My NEW Mac Mini 2.26 Ghz Home Theater Center

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by meanbrew, May 11, 2009.

  1. meanbrew macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #1
    My 2.26 Ghz intel Mac Mini Home Entertainment Center

    I have 2 HD Homeruns connected to my network per Airport extreme. I can record 4 HD Clear QAM TV shows from one Mac or from 4 Macs- all at the same time. I can also Watch or Record TRUE HD TV wired or wireless on any of my macs for a total of 4 channels at one time.

    I use the Turbo HD to process my HD TV shows rapidly to h.264 conversion. I use my new intel 2.26 GHZ Mini with 4 GB Ram/ 500 GB internal drive and 3 TB ext FW 400 Drives and 1 TB FW 800 drive for time machine. The new Mini can record 4 HD TV shows at one time, while it's encoding an already recorded HD TV show into h.264 with the help of Turbo HD, while I'm using it to watch all my encoded HD shows on Front Row from my HD TV.

    I sold my Apple TV and my old intel Mini on E-bay when this new Mini came out and it is now the only computer running my complete home entertainment center.

    I have the Sony HC 100 home theater with 3 HDMI inputs and 3 digital Toslink audio inputs. I bought the Monoprice Mini display port to HDMI cable connected to my Mini. This gives TRUE 1920 by 1200 HD resolution from my Mini because of the new high speed processor, the New high speed RAM, the New Video card and most importantly the NEW Video Display Port than can do HD TV resolutions of 1920 x 1200 or 1920 x 1080.

    I connect my audio to my digital Toslink earplug port on the Mini and connect that to a Toslink on my Sony Home theater to get True digital sound- I use the Mini's optical/digital to Toslink cable. I've been trying to get HD Apple TV from my Macs for a Year Now and I have FINALLY achieved it.

    But Back to the HD Turbo- it works perfectly with all my recorded HD Clear QAM TV shows I record without a cable box from my ComCast. I use 2 HD Homeruns (from Silicon Dust) and Elgato 3.0 software- I also have an 8 port positive return power booster- this gives me 8 cable outlets and 100% on all of them including my Cable Modem - so I have no loss of signal. I originally had 1 HD homeRun (2 Clear Qam HD stations) with just a plain splitter and it went down to about 85%- but the results were fabulous- but If you go to 2 HD Homeruns (4 Clear Qam HD stations) you need the special device I have because it degrades all the signals from every TV and the Cable Modem- and yes -it is approved for the Cable Modem.

    But the HD Homerun can use other software also and it can also be used with a PC. Each 1 hour show uses 7.5 GB Hard Drive space and the Turbo HD encodes it down to 1.5 GB space in the h.264 format so I can watch it using Front row on my Mini.

    I compared it to my HDTV recording of 7.5 GB per hour to the 1.5 GB compressed h.264 and the video difference was minimal. I have 1500 movies on TV external hard drives and all my music and HD TV shows on my Mini's 500 GB internal drive - I installed the Ram and Hard drive the same day I received my NEW Mac Mini.

    I also have the Airport Express connected to my stereo and My mini runs that and my Sony home theater system at the same time- filling my house with music.

    I attempted all this with my 1.66 Ghz core duo intel Mini and it couldn't handle it. It also only had a DVI out - which only gives Computer resolutions and I always had my movies either with a black band around it or some of the picture was cut off. BUT now the NEW 2.26 intel duo core 2 Mini has the new Mini display port which can do HD TV- I compared it with my Apple TV video and my new Mac Mini's and it was identical- in fact the Mini looked a little better than my Apple TV (now sold on E-bay).

    So the NEW Mac Mini can do it all. My only hope is that Apple allows the Apple TV format software for the Mini. I do like front row and I use it every day but I like the Apple TV format software better than my Mac Mini.

    The problems with Apple TV is that you need a computer running to stream anything (except what the tiny hard drive can hold). And when streaming my h.264 HD TV shows from my ethernet wired 2.4 Ghz 24" iMac to my Ethernet wired Apple TV - there would be pauses and freeze ups.
    But with the NEW Mini, none of this happens. I can click advance or pause as fast as my fingers can hit the Apple remote button.

    I can also use the Mini for other Streaming internet sites because it is a computer and not limited to Apples restrictions, like the Apple TV.

    Remember it has to be a Mac that has the NEW Mini Display port and can do the 1920 x 1200 resolutions - like the NEW 24" iMac and the New 2.0 and 2.26 Ghz Mini - both 2009.

    I hoped that helped with anyone thinking of making a Mac Home Theater System and the equipment needed. If anybody needs help -let me know.

    Meanbrew
     
  2. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    #2
    I'm a little bit confused here, but it's been a long day. What exactly does the HDHomerun do? I googled it and from what I read it can record over the air HD TV from an antenna to the device. From there you transfer it to your computer correct? Can you also record things from a cable/directtv box to it?
     
  3. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    my house
    #3
    Good stuff. I recently switched from Apple TV to a 2009 Mini (2.0). I used to have my media stored on an external hdd connected to airport extreme(played through Boxee) but I would get an occasional lag and/or signal drop. Now I just connect the mini to the TV and the hdd to the mini, no lag :)

    It offers a more pleasant experience. Plus you can use it like a computer!

    I'm considering some type of Drobo to keep my media safe but haven't fully researched this yet.
     
  4. GizmoDVD macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Location:
    SoCal
    #4
    Using the exacty AppleTV setup and am interested in a Mini. How is streaming shows like HuLu to the TV (from the Mini)? Its very laggy when done through Boxee on the ATV - sometimes even crashes.
     
  5. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #5
    Glad to hear about your setup. This is very similar to what I am planning. I have recently purchased a new Mac Mini and have it running Plex. I wirelessly stream HDTV shows and Movies (AVI, m2ts, MKV) from my 4TB unRAID media server (wired to AEBS). I also have an iMac wired to the AEBS. I would like to add my OTA antenna to the mix. I wasn't sure whether I should buy an HDHomeRun and wire it to the AEBS or buy a USB tuner and connect it to the iMac. I've heard great things about the HDHomeRun, and it would be far more convient to put the HDHomeRun where my OTA antenna comes in and run the Cat5 to my AEBS. I would like to be able to watch live TV on the Mini, and I plan to buy a second Mini for another TV in the future for the same functionality.

    I need a user-friendly interface my wife can easily use as I plan to dump satellite for this setup. I have a few questions in regard to this and how your setup works:

    1. Can anyone tell me how EyeTV (or any other Mac DVR software) works with Plex as far as a combined slick interface? If someone has a better suggestion for a front end that serves AVI, MKV, & m2ts files as slick as Plex does with all the cover art and episode/movie info that also delivers so much content through Hulu, CBS March Madness, YouTube, etc, while also allowing you to go directly to EyeTV (or other DVR software), I would love to know about it.

    2. How does the HDHomeRun and EyeTV handle sharing the tuners over multiple computers?

    3. Doesn't the wireless connection get really bogged down when 4 tuners are being utilized? I've had success playing several Blu-ray rips over wireless N, but some won't play well due to the high bitrate.
     
  6. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #6
    All that and you don't use Plex!
     
  7. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    my house
    #7
    It works great. WAY better than Boxee.
     
  8. GizmoDVD macrumors 65816

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    Oct 11, 2008
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    SoCal
    #8
    Sigh. Guess I'll buy one...Need a keyboard and Mouse too. Sigh.
     
  9. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #9
    dinovo edge mac edition or dinovo mini. All you need
     
  10. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #10
    I use a dinovo edge mac edition as the sole input device for my 2009 mac mini media center and it works brilliantly.

    My setup is considerably less complex than the OP's - I just have the mini hooked up to a 40" sony bravia (mini displayport --> HDMI), a 2009 eyeTV hybrid, and the dinovo. The big limitation to the way I do it is that I only have a single tuner, but other than that, it works very well. It's also very nice to have a fully functional mac available from the couch. :)
     
  11. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #11
    Since noone's answered your question, I'll take a stab.

    The HDHomeRun is a network-capable, dual tuner device for computers. Specifically, it has two ATSC/QAM tuners allowing one to watch or record two separate digital channels on one or more computers using either an antenna or a standard cable connection.

    The device itself doesn't store anything as it doesn't have a hard drive. The digital stream is sent over the network to the computer. The computer can save the stream to the hard drive. No transfer to the computer is necessary as it happens automatically.

    For Mac users, EyeTV works ... not sure if any other software package works with the HDHR.

    As for your last question, that's not possible. Unless you can somehow get your STB to output ATSC or QAM through coax. You might be able to rig something up, but it'd be expensive and look like crap. You'd be better off buying an Hauppauge HD-PVR 1212 for recording off of a STB.

    ft
     
  12. GizmoDVD macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
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    SoCal
    #12
    I'll have to look into that Dinovo.

    When I tried to hook up my Mac Book to my Toshiba Regza (via mini-dvi to HDMI) the picture was all screwy. It would never fit the screen perfectly. Was I doing something wrong? For the Mini is it as simple as just plugging it in?
     
  13. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    my house
    #13
    anyone know how to enable file sharing between my macbook and my mini? I've been toying around in system prefs with no result :(
     
  14. duky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #14
    There's a Sharing tab in Sys prefs. Once enabled you should see the other computer in one computer's sidebar in Finder..
     
  15. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

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    #15
    I've tried, but it always times out. Same with screen sharing. I've tried google but it always directs me to purchase software.
     
  16. duky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #16
    Has it worked with other computers on your network in the past? That sounds strange, it always just works for me so I'm not sure what the issue could be,

    N.
     
  17. Flynnstone macrumors 65816

    Flynnstone

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Cold beer land
    #17
    First ...
    No pictures ... it didn't happen ! ;)

    I connect my MacBook to my Sony 60 rear projection. I think I know what you're talking about. Depending on how you select "overscan" (or something like that. Not in front of my Mac), you either get the edges of the screen chopped off or black banding on the screen (ie not getting full 1920x1080 resolution).
    There is a software program to control this. I can't think of it at the moment. I have it on my mini at home.
    I use Macbook miniDVI -> miniDVI to DVI adapter -> DVI to HDMI -> Sony HD TV. If I use the VGA on the TV, I can't get 1920x1080 resolution.
    I've connected my PowerMac G5 the same way. Works well.
    I've connected my G4 mini. Doesn't really work. Not sure the problem. I did use to connect my G4 mini to my previous Hitachi HD TV, that worked.
     
  18. dlegend macrumors 6502

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    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    #18
    So would I need to purchase anything besides HDHomeRun to record tv to my computer?
     
  19. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    my house
    #19
    nope, has this feature worked with your macs out of the box? Or did u get special software? Out of the box would be somewhat reassuring and a better chance of being figured out.
     
  20. duky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #20
    Always works straight out of the box, it must be something to do with the way your network is setup..
     
  21. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #21
    Yes you would.

    You would need a copy of EyeTV, which includes one year of the TV Guide EPG. You may need some cables and wires, not sure what's included (but I suspect that you'd have what you need in "the big box of cables" that everyone has).

    Not sure if it's required, but having a wired/wireless network is important. Also, you need a source for your TV signals ... either an antenna or a cable subscription.

    The HDHomeRun comes with Windows software. ElGato used to sell a bundle with EyeTV and the HDHR, but it's not on their website anymore.

    ft
     
  22. meanbrew thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #22
    about the HD homerun

    It's federal law that cable companies must transmit major HD tv shows over their cable system without a box. So with the HD homerun connected to your network per an ethernet cable connected to your router and 2 coax cables, the HD TV is available network wide on all yourMacs - even wirelessly. The HD TV I receive is NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, and two PBS stations plus I receive several digital stations like TBS, QVC and Shop NBC. I can record or watch two shows at once. Wirelessly or wired.
    You need a computer for it to work and whatever computer you have on you can access and no need to transfer anything. You can also have an HD antennae and use it that way- I haven't done this, but if you do that now for your HD TV then it will work for HD Homerun and your Mac or PC the same way.
    It's pretty cool watching HD TV on any of my Macs and I even removed my old analog TV from my office/ extra bedroom and I use my 24" iMac as a computer and a 24" HD TV. I can use the Apple remote to increase the volume on the live TV shows and I an also access my frontrow and go back and forth between live HD TV and Frontrow. But to turn all this off I need the keyboard to press the Escape button.
    I hope that helps.
    MeanBrew
     
  23. meanbrew thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #23
    About your system

    I haven't tried Boxee yet but I briefly tried Plex and it didn't work well for me and I read that you have to manually add each of your recorded HD TV shows that that wasn't worth the effort for me.
    I read about Drobo but I just stack all seven of my Terabyte hard drives on top of each other. I stick 4 little round 1" furniture pads under each hard drive to elevate them a little more and it keeps them all cool. I have my movies on 3 TB FW 400 drives with 3 TB 400 drives as back up. But I keep them on a separate surge protector so I can just press a button and turn them all off when I'm not watching any movies- saves quite a bit of energy.
    Your 2.0 Mini can do it all- I probably shouldn't of spent the money for the 2.26 Mini but I did. But I installed all the 4 GB of Ram myself (crucial 1066 DDR3) for $65 and I installed the WD 5400 -500 GB internal drive at the same time. I keep all my HD h.264 TV shows on the internal drive.
    But since the Mini has the 800 connection, that would be almost as fast as an internal drive. So it might be safer and easier just to order a new Mini with the 4 GB of RAM preinstalled with a tiny internal drive and just buy a good FW 800 drive or drives.
    I have my Time machine connected to a FW TB 800 drive and I did a test and used time machine to recopy my complete internal drive which had 360 GB on it and it took only 2 hours and 40 minutes to completely erase and reinstall all the 360 GB - that was fast.
    I hear Seagate is coming out with a 500 GB 7200 speed drive in June- I wonder if they'll be speed improvements with that hard drive.
    MeanBrew
     
  24. meanbrew thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #24
    About Apple TV

    I was very unhappy with how Apple TV work for me with the response time. I was even ethernet wired and it froze up sometimes. Plus I had to keep my 24" iMac on all the time. Now I just have my Mini under my TV and have it automatically come on at 7:56 PM to record or for me to watch my shows. That's when I typically watch TV. I have it automatically off at 3 AM
    everyday because that's how long it took my Mini with the Turbo HD to compress the recorded HD shows to Apple TV or h.264 format- I recorded as much as 6 hours on one night of HD shows and it would compress and automatically send it to my iTunes in less tan 4 hours.
     
  25. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #25
    Can EyeTV handle recording four shows simultaneously?

    (I know that sounds crazy, but my house has two dual-tuner TiVos and there are a few times a week when all four turners are in use, recording different shows for the various people in the house) :eek:

    Does recording from the HDHomeRun use a lot of CPU? Say, if you are recording 4 shows at the same time, is the mini responsive enough that you could play-back a pre-recorded show without any stuttering?

    Thanks! :)
     

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