Media Center will also play DSD files. (Presumably other music server software will add that capability if they don't already.) However, if properly implemented, the best way to use a Mac as a music server is to use the USB output. You can use a Mac laptop, an iMac, a Mac Mini, or a Mac Pro tower. OpenMediaVault is the best and lightweight home server OS that is built using.
Use Mac mini as a server. The most popular server features—File Server, Time Machine Server, and Caching Server—are a part of macOS, so it’s easy to use your Mac mini as a server. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, then click Sharing to access one or more of the options below. Mike bought a used 2012 Mac Mini that he wants to turn into a media server. Will he be able to manage it locally, or does he have to do window sharing? Leo says that a Mac is kinda expensive for a media server, but it will do the job great with Apple's macOS Server software, which is $20 from the app store. He can also use PLEX for free. If he wants to access from the.
What is a Media Server?
A Media Server is a computer whose purpose in life is to stream your video, audio and pictures to you, on demand. Let’s say you’re on the road traveling, and you want to watch a football game you recorded two days ago. No problem with a Media Server. Just launch the iPhone app, browse to the Sports directory on your media center, and click play! Kind of like cable, except different and better!
Is the Mac Mini Media Server Material?
The Mac Mini has always been an enticing piece of hardware that demanded unique applications like serving media. The Mini footprint is compact, and it’s operating system is solid, making it a perfect fit for this type of “set it and forget it” application. While the hardware itself is a perfect fit for the “Media Server” job, software is needed to round out this kit and convert the Mac Mini into Media Server. Before we get into that, let’s talk processor cycles (horsepower).
What kind of horsepower does this Media Server thing require?
The newer Mac Mini models have more than enough power to transcode several streams concurrently, in addition to serving several additional streams to clients at the same time. In other words, a new Mac Mini will have media streaming to all 3 TV’s in the house, and your iPhone, with no trouble. But what if your Mini isn’t brand new? If you have a older (2-3 yr. ago) Mac Mini, you should be fine as well, just know that the Mini may not handle as many concurrent video streaming sessions, but will still certainly get the job done for 1-3 TV viewing. The biggest advantage of a newer model Mini aside from horsepower is the HDMI outputs, allowing for streaming of full HD resolution to your TV.
There are lot’s of media servers out there, but the ease of use and functionality makes Plex an excellent choice for newbies and techies alike. This should be no surprise as the software builds on the XBMC code that’s been serving media for years. Aside from the obvious features including streaming video and media players, the notables of Plex are are;
The Plex interface displays your content in an easy to view graphical interface allowing you to search by name, author, cover and more. Browsing your home movies, iTunes content Hulu or the latest videos on YouTube has never been easier, and the visual organization of the Plex interface makes sorting thru your media collection a snap.
What is Plex?
Plex is really a two products designed to work together to stream your video, audio or pictures to you using a rich graphical interface. The two products work together to provide an end-to-end solution for media consumption. The first product, Media Server, creates the streams of media for consumption. The Server also indexes your media, creates the menu system for your local content (movies, pictures, etc) and integrates with a plethora of online content providers, the likes of Hulu Plus, iTunes, Amazon Prime, PBS, CNN, Fox News, HGTV, Food Network, BBC, Netflix and more. The second product, Media Center, or desktop Plex client “catch’s” the video streams and displays them on the screen. Mobile Plex clients catch streams from the Plex Servers for mobile devices.
Plex also ties your online viewing experience to your home “media room” viewing experience by offering a synchronized bookmarking service of sorts. Setting up a My Plex Account will allow browser queue management and sharing of your content. In other words, you’ll be able to save videos for viewing later on another device like your television at home while you’re sitting on the couch. Sounds great right! It is. And it’s easy! Keep reading.
Installing Plex – Media Server Software
The installation and download for Plex, the Media Server Software couldn’t be easier. Once the download is complete, fire off the install and let it do it’s thing. Gpu for mac. When you are asked to locate your media, simply click to the directories where your video, audio and pictures are stored and the setup wizard will ingest the media and prepare vivid and informative menus indexing all of your content on the fly. Adding your myPlex credentials in the Preferences menu allows you to publish your Plex server on the internet for remote viewing using a Plex client. This publishing uses UPnP to connect thru your home router, so be sure UPnP is turned on in your router’s configuration. Once the setup is complete, the next step is to load a Plex client.
Installing Plex – Media Clients
iPhone Plex Client
Having completed the Media Server install, jump back to the Plex site and download a Plex mobile client or a Plex desktop client. These clients are the virtual set top boxes used to catch and play the streams being sent from the Media Server. With the heavy lifting done, this part of the setup is simple business. After installing the client of your choice, simply add your myPlex credentials in the application preferences and you should be able to connect to your Plex Server straight away. Streaming video from a mobile device could take some tweaking to get it just right, but the default bandwidth settings worked for us, even with less than 5 bars signal. Catching up on Dexter episodes just got a lot easier! And, the On Deck and On Shelf features allow you to start watching a program on your phone, and finish watching it on your computer or home television. Reminds me of that DirecTV commercial where the guy pauses the robot war to resume watching it in the other room. The On Deck and On Shelf features really are cool!
Have you Plex’d your Mini?
We’d love to hear about your Mac Mini used as a Media Server or Media Player. Comments or suggestions are welcome in the area below.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend I moved my Plex Media Server from my iMac to a Mac mini, and it was an almost painless process. Actually the process was painless, the problem was that I had not done enough homework. Let me explain.
I had been thinking of moving Plex off the iMac for some time because there were just too damn many things running on the iMac, and I thought the Plex server deserved a dedicated home. I asked about it at the local Apple Store on Walnut Street and was assured that a Mac mini would be more than up to the challenge, and since I stored all my media files on an external drive, a base model mini would probably be all I needed. I knew that once set up, the mini could be managed remotely from my iMac, but I was concerned about the initial setup; they reminded me that the mini had an HDMI port, so I could use my TV for that. And I had an old keyboard and trackpad, so that took care of that.
At Plex’s website I found the instructions for moving a Plex server from one system to another, and so I felt confident to go ahead. I ordered the base model Mac mini.
When the mini arrived, I plunged into the move. Plex’s instructions were clear and easy to follow, and I had no trouble. Since all my media files were on an external drive, I didn’t have to worry about tinkering with the Libraries. Once the move was done, Plex recognized them instantly. Plex on the Mac mini was behaving exactly like it had on the iMac, except it seemed to be running much more smoothly.
There was only one hitch. The mini now had only about six Gigabytes of free disk space. That wasn’t enough space to install an OS update.
What I had neglected to find out was just how much space the Plex server files take up. They were using up about 90 Gigabytes of file space; as the base configuration of the mini only had 128 GB, they were hogging most of it. The main culprit was a folder called Media which had about 70 GB of files.
After asking on the Plex forums if their server files could be moved to an external drive and not receiving a prompt reply (it was Thanksgiving), I recalled that Apple had a 14 day return policy. So I ordered a mini with a 256 GB internal drive and returned the first one.
The move to the second mini went just as smoothly, and frankly I couldn’t be happier with the mini and the way Plex is performing on it.
Just a word to the wise: if you move Plex to a new system, check the size of the “~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/” folder, and make sure your destination system’s internal drive is large enough to handle it with room to spare.