Unified interface, live tv, recorded, movies - HD homerun Mac mini? Plex, XBMC, WMC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I currently have Boxee and I love it.. running off my synology DS212 file server of content.

But I'm thinking of finally cutting the cord. Considering getting a Mac Mini, and the HD HomeRun. But wondering is there a unified interface to my TV I could use?

Basically I want to turn on the TV and have 1 interface for me and the family to use. Ideally it's easy to switch between live TV, a guide of live TV where i can watch/record, watch recorded live TV, and watch all my movies.

Am I right in the setup that I'm thinking? What else do I need? And does one UI that's simple and can be controlled thru a universal remote exist?

Plex, XBMC, WMC? The boxee UI is one of the easiest, but of course that doesn't support Live TV..

thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 09:20 PM
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WMC with MediaBrowser Plugin.

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post #3 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 09:27 PM
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You're pretty right except for the Mac. That is unless you want to run Windows 7 on it.
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-07-2013, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

You're pretty right except for the Mac. That is unless you want to run Windows 7 on it.

So which HTPC should I get instead of the mac mini? Something I can just put in the media rack in the other room, of which I can then control via remote control?

I do want to be able to play all my MKV and MKV 3D movies etc..
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 01:58 PM
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I am running a 2011 Mac mini on windows 7 with hdhomerun prime and mymovies and it works great. You can build something cheaper but at the time I was to busy/lazy to mess with it.
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by potts.mike View Post

I am running a 2011 Mac mini on windows 7 with hdhomerun prime and mymovies and it works great. You can build something cheaper but at the time I was to busy/lazy to mess with it.

so mac mini w/ bootcamp, running windows 7?

does the interface have live TV, give you the ability to record, see what's available that's recorded and all your media? this sounds cool.

oh, and what are you using as a remote control?
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:13 PM
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Yes it does. WMC has a top notch PVR with EPG and all. The MediaBrowser Plugin gets you a nice interface for your local media.

You use a WMC remote with it. They go for about $20.

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post #8 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:14 PM
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If you want live TV and DVR, then I would definitely recommend WMC + Media Browser or WMC + MyMovies. The Mac mini, while it will look nice and be very quiet, will be very expensive and you're at the mercy of Apple's shoddy boot camp drivers. Alternatively you can buy an off the shelf computer from Dell/HP/Lenovo/etc., or better yet, build your own. There are very good stickied guides in this forum for building your own computer.
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

If you want live TV and DVR, then I would definitely recommend WMC + Media Browser or WMC + MyMovies. The Mac mini, while it will look nice and be very quiet, will be very expensive and you're at the mercy of Apple's shoddy boot camp drivers. Alternatively you can buy an off the shelf computer from Dell/HP/Lenovo/etc., or better yet, build your own. There are very good stickied guides in this forum for building your own computer.

I'd prefer not to "build" why doesn't someone just sell a fully loaded, ready to plug in HTPC? I was thinking mac mini / bootcamp w/ windows 7 should be stable and not something I need to fuss with much.
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post

I'd prefer not to "build" why doesn't someone just sell a fully loaded, ready to plug in HTPC? I was thinking mac mini / bootcamp w/ windows 7 should be stable and not something I need to fuss with much.

Here you go
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 04:36 PM
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+1.

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post #12 of 14 Old 05-08-2013, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post

so mac mini w/ bootcamp, running windows 7?
That is what I have on a 2011 Macmini
Quote:
does the interface have live TV, give you the ability to record, see what's available that's recorded and all your media? this sounds cool.

oh, and what are you using as a remote control?

If you get one of the Win7 packages such as Home Premium or Ultimate, Media Center is included, gives you Live TV, Electronic Program Guide and PVR functionality.
This is pretty much all you need to do to get up and running.

You might also want to take a look at the HDHomerun Prime if you Cablecard is available in your area.

I use the Microsoft MCE remote on my Mini together with the Logitech Dinovo Mini keyboard
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-19-2013, 07:31 AM
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I just followed the mac mini route, this is my experience so far:

I bought a the lowest end mac mini, the $599 i5 model from amazon. The CPU is way more horsepower than you'd need for typical HTPC applications, but I had to immediately change out the 5400rpm stock HDD to a 256gb SSD because the stock HDD is really slow. I got the Samsung 840 pro SSD for $230, but cheaper ssds exist. This isn't a must, but it really makes the system snappy overall. This is especially noticeable when you launch apps or index large files (such as accessing a large movie collection on my DS412+ nas... there's no lag, its all instant, in all my tests with other computers running HDDs, there was always a bit of a lag scrubbing mkv video files but not with this ssd) I'm also going to upgrade the ram from 4gigs to 8 ($70). So just on the mac mini alone, you're looking at around $900.

Why'd I go with the mac mini?
right now, its the best built, quietest, lowest power consuming powerful PC out there, period. Nothing comes close. You turn it on, and without the SSD you dont even know that it's on, there's a fan but you dont hear it unless you literally put your ear to the machine or put your hand in the back to feel the hot air blowing out.

The box itself is gorgeous... all aluminum, and has a tiny footprint. For pure aesthetics, you wont find a nicer package, even if it's almost twice as expensive as other boxes.

Anyway, I've installed windows ultimate on it, via bootcamp. Apple makes it super easy to install windows, however, if you go this route, make sure you use a usb 2.0 flash drive and NOT a usb 3.0 drive. Took me 6 hours to figure out that a usb 3.0 flash drive wont boot the windows installer.

I'm waiting on the HD homerun people to release their 4-tuner DLNA complaint box this summer, but with windows installed, it should have no problems integrating into my setup. Right now my mac mini boots directly into windows media center, and I have the plex client installed. There's a shortcut in windows media center to jump into Plex when I want to watch my archived movie/tv show library. I went with plex over xbmc because plex is much easier to get set up, i think, than xbmc is. XBMC just has too many options, that frankly, is a bit overkill for a normal user. Plus, I never could get xbmc to correctly recognize the metadata in my movies/tv shows folder on my nas. With Plex, that was never an issue an getting metadata was much faster.

Finally, my avr equipment is pre-hdmi. So I needed a computer with both optical out and hdmi out. Insofar, only the mac mini has this compatibility out of the box. It was super easy to get this set up in my system and the drivers worked immediately.

There's also a way to set the system up to work solely with the apple tv remote, which I have done. The only limitation to it is that you get 7 buttons of functionality as what's on the apple tv remote. Those 7 buttons control plex easily and fully, as well as windows media center, so far, but I havent setup the live tv portion just yet so I cant comment if I'll eventually have to get another mce remote. I'm hoping I wont and continue with the clean setup that I presently have.

It's no doubt an expensive way to go, but if you are looking for the ultimate, clean setup for a set top box that does it all and has high aesthetics, you cant beat the mac mini route.

another option for you may be to get an Intel NUC:
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Computing-Gigabit-i3-3217U-DC3217IYE/dp/B0093LINVK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368974313&sr=8-1&keywords=intel+nuc

it also has a tiny form factor, low heat, and a fast enough cpu to get the job done (if you're using it just for htpc). You will have to buy a SSD, ram, wireless network card and ir/remote to get this to work, and come in for about $550 or so.
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-19-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post

I'd prefer not to "build" why doesn't someone just sell a fully loaded, ready to plug in HTPC? I was thinking mac mini / bootcamp w/ windows 7 should be stable and not something I need to fuss with much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Here you go
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Here you go


wow. The assassin HTPC looks pretty damn good! thanks.. i'll check it out
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