PDA

View Full Version : Advice on New Tech Setup.



meverz
4th January 2011, 07:23 PM
I've finally finished college and am starting work, which means it's also time to upgrade the technology throughout the house. I'm still a relative newbie with Apple gear, so could use some advice.

First, Our current gear;


13' Macbook (2.4GHz, 2GB Ram 10.6)
15' G4 Powerbook (1.5GHz, 2GB Ram, 10.5)
500 GB Time Capsule
16GB iPad (WiFi only)
16GB 1Phone 4
16GB iPod Touch 2nd Gen
Old 63cm CRT TV
Homecast Dual Tuner PVR


Here is what I am thinking of doing.


New Mac Mini to function as a HTPC (and server?)
eyetv netstream DTT - so we can watch TV on any computer in the house, and record to the mac mini
New HD TV - could make do with a monitor, but this just makes watching broadcast TV easier
Apple TV streaming form the mini.
External monitor, keyboard and mouse, and transition the Macbook into a 'desktop' machine
Connect the Powerbook to the Old TV (or leave it as my wife's machine)

I just have a few questions,

1. Any issues with that planned setup? The plan is to keep it as simple as possible. Just use the TV as a normal TV, and use the mac mini (or any mac for that matter) for PVR duties (either via Eye TV Software on the Macs, or the App on an iDevice), and stream anything we want to watch via the mac mini.

2. What are the advantages of running the mac mini as a server? I have some idea as far as networks etc go (and definitely enough to use Google), so I'm confident I could get it up and keep it running, but I'm just not sure what I would gain for the extra effort. Both my wife and I are extensive users of Google services, so don't need to host email, calendars etc, so what advantages would running a server bring?

3. NAS. I need to hook up some form of NAS. With the mac mini basically running 24/7, is there any advantage to running a dedicated NAS unit rather than connecting a bunch of drives to the mini and sharing them on the network?

4. I can't see any reason to connect the mac mini to the TV. Unless I am missing something, I should be able to basically run it headless, and just screen share from one of the other computers in the house when I need to do anything on it?

I've probably got a few more that will come to me later, but that's enough to start.

docbrown
5th January 2011, 11:51 AM
2. What are the advantages of running the mac mini as a server? I have some idea as far as networks etc go (and definitely enough to use Google), so I'm confident I could get it up and keep it running, but I'm just not sure what I would gain for the extra effort. Both my wife and I are extensive users of Google services, so don't need to host email, calendars etc, so what advantages would running a server bring?


I use my mac mini as a HTPC, with a Diversity tuner. It also serves all my media to other computers via Plex Media Server and SMB filesharing to PCs.



3. NAS. I need to hook up some form of NAS. With the mac mini basically running 24/7, is there any advantage to running a dedicated NAS unit rather than connecting a bunch of drives to the mini and sharing them on the network?


I bought a NAS planning to serve media from it but most of our watching is done on the mac mini on the living room tv, so we just have some external drives hanging off it. The NAS is now just used for backup.



4. I can't see any reason to connect the mac mini to the TV. Unless I am missing something, I should be able to basically run it headless, and just screen share from one of the other computers in the house when I need to do anything on it?


If you want to use the mac mini as a HTPC, then i guess it should be hooked up to the TV. Check out Plex:

Plex - A Complete Media Solution (http://www.plexapp.com)

It can also be integrated with EyeTV, so you have a PVR and a media player all in one.

meverz
6th January 2011, 12:52 PM
Thanks doc.

I use my mac mini as a HTPC, with a Diversity tuner. It also serves all my media to other computers via Plex Media Server and SMB filesharing to PCs.
I assume the mini needs to be set up as a server to do so? Just a 'normal' mini won't really work sharing files out?


I bought a NAS planning to serve media from it but most of our watching is done on the mac mini on the living room tv, so we just have some external drives hanging off it. The NAS is now just used for backup.
I'm guessing I'll end up the same. Just seems if you have a mini set up as a server, then there is very little need for a dedicated NAS. Might still get one just to have all our time machine backups etc in a central (somewhat secure) location.


If you want to use the mac mini as a HTPC, then i guess it should be hooked up to the TV. Check out Plex:

Plex - A Complete Media Solution (http://www.plexapp.com)

It can also be integrated with EyeTV, so you have a PVR and a media player all in one.
Yeah, I suppose I've got to put the mini somewhere, so may as well stick it under the TV and hook it up. At the least it gives us an extra machine in the house. Better to have the capability and not use it, than not have it and wish you did.

Looks like the best thing to do is to buy the gear, and just play around with it and see what works.