Old PPC Mac as HTPC with CRT TV advice plea - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 07-30-2012, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi--

My first post here.  I've done quite a bit of research here and elsewhere, and I still can't figure out the best solution for my particular setup.

I have an old 1.5 Ghz Powerbook G4 that's still alive and (sort of) kicking that I intend to use for an HTPC/media server. The media will come from a LaCie 7200 RPM FW drive, and/or an external BD/DVD drive. 

The monitor is a late-90s, 4:3 Sony CRT TV (KV-32S40) that I like (I'm not ready for an HDTV upgrade). 

For sound I plan to use an old MBox 1 (ProTools interface) as my D/A converter out of the Powerbook going into my 70s Pioneer stereo amp/receiver; I'm not terribly interested in 5.1 etc at this point.


My questions are:

What app/software do you recommend for organizing/navigating the media?  XBMC, Plex, etc?


How should I go about connecting my PB to my 4:3 TV? I should note that my TV only has composite and S-video inputs.  I tried just hooking it straight up from the S-video output on the PB using the S-video- to - composite adapter (I didn't have an S-video cable handy to try that direct connection), and it looked awful no matter how I set the resolution, plus wider-than-1.33 aspect ratios were either squashed or stretched, not letterboxed.


If there's no way to connect the PB to the CRT directly with decent picture quality and correct fomatting, what box would you recommend to help make the conversion?  Or is a box just a good idea in general?  I do have a first-generation Roku, which does not have the USB jack.  I'd also prefer a wired connection of some sort for everything.


Is there anything else I should be looking at within the confines of my setup?


Sorry if this is a bit long-winded, trying to give all pertinent info...

Thanks for any guidance, and I'm sorry if this has been covered elsewhere.
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post #2 of 3 Old 07-31-2012, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
I have an old 1.5 Ghz Powerbook G4 that's still alive and (sort of) kicking that I intend to use for an HTPC/media server...How should I go about connecting my PB to my 4:3 TV? I should note that my TV only has composite and S-video inputs. I tried just hooking it straight up from the S-video output on the PB using the S-video- to - composite adapter (I didn't have an S-video cable handy to try that direct connection), and it looked awful no matter how I set the resolution, plus wider-than-1.33 aspect ratios were either squashed or stretched, not letterboxed.

The one analog video connection Macs never handled well was component, you should be able to do S-Video and composite just fine.

I only ever connected my 15" Powerbook using the full-size DVI out port to DVI and the DVI to VGA adapter. I never used the S-video output, but I think you'd be able to connect directly when you get the right cable. Whether you should even try is another issue: it'll look like crap, that's the nature of the beast connecting to an old standard def CRT over a very low quality analog connector. (On the other hand, that 15" Powerbook, even now, could drive a modern 16x9 HDTV over DVI or VGA very nicely.)
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What app/software do you recommend for organizing/navigating the media? XBMC, Plex, etc?

XBMC can run on a PPC Mac, I think Plex is Intel only.

When the PB is connected to your display, how do you plan to control it? Do you have some other device that you can screen-share/VNC in with?
Quote:
If there's no way to connect the PB to the CRT directly with decent picture quality and correct fomatting, what box would you recommend to help make the conversion? Or is a box just a good idea in general? I do have a first-generation Roku, which does not have the USB jack. I'd also prefer a wired connection of some sort for everything.

I don't think there's a box that'll help you. If your 4x3 CRT had component in, I would suggest serving files from your PB to a hacked Apple TV 1 running XBMC because it has component out built-in (and even though Apple says you have to have at least an "enhanced definition" TV many folks got their 4x3 CRTs to work just fine if they had a 16x9 mode.)
Quote:
I still can't figure out the best solution for my particular setup.

The best solution is scrap the 32" CRT for an inexpensive 32" 720p HDTV, connect the PB over DVI or VGA, close the lid, run XBMC and remote control it with an iOS device.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-01-2012, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input. Sounds like a TV upgrade will be in order to get this thing set up.
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