Mini Apple TV – no its not a new product

I have just retired a Mac Mini running 0s/X 10.3.9 from a role monitoring networks using Nagios. Built from source on this machine Nagios has been a good and reliable tool but recently I decided to virtualise this monitoring and move it to Ubuntu. That went well but left me thinking what I could do with the Mac and the thought struck me that it was be a good mini media centre ala Apple TV but for stored video. So I connected up the Mac video output to a flat screen tv using a DVI-D to HDMI cable (from Maplins about £20) and a mini jack to stereo output to link to flat screen tv input. (input number two – the documentation advised for PC sound).

So far – so good. A little buzzing on itunes playback was sorted changing the tv sound profile on the tv. Connection to the network was via Devolo 200MB AV ethernet over power adapter to the Mac’s ethernet port and testing of itunes library streamed from another PC worked fine.

Then tried video. Mmmmm – thats where my knowledge of Mac’s and the whole world of Quicktime and Quicktime Pro were sorely tested. I knew that I had used applications that were multi platform for testing video so I dug out one that sprang to mind – VLC from . Tested reading some video on another machine ( A pc this time) and confirmed that the windows version could read video locally and remotely across network. Fired up the latest VLC for MacOS/X – release 0.8.6f and nothing – not a sausage. Black screen – then error when it shut VLC down.

I have always tended to keep the mac and other machines up to date with patches and apps such as Itunes and Quicktime – and when I looked into it – incompatibilities between VLC and Quicktime appear to be at the root of the problem. So for now that release is off limits. Heres hoping they can get that resolved relatively soon.

Solution : From the web site’s archive I pulled down a copy of the files for PowerPC (the mac is pre intel version) as vlc-0.8.6c-powerpc.dmg and within a few minutes was enjoying streamed video both locally and remotely. Some artifacts appearing but may be able to tame those through the configuration of VLC