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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since some of you may be new to the Mac OS and Apple hardware, here is a brief FAQ about the Mac as an HTPC.


1. OK, I bought a Mac Mini. Now what?

A. To start you will need four things (many of which you may already have):
a. electricity

b. a monitor (VGA or DVI connector)

c. keyboard (USB, bluetooth or RF)

d. mouse (USB, bluetooth or RF)
B. If you are planning to connect the audio to an optical or toslink digital audio input on your audio amplifier or receiver, you will need an adapter. The adapter is a digital optical female to a 3.5mm male. If you go here , for example and click on the "Digital Optical (Toslink) Female / 3.5mm Male" link (second one down) you will see a large picture of the part you need. Once you install the adapter and the optical cable to your amplifier (if necessary), you should be able to enjoy surround sound on your DVDs.


C. Depending on what sort of display device you connect to, you may need adapters and/or software. The Mac Mini, for example, has a DVI connector with a DVI to VGA adapter included in the package. If your monitor has only HDMI, you will need to buy a DVI-HDMI adapter. If you need to connect via S-Video or composite video (for example to an older TV set or amplifier), you will need to buy this adapter from Apple. Connecting to a large-screen plasma or LCD via DVI may be quite difficult. If you are unable to make it work correctly, come back here and do a search for your model display. If you cannot find anything, post a question, including the make and model of your display. If you connect via VGA, OTOH, there should be no problems, but in some cases the display may not be as sharp as the DVI.
2. OK, I've got the machine connected to my audio and video systems, now what?

A. You might start out by going to this web page, which has a complete and up-to-date list of software that should meet all your HTPC needs. Please note that at the top of that page there are links for additional pages specialising in video, audio, iTunes & mp3 and graphics.


B. If you are looking for something very specific and/or unique, you might try going here and searching.


C. If you like Front Row, but wish it would also play films you have ripped to a hard drive, one of our users (Squished Squirre) has written a script that will do that for you. You can download the script here .

3. I've done everything you said, but I still have problems. How do I solve them?

A. The short answer is come back here, do a search and see if you can find a solution to your problem.


B. If you are the first person to have this problem (you can't find anything in a search), then post it here. Be sure to include the model computer you have, the version of the OS you are running and, if relevant, any connector or external devices you are using.


C. You might also try going here and in the "how to category" pull-down menu, select "Mac OS guides."


D. You're trying to connect your Mac to an LCD or Plasma display and you have problems. Help is here! Fedward has written an excellent tutorial on using SwitchRes X to make your display happer. Read it here .



This document is open for additions, comments, deletions and revision. If you'd like to suggest something, please post below.
 

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Just one caveat: To set up a brand new mac mini, you will need a USB mouse and keyboard. Once it's set up, then you can then use just a BT mouse and keyboard.


I have my mac mini connected to a Samsung 67" DLP HDTV. I use a DVI-HDMI cable. (I tried the VGA route, but like the picture better this way.) I also have it connected to my 5.1 channel receiver via a toslink cable. I use my mac mini and Front Row to watch DVDs, listen to CDs, listen to music via iTunes, display photos via iPhoto and watch video files, and, most importantly, videoconference with my kids using iChat.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILTWTV /forum/post/0


Just one caveat: To set up a brand new mac mini, you will need a USB mouse and keyboard. Once it's set up, then you can then use just a BT mouse and keyboard.

This was not my experience. My brand new Mac Mini was ordered with only Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and the initial setup detected, paired, and used them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ILTWTV /forum/post/0


I have my mac mini connected to a Samsung 67" DLP HDTV. I use a DVI-HDMI cable. (I tried the VGA route, but like the picture better this way.) I also have it connected to my 5.1 channel receiver via a toslink cable. I use my mac mini and Front Row to watch DVDs, listen to CDs, listen to music via iTunes, display photos via iPhoto and watch video files, and, most importantly, videoconference with my kids using iChat.

This is very nice. It doesn't belong in the FAQ per se, however, I appreciate you posting here because for the new Mac users this is good and useful information. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniMoe /forum/post/0


This was not my experience. My brand new Mac Mini was ordered with only Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and the initial setup detected, paired, and used them.

Thanks, MiniMoe, this is good information -- and also shows how good a Mac computer is!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniMoe /forum/post/0


This was not my experience. My brand new Mac Mini was ordered with only Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and the initial setup detected, paired, and used them.

This was definitely not my experience. There was no detection of the Apple BT mouse and keyboard. I needed a wired keyboard and mouse to respond to the intial setup screens. I got my mac mini in March. There have been keyboard and bluetooth updates since then. Perhaps this is what Apple is referring to when they said the update contains new functionality.


Anyway, that's good news and certainly makes more sense.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniMoe /forum/post/0


This was not my experience. My brand new Mac Mini was ordered with only Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and the initial setup detected, paired, and used them.

Ditto for me. The OS can be configured to go into auto detect if no mouse is found within a short time frame. Perhaps this was added to the OS recently.


Mike
 

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Is there any reason why the supplied instructions would not also work with an iMac?


I ask because if a Mini with monitor and 80 GB drive about as expensive as an iMac with 160 GB drive.


I realize that the monitor is not absolutely necessary, but I don't want to have to turn on, (and step back from) the TV when I am organizing and indexing the CDs in my multi-disk changers.


Currently, I am evaluating what I want for my first HTPC (more precisely, HTMac) and the main difference I see between the Mac Mini and the iMac options is that the iMac has a "Mini DVI" while the Mini has a full DVI.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zim2dive /forum/post/0


Ditto for me. The OS can be configured to go into auto detect if no mouse is found within a short time frame. Perhaps this was added to the OS recently.


Mike

I've got the opposite problem -- every time I boot the Mini in headless mode (no monitor/keyboard/mouse -- I access it via VNC) it goes into bluetooth mouse autodetection mode. How do I disable it?


Ted
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov /forum/post/0


I've got the opposite problem -- every time I boot the Mini in headless mode (no monitor/keyboard/mouse -- I access it via VNC) it goes into bluetooth mouse autodetection mode. How do I disable it?


Ted

Its under bluetooth settings in the systems preferences.
 

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Thanks for the write-up. Much appreciated. At this point all we have is a projector and HTIB system in living room with the projector shooting onto the white wall but when we get a Mini this will come in handy.
 

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Dear Mac User

I am thinking of a media centre around a duo mac mini. I read that DTS is not enabled?

How about DD EX, and DTS ES etc?

Finally apart from the simple remote supplied by Mac, does any other remote allow me to control the Mac from say a dozen feet away (where I will be sitting whilst enjoying music?)

So sorry for the numberous questions, but I was very excited to find this forum.


Finally how does the mac compare to a real AV processor in quality?


Thanks

P
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock /forum/post/0


Dear Mac User

I am thinking of a media centre around a duo mac mini. I read that DTS is not enabled?

I don't know where you read that, but that is not true.

Quote:
Finally apart from the simple remote supplied by Mac, does any other remote allow me to control the Mac from say a dozen feet away (where I will be sitting whilst enjoying music?)

I believe you can use any remote able to "learn" commands from another remote. However, I have not tried this myself, so I cannot be sure. Instead of using another remote, however, you might consider a (free) program called iRed Lite. This allows you to extend the functions available from the Apple Remote. And it's free.
Quote:
So sorry for the numberous questions, but I was very excited to find this forum.

Finally how does the mac compare to a real AV processor in quality?

I think it will depend on what you are outputting to. I use a projector and find it as good as my old Windows machine. However, using it with LCD or Plasma displays is a whole different story. Why not go to a store and just see for yourself?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Further /forum/post/0


I don't know where you read that, but that is not true....

Further, are you saying saying that he can get Multichannel DTS or DD while using Front Row, or another OS X front end? If you know of a way to do it, please post it in the FAQ. Otherwise, your statement is incorrect.


---------------------------

I will remove this post in a couple of days, so we don't clutter the FAQ. The above two posters, please do the same. This is a FAQ, not a discussion thread.


Thanks you.


P.S. Oh, and Further, could you please extend us the courtesy of removing some of your less than relevant posts from the MCE FAQ (you account for 30% of the posts there, without really contributing much,) so that I can delete my diatribe above. Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by petetherock /forum/post/0


Finally apart from the simple remote supplied by Mac, does any other remote allow me to control the Mac from say a dozen feet away (where I will be sitting whilst enjoying music?)

So sorry for the numberous questions, but I was very excited to find this forum.


Finally how does the mac compare to a real AV processor in quality?


Thanks

P

I use a Home Theater Master MX-700 remote. The supplied IR database has data for the Mini. Works like a champ.
 

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Since they say Virtual PC will work, it's likely that Parallels and/or Boot Camp will too, unless there's a specific hardware feature involved that's not (yet) supported. If one fails, try the other.


Doug
 

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BootCamp works great with the MX850software, so it should with the MX700. I would guess Parallels would work fine as well.
 
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