How to Setup the Ultimate Media Player With the Mac Mini




Your computer is ten times smarter than your DVD player and five times smarter than your stereo, shouldn't it be able to do a better job than both without even lifting a finger?

Yes it should, and yes it will.

This instructable will show you how to create a great addition to your media system with the mac mini. Using Front Row we'll be able to do all the movie playing, music listening, tv show watching and movie trailer browsing.

This instructable does not condone illegal movie copying. Instead, it assumes you've gone tthrough your entire movie collection and converted them to .avi's or mpegs whatever your preference and saved the subtitles accordingly (if available). Since such a conversion takes so long, its recommended to use your dedicated server to do the processing.

This part of a compendium. Check out the other parts at:

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Step 1: Computer, Meet TV

If you're using a standard def TV, get this:

Otherwise if its high-def and has an HDMI input

If the mac mini has a mini-dvi port, make sure you have this:

All these can be gotten from a local apple store, just ask at the front desk.

Also get a 1/8" to RCA female adapter and an RCA male to RCA male cable from "The Shack" or a much cheaper electronics store.

Also, if you haven't already, install Perian. This will allow you to watch any movie kind through quicktime. Absolutely needed for front row!!

Step 2: Put Files on to Computer

Front row nicely recognizes folders, so you can organize your movies however you want. It also recognizes aliases so you can create more customized organization and also make use of external hard drives.

Put movies and aliases in:


Supposedly you can put TV shows in
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library/TV Shows

But it did not work for me, so my tv shows are in my movie folder in a folder called 'shows'.

Front row will also recognize music if there is a library in the normal Music folder. So if you setup a music file sharing as detailed in the appropriate instructable, you would want to make sure both applications can get to the music by putting it in this Music folder.

Step 3: Use Apple Remote to Watch/listen to Stuff on TV

Turn on the TV and set the TV/Video to the proper input, if you're mac mini does not recognize and display on the TV then there are a few things to check.

First make sure the cable and adapter is connected on both sides.

Press TV/Video or Input or Video or whatever your screen calls it until your mac's screen comes up.

If neither of these work, make sure the TV is again on the appropriate input by comparing what the TV screen says the input is and whats on the back. Then connect to your mac mini and go to displays. If it doesn't look like the picture your mac mini is not recognizing the adapter. Sucks to be you...

To lock your remote to your Mac Mini, so the computer only recognizes one remote, take your remote and point it at the dark spot on the right hand side of the cd/dvd slot (see picture below). Then press and hold the >>| button and menu button. Press the menu button shortly after the next button so it doesn't start front row first. You should see a crude picture of the remote with a chain link symbol.

Step 4: Sit Back and Watch

You're now finished with this awfully demanding instructable. Take a minute to watch some shows, or a favorite movie.

I got so distracted by my movie, that I didn't bother to show you how to rip your movies from DVDs

Also, if you want to watch movies with subtitled tracks, you may have to use VLC. If you check the appropriate option in your Perian system pref pane, it will recognize many formats, but its important that the movie is named xx.yyy and the subtitle track is named xx.sub or whichever type it is.I would show you how to use that, but again, got caught up in my movie.

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    8 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I was going to replace my ancient imac with a new minimac and HDTV, but the bastard jobs took the freakn DVD drive out. Now apple bites.....


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Ps.... Ripbot264 is a great FREE program to convert your movies & you can embed the subtitles into the movie/tv show. Unlike many programs the aforementioned does not have audio/video sync problems.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    When you convert movies for the Front Row use the following size 640x360 and it will fill all the real-estate on your tv. That's why you bought the big one.....right;)


    8 years ago on Step 2

    There is a way to get your tv shows to show up in the front row tv show section. Use a program called identify2 and it will embed the meta-data. Then like magic the movies/tv shows are in the correct section.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You obviously haven't used Plex. Plus, there's the bonus of not crashing while you're in the middle of something.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Plex looks amazing, possibly even cooler than front row. I'm going to try messing around with it tonight!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Just be prepared for controls to be a little weird, well, if you're using an Apple Remote. There's no good way to change the volume. I'd just use a keyboard, as it doesn't require a mouse.