Mac Mini Media Center

By on Jan 22, 2013 in Technology |

So I created a Media Center PC.  I decided I would collect my thoughts / links here in one place. There are two levels of implementation: The first is to completely cut Cable TV. This saves a bunch of money per month and the setup is listed below and is what I opted to do.  The second is to have the PC also become a DVR, which requires continued cable service, a TV tuner SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime TV Tuner (~$160) and EyeTV3 software ($80). So that combo would give me 3 tuners and an easily expandable DVR.  Also requires $20/year for program guide.(Instead of $16/month for tivo) Hardware: Mac Mini (2012) – It is a very compact form factor, it comes with support for the simple Apple remote and thanks to some software (below) will allow me to use AirPlay and mirroring should I choose to. Apple Remote – That simple, elegant, and very losable silver remote. Keyboard/touchpad – Logitech K400 its a compact, easy to use keyboard and trackpad in one.  Doesn’t have the elegance I’d like, but at $29 (at WalMart) it is half the price of an Apple wireless keyboard by itself. Software: Plex app – a very elegant full screen media interface.  It has plugins for all the major streaming services and allows playing of various different media from a TV-like interface.  This would become the main TV interface. Remote Buddy app, allows you to control many applications with the Apple remote or Logitech Harmony remotes. Best of all: you can (re)define all the keys on the remote to use functions inside programs! (lifted from: this article) AirServer –  Allows your mac to be an AirPlay server.  Stream music / video to it same as an Apple TV. teleport – Lets you use one Mac to control another Mac’s keyboard/mouse/touchpad.  I use my laptop to type and control my media center.  It allows me to easily flop back and forth controlling one PC or another without needing to have a laggy remote control stream. Cost: ~$600 for the Mac Mini $29 for the keyboard $0.00 for plex $15 for AirServer software Example: (It’s kind of slow and the guy has a thick accent, but the implementation is great.  Plex can do way more now, so there is less hopping between apps as...