Macbook as Media Center?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Xtreambar, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Xtreambar macrumors regular

    Aug 2, 2006
    Washington, DC
    I've had my MB for about 2 years and I am thinking of using it now primarily as a media center. I’d like to run by my idea for a set-up with you guys and see what you think (second opinions and the like).

    I already have the following things:

    • MB Core Duo (alas, pre-N)
    • External 1 TB HD with FW400 and USB
    • AEBS - N
    • Crummy old Dell plugged directly to the internet via ethernet cables
    • 32’’ 720P/1080i flatscreen w/HDMI and VGA (!?!?) inputs
    • Amp + 2.1 Speakers (soon to be upgraded to 5.1 speakers)
    • 60 GB PS3


    For video: I’ll buy a 3 HDMI switch and wire to it 1) the digital cable 2) the PS3 and 3) the MB via a Mini-DVI to DVI adaptor to DVI to HDMI cord.

    For audio: I’ll continue to run the digital cable, PS3, and MB through the amp via their standard wired inputs.

    For games: The PS3. 'nuff said.

    For DVDs and BluRays: Only the PS3 can handle BluRay and the MB is too damn loud and hot when playing DVDs.

    For internet media: The MB can handle all varieties of streaming internet media (e.g. Youtube & Hulu) via the Airport Extreme. The PS3 still cannot support most flash and in general its internet browser is a slow, messy headache. I suspect I’ll need a gyroscopic or standard bluetooth mouse to control the MB when on the internet. If I want to do serious internet surfing, I guess I should buy a bluetooth keyboard down the road.

    For music: All of my iTunes library is on the MB. I’ll control it with my Apple Remote on Front Row.

    For downloaded/ripped movies: I’ll connect the MB directly to the hard drive via FW. I can torrent/rip content to it in the background via the AE.

    Can I play the content located on my external drive through Front Row or must it be located either in my iTunes library or my “My Video” folder? If the items must be in iTunes, I think I can add AVI files (which seem to be of nicer quality for less size than H.264, MP4/MPV files) by installing Perian and then holding the “option” key and dragging the media into iTunes. If not, I fear I will need to convert my movies to MP4/MPV files (thus halving the number of movies I can have on my external drive) and then option/drag my new files into iTunes
  2. lost eden macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2007
    Can you get 5.1 out of a MacBook? Serious question, I've got one myself but never investigated.
  3. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008
  4. stealthninja macrumors member


    Aug 15, 2006
    as far as playing movies on front row all you need is to have them in your "movies" folder that is inside your home folder. I have perian installed and i can play all my movie formats (flv, avi etc..) through front row this way

    Edit: just realized your movies were on an external drive so you could either make an alias of each movie and put it in the folder or just an alias of the folder your movies are in on your external
  5. Breegy macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2008
    So pretty much you're just using it as a giant iPod?

    Games/movies/television all go with the PS3 and television. Other than those and music, what other entertainment is there? I guess I can see where you could use the MacBook to legally or otherwise download music, but other than that, its the same as an iPod, which with an iPod all you would need would be some sort of docking device. Unless you don't have another computer...

    If you download a lot of movies with the MB, it makes more sense. But can you hook it up to play on the tv from a MB? Edit: connecting with the hardrive or something, I see.
  6. ango1708 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2008
    I had the same problem with my media center because of iTunes not importing .avi files.

    Thats why i'm using XBMC (Xbox MediaCenter) for OS X. Ya....I know its from xbox but it's much nicer and beter i think. You can do almost everything with it.
    I stream my video/dvd's, mp3's, radio from my Server (PC-workgroup-network) very easy. the same way i used to do it from my old xbox.

    take a look/try if u like it.
  7. anmoldagreat macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2008
    a lot of people do this
    look up home theatre pc forums and search for osx

    most people use mac minis but a macbook should work fine too

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