Getting one of the new Media PCs to consolidate all your media needs sound like a great idea. But if you have a MacBook Pro (MBP) – even an early rev A version like mine, all you need is Plex and you already have a Media PC ready to go.
First, props to Techgoondu friend Chris who gave me a heads up to Plex. Plex is a media center software based on XBMC Media Center. I have yet to try XBMC but it apparently is Mac, Linux, Windows and XBox compatible, unlike Plex which will only work with Intel Macs running Leopard – but there should be quite a few of you Techgoondu readers out there who are running that, at least according to our logs.
So after the usual download and install routine, I hooked everything up and voila, there was I, using my Apple Remote to navigate through my media files and playing them back on the LCD TV.
So what does Plex actually do? In a nuthsell, Plex helps you navigate through your Mac to play your videos and music, as well as show your photos.
Plex also lets you install “applications” that lets you stream stuff like Apple Movie Trailers, YouTube, Joost and a host of other sites. A tip here – to enable you to install these applications that let you stream stuff off third party websites, you’ve first gotta go into the “Configure the system>Skin>Home” settings to unhide the Applications menu. I had to spend a bit of time hunting this down.
And it has a weather application that displays a weather forecast. Perhaps not so relevant in Singapore – let me guess – hot and showers over a few areas tomorrow?
That said, there’s a little additional hardware that I needed to make it all work.
- A DVI to HDMI cable to hook the Mac up to the LCD TV
- A simple audio cable with a 3.5mm phono jack on one end and RCA jacks on the other to hook it up to an old little stereo set. You could of course go the digital route.
Forget about Front Row, Apple’s built-in software. Plex rocks. And it’s free. Now if they only work recording features into Plex.