work very well for the AVG bit rate setting. I like 1408 or 1536 for documentaries and the like. Generally well done and likely video cam based, in other words a very good source. This will get you about 71% of the video content. Moving up I like 1792 or 2048. This raises you to apx 71 to 74% of the video file. To save space here I will jump to 2056 which gets you apx 81% of the video file. Of course you get any video tracks that you tell HB to include and you get 100% of them regardless of the AVG bit rate Video quality setting you choose. Remember I am making a MKV file here. I use several tweaks in HB that I have settled on. The exact settings are not important to this post. You will read and perhaps use the built in or find your own. I like AVG bit rate as opposed to CQ. The advantage of HB in general is you can dial in several setting to your exact liking. Several easier programs work, but dont really allow this degree of customizing. With the MKV I just take the ONE video track, pass it through. Or the One DTS track and pass it through. It keeps things simpler on the play back end. IF you may EVER want to play back on or through an IOS device you should always take an AAC track also. Then use SUBLER to change the MKV wrapper to an IOS or QUICKTIME playable file. Only takes a couple minutes and can be batched. In the interest of staying short, this will get you something to think on or maybe stir some other contributions to you.
  6. danwilliams macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2008
    I use Plex for media center software on my MacMini. XBMC is awesome as well. Try this read for the differences between the two.

    I also have a Harmony One remote. Along with RemoteBuddy software, I can control any multi-media experience (Plex, iDVD, EyeTV, etc...) from my couch without using the keyboard or mouse. Bye bye cable! (NOTE: I lose ESPN...sniff...sniff...but it's worth it for me.) The wife and kids use this setup with no issues. And more importantly, no assistance from Dad.

    So to recap:
    1. Plex or XBMC
    2. Universal Remote
    3. RemoteBuddy software to tie the remote to any action on your MacMini.
    4. EyeTV to watch, pause, and record over-the-air TV.
  7. Omnius thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2012
    I ran into an issue. The older mini has apparently reached it's limits. When ripping dvds, it overheats and shuts off. I know that it's heat because a) it gets hot and b) if I put it on its side and put an icepack on the metal bottom, it will work.

    Any thoughts for a less ghetto and absurd solution?
  8. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    I don't know if it's less ghetto than an ice pack haha, but try removing the bottom rubber casing and mounting the mini on its side.
  9. The DRis macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2010
    Oceanside, CA
    I was told it's not neccesary but I bought a small desktop fan and point that at my MBP when I run the encodes over night. Keeps it nice and chilly.
  10. takezo808 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2011
    there is nothing to worry about if your mac gets warm. It's part of how electricity works. When electricity is used the dissapated energy turns into heat. It's basic physics. Technology has advanced to the point that we can have a system as powerfull as super computers a few years back in a sleak stylish design.

    the T-junction of the intel CPUs in Macs are either 100c or 120c. Theses are fail safe shutoff triggers. Basically when the CPU reaches this limit, the computer shuts off to protect the processor. Most people feel unconfortable with the heat emiting from a mac that is only at 75c to 80c. Far too low for damage to the CPU, to deem worrying about.

    But when people feel a hot electronic device they associate the heat as a performace impact or some sort of design flaw.

Share This Page