Media Stream Setup

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AppleDApp, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. AppleDApp, Jul 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #1
    I'm just experimenting with this idea so far. I want to sell my windows PC and either buy a mac mini or an iMac. What I would do is get an enclosure for my HDD and connect via USB or firewire or Thunderbolt:eek:. I don't necessarily need a fancy setup I just need to be able to watch HD content and stream it to other computers and my TV.

    Right now I stream to my tv using my xbox and media center.


    here is what I want to do:
    1. Use a mac mini that I can use as a HTPC and a computer. I understand that streaming and viewing HD content is not all that resource intensive nor is OS X. I will still use this computer as a computer it will not souly act as a HTPC.
    I'm essentially going to make this.

    2.I also want to get away from my cable provider and only view television shows online though various services.


    Here are my concerns.
    1. If I do use external HDD can I back those up to time capsule on another external drive?

    2. Ideally I want to be able to view my desktop screen on my tv in my living room and use the TV as an additional display for the mac mini or iMac.

    3. What could I do so that I can work on the mac mini in my office and have someone else watch a movie from Plex in the living room?

    4. Would streaming from an external HDD affect my video? I would probably stream via FW800.

    5. I need to be able to connect my 5.1 surround sound speakers.

    I will add other concerns to this post as they arise. Thanks for your help.
    My concerns are which is a better bang for the buck? I also want to be able to connect my surround sound speakers to the computer. I would also be using the computer as a main rig so it should be able to run Windows occasionally as well.
    This rig will be on 24/7 or almost is there any danger to having HDD connected via usb running 24/7?

    with that purchase I would also be buying the apple wireless keyboard and trackpad. I would also get a display, preferably 27".

    Option 1:Mac Mini setup
    cpu: intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz
    RAM: 2gb which i could upgrade later for cheaper then whatever apple charges.
    HDD: 320gb 5400rpm as I already have two 2tb HDD that will be in enclosures.
    apple wireless keyboard
    apple trackpad
    iwork
    apple care
    total 977$
    I will wait for the next update before I set this up if I ever decide to.
    I would also need to get a webcam and a display in this setup
    could I backup an external drive to another external drive with time machine? as I have more then 500 gb of media.

    Option 2:iMac setup
    CPU core i5 2.7 GHz
    RAM 4gb
    HDD: 1 tb 7200rpm (I already have two 2tb HDD that will be in enclosures.)
    apple wireless keyboard
    apple trackpad
    iwork
    apple care
    total 1809$
    This option would be a full setup

    price include education discount

    The setup so far.
    I will use the Drobo to hold all my media, backup the iMac/mini and my media.


    For software I will use
    Plex for the media center
    time machine for backup
    time tamer for backup management


    What do you think?
     
  2. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816

    ZMacintosh

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    #2
    why not have a central machine with all the content, then say a macmini or an appletv with Home Sharing and use of iOS devices as the remote as you can use those with Home Shared Libraries too.

    Seems alot less messier and straight to the point? but then again maybe I didnt quite understand the need for all the ins and outs. As I never really personally saw the need to set up something like Plex before.

    You can back-up multiple drives and externals to a single Time Capsule or time machine back-up (it should work too if you have an additional HDD connected to the time capsule for other drives to back-up too). Id avoid using any Time Capsule as a streaming device with content on it, a FW800 drive streaming content should be fine.
     
  3. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #3
    A central machine would be a good idea. In that case I would need the mac mini in my living room (to act as a central machine). Connected to a drobo with keyboard and trackpad.

    However I still need a display in my Room as well as keyboard and trackpad for when I will work in room.

    For the time being I do not own any iOS device or an ATV. Nowhere did I say anything about a Time Capsule.
     
  4. iAmYou macrumors 6502

    iAmYou

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #4
    Looks good, except that usb sound card is not Mac compatible.
     
  5. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #5
    Do you know of an Alternative? Why wouldn't it work it's usb.:confused:
     
  6. iAmYou macrumors 6502

    iAmYou

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    #6
    It is software decoded and none are offered from creative for Mac

    Check out MAudio.

    I do know creative make a mac usb card called the Xmod
    but it does not do DD or DTS.
     
  7. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #7
    Every thing there is pro audio gear. I just need an adapter to use my 5.1 sorround sound speakers with the iMac or mac mini.
     
  8. iMikeT, Jul 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011

    iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #8
    I've been toying around with a similar idea. Instead of building a centralized machine/NAS or using a Drobo, I want to build an external hard drive/my own home made Drobo solution, have it connected to my Mac via Thunderbolt (when PCI cards/bridge boards hit the market) or FireWire (in the interim) and use Disk Utility for the RAID setup.

    The basic idea would be to connect a bunch of drives to a motherboard with a power supply. Then at the end of the motherboard have it connected via FireWire 800/Thunderbolt to the Mac. Then the Mac would take care of everything else.

    The only problem to all of this is getting the array to boot up in as a slave and getting the Mac to see it as nothing more than an external hard drive connected to it. Sort of how Target Disk Mode works when you connect two Macs together.

    Here's a video of what I'm looking to do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzBGXei9azc

    Going this route would save a lot of money because buying a Drobo or a similar multi-bay solution is very expensive. I mean, $1,400 for a Drobo Pro and all you get is the enclosure? I figure that if you can get what's necessary (motherboard, power supply, I/O port), you can do this for a fraction of the Drobo.
     
  9. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #9
    This won't work because you need a mobo with thunderbolt. That rack is open so exposed to dirt and liquids that's a hazard. You will need a fairly powerful PSU to get it running depending on the type of drives you use. This will not appear on the computer as a single drive. This could only work with raid meaning you need identical drives. You also need a case for this raid configuration ram and a CPU. The other issue is that you need a power and data cable for each drive. That doesn't look to clean afterwards.

    Cool idea nonetheless.
     
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #10
    It sounds like you essentially want to set up a business strength server in your home to serve some movies to one other location...or am I missing something?

    I don't bother with saving much media anymore, as it's easily available online, but you can back it up easily with TM and you could build your own enclosures. If you are making your own unique media you'd certainly want to go for a lot of redundancy, but if these are downloaded episodes of Three's Company, mebbe not :D

    I don't have much problem streaming stuff via USB 2 to an iMac and then over ethernet. FW would certainly work.

    There shouldn't be any problem running this stuff 24/7 either; newer gear is a bit more energy conserving however, and heat is your enemy. Drives will eventually fail; using an iMac's drive as a server is problematic in that regard since it's harder to replace. If you are essentially setting up a server, you should get a computer that is spec'd for that use.

    Rob
     
  11. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #11
    None of the media will actually be on the iMac's HDD. I don't think what I am trying to build is considered a business strength server. Business servers are really big loud use scisi interface drives at 15,000RPM and usually occupy a full server rack.

    I agree I essentially want a server yes but I don't need any server grade software and I don't want to have to buy 2 other computers and 2 drobos.
     
  12. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #12

    With all due respect, I highly suggest you reread my post carefully and slowly the second, third, or even eighth time around as I addressed the issues facing this idea right away. The video was meant to supplement what I wrote, not replace it.
     
  13. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #13
    Sorry I didn't mean to come off as a ******. Correct my if I am wrong you want to build a server with thunderbolt/firewire and RAID capabilities that you will connect to an iMac?

    Do you have a thread discussing the details of this setup? I'm curious to see what your making.
     
  14. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #14

    No worries. And I apologize if I sounded a little harsh myself, too many people comment without fully reading a post around here.

    I am not looking to build a server or a NAS. What I am looking to build is a homemade Drobo Pro/multi-bay HDD array. That is, a bunch of SATA II/III drives connected to a motherboard/bridge board, power supply, and I/O port that connects/talks to my Mac. There is no need for a hardware RAID solution as the Mac will be more than capable of handling the RAID setup through Disk Utility.
     
  15. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #15
    How is that different from a NAS?

    I like the Drobo because it is flexible and there's no actual RAID setup which makes everything easier. You do pay for the premium.
     
  16. iMikeT macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #16

    A NAS would require the array to be connected via ethernet through a router.

    I prefer something a little more local, preferably Thunderbolt when motherboards and/or PCI cards become available.



    A Drobo-esque solution would be perfect but as you and I both know, there is a huge premium for one. My ideal solution would be a Drobo Pro which runs around $1,499 just for the enclosure. My alternative would be a motherboard, CPU, RAM, power supply, I/O card, fans, and cables will run less than $250. I can then use the difference in the HDDs themselves.

    My alternative setup is far from fancy compared to a Drobo. Keep in mind that in a Drobo, you're paying for presentation and for someone else to do the labor for you.
     
  17. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #17
    Do you have all the details worked out for this setup as far as hardware goes? Maybe do a thread about it I would like to read about your progress on this setup also this is not so much related to my thread.
     
  18. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #18
    Sorry, I probably confused things by throwing the word "server" in here; but that's essentially what Plex is.

    The drive setup you describe will work; just get a computer, add externals and you're good to go. If you can hardwire to your other rooms you'll get better results. With the TV you're going to need something to receive the media from your Mac, and there are lots of solutions for that. If you want to interact with your Mac, then you're going to need another computer.

    I'd go with the fastest computer you can afford if you are transcoding stuff. If you are just downloading and storing video, then that's not such a priority.

    The Mac does great audio out; you probably just need to run it to your audio receiver via optical.
     
  19. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #19
    What would you setup for this?

    The issue then is that the iMac/mini would have to be in the same room as my living room TV. or could I have the computer in my office and stream everything to the TV in my living room.
     
  20. DannyBres macrumors 65816

    DannyBres

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #20
    After skimming the thread...

    You want 1 mac that will have a keyboard and mouse in your room that you can use as a computer, that will have a drobo connected with your media on.

    You also wany this mac to feed all your media to your lounge with a seperater keyboard and mouse, you also what it to play internet tv?

    Is this all correct?
     
  21. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #21
    Yes this is correct although I haven't figured out how to play Internet TV nor do I know if I need a second machine in the living room. If I need to buy an iMac and a Mac Mini for this I won't bother as it would be too expensive.
     
  22. RealSkyDiver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #22
    U dont need anything external for that. The audio-out on a mac doubles as SPDIF which outputs 5.1;)
     
  23. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #23
    How does it double as SPDIF? Is there an adapter or something for the optical cable?
     
  24. RealSkyDiver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #24
    No u can just plug it in. Its hidden inside the headphone-jack.
     
  25. AppleDApp thread starter macrumors 68020

    AppleDApp

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    #25
    I don't see how this will go into the audio port.[​IMG]

    P.S. I just realized if I use my current speaker system it does not have SPDIF it has three 3.5mm cables that connect all the speakers.
     

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