Mac Mini Plex media server, universal remote, and tweaking my setup

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MuddlingThru, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. MuddlingThru macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2014
    Hi - I have a few questions on home theater setups, hoping you can help. My current config:
    1. Mac Mini connected to our TV running Plex. I'm also using TV Shows 2 with Transmission to download. Right now I have to manually rename and move the files to the correct directories for Plex. I tried to use Hazel to do it but couldn't get it to work [and their tech support was less than helpful for such an expensive app]
    2. PS3 that my kids use for gaming, Netflix, and Amazon Video
    3. A standalone really old iPod that has all of the same music that's on our Mac Mini but is in a separate speaker/charger.
    4. An AT&T Uverse DVR for the time being.

    I'd like to make a few changes and could use your advice.
    1. A universal remote. I'm the only one who knows how to navigate through all of these, meaning my husband watches the DVR and the kids watch that or the PS3. I mostly watch Plex from my MacBook Air or iPad. I'd like to get a universal remote like the Logitech Harmony. Would that be able to control my Mac Mini? Right now I use a really cheap bluetooth keyboard and mouse when for whatever reason my Mac shuts off. Otherwise, I control it by sharing screen from my MacBook. [I do use caffeine to keep it running all of the time, but sometimes it just shuts off for whatever reason]

    2. I'd like to be able to launch and control Plex Home Theater on my Mini. Can I have Media Server and Home Theater on the same Mac?

    3. I need some way to easily script pulling out the show title, season, and episode from the downloaded files and moving them to the correct places automatically. Ideas?

    4. I'd like to get rid of the separate iPod/speaker and add a speaker bar and subwoofer to the TV and then listen to streaming iTunes and our library from the Mini. Is there an easy way to do that without turning on the TV?

    Any other configuration suggestions are welcome. I'm not wedded to this config.

    Thanks very much!
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    The programmable Harmony Remotes should work well for you. There also should be an add on device for your PS3 so that the Harmony can also control it as well.

    The automation of moving files around is going to be a bit tough since Plex (and XBMC) does require some logistics. You may want to reconsider this part for now and do it manually. The Mini should be able to handle both server and player if need be (for Plex). The Harmony doesn't per se control the Mac Mini but rather it can control Plex when it is up and running on the Mini. There are naming conventions that must be used for Plex to properly scrap the web for info and images. I have noticed in the past that some shows behave a bit differently than others. For TV shows, it is more about season and episode naming conventions than titles of episodes. Usually, when scrapping, Plex can put the title of the episode in for you (at least back when it could do that). Typical would be a Folder with the name of the show and then files akin to S1E1 (Year).mp4 for Season 1, Episode 1. in mp4 format. The movie format can be all sorts so that is less of an issue.

    Example -
    Top folder name Stargate
    within the folder
    S1E1 Pilot (1988).mp4
    S1E2 Whatever (1988).mp4
    and so on.

    You can try to see if just the S1E1 will work if you don't know the episode title. As well there are other naming conventions that exist including
    01x01 which would also be Season 1, Episode 1.

    Movies are far easier in that you can certainly look up the proper Title and Year.

    Hope this is a good start for you and sorry I cannot be really much more help. I have had a PS3 in the past as well as XBMC and Plex on a Mini. I am doing this from memory from years gone by.
  3. dhy8386 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2008
    Hazel can easily do that for you but also an app i use religiously call iFlicks 2. It will download cover art and auto rename the files for you in the proper Plex format - Moviename - Year. As for sorting into additional folders, again Hazel is great. Here is a post I made, somewhat dated, of how i use Hazel in my workflow with Transmission. Feel free to DM me for help.

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