Plex, Mac Mini, Harmony Remote and How They Roll Together

Since last year I became a huge fan of Plex. This started after I bought a Mac Mini and hooked it up to my HDTV. I already owned a Logitech Harmony Universal Remote and it turned out it all works together like a charm.

Let me show you what it can do and what tools I used to make this work. This will just be the beginning of a lot more posts about this awesome media center combination.

What it can do

  • Play movies & TV shows
  • Beautify your movie and music libraries automatically with rich metadata and fanart
  • Play iTunes music
  • Play iPhoto photos
  • Watch other video material like YouTube, RTL XL (dutch), Uitzendinggemist (dutch) etc.
  • Download movies & TV shows (queue/manage downloads via an other Mac)
  • Stream movies & TV shows to other Macs or iPhones/iPods/iPads
  • Remote controlled using Logitech Harmony Remote
  • Remote controlled using iPod/iPhone/iPad (via WiFi)
  • Remote controlled using VNC
  • Remote controlled using VPN
  • Remote monitoring using iStat and your iPhone or iPod
  • Remote file access using OSX file sharing
  • Usable as Time Machine for backups
  • Browse webpages
  • Sync iTunes & iPhoto with an other Mac

All Plex features are controllable using the Harmony Remote. Using Activities on the remote it is possible to switch between watching TV, listen to the radio, use Plex, play on Xbox360 or watch a DVD using the DVD recorder. The remote takes care of setting-up the TV and the Home Cinema to the correct input channels. Very simple and most important: Girlfriend proof!

Used hardware and software

  • Apple Mac Mini (2010 version with HDMI)
  • Logitech Harmony 525
  • Samsung 40″ HDTV led
  • Pioneer Home Cinema Set
  • Plex
  • Plex plugins: RTL XL, Uitzending gemist, YouTube
  • SABnzb+ and SABnzbdX
  • Transmission
  • OSX websharing, filesharing, screensharing
  • iVPN server
  • iStat server and iPhone app
  • Logitech TouchMouse server and iPhone app and
  • Plex iPhone app
  • OSX Time Machine
  • Remote Buddy
  • Kylo Browser
  • DynDNS account

Plans for the future

  • Allow TV recording using EyeTV
  • Better automated downloading of movies & TV shows
  • Automated downloading of subtitles
  • Better automated syncing of iTunes and iPhoto
  • Wake-up on LAN via WLAN
  • Add more (external) data storage
  • Implement SickBeard for easy automatic TV show downloads
  • Maybe some Home Automation

How did you do it?

This is just the beginning of a lot more posts about Plex. In the following posts I will focus on the details and how to setup the software and tools.

For now I’ll give you a few useful resources to get you head started.

Mini Harmony Blog (useful but left inactive by author) Miniharmony unofficial discussion on Plex Forums Ultimate Mac Mini Theatre Setup on Plex Forums Final words