Using a Mac as an HTPC

Hardware and Accessories

I am looking into which direction to go with my next PC. Whatever I end up with, I want a fully functional HTPC to integrate into my home theater system. I have a few questions for users of Macs that might help me make up my mind.

1. Has Apple's refusal to embrace certain technologies affected any user on these forums' use of their Mac with media? Apple has yet to develop a Blu-ray drive of their own, something very important to most who are into home theater. Also, unless they have finally given in, Apple has been holding back on adopting the newest, fastest version of Serial ATA in favor of the Lightning connector and the newest Firewire. They also held back on embracing USB 3.0, but I've heard that this is no longer the case. These issues might not be very important to some, but to a home theater PC user, Blu-ray is a key feature and having the newest and fastest versions of all interfaces is quite important. Any discussion from those who have used Macs for media, in particular for movies and high definition audio would be greatly appreciated here.

2. How do Macs do connecting to a high speed home network with components like super high capacity and high speed Nas's, networked home theater receivers or processors and networked devices for playing movies and high definition audio.

3. Are there Mac versions of applications like DVpoweramp, Handbrake and other software for secure ripping of music and movies with top flight error correction and the ability to rip to and create new files in formats like FLAC, FLAC Surround and other high definition, lossless audio formats? Are there applications or plugins that will allow a Mac to play DSD or other related audio files?

4. Are there any other software or hardware features that would make a Mac stand out as a home theater PC? Are there any add-on cards or other peripherals that are good for using a Mac for movies and music?

All answers and discussions on the above greatly appreciated. All other input and information appreciated as well. I have a collection of hundreds of high definition audio titles, several thousand standard CDs, around a thousand Blu-ray movies, several thousand DVDs and a few hundred digital movies as well as subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and other such on-demand services. I take my media very serious and upgrade my surround sound system as often as I can afford it. I really want a computer that can match up to the rest of my collection even if I need to save up for much longer to get the best I can manage.

Thanks for the input.




Submitted by YM on Friday, January 2, 2015

Hey just ran across this and figured I'd jump in since it doesn't look like you'd received any feedback.
I had to do a double check on the date it was written as it seems that there's some confusion as to what you were told a mac can/can not do in terms of media/HTPC capabilities and specifically current technologies in general.

"Has apple refusal to embrace certain technologies..USB 3.."
Not sure why you might think that, but Apple started using USB 3 as soon technology became available in their next batch of releases. I'm currently typing on a 2012 Macbook Pro with USB 3.

I'm more confused by your comment regarding the "newest fastest Serial ATA". Apple definitely uses the most current Sata technology, however in the context of your previous comments re: USB 3 and speed, my guess is you mean esata since you're referencing external ports. Mac does not use esata (as far as I know) but esata is far from new nor the fastest in terms of transfer speeds. esata some years ago was considered the fastest throughput but that was some time ago, and before USB 3. Additionally Mac's support of Thunderbolt 1&2 is going to dominate throughput options multiple times over, and becoming more common these days (but not as common as USB).

Lastly I believe you'd find a lot more people prefer digital over any type of hardware- DVD/BluRay. Hence the affordability of blu-ray players.

It seems like you've been given quite a bit of bad/dated information so instead of going into more of your questions, it's might be worth your time to do a little research and google some of your questions as I think you'd find most of the information pretty easily and enlightening.

Anyway, good luck and hope you find what you're looking for.