Maccast 2012.03.30 – 1080p Mac Home Theater

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

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A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. Show 390. When Apple announced the new iPad and Apple TV a big part of that was support for 1080p video. In the past I’ve done episodes with Ara Derderian ( on how to build Apple based home theater set-ups, but since Apple only supported 720p that has always been the focus. Now that 1080p is here Ara and I chat with Dean Dauger (Dauger Research) about his 1080p based Mac Home Theater set-up.

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Stuff mentioned:
Dean’s 1080 Home Theater Set-up
Dauger Research
HTGuys Podcast

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There are 5 comments on Maccast 2012.03.30 – 1080p Mac Home Theater:

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  1. Ryan Gray | Apr 01 2012 - 07:10

    Here’s my relatively simple setup for my cable-cut system in case it’s of use to some as a more practical setup.. I get content from Netflix (1 disc with streaming), Blu-Ray/DVD, podcasts and some iTunes. I’m not a mad ripper. I own a handful of Blu-Ray discs and most of my DVDs are streamable in similar quality from Netflix anyway. I don’t have this aversion to putting a disc in a player that others seem to – maybe its just that I’m too lazy to rip them and my kids don’t destroy them.

    My main TV is a 55 inch HDTV, so 1080p is appreciated there, and so it has the new 1080p Apple TV now. It has a Blu-Ray player and a digital 6.1 surround audio system. It also has a simple antenna to get the sports game when company comes over, but we don’t watch network TV otherwise. I do have the optical audio from the Apple TV connected to the surround sound system so that I can use it for audio AirPlay without having the TV turned on.

    The small HDTV in the kids’ room is fine at its 720p with an Apple TV 2. The den has the old 32 inch TV with a DVD player for kids videos and the Wii for games and Netflix. Netflix has pretty much any of the kids shows anyway.

    For network setup, I have the wireless divided in a dual band with the 5 GHz 802.11n only serving just the Apple TVs and the 2.4 GHz 802.11n/g serving the iOS devices, the Wii and anything else. This is n and g rather than g only so that n devices can go faster and also to make extending it way easier than g only. I have two Airport Expresses extending the 2.4 GHz network and connected to Speakers for AirPlay. My only computer is an iMac, and it is wired into the Time Capsule which is the main router connected to the cable modem. It is important that the iMac has a wired connection to the Time Machine device to keep that chatter off the wireless network and not have to worry about working around it or hacking it. Also, having the Apple TVs on the faster 5GHz band separate from the other things then works well for streaming. I don’t know what other people use for streaming, but the Apple TV does a pretty good job of buffering, so I don’t see dropouts – I may have some slow starts to buffer up.

    I had been getting podcasts though the iMac since that’s how I’d always done it, but I just recently changed that. Since I just watch the video podcasts on the Apple TV, I favorited those there. I also only listen to the audio ones on my iPhone, so I switched them to Downcast (tap the artwork to zoom it, Adam). This setup seems to be working fine, and I don’t have to mess with if iTunes is open on the iMac to serve them.

  2. Joseph Hoetzl | Apr 17 2012 - 06:18

    Thoroughly enjoy these HT discussions, but one question. While I realize that Drobos are relatively safe, especially with the “2” drive failover configuration, but how are these folks backing up their drobos? Seems like a lot of effort has gone into building these video libraries, and to me, without an offsite copy of the whole thing is just asking for trouble. I wrote about this some time ago related to backing up photos, but I guess it could apply here. I’d certainly welcome a discussion on how people off-site their drobos.

    If you are interested, the old post can be found here:

    Thank you!

  3. Dean Dauger | Apr 25 2012 - 04:50

    Hi Joseph,

    As for 1080p video, presumably these are originally from Blu-ray discs that you already own. Therefore the Blu-ray discs themselves become the archive. Similarly for SD-DVD’s you own. I do that with CD’s I own too. So if you lose the mkv (or transcoded) copies, you can restore them, in principle (with some work yes, but it’s all there eventually). With files this big I think that’s good enough.

    This is different from photos, because you made the photos, and no one else has a copy, so your point is well taken for such photos.

    If you got the video from some other source (Netflix, Bittorrent), well you’re not “supposed to” have that anyways, right? ;) (Then just get it again…)


  4. Dave | Apr 27 2012 - 02:33

    Well, the original DVDs protect you from literally *losing* the content but what’s also valuable is the time spent creating all the mkv files. I’d hate to have to go all the way back to the discs to recreate the mkv’s.

    I needed to face that last week because my oldest disk in the active set suddenly croaked. It started making that dreaded clicking noise and disappeared from the desktop forever. Nothing could bring that back, except for an expensive trip to one of those hard disk recovery places (see
    Fortunately I had a complete backup & the failed disk was still under warranty (Seagate 5yr). The replacement disk arrived this morning and I’m in the process of copying all the files back.

    When the new drive returned, I finally noticed that it was a 7200RPM. I thought I had standardized on their 5900RPM series, which has never failed for me. But I’ve had two 7200RPM external and my iMac external fail (also a 7200RPM Seagate). So, I’m sticking with their “green” or “LP” lines. Reliability over speed is what I’m looking for. (I’ve never had stuttering problems over HDMI; the bottleneck is in the wireless streaming to the iPad.)

    I suppose my rule of thumb is to buy hard disks in pairs. One to put in service for Plex and the other is its backup. Drives are real cheap, but the downside is that you need to buy twice as many of them! If I added another copy for off-site storage, that would triple the cost!

    PS Dean, I’ve never had any issues with the current version of Plex (.9x), but my Mac Mini is a generation more recent than yours and I tossed 8GB of RAM in it instead of sticking with 2GB. It was the last generation of Mac Minis that included a DVD drive, so it is considerably slower than what’s sold now. I’d expect the current model can run the current version of Plex without issues.

  5. Anna | May 03 2012 - 05:46

    19/05/2010 22:42 ??’????! ?? ??????!!! ??? ?? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??? MacBook Pro ??? ?????? (???? ??????????? ?? ??????) ?????? MacMini ??? ?? ?? ?????????? ?? Media Center. ???? ?? ?????…?? ???????? ?? ??????? ??? ?????????? ??? ?! :P ??? ??? ?? ???????? ???? (??? ? ???? ?? ???????, ?? ??????!) ??? ?? ????????? ? ?? wannabe mac-boys ??? ????? :-/