The Mac Mini As A HD HTPC

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by northy124, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #1
    Hi

    I had been looking at the ATV for the living room Org. but have been turned of by the the small non-upgradable HDD so i'm now seriously considering a Mini for my Home Theater Entertainment centre but have some questions:

    1) Can it handle 1080p HD Video/Audio in MKV or Divx or Mov format with HD Audio?
    2) I there a program for ripping HD DVD and Blu-Ray Disc to Mac Mini?
    3) NAS or Time Capsule to start with (Already got 1TB HDDb
    but might need another one)?
    4) Is there anything else i should know?

    I'm also buying Sling Box Pro and Sling Link so i Can watch TV and maybe movies from Mini on the Move/Abroad (Go on Holidays alot)

    Northy124
     
  2. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    #2
    The mini can't handle 1080 smoothly (I have the latest C2D). Also, I have perian/flip4mac installed to allow front row to play divx/wmv. My storage is connected directly to the mini via (usb/fw).

    Works pretty well for me as an HTPC (non-full HD though).
     
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #3
    You need an HD-DVD or Blu Ray drive to rip the content. Mac Mini has neither.
     
  4. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #5
    You need a way to connect it to the computer though. Blu Ray requires that all components are HDCP compliant and I don't think there are too many USB drives on the market.
     
  6. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #6
    Yes i have all of that and i'm not interested in that side of things a have windoze machine for ripping both USB BTW
     
  7. WMuntean macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    #7
    I can tell you that my experience with 1080p .mkv files has not been successful. I can play about 20% of my 1080p files. Still looking for an OS X solution, Ive been told that XP will play them smoothly through Boot Camp. But I'd rather not go that route. I own a 2Ghz C2D as well. Let me know if you need me to elaborate.
     
  8. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #8
    I've heard of .MKV being put in a .Mov container and being fine.
     
  9. BEEFc58 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #9
    What does the Mac Mini need to run full HD? I would like to add one as my media center, but want to make sure that it can run HD material. Obviously a BluRay drive would be a step in the right direction. I was under the assumption that the machine would run full HD if it were downloaded.... but I had noting to back that idea up. I just thought that the Mini had more power than a BluRay DVD player or my cable box......

    BEEF
     
  10. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #10
    I know that Blu-Ray/HD DVD won't work with Mac (Yet).

    I know for a fact that HDCP/HDTV Screen is needed for Full HD (which I have), If you make back ups of HD DVD/Blu-Ray that should work fine but i'm not sure hence why i started this thread.

    Northy124
     
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #11
    There are a lot of variables that determine this. My 1.66 gHz CD Mini plays the 1080 trailers from Apple just fine. No dropped frames or audio issues.
     
  12. applepimp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    #12
    I use my mini to record hd tv shows and quality is no different than watching it live.
     
  13. BEEFc58 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #13
  14. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a

    mr_matalino

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #14
    Go buy a PS3 and install Linux (google it) and hook up a hard drive. This will play 1080p as it's been designed to do so. The mini is not capable of 1080p .mkv files. This topic has been discussed to death in numerous threads.
     
  15. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #15
    I have a PS3 for playing Games not watching movies. I also have 720p HD videos as well.

    Question: How can the Mini not play 1080p HD if the MacBook can with lesser specs than the one i'm getting (Hopefully)

    Northy124
     
  16. dbam987 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    #16
    The MacBook has Intel X3100 whereas the Mac Mini (current breed) has Intel 950. That might be the reason.
     
  17. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #17
    Ok then looks like i'm waiting for the update
     
  18. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a

    mr_matalino

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #18
    Just as a warning - it might be awhile for the ATV to support full 1080p. It takes some heavy duty lifting and a lot of RAM for full 1080p (= lots more $$$ for an ATV). Plus the fact that internet speeds would need to get much faster to download a 1080p movie as the only "supported" way to get HD movies are rentals. I personally hope its soon, but I'm not expecting it for at least a year, more than likely longer. 720p still looks great though.
     
  19. takeabyteoutta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #19
    add an external to the ATV

    if you're going to be connecting HDDVD and blu/ray drives to the Mac-mini, you might be better off just buying an ATV and an external hard drive that meets your eye. Heck you could ever get a wireless or network HDD to hide somewhere so you dont have to see it. This will give you the expandable/ extra hard disk space you require and it'll always be a cheaper alternative to what Apple's selling.
     
  20. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #20
    I'm not buying the ATV i have decided that for sure LoL. I don't know where you live but my internet speed is 24MB (20MB Actual) Download. I'll just use my ripped HD Videos.

    I'm not going to be connecting my HD DVD and Blu-Ray drives to the Mini. I am getting a NAS set-up for the HD Rips.

    Can i as why you both said i should get the ATV as from what i have read it isn't all it's cracked up to be? And this thread is about me getting a Mac Mini for HTPC after turning against ATV:rolleyes:

    Northy124
     
  21. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #21

    VLC. Never have any problems.

    HD DVD and Blu-Ray rippers / are currently PC only. Those disks cannot play natively through a Mac right now. If you need a player, go buy a player, but the OP seems to want to put all his content onto his network / computer.
     
  22. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #22
    Not really relevant at all. The Mini's gpu will display video just fine - the biggest issue is the cpu for video playback, not the gpu, since decoding is done by the cpu. Whatever the content is, it has to be encoded such that the cpu doesn't have issues with it. This can be done with 1080 and a Mini (even a 1.66 Core Duo, like mine). In addition, the video needs to be encoded as "HD" audio (OP's request), which can only be Dolby Digital AC-3 (or DTS) at this point. While it's conceivable to do this for playback in VLC as a MKV container or with QuickTime as a MOV (from a transcoded MKV with AC-3, and with Perian installed and a modified audio plist), there is no software that I know of on the Mac side that can take 1080 Blu-Ray video with True HD audio and transcode it into these containers with Dolby Digital.

    It doesn't really need hardware so much as it needs software to get around this. The hardware - cpu, optical audio port and 1920x1200 video - are already on the mini.
     
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #23
    VLC routinely kills my audio, such that I have to reboot. The only time it doesn't kill my audio is if I start a movie and don't do anything else, except the occasional pause. But if you're willing to do this, it really kicks QuickTime's @$$ at this point. QT's inability to handle anamorphic wide screen is really annoying. I hope Apple fixes this soon (and gives us audio passthrough for 5.1 surround).
     
  24. northy124 thread starter macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #24
    So i should be fine then is that what your saying Cave Man

    Northy124
     
  25. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #25
    What I'm saying is that a Mini can play 1080 video, provided it's encoded properly (see any of the 1080 trailers at www.apple.com/trailers) and it can passthrough AC-3 Dolby Digital to a receiver with an optical port.

    What I see as the biggest problem is how you're going to get such content, for it does not exist that I'm aware of, and I know of no software tools to transcode such content. You would have to find these tools on the Windows side. You have to transcode the video into a Quicktime container with an AC-3 DD audio (e.g. MOV) or one that VLC can handle (e.g., MKV). I cannot tell you how to do that with a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD video disc.
     

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