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My Hackintosh AppleTV HTPC


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#21
munky

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uh... where can you buy macbook parts to build one?!

#22
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i want to know too

#23
mrks

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uh... where can you buy macbook parts to build one?!


eBay!

#24
GoodOmens

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Ehh I just use a hacked AppleTV with a external 1TB formated NAS attached directly to my router.

With NinoTV, ATVFiles, and automount I've got everything I need (AC3 passthough on avi files, can play VOBS/ISO's etc all over a wireless connection (802.11N). Works great!

I was having issues when I had the storage localy on my PC (since it was wireless from my pc ->router and wireless from router->atv) but breaking down and buying a NAS helped tons and everything ugly is hidden :-p

#25
munky

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im ditching this setup in favour of a modded xbox with xbmc. the htpc machine is now going to run MythTV (tho possibly in a VM thru parallels).

why? well, the external VGA->TV thing never gave me decent video playback (it always seemed bizarrely jerky).

that and the xbox has a decent frontend, and is frankly more advanced than the appletv frontend (eg tv shows by season number anyone? hello? apple??)

#26
munky

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funny, im kind of going back to this kind of setup.

i went down the route of the modded xbox running xbmc playing back content stored on a pair of usb drives connected to an Asus router running a modified linux-based firmware. this worked ok, but was a bit fiddly (i didnt like having to have my USB drives as ext3, plus the xbox was a noisy beast of a thing. i also had plans to incorporate some kind of TV recording / viewing (Freeview / DVB-T).

i sold the router and bought an AppleTV (actually, one slightly dodgy ebay transaction and one warranty call later, turned out that I got one for free from Apple... true story). i had high hopes for the AppleTV, which I expanded with a 750Gb USB drive (in sweet sweet HFS+) and a usb DVD-ROM. NitoTV provided the needful on the hacking front.

but the appletv annoyed the hell out of me. unless I rebooted it regularly, it would gradually slow down, the menus becoming less and less responsive. it also annoyed the hell out of me that the standard Take2 UI prioritises iTunes Store content way over local content. i concluded the box, while reasonably interesting, is just too lacking in CPU and RAM to be of any real use.

so my current plan is to put together a system based around intel's dual-core Atom board (little falls 2) running a vanilla 10.5.6 (any later and i'd have to turn off HyperThreading, by the looks of things). i plan to disable Finder, Spotlight, Dashboard and other non-essential stuff and have it boot into Front Row.

the ingredients so far:

Intel d945gclf2 mini-itx board (dual-core+hyperthreading Atom 1.6Ghz, GMA950, runs vanilla Leopard)
1-2Gb RAM (whatever i can find lying around)
1.5Tb HDD
slimline SATA DVD-ROM
nice little media case with enough room for a 3.5'' drive and a slimline optical
2x Freecom DVB-T USB sticks (recognised by EyeTV as Miglia TV Mini units)
boosted DVB-T aerial splitter
twistedmelon's Manta TR-1 infrared tranciever
Apple Remote
USB 802.11N dongle

software-wise:

EyeTV 3
Remote Buddy (for emulating the apple-shipped IR function for the apple remote)
Front Row
PyeTV (Front Row EyeTV integration)
VideoDrive (allows non-iTunes formats to be added to iTunes automagically)
rTorrent and SABNZBD+ for content goodness
EyeControl for remotely scheduling recordings etc

Im hoping this box will replace both the AppleTV and my current piece-of-poop Freeview box, and provide a reasonable living room experience for watching and recording TV, as well as watching downloaded content.

And im aware this box is no good for HD - i dont care. I'm not likely to get an HD tv anytime soon, and SD is plenty good enough for my purposes :)

#27
iHack13

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what's the current state?

#28
poofyhairguy

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funny, im kind of going back to this kind of setup.

i went down the route of the modded xbox running xbmc playing back content stored on a pair of usb drives connected to an Asus router running a modified linux-based firmware. this worked ok, but was a bit fiddly (i didnt like having to have my USB drives as ext3, plus the xbox was a noisy beast of a thing. i also had plans to incorporate some kind of TV recording / viewing (Freeview / DVB-T).

i sold the router and bought an AppleTV (actually, one slightly dodgy ebay transaction and one warranty call later, turned out that I got one for free from Apple... true story). i had high hopes for the AppleTV, which I expanded with a 750Gb USB drive (in sweet sweet HFS+) and a usb DVD-ROM. NitoTV provided the needful on the hacking front.

but the appletv annoyed the hell out of me. unless I rebooted it regularly, it would gradually slow down, the menus becoming less and less responsive. it also annoyed the hell out of me that the standard Take2 UI prioritises iTunes Store content way over local content. i concluded the box, while reasonably interesting, is just too lacking in CPU and RAM to be of any real use.

so my current plan is to put together a system based around intel's dual-core Atom board (little falls 2) running a vanilla 10.5.6 (any later and i'd have to turn off HyperThreading, by the looks of things). i plan to disable Finder, Spotlight, Dashboard and other non-essential stuff and have it boot into Front Row.

the ingredients so far:

Intel d945gclf2 mini-itx board (dual-core+hyperthreading Atom 1.6Ghz, GMA950, runs vanilla Leopard)
1-2Gb RAM (whatever i can find lying around)
1.5Tb HDD
slimline SATA DVD-ROM
nice little media case with enough room for a 3.5'' drive and a slimline optical
2x Freecom DVB-T USB sticks (recognised by EyeTV as Miglia TV Mini units)
boosted DVB-T aerial splitter
twistedmelon's Manta TR-1 infrared tranciever
Apple Remote
USB 802.11N dongle

software-wise:

EyeTV 3
Remote Buddy (for emulating the apple-shipped IR function for the apple remote)
Front Row
PyeTV (Front Row EyeTV integration)
VideoDrive (allows non-iTunes formats to be added to iTunes automagically)
rTorrent and SABNZBD+ for content goodness
EyeControl for remotely scheduling recordings etc

Im hoping this box will replace both the AppleTV and my current piece-of-poop Freeview box, and provide a reasonable living room experience for watching and recording TV, as well as watching downloaded content.

And im aware this box is no good for HD - i dont care. I'm not likely to get an HD tv anytime soon, and SD is plenty good enough for my purposes :)


Just wanted to comment on this thread because I recently finished (for now ) my Hack HTPC.

For software I am using Plex. I find that if you mess with iTunes you are stuck with transcoding or re-encoding media for it to work (at worse quality than the original) as you have pointed out. Or messing with Perian (which lacks dual core or GPU assisted decoding).

With Plex since it uses FFMpeg as the engine, it can play 30 gb m2ts files ripping straight off a Blu Ray as long as you have enough cpu power (since its all CPU power with Plex) and you downconvert the audio (which can happen during the ripping process- OSX can't use HD audio). Plex can also play everything else (divx, mkvs, mp4 itunes files, etc.) and since it uses XBMC's media engine (its a fork of XBMC) it gives you an interface for you media far beyond what Frontrow/AppleTV provides IMHO (check out the Aeon skin if you don't believe me). Plex also has wonderful Logitech Harmony support so you can move past the limits of the Apple Remote (like dedicated buttons for Play, Stop, etc). Finally Plex's media server allows you to easily access Hulu, Youtube, Netflix Online, and news sites like CNN.com all from a remote.

I have a hackintosh server with 10 tbs of media on running 10.5.6. This allows me to share on my network all this data using AFP. This box also doubles as a Plexbox in my bedroom.

For my living room I have this:

http://forums.plexap...ntosh-plex-box/

Currently with a dual core CPU clocked up to 2.8 ghz, but I am think of going quad core for the rare times I want to record something on EyeTV and play a HD movie in Plex.

As mentioned I also use EyeTV for my local TV channels with a HDhomerun. Plex can activate EyeTV and then re-activate itself when EyeTV is closed so its a completely remote controlled HTPC.

Plex uses iTunes as a music server- everything in my music library it can use. It evens plays with the awesome iTunes visualizations.

The only limit to my setup (compared to say iTunes/Frontrow) is that I cannot play back drm media- no buying movies off the Apple store and playing them on Plex or using those "digital copy" disks. I don't' really care about that because I am a huge and proud media pirate- the internet has provided me more than 700 HD movies, many of them not even on Blu Ray yet. (I pay for OSX though-I support companies I like, steal from the ones I don't).

I thank you very much for your advice so far in this thread. Some of the suggestions (such as the mouse thing) I have used directly on this box. If you feel there is anything I can help with, please let me know!

EDIT: Maybe one place I can help: the Mantra TR1 is a piece of junk, and so its the Mira software. Worst waste of my cash since I moved to OSX. It is MUCH better to build a IR port using a Macbook Pro IR board, and then use Remote Buddy to be Quarterback for the signals. Here is a guide of how to build one:

http://photos.potteb...y/7075206_LwKc4

A real Mac IR port is much more responsive, and does not force you to use Mira (which eats RAM and CPU more than any simple program should).

#29
munky

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hey there

thanks for the tip... the manta IR thing is actually pissing me off right now, will look into this MBP IR thing.

one thing thats really driving me insane is that the onboard S-Video output doesnt work under OS X, so I have to use a crappy external VGA to Composite box, which gives horrible tearing artefacts on any horizontal movement. Wish someone who knew Natit could hack up a working TV-Out solution for the D945GCLF2. :(

EDIT: Plea for help... http://www.insanelym...howtopic=192695





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