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Please help a noob with the new Mini HTPC

 
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oldsmike
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject: Please help a noob with the new Mini HTPC Reply with quote

Oh Dear.... Embarassed

Where to start? Crying or Very sad

OK. Lot's of questions for the Experts out there.

1. The TV is not 1080p is that a problem?

2. The TV has only one HDMI port, is that going to be a problem? I see several have an adaptor (i.e. Monoprice). Where does that go? My Receiver has two input HDMI and one output HDMI. Can I plug the output of the TV and the Mini to the input and not use the adaptor?

3. I want to start ripping DVD's what setting to use and is there a best software tool for that purpose?

4. I will download the latest version of Plex once the Mini is available to me on Christmas day. Any helpful hints at set up are greatly appreciated!

5. We don't watch much TV here but watch lots of movies. I do have basic cable here (comes with our internet). I'd buy EyeTV and that connects to the Mini? EyeTV comes in several flavors which one to get?

That's only a start on the questions, I'm sure many more to follow!
I have around a 1000 DVD's to rip, a good sized job. I'll be placing them on the Buffalo and getting a better Raid sooner than later. I'm replacing two Sony DVD Jukebox's, one is a 400, the other a 300.

Again, many, many Thanks In Advance for my upcoming education in building my Mini HTPC!

Regards,
Mike
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Home Theatre:
Mac Mini - 2.66 gHz, 8 gb RAM
Television: Westinghouse LTV-37w2 HD
Receiver: Sony STR-DG1000
Speakers: M&K -75, -55
Sub-woofer: Sunfire TSEQ10
Buffalo Linkstation Gigabit, HS-DG500GL
Buffalo Terastation, HS-DH0.0TGL/R5
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MikeInJapan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: Please help a noob with the new Mini HTPC Reply with quote

oldsmike wrote:

1. The TV is not 1080p is that a problem?
No, not really. Unless it is some random resolution it should be okay. 720p is fine. What resolution is it?

2. The TV has only one HDMI port, is that going to be a problem? I see several have an adaptor (i.e. Monoprice). Where does that go? My Receiver has two input HDMI and one output HDMI. Can I plug the output of the TV and the Mini to the input and not use the adaptor?
I have my mini (older non-HDMI) connect to my amp via a DVI to HDMI cable (with optical for audio). Then HDMI from the amp to the TV. With a newer mini I would Mini to amp with HDMI and amp to TV with HDMI.

3. I want to start ripping DVD's what setting to use and is there a best software tool for that purpose?
Handbrakes is free and the best but not the fastest.

4. I will download the latest version of Plex once the Mini is available to me on Christmas day. Any helpful hints at set up are greatly appreciated!

If you don't have a remote get one. Also for a quick start check that your library is labelled correctly.

5. We don't watch much TV here but watch lots of movies. I do have basic cable here (comes with our internet). I'd buy EyeTV and that connects to the Mini? EyeTV comes in several flavors which one to get?
I can't help here as Japan has almost no tuners for OS X Sad



Hope it helps and merry christmas. Was you have Plex it is hard to live without it.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Please help a noob with the new Mini HTPC Reply with quote

oldsmike wrote:
Oh Dear.... Embarassed

Where to start? Crying or Very sad

OK. Lot's of questions for the Experts out there.

1. The TV is not 1080p is that a problem?

No. 1080i can be, but anything can work either out of the box or with SwtichResX. If it's a plasma teevee, there might be unsolvable problems since OS X doesn't quite deal with Pixel Aspect Ratios(PAR).

Quote:
2. The TV has only one HDMI port, is that going to be a problem? I see several have an adaptor (i.e. Monoprice). Where does that go? My Receiver has two input HDMI and one output HDMI. Can I plug the output of the TV and the Mini to the input and not use the adaptor?


If you are getting a new 2010 mini, it has an HDMI port. Otherwise, it really depends on the abilities of the receiver and how it passes the data back and forth from the source and the display. Hopefully everything will play nice and you would plug the mini into the receiver and then the receiver into the display.

Quote:
3. I want to start ripping DVD's what setting to use and is there a best software tool for that purpose?


Ripping and transcoding are two different things. MakeMKV will rip your discs into a convenient file(or sets of files). Depending on drive speed, this is about a twenty minute process. If you are limited on storage space, you can then use Handbrake to transcode the files into smaller files. Depending on the content, CPU, and settings, this is a nearly real time process for SD content, and quarter time process for HD content.

Quote:
4. I will download the latest version of Plex once the Mini is available to me on Christmas day. Any helpful hints at set up are greatly appreciated!


Make sure your library is set up right. I have three folders(Movies, Teevee, and Videos), which contain the subfolders for the content. The movie subfolders should be named with the name of the movie, and have the release year at the end - ie Beauty and the Beast (1946). You can still expect the scrapper to screw up. I was talking to a friend and Plex keeps scraping Grand Prix (1966) as Sex and the City (2008)! Shocked

Quote:
5. We don't watch much TV here but watch lots of movies. I do have basic cable here (comes with our internet). I'd buy EyeTV and that connects to the Mini? EyeTV comes in several flavors which one to get?

That's only a start on the questions, I'm sure many more to follow!
I have around a 1000 DVD's to rip, a good sized job. I'll be placing them on the Buffalo and getting a better Raid sooner than later. I'm replacing two Sony DVD Jukebox's, one is a 400, the other a 300.

Again, many, many Thanks In Advance for my upcoming education in building my Mini HTPC!

Regards,
Mike


We're here to help! Enjoy the mini!

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

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oldsmike
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much, that is a great start!!!

A couple of answers to questions:
TV: It's a LCD, compatible to 480i, 480P, 720P, 1080i.
Resolution:
Recommended: 1366 x 768 @ 60Hz.
Supported:
1280 x 1024 @ 60, 75Hz
800 x 600 @ 60, 75 Hz
1024 x 768 @ 70, 75 Hz
720 x 400 @ 70 Hz
848 x 480 @ 60Hz
640 x 480 @ 60, 75 Hz
832 x 624 @ 75Hz (MAC)

I've got SwitchResX and Handbrake now. I will get MakeMKV and check it out.

As far as the remote is concerned, I have a new wireless keyboard and trackpad. I was going to mount them both to a piece of Plexiglass with Velcro. Will that suffice?
_________________
Home Theatre:
Mac Mini - 2.66 gHz, 8 gb RAM
Television: Westinghouse LTV-37w2 HD
Receiver: Sony STR-DG1000
Speakers: M&K -75, -55
Sub-woofer: Sunfire TSEQ10
Buffalo Linkstation Gigabit, HS-DG500GL
Buffalo Terastation, HS-DH0.0TGL/R5
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't need to mount them to plexi or anything else. Just get an Apple remote. You will most likely not need the keyboard and mouse that much, and Plex works very well with the Apple remote. To note - they can be found on eBay for a few bucks which is better than paying Apple $20!

I'm guessing your display has a VGA connection on the back. That will give you the 1366 by 768 display. If you can get it to work with the HDMI, then go with the 720 setting. Hopefully you won't need SRX, as it can be confusing, and it can render your computer unusable if the test resolution doesn't work. If you do end up going with the VGA connection, your mini's audio out should also be a digital audio out with the proper adapter. These adapters, or dedicated cables are very cheap from monoprice.

Just to note - With MakeMKV, it is only good for a certain time. After it expires, the developer usually posts a new version. Sometimes he doesn't, and all you need to do is reset your system clock to a date prior to the expiration of the software.

SC
_________________
Grumpy old man of computing.

[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

Make sure it has pins!
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