mac mini/plex questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by haganaga, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. haganaga macrumors member

    May 20, 2010
    Hi folks,

    I've been actively trying to get rid of cable in my household. However, my wife is a big fan of HGTV (specifically the house hunters shows) so she won't budge. I'm about to do a trial run for a week or two by plugging the macbook pro into the the tv directly and running Plex to give it a whirl. If it proves successful, I'll likely be buying a mac mini that will be dedicated to the TV. We already have an Apple TV2, but the limitations are tough to overcome. (fyi, not really interested in jailbreaking to add plex in that manner).

    So I'm aware of the channels on plex and the fact that HGTV is included. However, I noticed that there are only 5 episodes of the shows she likes. Anyone know how often HGTV refreshes those episodes? I'm guessing this will be the Achilles heal to my plan but thought I'd ask.



    Will probably wait to pull the trigger on the mini in the hopes the rumored ATV3 (hopefully with app store, which means legit plex integration) becomes a reality but that won't change the issue of only a few episodes and the refresh issue I mentioned above.
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    can't answer your question about HGTV, but on a somewhat related note, you can airplay plex from your iOS device to an aTV.
  3. haganaga thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2010
    Let me put it this way:

    For those of you who are rocking the mac mini/plex set up, how do your wives/girlfriends like using it? Is it a major hassle and they give a sigh every time something doesn't work perfectly or are they pretty hip to it?
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I have the Mac mini/Plex setup for our ripped movie and TV show collection. It works very well!
  5. haganaga thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2010
    I have the ATV2 handling that part no problem. I just want to be able to kill the cable bill. Thus, the channel plug-ins on plex is really the selling proposition that I need to make this happen. I would be cool with my library, netflix streaming and hulu plus but the lady likes her HGTV and a few other channels.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I've tried using the Plex online channels, but they don't seem to play back as well as I'd hoped. They pause a lot while buffering, some don't play at all, etc. I gave up trying those.
  7. Heynonny macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    Never really took, in my household. I've had off/on problems with the stability of the Plex/mini setup, really just a couple of times, minor and quickly fixed. But at the risk of stereotyping: they just don't have any tolerance for something that's not going to work, simply and all the time. And it's hard to fault that expectation.
  8. maturola macrumors 68040


    Oct 29, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    for the records, the word you are looking for would be "stock", since there is nothing "not" legit about Jailbreaking or installing Plex that way ;)

    As far as how often those channel update, they do daily, I can't talk for HGTV since i don't watch it, but chances are they update as often as the rest.
  9. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    If you've got a good internet connection (especially with a wired network connection), streaming is generally wife-safe. That said, the absolute best way to have a happy wife is to download the shows beforehand so that the file is local.

    This does, however, require obtaining it... in other ways. Once set up, the entire process, from downloading, to having the plex library update, is done completely automatically. It worked well for me when my wife wanted to watch The Next Iron Chef. PM me if you're interested.
  10. craigsharp macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2008
    There most certainly are other ways of getting the content you are seeking... only problem is HGTV along with all other networks constantly show reruns like they are going out of style... that means your beloved wife can turn the TV on and instantly start watching it... even if she's seen it before she's still interested in it... lol... As with other ways of getting content it will take a while to amass a large collection of episodes for her to pick and choose which one she watches. I have been downloading, er obtaining, content for the past month and have since used several hundred GBs of bandwidth... Now that i'm caught up it's only on a nightly basis that 2 or 3 shows get acquired...


    And as far as Plex on the ATV2 goes... there is absolutely nothing to it! srsly... i was worried the whole time doing it and it was a breeze once all was said and done... It's even kid friendly!
  11. urkel, Feb 26, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012

    urkel macrumors 68030

    Nov 3, 2008
    We're in the same boat because I want to kill my cable too. Ive been on a quest for a good media solution for years and have been very frustrated that in the end I have collected a dozen devices that do SOME of the tasks well but none do ALL of the tasks well. So here's my experience on all the things being talked about here.

    I don't use my 2011 Mini much so I decided to try Plex.
    + A major upgrade to Frontrow
    + Many channels available
    + LG LW5600 has a thing called Media Channel which taps into Plex so I can stream Plex Content (channels included!) even though Mini is located in another room
    + Works with remote
    - Channels have very limited selection of episodes or only are clips
    - Some channels don't work (been troubleshooting for days)
    - Had to downgrade flash to in order for some channels to work
    - "Waiting for Plex" popup every time you do anything

    Overall I'm impressed with the improvements of Plex from years ago when I tried it and gave up. But also am not feeling this is a solution for killing Cable because it still has limitations, its buggy and doesn't get updated often enough.

    I also just jail broke my AppleTV2. While it was easy enough with the instructions on this forum, I find the XBMC interface to be a bit slow and navigation is pretty inefficient.

    Overall, I am able to deal with the quirkiness of these 3rd party solutions but in our family then its not very "wife-friendly" and she much prefers the clean AppleTV interface. So, IMO, Apple is in a good position to change another industry if they would just put apps on the AppleTV3.

    Garbage like this just makes you want to go slapping executives at all these media companies. They seem like they've figured things out because they're streaming their shows, but then you go to their site to try out a series and it doesn't have the pilot (for new viewers), it only has 4 episodes (many people like to watch shows in marathon sessions) or it blocks access to set-top devices (Hulu on Roku or built in apps on latest TV's). I don't mind watching commercials because they're providing me a convenience by allowing streaming, but if they're going to make us jump through hoops or limit what we can watch then we know exactly where we can find a full catalog of commercial free episodes. People pirate the things they love so give us what we want and we'll support your site.

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