Mac mini home media setup

A fresh install will usually run more smoothly and faster than before. For me it really made things run snappy. Hopefully you bought the right connectors!

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Start with the video HDMI. Connect the video out on the computer to the back of the TV. Make sure the TV is set to the right input. Drag the little boxes to arrange the two monitors to mimic how you physically have your computer and TV set up. This will make your desktop span the two displays in almost real space. Try moving the mouse around between the two displays and see how it works. Notice how one of the monitor boxes has a white bar on it.

This is telling you which monitor is the primary monitor. But since we are going to be using this mostly as a TV and not a computer per se, we want the TV to be the primary monitor. Next connect the audio cables. Many receivers need special settings to use the optical input. Now you should have an image displayed on your TV! Go grab a coffee, take a stretch, rest your brain for a bit.

You may have noticed that although the TV is showing the beautiful glow of success, the text and interface are probably too small to read from your couch. YouTube and other videos will still show you a p picture, but all the interface elements will be easy to read.

Before you set up Home Sharing

We can enable it using some easy Unix hacking in Terminal. This quick hack made my media center experience x better and fully completed the usability of my media center Mac. I found it helpful to add a little menu item to help swap between normal p and HiDPI mode. This adds a little monitor menu next to your volume in your top menu bar that lets you quicky access the resolution preferences.

Mac Mini tv setup - Connect a Mac Mini to your TV |

This option will make sure that full screen apps on the the main display will blacken other displays. Almost there. If you are using a new keyboard or mouse, make sure you have them set up so they are responsive.

I had to make the trackpad more sensitive on my cheapo Logitech 2 in 1 keyboard Note: Mac OS treats this particular model as a mouse, not as a trackpad. You can make it appear by hovering the mouse at the selected edge of the display. Next, I set up a schedule for my computer to turn off and on at times I usually watch TV. This is a good balance for me and saves a bit of power. If you have guests or children that will be using the TV often, you might want to consider creating a new OS X User for them with special restrictions or privileges. Google is your friend.

I use iTunes for my music. If you are using an external hard drive for storage, you want to let your mac know to put the library in there. Plug in your external drive.

Mac Media Center – Setup any Mac as a Media Center Easily

A dialog should pop up and ask you about your library. Now drag and drop all your music files into the iTunes window. Plex has two parts. The first part is a server that is always running, and lets you access your media on the go from other devices. The second part is the actual player itself that lets you watch the files on this computer. Naming your media takes a bit of time, but is worth it in the long run, since if it can recognize which files you have, it can automatically download metadata and pictures to make the experience much nicer.

Although Plex and iTunes can play almost any type of media file, I also downloaded VLC, a free program that can play literally every file format you can think of. At this point you should have a working media center that can play pretty much anything! To simplify things, I removed everything from my desktop and only have Safari, Plex, and iTunes in my dock.

I have Safari remember my Netflix and YouTube passwords. You must be logged in to post a comment. Toggle navigation AdamBebko. Step 1: Make sure you have the right equipment: Old mac capable of running HD video. For each managed user, you can choose which libraries they have access to, and limit content by movie or TV ratings or particular labels you've given your media.

In the list of accounts, click the lock icon next to an account's name to specify a four-digit pin that user will need to access their account. That's a good way to keep smaller people away from inappropriate audiovisual experiences.

How to setup a Mac Mini Media Center, server, and remote torrents box

Next, open Settings. Plex generally does a good job of making the different categories here self-explanatory, and of setting up your server so that you don't need to go tinkering with settings any more than you want to. But let's review a few quick essentials. You can download or learn more about each update here. New versions tend to roll out about once a month, if not more frequently. Remember to set your maximum upload speed here, so that you don't choke Plex or your own bandwidth when you're serving yourself media away from home. Check your internet connection's speed to figure out what number to set.

Finally, you're probably wondering, you know, how to play your media. The home screen will show the last three movies or TV shows you've been watching recently. If you have TV shows, it'll list what's "on deck" — the latest or next episode in each series you've been watching. It also provides recently added TV episodes or series and movies. You can jump directly to any of your libraries under Libraries on the left sidebar. If you want to add more libraries, look for the plus sign that appears when you hover over that header.

Roll over any of the items on the main screen, and you'll see a play icon in the middle, to jump right into watching or listening. The pencil icon in the lower left lets you edit that file's metadata, in case Plex got its name or any other info wrong. The … in the lower right provides general options like Optimize , to create a smaller compressed version of the video for easier storage and streaming, Download to move a copy of any media you own to your local device for offline viewing, or the self-explanatory Delete. Clicking anywhere else gets you to the show or movie's page, with a plot synopsis, cast or episode lists, and other data.

The web app works great and doesn't look too shabby, but if you'd like an interface that'll look even better on a big screen, get the Plex Media Player for Mac. It starts out looking identical to the Web app, but you can click the fullscreen button in the upper right corner of its main page to activate a slick TV-oriented interface that plays well with remote controls.

Children of the revolution

Once you've got the basics up and running, here's what you'll need to turn Plex into a substitute for your set-top box:. After you start setup, Plex will look for tuners connected to your network. Make sure your HDHomeRun tuner is hooked up and running before you start this step. Plex will pull in all the channels it finds on your tuner, then ask whether you want broadcast or cable listings, and request your ZIP code.

With that information, it can match local channel names to the channel numbers on your tuner. In the list that appears, select the channels you want Plex to include, and make sure they're correctly matched with the channel names next to them. If not, you can use the pulldown menus next to each channel number to assign it the correct name and information. Plex pulls in this information a lot faster than some other DVR software I've tested, but it'll still take a few minutes to download two weeks' worth of listings and program info for the channels you've selected.

Plex lets you start browsing and watching while it pulls in that data. On Plex's Web and iOS apps, you'll see a swanky grid view with all currently airing shows on your channels. The Mac app's not there yet as of this writing, but give it time.

Purchase a Mac Mini

It uses the older Discover view, which you can still get through the Web app, showing currently airing shows, shows due to air next, and forthcoming new episodes, movies, sports, and news broadcasts. Click a network in the Program Guide to start playing a live feed, or an individual show for more information and the ability to record. You'll find record buttons in the Program Guide, or on the listing pages for overall series to record all episodes or individual episodes. Under "Show Advanced" in the lower left, you can adjust a recording's start and end times, choose whether to keep lower-resolution or partial recordings, determine if or when you want to delete recorded shows, and turn on Plex's automatic commercial-skipping feature.

Commercial-skipping works reasonably well, but not perfectly. On my server, trimming out commercials took about one-third the duration of the original recording to process. Sometimes it cut off the last few minutes of an episode, or the first few minutes after the end of a commercial break. Test it first on shows you don't want to keep, because any commercials — or video it thinks is a commercial break — that it snips out are gone for good.