So, for a couple years now, I’ve been using a Mac Mini in the living room for digital media, running Plex. And it’s been pretty decent. Some minor issues with Plex as the project matured (it’s built-in to certain LG TVs now, how cool), but overall a good solution.
All my ripped movies (from my own DVDs, of course) lived on a plain old Drobo with a random bunch of disks in it, hooked up to a baseline Dell server, shared to the Mini. Speedy, easy.
Until a couple weeks ago. My server bit the dust. It won’t even POST, so I know fixing isn’t going to be on the cheap side. But I have this Mini I could use, except then how could I get movies to the TV? Ah, I know, a Roku.
I’d tried this before, about 3 weeks before they released the new (version 2) hardware. It didn’t work so good then, as there was no way to get my movies on Plex (in a wide variety of formats) to the Roku, so back it went.
Now, though, there’s a Plex channel for the thing, and it streams Netflix natively. So I got one. This one, in fact, the cheapest model they make. 720p and wireless N is about all I needed. HDMI out and AC in.
End results? It’s fantastic, and I wish I would have done it sooner. Software is excellent, and device quality is super. Output is clean and clear, and Netflix works tons better than with Plex. The Plex channel is even super, and that’s just in “beta” (developed by the Plex guys, not Roku).
If you’re on the fence about a media center thing, get one of these. Seriously. Less than 50 bucks and you’re all set with everything.
Run, now, DO IT.