Which Mac Mini To Playback 1080p Smoothly In Plex?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by VirtualRain, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    I'm buying a new Mac Mini... just for Plex (and running a BT client in the background).

    My choices are the 2.26GHz 2GB model or the 2.53GHz 4GB model... although I can equip the 2.26GHz with extra RAM if that's deemed helpful. HD size is irrelevant as I have a FW enclosure lined up for storage duties.

    Is 2.26GHz more than enough? What about 2GB of RAM? I don't want to run into any stuttering but I don't want to needlessly invest in overkill hardware either.

    Content is MKV's that are typically around 8-15GB.

    Thanks!
     
  2. DaSal macrumors regular

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #2
    I'd go for the 2.53Ghz model, just for the reassurance. I have an older 2ghz model and while it will play some 1080p content, on a lot it stutters at least a little, so I went back to 720p exclusively. That said the difference between 720p and 1080p isn't huge even on a 63" screen.

    1080p might not always play a 100% smooth even with a 2.53GHz model. I had my Mac Pro hooked up to my TV for a while (2.8ghz octo with 16gb ram) and while it played 99% of the stuff perfectly it did stutter during a movie once. Not a big deal, but still ;) I imagine it might happen once in a blue moon with the 2.53GHz Mini as well.
     
  3. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    Tulsa
    #3
    Stealing movies is illegal. I won't help you because of this.

    If you can afford a Mac Pro and a MB Air, I know you can afford a few $20 blu-ray movies. Don't be a thief.
     
  4. DaSal macrumors regular

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    The Netherlands
    #4
    I think it's mostly a pricing/quality/ease of use issue. If there was a version of Plex where you could buy/rent HD movies for a decent price, many people would use it over pirating.

    And before you mention it, the iTunes store doesn't count. It's not available in most countries for one. Also, you have to buy an expensive Apple TV to play it back on the TV first. Not to mention that 3,99 for a rental is too expensive. I remember the good old days when you could rent a movie for 1,50. Honestly I don't think an ala cart option is going to work with movies anymore, people are too accustomed to wanting to see many movies, and many people simply can't afford to buy movies anymore. Rent? Sure, but then it's more convenient and often better quality to just download.

    If they introduced an all you can eat subscription service for say $20/$25 bucks a month, I would so be on board. I think many people would be. Especially if it included TV as well.

    Now I'm not saying pirating is justified, but I'm pretty sure MANY people would jump on a service like that, and would stop pirating.
     
  5. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    Tulsa
    #5
    There is no excuse for theft. Is it okay to rob the 7-11 because its easier and quicker than working 40 hours a week?

    It never was a viable option.

    Then spend $1 and rent one from redbox or $11/month for netflix.
    They even have an option, for $57/month, where you can have 8 blu-ray movies out at a time.

    Were "the good old days" in the future? Read above.

    How is watching a 25GB movie that has been compressed to 1/2 its original bitrate ever better quality?

    *cough*...netflix...
     
  6. avihappy macrumors 6502

    avihappy

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    #6
    Except for the fact that, you know, macs don't have bluray drives or bluray playback software. And iTunes "HD" movies are more like HD-Lite.

    The basic qeustion is if a Mac Mini can play back high bitrate MKV files smoothly. The fact is that MKV always has poor performance. What I would do is find a way to extract the H.264 and DTS audio and repackage them in a .mov file. Then you can use Quicktime X and it's GPU acceleration to watch the video. If you would like, I could make a video tutorial on doing that. Just remember that you need Quicktime 7 Pro.

    Here are the rough steps off the top of my mind:

    1: make sure you have perian
    2: open the mkv in QT7
    3: use the movie properties dialog and extract the sound track and video tracks.
    4: now you have 2 new video windows, one with just audio and other only video (no audio)
    5: In the audio track window, do SELECT ALL. and the entire audio track should be selected. Then do COPY.
    6: Go to the window with video (no audio), and scrub all the way to the very beginning of the video.
    7: then in the edit menu, choose ADD TO MOVIE.
    8: now the play the video and make sure the audio works and is in sync.
    9: finally, save the video (now with audio) window somewhere.
    10: if all went well, you can hopefully play it in QTX, with GPU acceleration. it might work better on a mini.

    11 (optional): put the video on a thumbdrive and go to the apple store, install perian on a mac mini there, and try playing it on QTX.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #7
    What makes you think he's stealing movies? Maybe the guy purchased the Blu-ray movies and converted them to mkv files for his HTPC. That was an unfair assumption.
     
  8. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Bay Area
    #8
    seriously. What, because he said he plans to rip them to MKVs? I rip all my movies to my hard drive... :confused:
     
  9. DaSal macrumors regular

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    Mar 19, 2008
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    The Netherlands
    #9
    We don't all live in the USA either. In the Netherlands we don't have Netflix. Or a viable Netflix alternative, the ones that are there have a poor selection of titles and basically none of them have ANY Blu-Ray.

    Not to mention we definitely don't have an online store like iTunes. Nor Hulu.

    We never get any of this cool stuff. I know local companies could technically all do this, but that's where not being at the forefront of technology sucks, it seems like nobody has the resources or skill to pull something like that off here.
     
  10. felt. macrumors 6502a

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    Canada
    #10
    It's interesting to note that most moral police are the worst offenders, just look at Eliot Spitzer and catholic priests....
     
  11. ViViDboarder macrumors 68040

    ViViDboarder

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    Probably the metion of the Mac mini running Plex AND a BitTorrent client ;) But who knows! He could be downloading every linux distro ISO ever while he rips his BlueRay DVD's from another computer and sends the ISO's over via his network because none of the Macs even HAVE blueray support. :D

    Ohh snap!!! Anyone think of that? Maybe this guy RENTS BlueRay disks and while he still has the disk rented, downloads the torrent, plays the copy (because he has no BlueRay player on his Mac) and then deletes it when he returns the disk!!! Fair Use man... Fair Use...

    In all seriousness though... If you have the option for Netflix... The HD streaming is great if you have a good signal. I have my Xbox hooked up to my HDTV and stream HD to it really well on my 10mbps FiOS connection.
     
  12. ljonesj macrumors 6502a

    ljonesj

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    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Kingsport TN
    #12
    I am taking my dvd's i own and putting them to mp4 for my ipod. So when i get my mac mini i can just use it for the home theatre and i wont damage my disks anymore than they are.
     
  13. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #13
    Thanks... one useful answer after 350 views and a dozen posts. You gotta love the internet... it's everyone's soapbox! I would like eveyone to use my thread to discuss whatever they like! Please, go ahead :p ;)

    BTW, 300D, I suspect you can't help me because you wouldn't know anything about playing back MKV's right? :p
     
  14. ViViDboarder macrumors 68040

    ViViDboarder

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    Jun 25, 2008
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    USA
    #14
    My first generation MBP 2.0GHZ CoreDuo plays 720p MKV just fine actually. So you'll probably be fine with these that are much better.

    That said.... I agree with the post that suggests the 2.5 just to be safe. :D
     
  15. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    #15
    I have the older generation Mac Mini with 256MB of Vram. I play 1080p just fine as long the data rate is not more then 2500MB per second.

    The ram you add does not make any difference, neither the processor. Is the video chip itself that can be fast enough or not.

    I am telling you this because I have a tool in one of my sofwtare that measures the video rate. I work with special 3D equipment that reproduces 3D video without the need of special glasses and the Mac Mini is what I use to playback those files.

    Actually I used a system that playback 9 streams of videos 960 x 540 at same time and the mac mini gave 80% only.... for 9 streams of videos is very very good.

    So for regular 1080p you are all set.
     
  16. stix666 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    #16
    I have the early 2009 2Ghz mac mini - never had any problem playing any 1080p mkvs using plex. Did have a few problems playing one or two AVCHD 1080p files (may well be a bit rate issue)- I hope this wont be a problem when I get my HD camera
     
  17. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    Location:
    Tulsa
    #17
    Thats because blu-ray players and big HDTV screens exist for that. Nobody wants to watch HD movies on their tiny computer screen.

    Der, I don't know George. Maybe this:
    False, I don't help thieves.
     
  18. ViViDboarder macrumors 68040

    ViViDboarder

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #18
    Thanks for that tidbit. A lot of people don't want a seperate blueray player. You do realize that you can easily hook a Mac Mini up to an HDTV? Perhaps they have a 62" plasma hooked up to that Mac Mini and they want to watch HD video. Makes perfect sense to me.

    And do you know anything about MKV playback? This format isn't only used for pirating blueray disks, by the way.
     
  19. 300D macrumors 65816

    300D

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    Tulsa
    #19
    Just 99.9% of the time.
     
  20. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 7, 2008
  21. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #21
    Downloading mkvs over BitTorrent? Ouch!
    Newsgroups is where it's at.
     
  22. avihappy macrumors 6502

    avihappy

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    #22
    I don't think we want to get into that discussion or the thread may get locked. Let's just focus on answering the basic question of if a mac mini can play HD MKVs smoothly.
     
  23. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #23
    The question has been answered. My Early 2009 Mini can play 1080i smoothly, so I'm sure any of the newer ones can.
     

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