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MAC OS X based HTPC  

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
hi, I' from Germany and am in the HTPC scene for 2 years now.
My new project is a MAC OS X based HTPC. I searched the forums for about 1 hour and found some very interesting threads.

At first my definition of an HTPC is:
-video player with dvi output (screen is an Apple Cinema HD Display 23")
-audio player/jukebox
-HDTV (WMVHD and MPEG2HD; not receiving HDTV-channels)
-a bit videogaming
-scaler for external sources like X-Box (in Germany the X-Box only ouputs interlaced pictures :()
-perhaps a pre-amp

I know, a mac is not the best choice for videogaming, but, as I said, I have an X-Box, so that would not be the (main) problem. The much bigger problems are that there are no solutions for postprocessing video like there is on the PC with the H3D or FFDShow, and the few capture cards available for mac either do only have composite and s-video, or are priced at 1000$ and higher. Does anyone know a solution? Is the picture quality of the Apple DVD-Player or of VLC much worse than postprocessed by a H3D?

And for WMVHD, what are the minimum requirements? On high-def.de they say G5 2x2Ghz for 1080p and G4 1.33Ghz for 720p, but for me that sounds a bit too high? Does the Geforce 6800 Mac-Edition help decoding WMVHD on the Mac like it does on the PC? If so, then one could possibly flash a PC card...

The only two things that will work without problems are playing back audio and using the mac as a PVR...
post #2 of 16
Your pettey much SOL when it come to MAC.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
What does SOL mean?
post #4 of 16
It means he doesn't think you can make a mac work as a HTPC. Mac Mall is giving away PCI capture cards with PVR software with a new G5 purchase so inexpensive capture cards for the mac must be available
post #5 of 16
you should check out this Home Theater Mac User Group forum:


I am in the process of setting up a new HTPC with my 2.5GHz. G5, nVidia 6800 Ultra, and 30" Apple Cinema Display. I am also going to have over a TeraByte of internal storage...

HTPC can be done on the mac but it will be expensive.
post #6 of 16
SOL as in **** out of Luck.
What I ref to is Hardware MPEG Capture card like PVR 250/350 which there is a clone card (Pixela PIX-MPTV/P1M) but from what I unstand everthing that Pixela sale it only work under Japanese versions OS.
Thing is Carlos_Salcedo not every one can get an HDTV signal and this only count about 10% maybe 15% at most of the market place both PC, MAC, eand so on, and what is out there for MAC cost any where from 3 or 6x more then PC.
post #7 of 16
the main problem is with software playback of .ts streams. You need a dual 2.0 G5 to playback the streams and have to use a software program with no hardware support. VLC can playback .ts streams but there is a bug with the core audio and optical output. I think there is a way to playback by sending the .ts streams via firewire ouput to a Samsung SIRT-165 HDTV receiver using the VirtualDVHS app. This way you could use a cheap mac for both recording and playback because there would be no need for MPEG2 decoding.
I went for the expensive setup because I want the ability to playback 1080p in software without any hardware support. Plus I got the 30" so I don't need to use any third party apps like SwithResX to connect to an HDTV or use an external receiver to decode the MPEG2.
post #8 of 16
And for WMVHD, what are the minimum requirements?
There are none. It runs at literally frames per minute and is not worth your time.

Their "programmers" are nothing more than inept businessmen and they haven't updated WMP for Mac in three plus years, have no capacity to use the same nVidia and ATI chips, and have been known to spread outright lies

These so-called programmers are unwilling to talk to the Mac Business team at Microsoft and the "Microsoft MVPs" to even correct glaring bugs in their program.

Oh yeah, Steve Ballmer will continue to call you a thief for owning an iPod and not using WMV.

Their scare tactics aren't working. H.264 is here and iPods are still selling like hotcakes.

As for the Mac as HTPC check out HTMUG and el Gato (elgato.com) has multiple offerings specifically geared for the european DTV market. Their HD tuner for ATSC is far superior to any of the PC offerings.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I neither do have a D-VHS nor the ability to receive any HDTV channels, so thats not important for me. I only want to watch WMVHD and MPEG2HD bought on DVD or downloaded from the web. But according to Carlos website (which I knew already, btw) WMVHD could be a problem when even MPEG2HD needs about 99% CPU utilization on a Dual G4 1Ghz. The missing of a scaler card like the H3D does it make more difficult, too. My maximum budget including an AV-Receiver would be 2000 Euro (about 2500$), so I guess my project is impossible to realize :(
post #10 of 16
even MPEG2HD needs about 99% CPU utilization
see earlier quote from jahlion:

playback by sending the .ts streams via firewire ouput to a Samsung SIRT-165 HDTV receiver using the VirtualDVHS app.
This is the cheapest and most effective way to get perfect HD playback on low spec machines.

Keep in mind, 99% CPU utilization in OS X is equivalent to slowdown seen opening a new window in XP. :D I don't however see 99% utilization on my Dual 500 with any app.
post #11 of 16
WMVHD (the clips from Microsoft's site) plays like a slideshow on my Mac G4. Even my old broken down PIII blows the G4 away when it comes to WMVHD. (And of course, my 3GHz P4 blows away both.) I don't know if Mac G5s do much better with WMVHD.
post #12 of 16
I've got a 1.33 GHz Powerbook G4 with the Radeon 9600. When playing back DVDs using Apple's Player and downloaded movies (mostly XVID) with either mplayer or VLC I get what looks like vertical tearing when scenes scroll or pan.

I've tried different resolutions and sometimes it seems to go away but then comes back.

Any ideas?

post #13 of 16
This is obvious, but I will ask.

Do you have deinterlacing turned on? It was not default when I added VLC to my G4 ibook. I use the 'blend' choice for DVDs.

post #14 of 16
I've been using VLC 0.8.0 check out some HDV footage from the new Sony HDR-FX1 3-CCD HDV video camera. Check out my setup (I don't have the Blackmagic equipment yet):

post #15 of 16
I'm looking for a powerbook to drive my Sharp LC45 1080P LCD. There is one person over at the flat panel forum who has his 2 year old powerbook 800 mHz G4 working at 1920X1080P. I believe that his has the radeon 7500 32 meg video card. I am checking one out on ebay. Does anybody know if all the 800 mHz powerbooks have this card or are there some with other cards out there. I have to be really carefull as there are a lot of dvi cards out there which will not work with this monitor such as the NVIDIA FX5200.
post #16 of 16
hdtv on a mac in a nutshell
buy eytv from elgato
install .... 15 sec
put your firewire cable in....3sec
do a satelite search ...... 2 min

take your telec. and switch to Euro 1080 or Astra HD


Timeshifting-HD-recording-MPEG cut even with HDTV

other settings :

look for config. x (shareware)

set your HDTV display to 50.00 Hz (same as Powerstrip for the PC)

an euro HDTV stream with 1920x1088 with 20 Mbit plays without problems
on a properly configured G4 DP 867 MHz

(eyetv player is much more effective as QTplayer or VLC )

b.tw ....developed by the former Astarte guys bought by Apple in 2000....

(only drawback.. we need Reclock for the Mac......! )

Greetings from Germany


new PC config:

Shuttle SB 61G2V3 (fan mod.)
2x Corsair double channel DDR 400 RAM
P4 Precott (yes !) 2,8 GHz @ 1,28 V
Zoom Player - DScaler Video- PowerDVD audio - Reclock
Radeon 9800 pro
DVI in 30" TFT pixel mapped 1280x768 @ 50,000 Hz
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