• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

MacBook Pro as HTPC?

l!3ard

Active Member
Hello all,

I am looking at buying a MacBook Pro to be used for several purposes. The one area which I am unsure is how a MacBook Pro will be for HTPC purposes.

What I want to do is put all my movie collection onto hard drive(s) and connect it either through USB or through a network. With DVD’s this is pretty simple, however with blu rays and some HD DVD films I have I’m unsure.

What I am hoping to do is use AnyDVD to rip the blu rays as ISO’s.

Now the question is, can the MacBook Pro playback this without any issues (is it able play at 1080p 24hz without any stuttering)?

If so, how is this achieved? (do I need to buy any software for this and if so how much?)

I have a pretty power (quad core etc…) PC which will do all the ripping and any encoding which maybe required.

Finally, how can I playback sound? I have an old AV Reciever which has optical inputs (no HDMI) – does the MacBook Pro provide an optical output of some sort?

Any help appreciated. :)
 

l!3ard

Active Member
Yep the 3.5 headphone jack also doubles up as your optical out which when connected to an amplifier will give you 5.1 surround sound.

You need a toslink to mini-toslink cable.

HTH :smashin:

Thank you. :thumbsup:

That's the audio side sorted. Anyone know about the video playback? :)
 

nigelbb

Distinguished Member
Now the question is, can the MacBook Pro playback this without any issues (is it able play at 1080p 24hz without any stuttering)?

If so, how is this achieved? (do I need to buy any software for this and if so how much?)
Plex is the (free) software of choice & yes, you can play back any 1080p materiel smoothly on a MBP.
 
Last edited:

eximo

Well-known Member
Dont forget you will need a mini display to DVI or VGA adaptor.

I use my MacBook Pro in the same way and use the following:

Mini Display to DVI - DVI to HDMI - HDMI to TV
3.5mm cable to phono into the amp.
 

x3j3UKN

Well-known Member
I would like to use my macbook for HTPC use and today had a look at plex, very good piece of software.

Any idea how I can run the external display via display port but disable the laptop display?

I have looked at caffeine & insomniax but it would seem they do not offer what I want, which is to run the machine fully but not have the display turned on.
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
There's a rather inelegant array of options, all of which involve opening and closing the laptop lid at certain points. For example you can start the system with the lid closed (i.e. by opening it, turning it on then very quickly shutting it), or send the machine to sleep by closing the lid, then waking up the machine with an external mouse/keyboard (on both occasions with the external connected of course).

Now it would be simplest if you can just leave the lid closed, but running any Apple with the lid closed is a bad idea. It interferes with the cooling - and given how critical the cooling is (as Apples run crazy hot), that's not a good thing to muck around with. So you have to have the machine open, which means that you'll need to start with it closed and then open it once the system has started up.

And I'd actually dispute the suitability of Apples - even flagship notebooks - as HTPC's, especially as they have a tendency to spin their small fans at mental levels after a bit of light GPU hammering.

Personally I'd get one of those iON2 based Atom desktops and be done with it, or if it has to be a Mac, then the Mini.
 
Last edited:

eximo

Well-known Member
I would like to use my macbook for HTPC use and today had a look at plex, very good piece of software.

Any idea how I can run the external display via display port but disable the laptop display?

I have looked at caffeine & insomniax but it would seem they do not offer what I want, which is to run the machine fully but not have the display turned on.

I think plex has an option to dim the screen but i have never found it. I just leave mine open and dim it with F1 and dim the keyboard with F5.
 

l!3ard

Active Member
Dont forget you will need a mini display to DVI or VGA adaptor.

I use my MacBook Pro in the same way and use the following:

Mini Display to DVI - DVI to HDMI - HDMI to TV
3.5mm cable to phono into the amp.

I was thinking of doing the following:
Video: Mini DisplayPort to HDMI using this
Audio: 3.5mm phono to SPDIF using this
Then use a standard HDMI and optical cable to connect to the TV and AV respectively. Hopefully that would work…if not could someone kindly point me where I’m going wrong :)
 

l!3ard

Active Member
And I'd actually dispute the suitability of Apples - even flagship notebooks - as HTPC's, especially as they have a tendency to spin their small fans at mental levels after a bit of light GPU hammering.

How loud are the fans? I have a Vaio which gets rather hot too and the fans although audible closeby, I don’t think I would hear it in the lounge.

In comparison, are the MacBook’s louder than a PS3?

Personally I'd get one of those iON2 based Atom desktops and be done with it, or if it has to be a Mac, then the Mini.

I did think about building myself a dedicated HTPC, however I’m hoping I can kill two birds with one stone by buying a MBP.

I may decide to go to Uni to do a masters hence why I would like to have a new notebook as my Vaio seems rather dated now. Because of that the Mini wouldn’t be the best solution as I would need access to a monitor (would have been tempted if it was similar prices to last year though :rolleyes:).

With my student discount, if I was to buy a reasonable laptop and build a HTPC I would be spending more money overall in comparison to a MBP – plus there is the added bonus of having an 8GB iPod Touch for £22. This offer seems too tempting to ignore :)

Plus I am a keen programmer and would like to start developing iDevice apps and unfortunately a Mac is required for that.
 

extremelydodgy

Active Member
In comparison, are the MacBook's louder than a PS3?

You're in luck - I just happen to be sitting right inbetween the two (not a slim, and a 17-inch unibody). And - Oh Yeah. In capital, bold, 72-point letters.

The PS3 is pretty audible in a quiet room, but it's not what you'd call loud. The MBP on the other hand, currently playing a movie, is screaming for air. It's about a [email protected] difference, if that means anything to you.
 
Last edited:

l!3ard

Active Member
You're in luck - I just happen to be sitting right inbetween the two (not a slim, and a 17-inch unibody). And - Oh Yeah. In capital, bold, 72-point letters.

The PS3 is pretty audible in a quiet room, but it's not what you'd call loud. The MBP on the other hand, currently playing a movie, is screaming for air. It's about a [email protected] difference, if that means anything to you.

Damn as loud as that :eek:

I am looking to get the 13"....dunno if that makes any difference....doubt it would?

Ah back to square one :rolleyes:
 

The latest video from AVForums

Fidelity in Motion's David Mackenzie talks about his work on disc encoding & the future of Blu-ray
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom