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Discussing the Mac mini media server

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:00 AM

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#2 User is offline   rimi 

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  Posted 12 May 2013 - 08:07 PM

While Apple is not placing FrontRow on new macs, you can still install the old FrontRow on your computer. I use FrontRow on my MacMini running mountain lion to power my big CRT projector on a 100in screen. While old, front row is the easiest to use software out there. I have tried all other options but none gave me anything worth caring.

As for blue-rays: I started by using an iMac as my blue ray media center. Back in the past I was forced to boot into Windows to play all my Blue-Rays, normally stored locally on a hard drive. This was a perfect solution because Windows blue ray players are GPU driven and the iMac had an old but nice ATI card. In order to play blue-rays within MacOS a faster Mac was needed: Mac blue ray compatible players do not rely on GPU but uniquely on CPU. I got the low end MacMini (last gen) and, while the Mac solutions are not perfect, I never had to run bootcamp again. I installed both and I alternate between them (as no single solution plays all my movies) but in conjunction they cover all my needs. So, yes, it is possible and easy to play blue rays on a Mac and if you have a big screen you sure will want the superior image quality.

As for controlling the Mac remotely there are a few options around. My favorites are a) the Apple remote for controlling FrontRow; B) using another Mac with screensharing on to start a blue ray; c) use Remoter VNC on my iPAD (a cheap screen sharing app that relies on Apples Builtin in screen share technology and thus no need for a server running on your Mac); d) a virtual mouse for your iPhone (there are many around).

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