Apple HTPC

Discussion in 'Apple' started by pglore, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. pglore

    pglore Auditioning

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    So I need a little help. I want to create an Apple interfaced HTPC for all of my movies, TV shows, music, etc. I would like to just have everything in one placed and use the computer as just another input for my home theater system. I will be using it for internet use, as well. I will not be using to capture TV video and audio, so that's not an issue.

    I have a Marantz SR5004 A/V receiver and would like to simply connect the Apple computer via HDMI to the receiver. The important thing here is that both audio (5.1) and video go through the HDMI cable. The audio is the problem I keep running into because I haven't found a Apple computer that has an HDMI out. I don't want to use the 3.5mm headphone jack for my audio.

    Does anyone know any Apple towers or any Apple computer that has an HDMI out that can support what I need? I'm not too worried about storage capacity because I can always do external hard drives.

    Any other ideas?? I'd like to exhaust all of my options and of course, keep my budget down. But I would like to see what my options are. Does anyone have anything similar to what I need?

    Any help would be GREAT. Thank you!

    I've also seen this: http://store.apple.com/us/product/TP150LL/A

    What tower options do I have to install that on? I'm not very computer savvy....
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Quote:
    Not really. Be reasonable, do it Steve's way, get an AppleTV =) Seriously tho, millions of people want to do what you are asking but its not in the cards right now. ATV has an HDMI out and you can get DVI & Displayport to HDMI, but right now there are no native desktops which are set to do what you want. We are all praying for a merger of the Mac Mini, BluRay, Cable Card and Apple TV to make the worlds best HTPC, but so far its not happening.
    Yup, that's the issue right there.
    PAtience and pleading are your only options right now unless you want to think outside the box.
     
  3. pglore

    pglore Auditioning

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    That's what I was worried about. What I'm looking for is relatively simple so I was just hoping that it would be possibly. http://store.apple.com/us/product/TP150LL/A

    Could that be installed onto an existing tower to do what I'm looking for? Any idea what my options would be if I could?

    I've looked at the ATV before, but it's too "structured" for me. I would still like the ability hop onto the internet when I want with this computer. I suppose I could "hack" the ATV like I've seen ppl do, but have NO experience with that or NO idea where to even start.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Another option:
    Use the 3.5mm optical to S/PDIF for audio: you can have digital surround for that. Get a DVI to HDMI connector for video. You can buy these for about $10, total, from Monoprice. (I've got both.) I use this occasionally to connect my MacBook Pro to my TV if I need to watch something from Hulu.

    Not integrated or as elegant as you want. But it works and seems to be the only real option for the Mac.
     
  5. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    You can't use that to tune or time-shift TV, if that's your goal. Outside of the fact there "isn't an app for that", the HDMI in would mean you'd need a controlled IR blaster to work. And there isn't a supported USB option for that, sorry.
     
  6. pglore

    pglore Auditioning

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    Thanks Dave. I think what you're talking about is exactly what I thought about this morning.

    Just to confirm, is this the setup you're thinking of?

    Use a macmini. For video, go from the macmini's mini DVI to HDMI cable into the Marantz A/V Receiver input 1. For audio, use this http://www.amazon.com/Toslink-To-Optical-Mini-Adapter/dp/B0002MQGRM to an optical cable into my digital input 1 on my receiver.

    Will my receiver know that I want the audio down the digital input and the video down the mini DVI to hdmi? Will I be getting full video capacity and full 5.1 surround sound this way? Thanks everyone.
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    5.1 surround yes. Lossless no. Not that there is much lossless to worry about without a Bluray drive.
     
  8. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Yes, that's how my MacPro (and MacMini before it) works -- video goes DVI to HDMI, audio via Toslink through my Denon receiver, which will happily allow you to mix and match audio/video sources. Nothing used costs more than a couple of bucks -- whatever you do, don't go buying useless HDMI cards.

    You should also note that the MacBook Pros that came out next week do carry audio over mini Display Port and thus will work for video+audio via a mini Display Port to HDMI adaptor. Presumably all future Macs will support this. But really, having audio go the optical Toslink route works fine -- all you gain is eliminating one cable.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Yes, I use that setup when I connect my MBP to my TV. (This is a infrequent use. I don't have a dedicated HTPC.) The DVI->HDMI cable is new, and tested it out last weekend. I set my Display to 1080p, 60Hz, mirrored. Then play Hulu video full screen. It looks great. :) Sound is only stereo from Hulu. I've not tried any output with digital surround.
     
  10. Shane D

    Shane D Supporting Actor

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    my mini is hooked up to a 42" lcd. i have a mini display to hdmi going to the tv in my second hdmi port on it, and a mini toslink to toslink going to my reciever. I do get 5.1 out of dvd player and vlc with mkvs. You just have to get the settings correct.
     
  11. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    DisplayPort (and thus miniDP on all current Macs) is actually a superset of HDMI. As mentioned, so far only the latest MacBooks that were just announced offer sound over the miniDP jack as well. I'm still hoping the previous generation can get sound enabled over their miniDP jacks as well via a firmware upgrade or the like, but that's probably a pipe dream.

    However, there is this adapter that combines both video and audio from the miniDP and the optical audio out into one HDMI jack: http://kanexlive.com/products/item.aspx?id=3495

    More expensive than just using a miniDP to HDMI adapter plus a Toslink cable, but if it has to go through one HDMI port, this is the way to do it.

    -Christian
     
  12. pglore

    pglore Auditioning

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    Christian...this is fantastic. I agree it's a little pricey and I might just do miniDVI to HDMI and Toslink to Optical but this would definitly do it.

    Thank you!
     

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