Noob looking for guidance in start/set setting up my first home theater

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dLuu, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. dLuu macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hello. I'm currently looking to start/set up my first home theater and was hoping for some guidance from my new MacRumor friends.

    I currently have a very large blu-ray collection and a Windows 7 desktop with multiple external hard drives. My desktop is fairly old and I was looking into purchasing a Mac Mini to replace it and use it as my home theater server using Plex. I figured if I start ripping them now, by the time Christmas comes around and I buy the Mac Mini I can have my media server up and running in no time.

    My questions are:

    1. If I wanted to rip the Blu-rays now on my Windows 7 PC and store the files on the external drives, do I need to reformat them first to whatever is compatible with the Mac OS?

    2. What will the best file format be to rip the Blu-rays & DVDs to so that I can play them on my PS3/XBOX and maybe Apple TV in the future?

    3. Would a refurbished Mac Mini be able to power this server and be able to trans code if I'm accessing Plex on multiple devices at the same time? Or should I get the Mac Mini Server box instead?

    4. Does a Plex sever depend on the processor more or RAM?

    Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    [MOD NOTE]
    I updated the title to make it less ambiguous so as to help you get the more members visiting your thread.
  3. Pyromonkey83 macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    Yes. Reformat any drives to exFAT (THIS IS NOT FAT32) to get started. If you use FAT32, you will be stuck with a 4GB file size limit (not so good for HD movies). If you do NTFS, your mac cant fully recognize them, and will be unable to edit anything on the drives.

    .M4V (MP4) is the only file type that will work with the Apple TV. You also need video to be in h.264 format and audio to be in either AAC or AC3. This file type will also work with your PS3, although I am uncertain if it will work with the Xbox 360 (I think it should...).

    Any computer made in the last 4 years or so should have no problem with this. To be safe for the future though, you may want to stick with the Mac Mini server box.

    Both. The processor is required for immediate transcode/streaming while the RAM is required for storing the media library on PLEX. It will also take a massive chunk of your RAM for iTunes if you ever go that route for an Apple TV. I would say 2Ghz Core i5 processor and 4GB RAM minimum. 2.6Ghz Core i5 Sandy Bridge and 8GB RAM recommended.

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