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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Anyone have using their Mac Mini on their HDTV?

Anyone have using their Mac Mini on their HDTV?
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monkeybutler
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Feb 21, 2005, 03:07 PM
 
Probably a stupid question since i dont know much about HDTV. But i was looking at them and they all have DVI inputs on back. So has anyone actually tried running a Mini on an HDTV?

Im mainly curious if its usable on a TV. It just seems like a cool addition to an entertainment system if you can pull out a wireless keyboard and get online or do your computer stuff on the couch.
( Last edited by monkeybutler; Feb 21, 2005 at 06:55 PM. )
     
power142
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Feb 21, 2005, 08:51 PM
 
Many HDTV sets now have HDMI inputs on them, which is picture+sound. Many are compatible with unencrypted DVI given a DVI->HDMI cable. The reason I mention this is that HDMI theoretically supports HDCP, which is an encrypted copy protection system, but I don't know the details of which TVs might/might not support this only and exclude a plain DVI input.

I am using the DVI output on the mini to HDMI on my DLP TV and it works almost perfectly, but with a little too much overscan. This is an issue with the TV, however, as I've ran a calibration DVD on it and it shows a 5-10 pixel overscan all round. The native resolution of my TV is 1280x720 non-interlaced.
     
ideasculptor
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Feb 22, 2005, 10:23 PM
 
Most TV's will naturally overscan because many channels wind up with noises at the edge. My Samsung DLP has a mode which displays the entire screen on the visible portion of the display. Unfortunately, in order to do so, it scales the image down a small fraction. This means that I cannot use a computer with the TV and run the computer at the native resolution of the tv, since it will scale my 720P output in by about 5 pixels on every side, resulting in a non 1:1 pixel relationship. It looks pretty good still, but it is annoying, nonetheless. Watching movies and such on the TV works fine, since I can leae it in TV mode, since I won't notice the overscan.

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Feb 23, 2005, 02:10 PM
 
Can a Mac mini play a true HDTV resoultion file without dropping frames? I am not talking about a widescreen image but an actual broadcast quality HDTV file. Can it send a 720p signal to a TV?
MacBook 2.0 / Powerbook 1ghz 12inch 768mb / Original 5 gig iPod / 512mb iPod Shuffle
     
power142
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Feb 23, 2005, 03:46 PM
 
By definition of the resolution of the display, if the mini is driving the TV at a resolution of 1280x720 then it is progressive, not interlaced. It happily plays DVDs scaled to this resolution, but there's no question that a decent (real) DVD player would do a better job quality-wise.

I don't have any "true" HDTV streams to play, or the methods with which to play them, but if you can point me at a good source, then I might be able to take a look.
I have a hunch that it might struggle with both 1080i and 720p streams, moreso if it has to scale the 1080i down to 720p, but I'm open minded.... my hunch is based on the computation required to decompress a given MPEG stream of that resolution, rather than it's ability to throw it at the screen, which is a different matter altogether.
     
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Feb 23, 2005, 06:33 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
By definition of the resolution of the display, if the mini is driving the TV at a resolution of 1280x720 then it is progressive, not interlaced. It happily plays DVDs scaled to this resolution, but there's no question that a decent (real) DVD player would do a better job quality-wise.

I don't have any "true" HDTV streams to play, or the methods with which to play them, but if you can point me at a good source, then I might be able to take a look.
Thanks for the info about 720p. I wasnt sure about that.

Here are some samples for Windows Media 9 in HD:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/win...tShowcase.aspx

Heres a sample of a divx:

http://www.divx.com/movies/trailer_madagascar.php

Would be great if you have a chance to check it out. Thanks for offering. I was thinking of using a mini to play back HDTV content on my screen but am afraid it will not be able to keep up with the frame rate.
MacBook 2.0 / Powerbook 1ghz 12inch 768mb / Original 5 gig iPod / 512mb iPod Shuffle
     
f1000
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Feb 23, 2005, 06:46 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
I don't have any "true" HDTV streams to play, or the methods with which to play them, but if you can point me at a good source, then I might be able to take a look.
I posted a link to some .ts Navy files in the following thread,

http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.p...0&pagenumber=1

The files are large, and you'll need VLC to play them.
     
power142
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Feb 23, 2005, 10:49 PM
 
OK, give me a couple of days to pull everything together (and to go to work!).

I'm very doubtful that the Windows Media will work, my limited experience with Windows Media Player on the Mac did not leave a good impression.

Any player that has been optimized with some vectorization stands the best chance, I think. I'll try the Divx first, as the 3ivx codec is vector-enabled and might just work. Note that I don't have a full HD 1920x1080 display to test though, so anything I play will have to be scaled to 1280x720. This may be good and bad. Good in the sense that the video chip can keep up, but bad in the sense that it incurs extra processing overhead which isn't quite fair.

As I said before, I don't expect the MPEG transport streams themselves to work very well, but I'll reserve judgement until I can actually test this. After all, it's normally recommended to have a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 or thereabouts, and I'm not sure the G4 in a mini is quite up to it.

But we shall see....
     
f1000
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Feb 23, 2005, 11:06 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
OK, give me a couple of days to pull everything together (and to go to work!).

I'm very doubtful that the Windows Media will work, my limited experience with Windows Media Player on the Mac did not leave a good impression.
Don't even bother with WMVHD: http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.p...ighlight=wmvhd
     
power142
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Feb 24, 2005, 02:06 AM
 
Noted. I thought WMVHD would be pointless

So I've had a change to play a couple of files on the mini, plugged into an LCD display at 1280x1024x32 (I doubt that this has an impact on playback). Here are my findings:

1) Matrix reloaded trailer, 1000x540, from thematrix.com, encoded with Sorenson Video 3. Quicktime, 55-65% CPU utilization (Menumeters) - flawless.
2) Madagascar.mov, 1280x720, from Divx.com, Divx Doctored. Quicktime, 3ivx 4.5.1 codec, 65-80% CPU utilization - flawless.
3) Madagascar.avi, 1280x720, from Divx.com. VLC 0.8.1, 55-75% CPU utilization - flawless.
4) hdtv_demo.tp, resolution unknown, from Dvico.com. VLC 0.8.1, 100% CPU utilization, regularly dropping frames and not perfectly smooth.

This is with a 1.42GHz mini with 512MB memory.

So the mini can certainly play files at the native resolution of the HDTV set it is destined for, but not an HDTV program directly. I'm not sure of the resolution of (4), but it was certainly larger than 1280x720, so I'm assuming it was 1920x1080, but I don't know how to get this information out of VLC. As it was close to smooth but not quite there, it might just about manage a 1280x720 file. Also, there is an OpenGL video output option in VLC... I left it at Default. Maybe I'll try OpenGL later and see if it makes any difference.

Incidentally, I tried the hdtv_demo.tp file with VLC on a G5 and it plays perfectly smoothly at around 60-65% CPU utilization.

While the mini doesn't do so well with the HDTV program files, my guess is that H.264 will be heavily vectorized by Apple such that it plays perfectly on a mini at 1.42 or 1.25GHz.
     
f1000
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Feb 24, 2005, 04:30 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
4) hdtv_demo.tp, resolution unknown, from Dvico.com. VLC 0.8.1, 100% CPU utilization, regularly dropping frames and not perfectly smooth.

This is with a 1.42GHz mini with 512MB memory.

So the mini can certainly play files at the native resolution of the HDTV set it is destined for, but not an HDTV program directly. I'm not sure of the resolution of (4), but it was certainly larger than 1280x720, so I'm assuming it was 1920x1080, but I don't know how to get this information out of VLC. As it was close to smooth but not quite there, it might just about manage a 1280x720 file. Also, there is an OpenGL video output option in VLC... I left it at Default. Maybe I'll try OpenGL later and see if it makes any difference.

Incidentally, I tried the hdtv_demo.tp file with VLC on a G5 and it plays perfectly smoothly at around 60-65% CPU utilization.

While the mini doesn't do so well with the HDTV program files, my guess is that H.264 will be heavily vectorized by Apple such that it plays perfectly on a mini at 1.42 or 1.25GHz.
I'm intrigued by your results with the Mac Mini. I guess my PowerBook is showing its age...it can't play back HD DivX files without skipping some frames. The results are watchable but not television smooth, especially when there's a lot of motion in a scene.

Try downloading the Navy files and running them on your Mac Mini as well. The Dvico files are interlaced, I think, while the Navy files are progressive. Software de-interlacing kills frame rates, so you should find that the Navy .tp streams will play back much more smoothly than the Dvico files.
     
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Feb 24, 2005, 07:49 PM
 
Power142 thanks very much for your very interesting and detailed report! Thank you also for taking the time to try it. Interesting results. I am mainly interested in something that will do .ts files as well as windows media (GAG). I was thinking of the mini but I will continue to wait for the Kiss Technologies DP-600 which may come out one day.
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power142
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Feb 24, 2005, 10:08 PM
 
f1000: My 1GHz Powerbook won't play the Madagascar trailer without dropping almost half the frames. The extra 42% clock speed must really be helping the mini. Another factor could be the larger L2 cache on the mini, 512KB as opposed to 256KB on the Powerbook. This could make all the difference if the decoder code fits into the larger L2 but spews out into the L3 on the Powerbook, but I don't have access to a machine in between to check. Thanks for the info about the navy files. I'm downloading one now and will report back.

Rumor Addict: No problem, I was curious myself! Unfortunately, I don't think the mini is going to produce the goods for your WMVHD stuff.
     
power142
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Feb 25, 2005, 02:15 AM
 
OK, so I got the abc.mpg file and played it on the mini and it was reasonably smooth for the most part, but there were parts where it stuttered. Playing the same file on the G5 showed that it was probably dropping more, but it was mostly unnoticeable. This is using VLC. I fear that it may take at least a 1.8GHz G5 to play such a stream smoothly.
     
f1000
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Feb 27, 2005, 06:28 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
OK, so I got the abc.mpg file and played it on the mini and it was reasonably smooth for the most part, but there were parts where it stuttered. Playing the same file on the G5 showed that it was probably dropping more, but it was mostly unnoticeable. This is using VLC. I fear that it may take at least a 1.8GHz G5 to play such a stream smoothly.
I believe VLC doesn't support graphics card acceleration, so CPU speed isn't the issue. Let's hope that Tiger's implementation of H.264 will address this problem.
     
power142
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Mar 1, 2005, 04:17 AM
 
Is H.264 backwards compatible, meaning that the H.264 codec will accelerate MPEG2 playback? I didn't realize they were that closely related.
     
OB1
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Mar 1, 2005, 04:33 AM
 
Excuse my HDTV ignorance but, could anyone answer this for me - can a HDTV television be used as a replacement computer monitor? ie, When sitting close-up are they good enough to be used for text and gui's of heavier apps like Word, logic, Photoshop etc?

Thanks in advance...
     
f1000
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Mar 2, 2005, 11:54 PM
 
Originally posted by power142:
Is H.264 backwards compatible, meaning that the H.264 codec will accelerate MPEG2 playback? I didn't realize they were that closely related.
No, it isn't, at least as far as I know, but you can convert MPEG2 to H.264 using a program called MPEG Streamclip, http://www.apple.com/downloads/macos...treamclip.html
     
power142
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Mar 4, 2005, 04:53 PM
 
Cool, I'll take a look, thanks!
     
scottrussell
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Mar 4, 2005, 07:16 PM
 
Originally posted by OB1:
Excuse my HDTV ignorance but, could anyone answer this for me - can a HDTV television be used as a replacement computer monitor? ie, When sitting close-up are they good enough to be used for text and gui's of heavier apps like Word, logic, Photoshop etc?
I own an Sharp Aquos LCD 37", Model LC37G4U. When I connect my PowerBook to it with DVI, I get an extremely sharp & beautiful picture. Definitely good enough to use as a "replacement" display. The one thing that keeps me from doing this is the overscan. It cuts off the top and bottom of my screen image, so I can't see the menu bar (at the top) and see only the top part of the dock (at the bottom). Bummer!

Scott Russell
Memphis, TN
     
Kesey
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Mar 4, 2005, 07:33 PM
 
Here it is connected to a plasma HDTV:

http://www.nodrm.com
     
Joe's iMac G4
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Mar 4, 2005, 08:17 PM
 
EyeTV 1.7.1 plays HDTV files much, much better than VLC. No hardware is needed.
     
bdmoore
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Mar 5, 2005, 02:15 AM
 
Originally posted by scottrussell:
I own an Sharp Aquos LCD 37", Model LC37G4U. When I connect my PowerBook to it with DVI, I get an extremely sharp & beautiful picture. Definitely good enough to use as a "replacement" display. The one thing that keeps me from doing this is the overscan. It cuts off the top and bottom of my screen image, so I can't see the menu bar (at the top) and see only the top part of the dock (at the bottom). Bummer!

Scott Russell
Memphis, TN
I have the same TV, with a Mac mini dedicated to it. I don't seem to have the above stated problem with the mini or my 12" Powerbook. I have the computer set to the resolution of 1280x768. I beleive I had to adjust the placement of the picture, as it was off center. And I keep it in stretch mode as opposed to dot by dot, as this leaves 1" of black dead space on both sides of the desktop.
     
gjas18
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Mar 5, 2005, 04:55 AM
 
Doesnt really apply to the mac mini as much but us PB owners with radeon 9700's would get a significant boost in performance from Core Video. As I understand it since GPU's are basically super fast/optimised vector processors Core Video would allow quicktime to use multi-threading to offload a large amount of the vector processing onto the GPU leaving the processor to a much smaller amount of the decoding. Considering the shear processing power of even a radeon 9800 (about 40 ops per clock) i would estimate that Core Video could cut the cpu power required for decoding of HD video almost in half. Now before I get flamed this is just a guess based on the theoretical max operations per sec of the radeon 9800 and a G4 @ 1.67Ghz.

So in real world applications this boost would probably be much less.
     
Belisarius
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Mar 5, 2005, 09:44 AM
 
Originally posted by scottrussell:
I own an Sharp Aquos LCD 37", Model LC37G4U. When I connect my PowerBook to it with DVI, I get an extremely sharp & beautiful picture. Definitely good enough to use as a "replacement" display. The one thing that keeps me from doing this is the overscan. It cuts off the top and bottom of my screen image, so I can't see the menu bar (at the top) and see only the top part of the dock (at the bottom). Bummer!

Scott Russell
Memphis, TN
You might want to check out DisplayConfigX, which will allow you to adjust the overscan. I've used it to hook up my mini to my Sony HDTV with great success. Feel free to email me at "kevincoleman at mac dot com" if you need a hand, as it's a little weird to setup; I'd recommend reading the author's HDTV help at his website. Currently, it will only do 720p, but he is working on 1080i support.

Kevin
     
john_ela
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Mar 5, 2005, 12:05 PM
 
Seems like there is a lot of confusion regarding the ability of a mac to play back hd.

Here is the bottom line: an imac mini can display 720p content and possibly play back movies at 720p (with high cpu usage). Forget about 1080i - the card can't support the resolution. If you want to use the mini to see HDTV movies you'll be stretching it's cpu a bit (especially of you also want to output 5.1 audio which needs a separate USB adapter)

HDTV Resolutions:
720p --> 1280x720
1080i --> 1920x1080*

Even if the mini had a graphics card that supported a higher resolution, it would be of little use since mac doesn't do hardware mpeg2 acceleration (the graphics card may support mpeg2 acceleration, but Apple doesn't expose the API. This is why DVD player can play movies on an old g3 without drawing a sweat - apple does mpeg2 decoding in hardware for DVD player but the standard quicktime player, VLC, and other apps do all mpeg2 decoding w/out hardware assistance).

One more note: eyetv is a great product but if you look at the requirements for playback, you'll see that a dual g5 is needed; entirely due to the reasons noted above.

* -- this is actually 1080p - Interlaced would require about half the resolution and draw it twice to simulate the full 1920x1080 resolution.
     
Alex Duffield
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Mar 5, 2005, 01:15 PM
 
seems that Apples new h264 codec will need a Dual G5 for HD playback...

Adopted worldwide as the next-generation standard HD H.264 video plays back on today’s desktop computers. So with QuickTime 7, a Cinema HD Display and a dual-processor Power Mac G5, the home office becomes home theater.
taken straight from Apple...

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/h264.html
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Fatal error: Call to undefined function: signature() in /usr/local/www/htdocs/showthread.php on line 813
     
gjas18
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Mar 5, 2005, 06:42 PM
 
Originally posted by Alex Duffield:
seems that Apples new h264 codec will need a Dual G5 for HD playback...



taken straight from Apple...

http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/h264.html
Do you really think the ad would sound as good if they said "You don't need to buy our most expensive pro-sumer comp for HD Video! All you need is our cheapest. Oh, and since you dont need a keyboard mouse or display we can make the smallest profit ever!"

In all seriousness though apple wont reveal anything about their current plans to keep competition at bay.

If someone has a radeon 9800 All In Wonder in their PC try the HD divx file with divx acceleration enabled and check cpu usage.
     
thrust
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Mar 5, 2005, 09:40 PM
 
Originally posted by bdmoore:
I have the same TV, with a Mac mini dedicated to it. I don't seem to have the above stated problem with the mini or my 12" Powerbook. I have the computer set to the resolution of 1280x768. I beleive I had to adjust the placement of the picture, as it was off center. And I keep it in stretch mode as opposed to dot by dot, as this leaves 1" of black dead space on both sides of the desktop.
I've also got a sharp tv, and I think there may be some problem with resolution detection on these panels. the native res is 1366x768, but the closest I can get my pb to detect is 1280x768. DisplayConfigX may be able to force to 1366, but this option is unavailable w/o registering, and I don't feel like paying just to find out that it _may work. anyone out there got a sharp tv, displayconfigx, and a dvi mac to hook everything up with?

btw there should be no issue with overscan if you've got things hooked up correctly via dvi. the panel appears as a dvi digital display, not a 'tv' out, and overscan isn't enabled. if you're seeing an 'overscan' or 'best for video' checkbox in your display prefpane on the tv, you've likely got something set up wrong.
     
OtisWild
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Mar 7, 2005, 08:49 AM
 

* -- this is actually 1080p - Interlaced would require about half the resolution and draw it twice to simulate the full 1920x1080 resolution.
However, though the display would be on a digital 1080p output (like the larger Samsung LCDs) the signal would be a flattened 1080i @ 30fps.. So for stuff like sporting events 720p @ 60fps would be better for stuff like freeze-framing and capturing better live imagery.

Of course, 1080p @ 60fps would be superior but I don't know if that's even a legit ATSC spec, and the hardware required would be pretty darned expensive for consumer use at good picture sizes.. Where oh where is LCoS...
     
unithom
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Mar 7, 2005, 11:24 AM
 
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...s=&forumid=115

I'd check this site out. Lots of folks talking about what has worked for them when using a Mac as HTPC.

Including: Using firewire to record and play back HD content, whether the M-Audio Sonica Theater is a good enough USB device to pass 5.1/DTS sound to receiver, whether the Mac mini can play back decent frame rates, better resolution settings for using the whole display of your HDTV as a monitor without over/underscan, etc.

I've already posted one of the forum threads to a few people here about the resolution thing, HIH. (I have the Sharp Aquos LC-37GD6U, basically the same TV but with a digital tuner and i.Link support.)

My setup: http://www.unithom.com/avstuff/
     
druber
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Mar 7, 2005, 11:55 AM
 
A few things to get straight here. You don't need a dual-G5 to watch HDTV with the EyeTV500, straight from the EyeTV. You don't need a dual-G5 to record HDTV with that unit, either, but you will need a fairly high-end machine to play back recorded HDTV content.

Lots of good info and tests on this and other Mac HDTV issues over at Ars Technica.

Apple's playing it safe when it comes to H264 right now. It's in their best interests to stay quiet about video performance under 10.4, especially on YMMV issues, considering the number of different machine models out there. If a Mac mini can play back a 720p MPEG2 file, I sure don't imagine that playback of H264 would be slower, do you? Performance specs are a guide, not a hard and fast rule unless some features are disabled on "lower-end" machines, wherever Apple draws that line.

This to say, it's definitely useful to have people report in their actual experiences, especially if they do a good job documenting things like machine, OS, screen res, file. But forecasting playback on other machines or future OS releases is just spreading the FUD.
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weldon
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Mar 7, 2005, 02:49 PM
 
Originally posted by druber:
If a Mac mini can play back a 720p MPEG2 file, I sure don't imagine that playback of H264 would be slower, do you?
Well, we do know that H.264 is much more processor intensive than MPEG-2, especially at HDTV resolutions. It will definitely take more CPU to do decoding in software. There's no question of that at all. The increased efficiency of the codec exacts a price in processing power. In fact, several companies have struggled to do real-time 1080i decoding in software on the very fastest Pentium 4 machines available when showing demos at trade shows like CES. Of course, everyone expects that situation to get better as PC's get faster and the decoding software is improved.

Does that mean the Mac mini won't be able to play back 1080i AVC HP content fluidly? We can't really say yet because there are still a few rounds of optimizations to go through. Does it matter? Probably not, because first we will need Blu-Ray or HD-DVD drives in Macs to get at mainstream content. Second, we should expect to see VC-1 and AVC HP decoding chipsets incorporated into video cards so that all this CPU intensive stuff can be offloaded to the GPU anyways. I understand a few companies are sampling AVC HP decoding in silicon right now. VC-1 in silicon should be later this year. I would expect to see more video cards like the 6600GT that do MPEG-2, WMV-HD, and more in hardware appear for the Mac.
     
power142
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Mar 7, 2005, 04:32 PM
 
I'd still be surprised, though, what with all the vectorization they could probably do (I have no understanding of the algorithm for H.264 other than "more complex than MPEG2"), if it didn't at least playback at a reasonable rate at 1280x720 on a mini. Encoding and/or conversion from 1080i would be a different matter.
I mentioned this in another thread, but I'd also be surprised if Apple would go out to immediately render a large proportion of their recently sold hardware (essentially) useless when it comes to CoreVideo ie heavy use of Radeon 9200 in both iBook and mini, GF5200 in iMac. Time will reveal all......
     
nafai23
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Mar 7, 2005, 06:28 PM
 
nvidia/ati drivers for the pc...have a settings that compensates for overscan perfectly...

everyone email nvidia/ati and ask for a driver update for mac including this
     
weldon
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Mar 8, 2005, 02:19 AM
 
Originally posted by power142:
I mentioned this in another thread, but I'd also be surprised if Apple would go out to immediately render a large proportion of their recently sold hardware (essentially) useless when it comes to CoreVideo ie heavy use of Radeon 9200 in both iBook and mini, GF5200 in iMac. Time will reveal all......
Are you saying that you would be surprised if Apple would go out to engineer H.264 so that it wouldn't run well on the iBook and mini? You have to remember Apple isn't driving H.264. The recent AVC HP additions are based on competition with VC-1 and use of H.264 in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray applications.

Since we're talking about HDTV and home theater in this thread, we should focus in on AVC HP and encoding/decoding for HD. While these additions increase quality for HD they are incredibly CPU intensive for encoding. If you want to use the CABAC extensions you probably won't be able to do real-time encoding on any Mac, let alone a mini. On the decoding side, I'll take a guess that the mini is going to struggle to do HD. 2.4GHz P4 is about a minimum for 720p. 1080i really takes a 2.8 or 3.0 P4. While the G4 should be more capable at lower speeds it's still going to struggle to keep up I think.
     
Joe's iMac G4
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Mar 8, 2005, 08:33 AM
 
Originally posted by unithom:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...s=&forumid=115

I'd check this site out. Lots of folks talking about what has worked for them when using a Mac as HTPC.

Including: Using firewire to record and play back HD content, whether the M-Audio Sonica Theater is a good enough USB device to pass 5.1/DTS sound to receiver, whether the Mac mini can play back decent frame rates, better resolution settings for using the whole display of your HDTV as a monitor without over/underscan, etc.

I've already posted one of the forum threads to a few people here about the resolution thing, HIH. (I have the Sharp Aquos LC-37GD6U, basically the same TV but with a digital tuner and i.Link support.)

My setup: http://www.unithom.com/avstuff/
I recommend visiting this link. I am jsb_hburg there. I have 720p material playing back perfectly using a 1.25 eMac running EyeTV 1.7.1.
     
gjas18
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Mar 8, 2005, 04:35 PM
 
I was searching the Ars forums for stuff relating to this HD conundrum and I came across a video player called GLPlayer and it seems that it does basically the same thing that corevideo will do. I can playback the madagascar trailer on my 1.67 PB with 1GB ram at about 75%-80% cpu in VLC on average, if i use GLPlayer with 3vix that drops to around 50%-60% and this is a 720p source mind you. I wish I had a 1080i source to try out even though i dont think my 17" studio display will be high enough resolution
     
weldon
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Mar 8, 2005, 05:47 PM
 
I neglected to point out that I'm assuming ~15Mbps for 1080i material encoded in H.264. That obviously makes a big difference for decoding requirements as compared to current DVD or lower bit-rate HD material.

~15Mbps seems to be a target bitrate for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.
     
power142
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Mar 8, 2005, 09:40 PM
 
Apple are quoting 7-9Mbps for 1080i (albeit 24fps). Typically, broadcast 1080i is up to 20Mbps, so if H.264 was not significantly lower than that, there would be little motivation to migrate to it.

I've been experimenting with the x264 codec and can get excellent quality SDTV at around 1Mbps, and playback isn't requiring a lot of processing using VLC. Encoding requires a different beast. On the same G5, one processor takes at least twice as the source long to get acceptable results. I never expected it to be quick, but encoding 720p or 1080i would take significantly longer.
     
plasmadis
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Mar 9, 2005, 04:35 AM
 
Hello. I googled for info on HDTV with the Mac Mini, and landed on this thread. Even though the thread topic is regarding putting a Mac Mini on an HDTV, I thought I'd contribute my experience with the opposite, putting HDTV on the Mac Mini.

I'm using an EyeTV 500 HDTV tuner. Based on what I've read from reviews of this tuner, many seem to think that you need pretty hefty CPU power to watch HDTV with it. Some thought it wasn't possible even with the iMac G5, which turns out to work beautifully. Unfortunately, my iMac G5 is currently out of commission, due to this supposedly widespread graphics chip problem, so I've made the Mini my main system for the time being.

I was skeptical that the Mini would be able to push out HDTV, but lo and behold, it works. However, there are the following issues:

1) Can't really run anything else in the background, or else it starts getting choppy.
2) Can't push above 1280x960, which is what I currently run, or else it turns into a slideshow.
3) Can't use the modem! If you try to fire up HDTV while on the modem, you get knocked off. Yeah, right now I'm strapped for cash, shut off the DSL to save some money, and switched back to good old dialup. I guess the modem in the Mini is software-based, and during HDTV viewing the extra CPU power the modem requires can't be spared.

So, I suppose if you get a plasma or LCD monitor that doesn't include a built-in HDTV tuner, you could use a Mac Mini and the EyeTV 500 in lieu of the tuner, and get the added benefit of having a computer and some DVR capabilities. Well, I haven't actually tried any DVR with the Mini yet, but I imagine you'd need a fast external hard drive to do so.

Here's some pics of HDTV in action on my Mac Mini:

http://groups.msn.com/plasmadisrando...cminihdtv.msnw
     
kon
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Mar 9, 2005, 04:49 PM
 
While its great you got your system working at that resolution, HD comprises of more than one resolution and framerate combination. The Mini cannot handle 1080i. At best one could say it is 'partly' capable of HD decoding by supporting up to 720p.
     
Dace
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Mar 10, 2005, 01:09 AM
 
Originally posted by gjas18:
If someone has a radeon 9800 All In Wonder in their PC try the HD divx file with divx acceleration enabled and check cpu usage.
I forgot I had my PC underclocked at 900MHz (long story) and the DivX file "Madagascar" played fine with some rough scene changes and it peaked at 75% CPU Usage...mostly sticking around 50-60%. This with the ATi Radeon Acceleration. A WMV HD file on the other hand was really choppy (thats how I remembered I underclocked, 'cause it played fine before)> I guess that proves DivX takes full advantage of the ATi while WMV doesn't.

I have an Athlon 64 2GHz and an AIO ATI 9800 Pro 128MB video card. The WMV file plays fine with a 2GHz processor at 1920x1440 resolution sticking around the 40-50% usage and peaking to 70%. Oh, and at 2GHz the DivX file no longer had rough scene changes...I tried looking for them but couldn't find them anymore. This was all done using my 19" CRT monitor


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weldon
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Mar 10, 2005, 04:00 AM
 
Originally posted by power142:
Apple are quoting 7-9Mbps for 1080i (albeit 24fps). Typically, broadcast 1080i is up to 20Mbps, so if H.264 was not significantly lower than that, there would be little motivation to migrate to it.
I think 7-9 Mbps for 1080i is crap. Half of HDTV? For Home Theater applications we really need better PQ, not just lower bitrate. MPEG-4 is probably going to look better than MPEG-2 at any bitrate, but the point is better PQ at the same bitrate, not just fewer bits.

Broadcast 1080i (ATSC) is 19.28 max, but much of that is null packets and PSIP data. Most broadcasters seem to do 15-16 Mbps. Some do less because of sub-channels that rob bandwidth. DVB like Dish and DirecTV sometimes do 12Mbps.

When Blu-Ray and HD-DVD arrive for true HD home theater, you're going to need plenty of processing power to decode in software. Hardware acceleration is definitely going to be wanted if not needed. But then again, the Mac mini (in it's current incarnation) doesn't even have Blu-Ray or HD-DVD yet, so we can't complain about the fact that it doesn't have the CPU to play back that kind of HD content.
     
   
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