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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Mac Mini as HTPC

    For a couple of months now I have been using my Mac Mini (new design) as a HTPC. I have been experimenting with different ways of organizing and viewing my multimedia. From installing Windows 7 under Boot Camp to running Media Browser inside Windows Media Center to running XBMC and Boxee.

    I really would like to use just the Mac OS as my primary platform with my HTPC but have a few issues that are stopping me from doing so. I have a couple of TV Tuners which I really like using in Windows Media Center (PlayTv - PS3 Accessory and Elgato EyeTV Hybrid). I really like the EyeTV software but am not sure if it is compatible with multiple third party tv tuners.

    I also have a Logitech DiNovo Mini keyboard which I would really like to use with the Mac OS but some of the buttons don't work (play/pause) etc.

    I was also looking at using Front Row as my central media hub and creating reference files using iFlicks to grab all the meta-data or just using Plex.

    I was just after all your personal experiences on what works best.

    Thanks in advance.
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    melbourne
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    Default

    Plex rules. i have been using it for a year now and its just great. Plex 9 is coming soon and its coming with more quality features. Give plex a go, you wont be disappointed.
     Retina Macbook pro 15" (2012), iPhone 5 16gb, iPad Mini 64gb,
    Mac Mini 2.0 ghz (2009) using as Media Centre, 

  3. #3

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    Default

    Thanks for the tip asgr8. Will check it out now. What would be the best software for third party tv tuners that is like windows media center (or is there a way to run W7MC smoothly in the Mac OS?) and is compatible with my tv tuners
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  4. #4

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    Default

    I never tried it with any TV tuner. I used eyetv for a while but i am not sure if you can use 3rd party tv tuner with eyetv software. I don't think W7MC can run smoothly on Mac os. Its better if you stick to One OS and that OS application for optimum performance.
     Retina Macbook pro 15" (2012), iPhone 5 16gb, iPad Mini 64gb,
    Mac Mini 2.0 ghz (2009) using as Media Centre, 

  5. #5

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    Default

    Thanks for the advice, I really want to stick to the Mac OS and not have to go in to Windows 7 as it defeats the purpose of having a Mac, but is there any equivelant software for Mac that has the same live tv functions as Windows Media Center and is compatible with third party drivers.

    I am also connecting my Mac Mini via HDMI and can't adjust the volume, the volume icon has a stop sign on top and the volume icon on the task pane is greyed out and the adjustable bar is un-movable.

    Thanks in advance.
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  6. #6

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    Default

    I cant help you with Live TV thing. I dont think there is any software for Mac like that, i might be wrong.

    When you say connecting HDMI with Mac. Do you have the new Mac mini with HDMI output or old one with mini display port one ?

    If its old one then you also need to run another cable for audio.
     Retina Macbook pro 15" (2012), iPhone 5 16gb, iPad Mini 64gb,
    Mac Mini 2.0 ghz (2009) using as Media Centre, 

  7. #7

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    Default

    Thanks anyway. I have the new one with the built in HDMI port.
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Adelaide
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    Default

    Hi, I have a dedicated Win 7 box and a mac mini running eyetv. I use xbmc on the win7 box which can be started within the media centre front end, and plex on the mini.

    Both solutions run fine but both have negatives. There s no perfect solution imo.

    The win7 media centre is the closest to being perfect. What I dont like is you cant edit recordings within Win7MC like you can in eyetv, and there is no eyetv equivalent iphone app for win7MC.

    What I dont like about the mac solution is there is less integration with the software - I have to use a mouse or trackpad to navigate around eyetv and switch between plex and eyetv. I hate frontrow and have uninstalled it.

    I basically run 2 boxes, the mac mini in one room for plex and eyetv running in the backgroudn to allow the ipad and iphones to access the tuner wirelessly, and the win7 box in the other room for xbmc and tv recording.

    If there was an iphone app for win7mc I wouldnt use the mac mini.

    I dont know anything about 3d party tuners and eyetv

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Menai (Sth Sydney)
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    Default

    Cant help you with your incompatibility issues but her is my setup in case you get anything from it:

    Hardware:
    - Mac mini (late 2009 non HDMI )
    - 4x 1TB Western Digital MyBooks (1 for TV Shows, 1 for Movies, other two as backups)
    - Eye TV Hybrid TV Tuner
    - iPhone (with hippo remote) as the controller/remote

    Software:
    - Mac OS 10.6.whatever Snow Leopard
    - Eye TV (for PVR and live tv) using Ice TV as the EPG
    - Boxee for playback and media organisation of my .mp4/.avi/.divx etc.. collection
    - Handbrake to "backup" my DVD collection

    Work flawlessly, Hippo Remote is an essential tool but if you dont have an iPhone i recommend the magic trackpad in combination with a wireless BT apple keyboard.

  10. #10

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    Default

    Thanks guys for posting your experience with using the Mac Mini. Do you think it would be possible to run Parallels with Win 7 and have it only run Windows Media Center? Do you think it would slow everything else down if I did that?

    Sorry if I keep mentioning Windows Media Center but it is such great software, I just don't want to sell my PlayTV and get an apple compatible twin tuner (eyetv diversity) as it is so expensive.
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  11. #11

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    Default

    On your model it should be ok (maybe up your ram to 8GB)

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisG View Post
    Thanks guys for posting your experience with using the Mac Mini. Do you think it would be possible to run Parallels with Win 7 and have it only run Windows Media Center? Do you think it would slow everything else down if I did that?

    Sorry if I keep mentioning Windows Media Center but it is such great software, I just don't want to sell my PlayTV and get an apple compatible twin tuner (eyetv diversity) as it is so expensive.
    If you're going to do that, just buy a Dell Zino. Way cheaper.

  13. #13

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar View Post
    On your model it should be ok (maybe up your ram to 8GB)
    LOL, I only have 2GB of RAM - the baseline Mac Mini. Will that still be ok? Also, which virtualisation software would you recommend. Parallels or VM Ware?

    Quote Originally Posted by decryption View Post
    If you're going to do that, just buy a Dell Zino. Way cheaper.
    I originally had a bulky Windows HTPC but wanted something simple and clean so I bought the new Mac Mini. It is just software that is the problem.
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisG View Post
    I originally had a bulky Windows HTPC but wanted something simple and clean so I bought the new Mac Mini. It is just software that is the problem.
    Then erase Mac OS X and use Windows only

  15. #15

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    Default

    Hi ChrisG

    I bought the new 2010 mac mini (upgraded to 4GB memory) to run Win7 64bit MCE fulltime, using an external USB 1TB drive and USB twin tuner. My main reason's for using MCE is I use 2 Xbox360's as MCE extenders in 2 other rooms PLUS the mini is sooooo quiet and energy efficient as its on 24hrs/day.

    I find "most" of the time it works fine BUT I have to restart the MCE software every day - otherwise liveTV stutters quite badly.

  16. #16

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisG View Post
    LOL, I only have 2GB of RAM - the baseline Mac Mini. Will that still be ok? Also, which virtualisation software would you recommend. Parallels or VM Ware?
    I use VM Ware and it runs great on a MBP with 4GB Ram. RAM is so cheap i would always recommend putting as much in as you can afford (Although my mini has only 2 and it runs just fine - even with Boxee playing, Eye TV exporting and handbrake ripping - i dont notice any slow downs)

  17. #17

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    Default

    I have managed to install Parallels Desktop v5 on my Mac Mini and the menus in Windows Media Center run smoothly. However when I play the HD Sample video in the video library video playback is slow.

    Also, when you try and play the recorded tv sample the video playback is jerky.

    Is there any way to improve the video playback in Windows Media Center?
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  18. #18

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    Default

    I think I am going to give up on video playback in virtual machines and just use windows 7 natively under boot camp, unless anyone else has any suggestions that might help. To make the experience of the Windows 7 side nicer does anyone know of a Snow Leopard theme for Windows 7 that looks exactly like Snow Leopard on Windows 7?
    MacBook Pro 17" Aluminium Core i5, 500GB
    Mac Mini 2.4Ghz, 320GB
    iPhone 4 Black, 16GB

  19. #19

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisG View Post
    To make the experience of the Windows 7 side nicer does anyone know of a Snow Leopard theme for Windows 7 that looks exactly like Snow Leopard on Windows 7?
    http://forums.mactalk.com.au/56/9088...le-fanboy.html

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Adelaide
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    Default

    I have a Mac Mini with EyeTV Diversity. I just use Front Row with PyeTV. Works great for me. I don't know why you'd want to fuck around with Windoze on a Mac...

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