MBA as a HTPC/Music Server?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by amsure, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. amsure, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011

    amsure macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    Hi All,

    HTPC Newbie alert so hope this makes sense :)

    Am in the process of trying to set up a HTPC/Music Server and was originally going to do it with a Mini but now was wondering if the same job can be done with a MBA (1.4 or 1.6 both with 4gig ram)

    The Mac will be hooked up to a 40"HD LED TV (via HDMI) for video files and music files will be via an external DA converter output to 2Ch audio.

    I do have a couple of constraints, for example streaming is not an option so was going to play the media via an external Hd hooked up to the Mac. I also will be using it to record FTA TV broadcasts via an Elgato eyeTV hybrid.

    Benefits of the MBA is I can do away with the need for a KB and mouse and at the same time use the MBA for work travel instead of using my MBP. I can also connect to HDMI via an adaptor.

    Will the MBA be a good choice for this or would you still recommend the Mini? I haven't made the decision one way or the other so am fully flexible.

    I admit I am a compete novice when it comes to the whole HTPC arena so any advice. suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. elwood58 macrumors member

    Oct 26, 2010
    HTPCs tend to spend a good part of the time closed up in media cabinets, and will often overheat under these conditions. The Mini, on the other hand, seems to be pretty bullet proof when it comes to running in a hot environment. If the true main use will be as an HTPC, get the Mini.
  3. amsure thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    Hi Elwood,

    Thanks for your quick and informative reply!

    At present, the 2ch system, TV and ancillaries are actually on equip racks and are they open air so there will be good airflow all around. That's why I don't think heat will be a factor... I hope.

    If I get the mini, it will be a dedicated HTPC. If it's the MBA, then it will be a dual purpose HTPC (if it can actually handle the job) and a travel notebook.

    My concern with the MBA as a HTPC is I'm really not sure if it is suitable or will be up to the job.
  4. Bluemeanie1976 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2009
    Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
    The mini will be infinitely superior to the mba as a media server. The mba will be fine doing the tasks, but I wouldn't use it as a constant media server. Hell, get a second hand macbook for that sort of thing, that's what my whitey is used for.
  5. dmelgar macrumors 68000

    Apr 29, 2005
    Media PC can use an infrared remote which is built into most Macs EXCEPT the Macbook Airs.

    The Mini is by far the best device to use as an HTPC.
  6. amsure thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    Hi dmelgar and Bluemeanie1976,

    Thanks for your replies and feedback. Most useful and appreciated.

    Decision made. Mini for the HTPC it is.

  7. astrorider macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2008
    Yep, a logitech remote (or similar) controlling all of your home theater electronics from one remote is pretty sweet. Since everything else generally uses at least IR, it makes integrating your Mac into your home theater much easier if it also can use IR.

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