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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2007
    Posts
    5
    Unhappy Ultimate Home Media Center!
    There seems to be so many options these days but which is the best?

    Some people have a xbox networked to their mac and use it as a media center.
    Some people somehow seem to do it with an Ps3 maybe?
    Some people have a NAS hard drive hooked up to there router.
    (not really certain how that helps)
    Some people are content with Apple TV.
    Some people buy another computer (Macmini) and just plug that sucker into thier TV.
    I've even heard of some other gagets like the Archos..
    I'm completely lost on this one.
    I want to put together the best and most usable/stable/simple system I can afford but what is it? I have no clue? Too many options and limitations.

    Personally I really want to avoid using pc/windows.
    I want to avoid apple tv because it seems a bit limiting.
    I was hoping I could do this with a Sony PS3 but I hear it's nearly impossible. Is this true?

    Are there any options I'm unaware of. I just want to be able to access all my media on my Macbooks ext. hdd (which is in the back office) on my t.v. in the living room. What are you guys using. I would think many of you have some great setups. If anyone can make some suggestions it would be very much appreciated.

    -thanks

  2. #2


    Member Since
    May 16, 2005
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Posts
    416
    Specs:
    New MACBOOK
    the mac mini makes the most sense to me, its got everything the apple tv has, plus a dvd player.

  3. #3

    SmokingFetus's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 07, 2005
    Posts
    86
    For a while I was streaming my media to my Xbox 360 using connect360, but I grew tired of transcoding my movies, especially .mkv's. It became a pain so i started to look at HTPC's.

    Ended up settling on the Mac Mini. Got an incredible deal on a refurb unit ($475 for 1.83 Core Duo w/superdrive and advertised 512MB of ram, but actually came with a gig). Only came with an 80GB HDD, but I have my imac with my external drives acting as a media server so it's not a big deal.

    It's great as it will handle every filetype (and with perian most filetypes work in front row). Handles HD without the bat of an eye, although I have yet to try and stream 1080p .264. I love being able to surf the web from my couch. I have canceled my cable as I can now get my TV shows and movies online and Joost looks better than the standard def channels anyway. If I feel the need I could subscribe to cable again and buy an EyeTV and have a fully functioning DVR.

    I absolutely love my new setup, but I probably wouldn't have gone this route if I didn't get such a good deal. But seeing as your willing to drop the cash for a PS3 I couldn't recommend this option enough.

  4. #4

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,466
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    For the ultimate - here is the one I've been drooling over.

    Now you could probably do something like this yourself with enough knowhow.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2007
    Posts
    5
    smokingfetus> Wow! thanks for the info.. lots of info. exactly the kind of reply I'm looking for. Giving me something to think about and good examples of what you can do with it. The mini is soundng like a good idea. I like the idea of being able to play any media I want without having to do a lot of converting and scence it's just another mac it seems like it would be pretty easy to access the files on my macbooks ext hdd in the other room through the network.

    The main reason I thought about a ps3 is so i could play blue ray discs. Not much of a gammer but that could be fun too. The problem with the ps3 though goes back to the converting of files and finding the right kind that works plus unless I can get the streaming part down it has a very limited hdd space. Not sure I understand how you would turn a mac mini into a DVR though but if you could that would be pretty cool because I don't have a dvr and I really want one of those too. Is it some kind of software that let's get tv and record it on you mac. Cos I have cable right now and I wouldn't mind droping that monthly bill if I could.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Oct 10, 2007
    Posts
    5
    bobtomay, thanks! that system looks pretty cool. but it also looks pretty expensive.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2007
    Posts
    213
    If I wanted to use the Mac Mini in this fashion, how would I do that? I am assuming that the Mini does not have wireless built in. If I have my iMac in one room connected to the Airport Extreme, and the TV in another room, how would I work with the Mini from the iMac. Would I have to connect the Mini to the AE via Ethernet?

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by hondagus87 View Post
    the mac mini makes the most sense to me, its got everything the apple tv has, plus a dvd player.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    May 16, 2005
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
    Posts
    416
    Specs:
    New MACBOOK
    I believe all the new mac minis are wireless and bluetooth built in.

  9. #9

    MaDDoG's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2007
    Location
    Oz.....near the Wizards home
    Posts
    1,917
    Specs:
    iMac 24' 7 Snow Leopard + Parallels and Win 7 | 30 Gb iPod | Canon EOS 400D
    Quote Originally Posted by bobtomay View Post
    For the ultimate - here is the one I've been drooling over.

    Now you could probably do something like this yourself with enough knowhow.
    Awesome system Bob....had me drooling as well. We are just finishing off a server and network at work for storing video files but in our case they are Police video evidence files from in car cameras. Looks like it would work in much the same way though. We have a HP server with a few terrabytes or removable raid 5 storage and an off site repository for archived data in case we blew up!!
    "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."
    MaDDoG's Photo Gallery - http://mcarfa.smugmug.com/

  10. #10

    SmokingFetus's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 07, 2005
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by naftalim View Post
    If I wanted to use the Mac Mini in this fashion, how would I do that? I am assuming that the Mini does not have wireless built in. If I have my iMac in one room connected to the Airport Extreme, and the TV in another room, how would I work with the Mini from the iMac. Would I have to connect the Mini to the AE via Ethernet?

    Thanks
    Yes, the Minis do in fact have an airport card as well as bluetooth. But I have mine hooked up via ethernet to avoid any bandwidth issues. I had no issues for the short period of time I was using wireless, but I didn't try streaming any HD at that time.

    As for connecting the 2 mac's it is very easy. I have local sharing turned on, via sharing pane in the system preferences, within my imac. Then I connect to it with my mini by selecting the the connect to server option under "Go" in my menu bar. Then I can put in the iMac's IP or just using the computers name with a .local at the end. A dialog box will appear asking which volumes you want to mount. I then put those volumes in my startup items so it auto connects after a restart.

    That kaleidascape is nothing special. My mini can do everything that does and more (internet, games, IM, ect.). And if I want music/movies in any room I could get another Mini or just take my laptop (great for those extra long dooks). Not to mention the price diference, 2K for Mini and iMac compared to the 10k for the entry level Kaleidescape server.

    As for the DVR setup all you need is an eyeTV setup from Elgato Systems. There are two options starting at $150 going up to $200. Only major difference is how the video gets encoded.

  11. #11

    bobtomay's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    26,466
    Specs:
    15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
    Quote Originally Posted by julian awesome View Post
    bobtomay, thanks! that system looks pretty cool. but it also looks pretty expensive.
    It ain't cheap, that's why I've just been drooling over it.

    The RIAA was suing them, latest news, the RIAA lost.

    And like SF is doing, it can be done yourself. Their system is pretty sweet though.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  12. #12

    fleurya's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 18, 2006
    Location
    Anytown, USA
    Posts
    4,933
    Specs:
    27" iMac 2.7GHz Core i5, iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, 4th gen Apple TV
    I want a Mini for a HTPC, but Windows Media Center has it all over Apple's software, so when I finally do get a HTPC, it'll probably be Windows-based. Maybe someone will come up with comparable software to Win MCE and it'll run on Mac.
    "Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others"

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