Help, am I on the right track? Media Centre Question.

BrushType4

Standard Member
Not sure if I'm posting in the right place, so mods please move if needed.

I would like a home media centre based on our itunes collection of music and DVD's. I've been looking at a Sonos type system but I want to be able to stream HD video as well. So after a conversation in the apple shop I have the following setup in mind.

Study
iMac, 4TB hard drive - Media Hub with Itunes installed.

Zones (Living room, kitchen, Bedroom etc)
Mac mini in each zone connected to a display and speakers for streaming audio and video from the iMac hard drive over the wireless network.

Pound for Pound this setup does not cost much more than the Sonos would but I can run HD video. My questions are;

Can I configure each Mac mini to start up in itunes and point the data source for the itunes to the shared drive on the iMac?

Can I configure the Mac mini so that its locked down so that users can only use itunes and the Apple tool bars top and bottom of the screen are removed?

Are there any apps so that I can use an itouch or an iphone to control each mac mini as a remote, just itunes functions?

Am I on the right track or should I be doing this in a different way?
 

lowmans100

Well-known Member
I can only answer one of your questions:

Can I configure each Mac mini to start up in itunes and point the data source for the itunes to the shared drive on the iMac?


Yes you can.

You can use Automator to write a simple app to connect to your iMac file server (I do this to connect to my Windows Network drives). You do not need to know anything about writing software to write an app in Automator, you can either record your actions or use the simple 'Actions' list within Automator.

You can then configure OS X to run applications at startup, so you would include your 'Connect to Server.app' and 'iTunes' to open at startup. You can do this two ways.

1. From the dock Right click on your app>Options>Open at Login
2. From System Preferences>Accounts>Login Items tab
 
Last edited:

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
A much more economic system would be....

An AppleTV for each of your televisions (far cheaper than buying 4xMac Mini's). This would limit each user to viewing television and audio sources. Each one of these can be controlled by either an Apple remote, iPod Touch or Harmony remote.

Think about buying a third-party NAS - such as the Netgear ReadyNAS - which can store all your audio and video files.

Think about buying Logitech Squeezebox rather than Sonus for your audio source (which is iTunes compliant).
 

Easybourne

Active Member
I can only answer one of your questions:

You can use Automator to write a simple app to connect to your iMac file server (I do this to connect to my Windows Network drives). You do not need to know anything about writing software to write an app in Automator, you can either record your actions or use the simple 'Actions' list within Automator.

Why not just drop the mounted network volume into startup items? No need to write an automator action then. Simples.
 

lowmans100

Well-known Member
Why not just drop the mounted network volume into startup items? No need to write an automator action then. Simples.

That will work too, but I also use the 'Connect to Server' app when I bring the computer out of sleep. I found that if I do not eject the network volumes before I close the Macbook Pro's lid when I log back in 'Finder' hangs and the spinning disk appears.
 

BrushType4

Standard Member
Thanks Guys.

I have made the plunge and got an Imac with 27" screen. I'm thinking that I may wall mount that later on in the Kitchen.

I've chatted to Apple and thay have quoted me a deal of £300 for Mac Mini. So that brings the price down a little.

This means that each zone will cost me £300 plus cables to hook up.

So as long as I can configure the minis to look at the harddrive on the Imac hub machine, I should be able to control each min with an Iphone/Ipad/Iphone via an app to enable me to play music or HD DVD.

Any way to stream my SKY HD output to my Imac for redistribution to the mac minis?
 

gabi_cavaller

Novice Member
Mini, £300, what spec and how ?


Thanks Guys.

I have made the plunge and got an Imac with 27" screen. I'm thinking that I may wall mount that later on in the Kitchen.

I've chatted to Apple and thay have quoted me a deal of £300 for Mac Mini. So that brings the price down a little.

This means that each zone will cost me £300 plus cables to hook up.

So as long as I can configure the minis to look at the harddrive on the Imac hub machine, I should be able to control each min with an Iphone/Ipad/Iphone via an app to enable me to play music or HD DVD.

Any way to stream my SKY HD output to my Imac for redistribution to the mac minis?
 

BrushType4

Standard Member
Yep, £300 was right, they are refurbished or older models and come with full apple warranty.

If any one would like one or more, let me know.
 

sceptic

Active Member
Yep, £300 was right, they are refurbished or older models and come with full apple warranty.

If any one would like one or more, let me know.
I'll jump on the bandwagon here too. :hiya:
Can you give us details of the spec and how to get one?
Thanks
 

BrushType4

Standard Member
When I've got some details for you I'll let you know.

Sorry for the delay we have a few mac minis at head office and they start from ?300 and work their way upwards if you have any questions please contact me.
 

sceptic

Active Member
For good or bad, this is the spec for the £300 mac mini available from apple.
There's a mini with a similar spec on Ebay at the moment for £350.
Buying a refurb from Apple is a far better idea though. How do you get hold of them?
 
Last edited:

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
For good or bad, this is the spec for the £300 mac mini available from apple.
MB138Apple Mac mini Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz/2x512MB/80GB/Combo ?300.00
That is a mid-2007 model (Macmini2,1) with Intel GMA 950 on-board graphics with a Combo drive (DVD reader & CD-writer) not a Superdrive (DVD/CD-ReWriter). It's not the more recent & desirable model with Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics (Macmini3,1) which is required to play all HD 1080p video without a hitch.

I am amazed that Apple are selling these models with a full warranty but if so then presumably you could even add AppleCare to extend the warranty to 3 years. It's a good price if it is powerful enough for your needs but personally I would rather pay more & get a newer model.

I don't know what Apple have done with all the old model Mac Minis but I checked the Apple Refurb Store in a random selection of countries (UK, France, US, Australia) & only in Australia did they have older model Mac Minis for sale (at the equivalent of about 420 pounds versus 585 pounds for the new Mini). Maybe they did run their inventory down to zero or perhaps they don't want to affect sales of the new Mini for the moment & will be releasing some old models from a warehouse in a month or two.
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Philips TV Launch Event, Soundbar vs AVR, Samsung EzCAL and more...
Top Bottom