Hi all, I used to run xbmc on an early generation xbox which at some point died and never got replaced. Since then I've tried a multitude of possible replacements that have all disappointed me in one way or another.
A few weeks ago I downloaded xbmc for the mac, threw it on a spare 2.x GHz macbook I had and fired it all up. I have to say I was immediately impressed and excited at how well it ran from the outset even though my config wasn't ideal.
I have a gigabit copper network and a fairly large (12TB) video library that xbmc seems to behave very nicely with.
Now, I'm happy this is the way that I want to go (rather than a Windows MCE or similar) but there's a few things I'd need to sort first. How have other people solved the following:
1. I'm currently running video out via the mini-DVI to composite (ugh) adapter and want to use my HDMI inputs on my Yamaha receiver. Is the apple Mini DVI->DVI adapter plus a 3rd party cable the only option? They don't seem to offer mini-DVI to HDMI solution. Does anyone else?
2. Audio is via the standard stereo output. My receiver can accept various digital inputs so I'm wondering if there's a better solution there?
3. Need to be able to make 3rd party remotes work, happy to go buy one. I'm hearing that the Harmony remotes pretty much work out of the can because they emulate the Apple remote. Any insights or recommendations there?
4. Is it possible to integrate live television and PVR features through another product or extension? This is not a high priority but would be nice to know it's possible or "coming soon".
5. Any other tips/hints in general?
Macbook HTPC questions
Joined: Dec 2008
2008-12-01 08:32 Post: #1
Joined: Dec 2008
2008-12-02 17:59 Post: #2
I've been using the same kind of setup successfully using a Mini DVI to HDMI cable and a TOSLINK to mini cable. The Macbook supports the mini TOSLINK connection via the headphone jack and it works great. Unfortunately I can't answer your last 2 questions. Both of the above cables can be found on monoprice but I wasn't sure if the forum rules allowed linking to them. Anyway, they're easy to track down on their website. Oh, I forgot to mention that the Apple Remote works great with XBMC as well so I'm not sure if you need a fancy remote or not for your application.
(This post was last modified: 2008-12-02 18:01 by j1mmyd3an.)
Joined: Apr 2004
2008-12-02 22:06 Post: #3
Hi, I got older generation Black Macbook pro for a very good deal - cheaper than Mac Mini. Just have to get over the idea that one has a Macbook sitting in my HT room doing nothing most of the time.
I just recently setup mine on my Panasonic Projector (720p).
I basically did the following:
Use adapter to DVI, then DVI to HDMI cable.
Use mini toslink to toslink adapter for audio jack on macbook to get DD.
Modified old xbox IR dongle to USB on Macbook instead of the builtin IR (6 buttons not enough and the universal remote options seemed too awkward and limiting)
Installed open source HID driver for OSX to see the xbox IR
Use a program called ControllerMate to map the IR commands to keypresses for XBMC.
I had a problem with it changing resolution to the LCD default before the projector would come on which would affect XBMC screen calibration (XBMC would launch before the projector warmed up and Macbook detected, so Macbook went back to its default LCD resoultion), so I used a program called SwitchResX to force 1280x720p all the time. I then do a screen calibration in XBMC to fill the full projector screen. I don't care about the OSX desktop not filling screen perfect but there are probably other ways I could have done this by calibrating the display itself, which seemed more work.
I leave Macbook on all the time so it doesn't go to sleep. When I switch to "media player" activity in my Harmony remote, it launches XBMC automatically using a feature of Controllermate to launch app based on IR keypress. When I exit the activity, it sends the "END" keypress to exit XBMC.
There are couple more tweaks I need to do but it works fairly well. For example, Once I got working to a point, I got lazy and haven't disabled the LCD on Macbook so when I start XBMC it comes on also... doesn't really bother me since it is in closet and I cannot see, but the display eventually goes to sleep once I shut everything down. I am also going to setup remote desktop so I can manage it easier from my other imac.
If you have any detailed questions on programs, please ask.