Mac mini setup as HTPC.. now what software?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wartnig, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. wartnig macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2009
    Shropshire, UK
    Hi, I have setup a mac mini as HTPC.. I am currently using FrontRow as the media interface.... I have read about many people using Plex...XMBC...Boxee.. etc..

    What are the advantages of using such software? I find FrontRow pretty straight forward and easy to use.. it maps to my network drive where all my movies files are.. and obviously can play all my audio/video from my iTunes library.

    I was just curious why a lot of ppl recommend Plex etc..?

    Many thanks
  2. hitekalex macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2008
    Chicago, USA
    Plex is much more customizable than FR and supports playback of a lot of non-MP4 formats. It also supports plug ins, skins, etc.

    Personally, I prefer the simplicity of FR.. and there is a number of things in Plex I don't particularly like, for example its inability to understand M4V tags.
  3. R.Youden macrumors 68020


    Apr 1, 2005
    Plex all the way.

    I love the way it work, just watching a film on it now.

    You just need to make sure you go through the read-me files first. Setting up TV shows in Plex is a bit of a task, but the results are perfect in my opinion.

    Plex is still clunky in terms on music but they are working on it.

    Front Row is better for music.

    Also it can't play iTunes purchases.

    In summary Plex is better for Movies and TV Shows, whilst Front Row is better for music and iTunes purchases
  4. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2009
    Florida's Treasure Coast
    Plex is really nice so far. I am starting to piece together my HTPC setup and have Plex installed on my iMac to start getting used to it. There are a few quirks I haven't figured out yet though
  5. mags631 Guest

    Mar 6, 2007
    Plex is awesome and the frequent crashes will remind you how much you appreciate quality over quantity.
  6. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    Plex vs Front Row
    - visually much more appealing
    - uses scrapers to find info on TV shows/Movies and then gives you the cast list, synopsis, genre etc
    - is able to play almost any format thrown at it vs FrontRow's extremely limited list (2?)
    - app store to download plug-ins, Netflix streaming, youtube, Vimeo, The Daily Show, Joost, TED to name but a few
    - designed to stream from network locations be they shared drives or NAS vs Front Row's iTunes tie-in which always seems to break. To give you an example - I have my Mini HTPC w/an external drive visible to the network. I can watch content from this shared drive on my Mini hooked up to a 50" plasma, my Apple TV running XBMC, my Macbook Pro and the kids iMac hooked to a 37" LCD. With the exception of the :apple:TV they're all running Plex. Maybe Home sharing has addressed this deficit but I'd be willing to bet it's a creaky solution at best

    These are all I can think of for now.
  7. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    I returned my :apple: tv after 2 weeks of playing with it and I'm saving up for a mac mini and Front Row to use as a HTPC. During the 2 week :apple: TV trial I found a program called VideoDrive as a middle man to get media into iTunes and I think this will work great for the mini.

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