Project: Converting MacMini into AppleTV-HD

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Anamonde
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Project: Converting MacMini into AppleTV-HD

Post by Anamonde »

So, I've had this idea of converting a MacMini into a AppleTVHD.

Something that can:
1. play high profile x.264 .mkv files @ hd resolution
2. execute a handbrake encode script upon dvd detection.

Questions for the tech-savvy Handbrake community:

1. MacMini has no optical out port - need Griffin FireWave (is this a good product? - will it work with ac3 passthrough MKV files?).

2. The 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo might not have enough horsepower to decode high profile fast enough? Does the appleTV have some sort of built in h.264 decoder that it uses? (probably doesn't work with high-profile anyway)

3. Am I missing something? Why would this project not work? Is there a solution out there already thats not going to set me back $1k?


Thanks for any help.

realityking
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Post by realityking »

1. The mini actually has a optical output. However I'd still consider the FireWave because this would allow you to use 6 Channel AAC. (For example from movie Trailer)

Anamonde
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Post by Anamonde »

realityking wrote:1. The mini actually has a optical output. However I'd still consider the FireWave because this would allow you to use 6 Channel AAC. (For example from movie Trailer)
Image
Those audio ports are just mini jacks afaik.

hawkman
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Post by hawkman »

Umm, it's actually labelled "optical out" in that picture. Is it like the MacBook audio out, where the port doubles up?

realityking
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Post by realityking »

hawkman wrote:Umm, it's actually labelled "optical out" in that picture. Is it like the MacBook audio out, where the port doubles up?
Yes, thats how its done. You just need a small adapter that you can pick up for a few dollar/euro/pound/yen or whatever ;)

Anamonde
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Post by Anamonde »

oh awesome

MichaelLAX

Re: Project: Converting MacMini into AppleTV-HD

Post by MichaelLAX »

Anamonde wrote:The 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo might not have enough horsepower to decode high profile fast enough? Does the appleTV have some sort of built in h.264 decoder that it uses? (probably doesn't work with high-profile anyway)
AFAIK, there is no hardware H.264 decoder in the ATV. The unhacked ATV does not support "High Profile" H.264 files. In my experiences with a Panny 42" Plasma, 1280x720 H.264 files at <25fps look great in the ATV. I am not sure what I am missing by not using high profile H.264...

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

realityking wrote:1. The mini actually has a optical output. However I'd still consider the FireWave because this would allow you to use 6 Channel AAC. (For example from movie Trailer)
Are you aware of any home theater hardware to yet hit the market that will decode 6 channel AAC?

realityking
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Post by realityking »

MichaelLAX wrote:
realityking wrote:1. The mini actually has a optical output. However I'd still consider the FireWave because this would allow you to use 6 Channel AAC. (For example from movie Trailer)
Are you aware of any home theater hardware to yet hit the market that will decode 6 channel AAC?
I don't know of anything in this direction. The only solution that I know about (and I will most likely use at some point in the future if iTunes finally plays nicely with 6 Channel AAC) is the Griffin Firewave connected to to speakers or even better to an A/V Receiver with 5.1 analog input.

BTW: I still don't get why Apple doesn't output 6 Channel AAC as 5.1 PCM over HDMI at the AppleTV. That would be a perfect solution.

realityking
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Re: Project: Converting MacMini into AppleTV-HD

Post by realityking »

MichaelLAX wrote:[ I am not sure what I am missing by not using high profile H.264...
Using High Profile would get you better Quality at the same Bitrate or the same Quality at a lower Bitrate.

ToxycM
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Post by ToxycM »

MichaelLAX wrote:
realityking wrote:1. The mini actually has a optical output. However I'd still consider the FireWave because this would allow you to use 6 Channel AAC. (For example from movie Trailer)
Are you aware of any home theater hardware to yet hit the market that will decode 6 channel AAC?
I've used xbox media center to output 6 channel aac sound in nero digital files over optical to a standard 5.1 home theater receiver. It works just fine so I don't think any special home theater equipment is needed.

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

realityking wrote:BTW: I still don't get why Apple doesn't output 6 Channel AAC as 5.1 PCM over HDMI at the AppleTV. That would be a perfect solution.
What is the difference between Apple feeding the audio thru HDMI or out the digital port?

Anamonde
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Post by Anamonde »

MichaelLAX wrote:
realityking wrote:BTW: I still don't get why Apple doesn't output 6 Channel AAC as 5.1 PCM over HDMI at the AppleTV. That would be a perfect solution.
What is the difference between Apple feeding the audio thru HDMI or out the digital port?
bandwidth limitation on optical (if i remember correctly?). AC3 is really only 2 digitally encoded channels that get decoded by the amplifier into 5.1. Don't think optical can handle 6 discreet channels of audio.

... that or im totally going mad and making up random facts. :oops:

realityking
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Post by realityking »

You have do differ between PCM and Compressed Audio like DTS, AC3 und WMA Pro. Normal digital audio outs handle AC3, DTS, WMA Pro with 5, 6 or 7 channels and 2 channel as PCM.

HDMI now is able to transport up to 8 channels of PCM Audio and stuff like DTS Master Audio and EAC3. So there is a difference: bandwidth.

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

ToxycM wrote:I've used xbox media center to output 6 channel aac sound in nero digital files over optical to a standard 5.1 home theater receiver. It works just fine so I don't think any special home theater equipment is needed.
Yes, but it is playing true 6 channel sound from the AAC file, or is it Dolby Pro Logic II processing any sound fed to it?

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

realityking wrote:The only solution that I know about (and I will most likely use at some point in the future if iTunes finally plays nicely with 6 Channel AAC) is the Griffin Firewave connected to to speakers or even better to an A/V Receiver with 5.1 analog input.
The Firewave requires a firewire port, which Apple TV does not have; only USB. Does anyone know a workaround for the Firewave and the Apple TV?

Anamonde
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Post by Anamonde »

MichaelLAX wrote:The Firewave requires a firewire port, which Apple TV does not have; only USB. Does anyone know a workaround for the Firewave and the Apple TV?
We are not talking about a AppleTV here... just a macMini loaded with BackRow (appleTV software). MacMini's firewire port works just fine :wink:

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

Anamonde wrote:
MichaelLAX wrote:The Firewave requires a firewire port, which Apple TV does not have; only USB. Does anyone know a workaround for the Firewave and the Apple TV?
We are not talking about a AppleTV here... just a macMini loaded with BackRow (appleTV software). MacMini's firewire port works just fine :wink:
Sorry, I didn't think you would mind one slightly off-topic, but related question, since after all the Category is "iPod / iPhone / AppleTV, and your original post only thinly involves HandBrake!?! :D

Anamonde
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Post by Anamonde »

MichaelLAX wrote:Sorry, I didn't think you would mind one slightly off-topic, but related question, since after all the Category is "iPod / iPhone / AppleTV, and your original post only thinly involves HandBrake!?! :D
Ahh... no i don't mind. Just thought you were asking in connection to the original post. :wink:

I think this question has come up before somewhere on this forum... as far as I remember there was no workaround at the time.

MichaelLAX

Post by MichaelLAX »

Anamonde wrote:I think this question has come up before somewhere on this forum... as far as I remember there was no workaround at the time.
I emailed Griffin and they have no plans for a USB Firewave...

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