Older Mac Mini dropping Hulu frames - sometimes

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ubele, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    My wife just got a new MacBook, so I decided to turn her old Mac Mini into a media server. I think it's a 2006 model -- single-core Intel processor with 1 GB of RAM. I have it hooked via a DVI-to-HDMI cable to a 37" Vizio 720P LCD TV with a Verizon FiOS connection. I experimented with a variety of content. DVDs and DVDs ripped to an external hard drive look just fine. We watched several TV episodes on Hulu yesterday, though, and the quality varied widely. Some dropped frames really badly, some were so-so, and some were just fine. The quality for any given episode didn't seem to vary over the course of the episode. I'd been using my 2008 MacBook Pro with 4 GB hooked to the same TV to watch Hulu previously, and there were never any problems with frames being dropped. Obviously, my MBP has more system RAM and a better video card. My question is why Hulu playback on the Mini varies so much. I'm guessing it has to do with different Hulu episodes streaming at different rates, and the Mini's lower system RAM or video RAM not being able to buffer the frames. It's not a big deal, but having a dedicated Mini hooked to the TV is more convenient that connecting and disconnecting my MBP. Frankly, I'm amazed that it works as well as it does.
  2. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    That would be your problem right there, and account for the difference between your Mini and MBP.
  3. Ubele thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    Yes, but why do some Hulu broadcasts look fine? What's the difference between the ones that drop frames, and those that don't?
  4. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Maybe some use a more advanced codec and/or higher bitrate during their playback that your computer has problems with. I actually have no idea how hulu works, and if the videos are all universally encoded or not-- just throwing some ideas out.

    Either way, single core processors are going to struggle with flash-related content like that.
  5. Ubele thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 20, 2008
    Thanks -- that makes sense.

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