My HTPC options, where to start?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by entatlrg, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I'm setting up my home network as well as a Home Theater set up.

    The first part I want to do (properly) is to be able to play movies, view photo's stored on my hard drives direct to my Panasonic Big Screen in my living room.

    Wired or Wireless is my first consideration. Anyone have experience with SlingCatcher, it would do what I want it to do I think. I've read here about ATV and hooking up a Mac mini direct to TV, that's interesting but I think I have enough equipment already to do the job.

    I have -
    - a Mac Pro in my Den, adjacent to my living room, an HDMI cable would reach
    - also I have an HP Media Smart Server I could stream through my PS3 I understand, but I'm not so sure/clear on how to set that up, using a computer direct to TV sounds easier...
    - I also have a MacBook from our office that I could use and hook up direct to TV.

    A wireless option sounds the best, if it works well? A mac mini directly wired to TV with wireless keyboard/trackball on the couch sounds like fun, going through my Xbox/PS3 isn't so interesting to me, the Mac Pro uses a lot of power so it's probably not a good 'always on' computer, I guess the laptop possibility would work as well as mini .... get a mini display to hdmi adapter and I'd be all set....

    What would your choice be? Is there any particular software I should use with my set up, XMBC?, Plex? I'm in Canada so HULU etc not an option.

  2. ian.maffett macrumors 6502


    Aug 1, 2008
    I have a Mini for this job, as many do. It is great. I would say the best... in fact, the Mini is ready to work with your TV with the mini DVI port as it has both that and a mini display for a monitor. I suppose either will work for both but I didn't rock the boat - it came with what I needed and was nearly plug and play. I use it a lot and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse make it great to work with. Or screenshare with my MacBook Pro, even. Also, the remote with Front Row, if you so choose to use it.
    I can't say how much I love this setup. My Mini is my time capsule, apple TV, iTunes server, iPhoto share and more.
  3. Nickisgodofmacs macrumors member


    Nov 26, 2008
    what about using lappy to connect to tv and streaming through TC?
  4. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    A mac mini using Plex will probably be your best bet.
  5. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    What he said...
  6. super_kev macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2005
    The ATV is an absolute joke compared to what Plex can do, so no need for one of those. Purchase an HDMI cable, HDMI-DVI adapter, and Toslink cable from Monoprice and run them from your MP to your TV & HT receiver. Boom, instant HT that will rock the socks off anything you've ever seen in terms of flexibility & features. I have two Plex HT setups, one off an iMac (analog audio out) and one off a MP (Toslink, etc.) using Apple wireless keyboards (no need for a mouse once Plex is running). Plex is amazing, period.
  7. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    To expand - once you have Plex setup its forte is obviously movies and tv shows. Beyond that though it has the ability to tap into your iTunes, iPhoto and even your dvd drive. All of this is controllable by an Apple remote but better yet - a Logitech Harmony or wireless keyboard.

    Your best bet is to buy the cables from Monoprice to hook your MP up to the TV, install Plex and see how you like it. Once you've been won over ( :D ) - buy the Mini and enjoy the energy savings/tranquility.

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