Myth Mac just got promoted

My MythTV frontend on a Mac Mini experiment just moved up to a new level. My downstairs, full-time, home-built, ubuntu frontend died. The mac just got promoted from a part-time upstairs frontend, to a full time downstairs big tv frontend. I have been a bit hesitant really promoting the mythtv on a mac experiment, but now that I’ve had it downstairs and up front for about a week, I can say that I’m very impressed. Here are some of the things I like about the mini:

  • Small
  • Silent
  • I can run far more useful applications with the same remote as mythtv than I could with my Linux box
  • did i say small?

The third bullet (all the applications I can run) deserves some attention, and I’m going to do a separate post on just that topic. Here are a few things I don’t like (so far…)

  • I haven’t been able to resize the screen to non-native resolutions without getting skippy playback. Which means.. overscan.. and lots of it.
  • The mac remote has 6 buttons (3 are overloaded, so there are really 9). That’s enough for 95% of the everyday use, but not for more advanced tasks.

As I mentioned above, the possibilities are broad and wide when it comes to now integrating MythTV with other Mac multimedia apps. Here is a short list.

  • Hulu Desktop
  • Frontrow
  • Itunes
  • Netflix Watch Now
  • Better games

As I begin putting all this together into one monster media machine, I’ll make sure to document the pitfalls, how-to’s etc… along the way for anybody who wants to go down this path.

Mac Mini and Analog video


Well, it seems in Apple’s infinite wisdom that they’ve dropped support for analog video in the newest mini. After pounding through forums and what-not, I’ve discovered the same issue exists for the macbook pro’s as well. Unfortunately, that will lead me to the purchase of a VGA -> S-Video adapter. More on that later, as I continue my quest for a turnkey MythTV frontend.

MythTV on a Mac Mini


I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve purchased a new mac mini for an upstairs MythTV frontend. MythTV runs well on Mac OS X so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve never experienced anything quite as easy as this. The Mac Mini is the *perfect* MythTV frontend. I’ve unboxed (always fun with Apple products), plugged it in, gone through initial Leopard setup, and downloaded the precompiled dmg from The Snider Pad. I have my backend broadcasting itself as a UPnP Media Server, so when I fired up Mythfrontend.app on the mac for the first time, it found it right away. Once it connected, I was done. There were all my shows. Of course, the first thing I did was go straight to some of my traditionally difficult HD content, and it played it back flawlessly.

Now onto the next steps

  • I streamed HD over 802.11n in the same room as the router, I need a real-world test upstairs
  • The apple remote worked out of the box, but only has six buttons. The nice thing about MythTV is you can remap the buttons, but six… hmm… just not quite enough. I’ll need to find out if there is another remote that can work. I might go down the lirc path

Bottom Line

This was such a pleasant experience and the mini is soooooooooo silent that I’m counting the days until my monstrous 4 year old media PC dies in the family room! Another project might be to figure out what the most compatible tuner’s are for a mac and kill my loud backend in the office. I’ve been impressed with MythTV on a Mac OS X. I hope to write some apple friendly applescripts/automator actions to do some fun things that I’ve been dying to do.