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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning a new ht setup and want to use an apple computer for the screen display, internet, and menu option display. So- could somebody explain how to get started or point me in the right direction? I guess I may need to buy another apple computer for a dedicated setup. What is the model of choice (macmini?)? What about the different s/w options? How do I learn about them? How and what are you guys using? Thank you for any advice or suggestions.

Tim
 

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What is the model of choice...mac mini? What about the different s/w options? How do I learn about them? How and what are you guys using?

The answers to these questions are why there have been 12,000 posts in this sub-forum in the past 2 years or so, Tim.

Quote:
I guess I may need to buy another apple computer for a dedicated setup

Tim, why not start with what equipment you already have and what you think you might want to do? Here are a few other questions to get you started:


1. You're thinking of a "new" HT setup--what didn't you like about your "old" setup?


2. Did you involve a computer or Mac in that setup or would this be your first foray?


3. What kind of "content" are you watching and listening to now? How do you receive it--cable, dish, dvd, etc? How extensive and what kind of library or collection have you built up?


4. All of us here bring a Mac into our home theater for different reasons: you can use a Mac for music, rip your entire cd collection to a hard drive, then manage and control playback through the computer rather than popping individual cds in and out of a player; you can do the same thing with dvds, rip then import your movie onto hard drives; you can use your Mac to record and archive high def television, whether you get it via OTA or QAM; you can listen and watch all this in one main home theater or move all this content around your house over a network.


Obviously, the subject is vast. You can have your Mac handle some narrow, specific HT tasks or you can try to set it up to be all-encompassing. Start revealing and sharing a little bit about your situation, we'll point you in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply and help. I am new to the ht computer world.

I am rebuilding the HT in the basement. I have an existing iMac in my office at home but none in the current setup. This is my first attempt at integrating the an apple computer to the setup. I have an HD receiver for DirecTV satellite and a standard DVD player. I currently have Comcast cable for internet and a basic tv package that I want to add. I purchased a PS3 for my son for X-MAS so I want to add BR to the mix. I want to integrate these things into a screen menu using an apple. So Im trying to figure out where to start first. Do I need to buy a dedicated apple? Im reading that people are using the macmini for this purpose. What type of s/w do I need to achieve my goals of an integrated setup?

Thanks.
 

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well, we can save you a lot of time, Tim. You can't really integrate those things into a "screen menu" with a Mac. By screen menu, I'm going to assume you mean an "interface" or "front end" where you envision the Mac as central controller, the brains behind an overall system of separate devices which radiate out like spokes. The Mac in a home theater doesn't work well outside its own controlled environment--so your DirecTV and standalone dvd player and Comcast basic cable will stay outside whatever Mac and OS X-based front end you choose. Most folks who keep those devices and STBs end up controlling them with a universal remote, route audio through an AVR, and directly connect to their HDTV. And even if you get a kick ass Mac you'll still need a kick ass AVR.


Now, a Mac can take on some of those things but it usually is as an adjunct to them or an option: you can, as I said, play back actual dvds with your Mac, it does a decent job with them but not a great job, you can also play back video_ts files (the ripped dvd) which your standalone dvd player cannot.


Satellite is a closed system, you're pretty much out in the cold with that without hacking your box. Blu-ray and the PS3 also exist completely outside the Apple notion of home theater at the moment.


So what can you do? Music, of course. Macs handle this extraordinarily well, I mean picky audiophile "I'm ready to spend thousands because my ears are so fine" well.


With a third party add-on device like an EyeTV or Miglia tuner--plugged into a firewire or USB port--you CAN take that Comcast cable signal and tune/record/route through your Mac--and a core duo Mac has enough juice to do quite a nice job with high def. This will not be any of the premium channels, though--just the analog
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am reading that AVS people are using a windows based "media center" software package for their ht setup. So-there is no MAC OS based "media center" software package? Are people not using a version-type of media center? If I want someting like media center am I sol? Do I need to buy a pc?

Thanks.
 

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Originally Posted by timatraw /forum/post/0


I am reading that AVS people are using a windows based "media center" software package for their ht setup. So-there is no MAC OS based "media center" software package? Are people not using a version-type of media center? If I want someting like media center am I sol? Do I need to buy a pc?

Thanks.

There are some people who prefer a "front-end" program -- a graphical interface to various home theater functions. However, there are also many people who do not use a front end, but simply open the program they need to perform a certain function.


It is really a matter of personal taste more than anything else. There are several of these "front-end" programs for the Mac, including one that comes free with many new Macs, called Front Row. If you'd like to see a list, take a look in the FAQ for a link to a page with lists of Mac home theater software. To make it easier for you, here is the link . Look for "Central Control".
 
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