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New HDTV Owner, Hookup with my Mac Mini?
February 26, 2009 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Just bought a Sharp Aquos LC37D43U and am planning to use my G4 Mac Mini for at least a DVD player--but can I have it do more? And how would the setup work?

I'm a computer techie, but all this TV stuff is new to me. Still trying to decide if I want the huge monthly cost of cable.

1) I'm assuming there's no way to hook up my cable (or just antennae) to the TV, and then have the Mac Mini pull the TV signal from the TV back to the Mac Mini, for DVR functions, right? (ie: use the TV as an output.) Also, are there DVR options for a Mac/Mac Mini, or should I just chip in and get a TiVO or DVR from my cable company, RCN?

2) Re: #1, so if I wanted to do any of that, I'd need a TV Tuner for my Mac Mini, right? And for most people they use EyeTV, hook up their cable to the EyeTV, and then run the output thru their Mac into their TV?

3) To use Boxee or Plex, I just have to have my Mini connected to the internet and then connect the Mini to the TV, right?

So I guess in summary, my question boils down to:
* Are there DVR options for the Mini, and how do they work (or should I just get a TiVO) and
* How do I use my Mac Mini as a media server/Boxee/Plex with my new TV?
posted by gramcracker to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best apple dvr software is EyeTV www.elgato.com
The G4 is probably underpowered for many of these tasks though.

You can get usb tuners like the Prostick by Pinnacle.

This would allow you to record on the G4 but you are probably below minimum spec with such an old computer.

Boxee and Plex are both great pieces of software and should work as you describe. Performance may not be that great. I would check to make sure you don't need an intel processor to run them.
posted by scottabing at 5:34 PM on February 26, 2009


I have the 42" Acquos, and I have a similar setup. I don't know if your input are exactly the same, but likely.

Buy an HDMI cable and HDMI to DVI adapter from MonoPrice.com (for a total of like $7) and use that to drive the video. Oh, and you'll need a cable for the audio -- get a 3.5mm Stereo Plug/2 RCA Plug cable.

To get audio through this setup, you'll have to fiddle with your HDMI settings to get it to use the analog audio cables.
posted by krunk at 6:28 PM on February 26, 2009


So far I've had success using Remote Buddy with my Mini/TV setup. It provides a pretty straightforward interface to iTunes, VLC, EyeTV, &c, &c. It doesn't work as a full scale shell over the OS, just semi-transparent menus over the OS X desktop.
What it definitely doesn't do is facilitate access to any web-based streaming video services like Hulu or Netflix. Right now I'm screen sharing into the mini in order to that type of stuff. I may just give plex a shot this weekend and see how it goes . . .
posted by kid_dynamite at 9:23 PM on February 26, 2009


I'm just now getting into Plex. It's really quite neat, especially the latest beta version which includes the ability to pull from internet feeds like Hulu - the same thing Boxee used to do but stopped at Hulu's request. Having tried both I personally like Plex better - the interface seems cleaner and I don't really like the creepy aspect of Boxee "knowing" what my video watching preferences are.

Plex does some really cool things with looking up information to associate with any TV shows and movie files you've pointed it to. It's quite picky about the file names, though.
posted by odinsdream at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2009


By the way, you should definitely get VLC. It plays pretty much everything and includes some features that Apple's DVD Player does not.
posted by odinsdream at 7:06 AM on February 27, 2009


Does the Mini have a remote? I have an Aquos, and I have a Mini (that currently is sitting idle awaiting a replacement HDD), and I had planned on hooking them together to have a simple (if slow) computer in the living room, but the DVR / FrontRow type functions are out because the Mini has no remote. Or Bluetooth, or IR port. Or Airport. I thought only the Intel Minis had the remote; I could be wrong though, but it does severely limit your options.

As for the Tivo, I love mine, but it isn't the HD model (we bought it several years ago). Having an HDTV and not being able to use it is a bit of a drag. I can bypass the Tivo to watch the unscrambled local HD broadcasts but until I get an HD Tivo I won't go for HD cable. If you do decide to go Tivo, go HD now and save yourself some pain later. Buying the non-HD Tivo now is like buying a CRT TV - you can do it, and it will be cheaper, but it won't be a very future-proof decision.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:40 PM on February 27, 2009


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