New (bigger) apartement : will I have to buy a Mac mini for home theater purposes ?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by FrenchPB, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005

    I just bought a new apartment, much bigger than the studio I used to own during my student years. As a consequence, I have more rooms, and more problems to keep everything "connected" in the house.

    Since I'll have some changes to make in the apartement and many things to purchase before moving in, I was wondering if you guys could help me define a fully Mac-connected apartment.

    Right now, my iMac is connected to my main TV with an hdmi cable, and that's about all my Mac integration in the living room.

    In the new apartment, my iMac will be in the study / computer room on the first floor, making it much more difficult to link it directly to the main TV and home cinema system in the living room. One of my main activity is to watch sports video on my main TV. Those are 1080p mkv or avi files that I don't put on my itunes cause encoding takes too much time, and I only watch them once.

    I also would like to be able to access my Aperture photos on my main TV, as well as my iTunes music.

    What would be the best solution to do all of that ? I'm scared an Apple TV won't do what I want, but a Mac mini would be a much more expensive purchase. Would thre be a way to connect my iMac in the study to my TV through the RJ45 network cable, and control it with an ipad for example ?

    How would you setup a Mac home theater in your house ? Would you use a Mac Mini and plug it to the TV and to a home cinema system ?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Bartzca macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2013
    I live in a 2 story house with Airport Extreme and Mac Mini in the basement, I have Apple TV on main floor.

    I have been just taking my Magic Trackpad and Bluetooth Keyboard to main floor and using Airplay to display the Mac Mini on the TV.

    There is a tiny bit of lag in the response of the trackpad but very minor. Not sure if it is the distance from the mac mini or the lag going through the router back to the TV. but for streaming it works perfectly.

    I will also sometimes just convert any downloaded video to a ATV friendly format and play them through that.

    I usually don't watch right away so I set a few to convert over night.
  3. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    I use that same solution at my parents house, since their needs aren't as precise as mine. It works well, but in my case, I'm worried that high quality, 1080p video won't stream perfectly because of the high video and audio bitrates, and because there's some distance between the two rooms at the two different floors...

    Would the Apple TV 3 be able to stream 1080p video using airplay without quality loss on the screen, or should I favour a jalibroken Apple TV 2 with Flex or XBMC ?

    What would add an airport station to my existing home wifi router ?
  4. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong. There is going to be an inherent small loss in quality when streaming from your computer to the Apple TV. I notice small stutters here and there watching 1080p Blu-ray content that I have ripped to my computer and converted using Handbrake. The best way to get highest quality video and audio without actually playing the disc is to rip the full .mkv from the source (Blu-ray, etc.) and play straight from the computer connected via HDMI (or whatever) to the TV. A lot of people don't do this due to the large file size of a Blu-ray .mkv (40-50 GB in some cases) or convenience of streaming to an Apple TV from a computer in a separate room. So many use Handbrake to transcode and effectively shrink the file size of the .mkv while making a .mp4 file that is iPad, iPhone, Apple TV friendly at the same time.
  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I find the Apple TV solution to be very useful & convenient, in fact I'm typing this reply using AirPlay mirroring with my mouse & keyboard in the room with the TV (only about 10' from the Mac Mini).

    If you have a 2nd television (i.e. bedroom) then I would not hesitate to buy Apple TV and try it out on your main set; if you ultimately decide that you really must have a stand-alone Mac there you can just move the Apple TV to your secondary television.
  6. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    I just have the Mac Mini or any computer that you have a media server running on (in my case itunes with Homesharing) and just run three apple TV3s for the house. Also stream content to 2 ipads as well. If you go with itunes, just get an ATV3 since they are cheaper and easier to find than ATV2. If you are going to go with XBMC or PLEX then get an ATV2 so you can JB it.

    Way cheaper than buying a new computer.

    I just bought the Mac Mini this month to replace an old dual core processor laptop that couldn't keep up with the video demand my family puts on the computer. Went all in on the mini so it should last me as long as possible.
    2.6 GHz quad core, fusion drive, 16 GB of RAM (not through apple). Have it hooked up to my LED 47" vizio tv, 3TB USB 3.0 Seagate ext HDD.
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Yes. Run RJ45 from the iMac to an AppleTV, then HDMI to the TV. AppleTV will play media served by iTunes on the iMac. iPad control is not needed; the AppleTV comes with a remote.
  8. initialsBB, Jan 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013

    initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    I have Plex server running on a Mac Mini in the computer room connected via RJ45 to the Apple TV 3 in the TV room with a ethernet over power adapter. I use the Plex iPad app that acts as a remote and makes the Mini transcode on the fly and sends the video through AirPlay (so you don't need a now expensive jailbroken Apple TV 2). Anyone connected to the LAN can drop files into the Plex shared folder, and anyone running the Plex app on iPhone/iPad/desktop can view the videos. There is also talk of an imminent Apple TV 3 jailbreak.

    edit: Keep in mind Apple TV2 can only stream 720p, whereas aTV3 can send 1080p.
  9. scottw324 macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2012
    Oh I know about the 720 and 1080p. I had three atv2 in the house and sold them alittle while ago for about $110 each and bought new atv3s for the house. I re-encode everything to .m4v or download it in .mp4 format so it plays nice with iTunes and ATV. I don't have to AirPlay my content to get it to stream to the ATV. I have a new 2.6GHz quad core mini so re-encoding takes about 10 mins most times so there is very little wait to watch a video. Most of the time I download at night and set the computer up to re-encode during the day while I am at work so when I get home it is ready to go. If I want to watch it right away, I use Airvideo to convert on the fly while I watch it. Might AirPlay it to a TV but most of the time I watch my content on my ipad.

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