Mac mini setup suggestions for home theater

terpguy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 22, 2012
11
0
I'm looking to set up my old mac mini as a hub for my home theater. Any suggestions on where to start?

(It's a 2.0ghz core 2 duo, 4gb of ram)
 

marvin4653

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2012
109
5
I'm looking to set up my old mac mini as a hub for my home theater. Any suggestions on where to start?

(It's a 2.0ghz core 2 duo, 4gb of ram)
Well, are you looking for help with connectivity/interaction with other components, software to playback content, or sources of content?

If you're looking for help with connectivity, post your existing components. If you're looking for help with software or sources for content, describe what content you want to experience (music, movies, TV, streaming media...) or content you already possess (DVDs, CDs, digital media files).
 

terpguy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 22, 2012
11
0
Well, are you looking for help with connectivity/interaction with other components, software to playback content, or sources of content?

If you're looking for help with connectivity, post your existing components. If you're looking for help with software or sources for content, describe what content you want to experience (music, movies, TV, streaming media...) or content you already possess (DVDs, CDs, digital media files).
I think I have the connection to my components under control (mini DVI to HDMI and audio in to my receiver).

I'm looking for some software to run the system. Front Row seems like it's built around iTunes, but are there any good software titles for using NetFlix or Hulu?

I'd love to hear how some other people are using their mac minis with their home theater.
 

TinHead88

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2008
180
18
Try XBMC. Plex is more user friendly and has some nice features for serving up media to multiple devices but XBMC is consistently better at actually playing media correctly and at high quality. With a bit of effort you can make XBMC look very nice too.

Unfortunately Plex just has too many bugs that take a very long time to get fixed (sync issues, playback not being as smooth etc).
 

Outrigger

macrumors 68000
Dec 22, 2008
1,759
92
Try XBMC. Plex is more user friendly and has some nice features for serving up media to multiple devices but XBMC is consistently better at actually playing media correctly and at high quality. With a bit of effort you can make XBMC look very nice too.

Unfortunately Plex just has too many bugs that take a very long time to get fixed (sync issues, playback not being as smooth etc).
Not sure about older minis but I have used XBMC and currently using Plex and much prefer Plex. I see no difference in playback quality regardless of the file type. Its more of a personal preference than anything else. They will both serve equally well.
 

TinHead88

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2008
180
18
I really wanted to like plex, and for certain applications it is better than xbmc but when I spent some serious time trying to get the best picture and sound with hd files xbmc surprised me with how much better it performed. Xbmc has a smoother picture and less difficulties with audio syncing. To me these two are essential. I'm not sure why plex can't do it as they're based on the same code. Plex is one version behind xbmc and that might be part of the problem but it also seems like the plex team prioritises features before getting the core functionality right. I used plex for a long time but it kept disappointing. I'm much happier with xbmc now and looking forward to how it improves in the future. I doubt plex will ever catch up unfortunately.
 

terpguy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 22, 2012
11
0
Not sure about older minis but I have used XBMC and currently using Plex and much prefer Plex. I see no difference in playback quality regardless of the file type. Its more of a personal preference than anything else. They will both serve equally well.
It looks like Plex supports Netflix and Hulu, but I don't see anything on XBMC about that. Does anyone know if XBMC also supports these?
 

hectorlito

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2012
10
0
This is somewhat off topic, but would these programs work on a MacBook pro as well or are there better programs to use on the pro? Don't know if it makes of difference based on the machinery or if they are just based on the OS.
 

terpguy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 22, 2012
11
0
This is somewhat off topic, but would these programs work on a MacBook pro as well or are there better programs to use on the pro? Don't know if it makes of difference based on the machinery or if they are just based on the OS.
They'll work on a mac book pro just fine from what I can tell! :)