Beginning to Manage your Video Collection…

Now that you’ve ordered (ahem) or setup your Mac Mini you are probably thinking about how it will interface with all that great content you’ve got or are prepared to connect to your home theater. As you’ve probably discovered (even pre-purchase) there is no Mac Media Center application or UI for that matter ala Windows Media Center. Don’t let that get you down just yet… As I look in my crystal ball, I see a community about to explode with applications, hacks and of course peripherals all designed to enable the Mac mini in your living room.

For now, since you get iLife with your purchase, be sure and install it so you can immediately take advantage of the the new power within iPhoto as it can manage not only your pictures but your video content as well. Thanks to a post by Chris Karr, we know it can handle MPEG2 which is excellent because that means a quite an array of video content (movies and tv) can be enjoyed with just a few clicks. This is great, but will only play in a Quicktime window rather than in full-screen mode which is certainly preferred for Home Theater applications.

I was unable to find a standard way to get Quicktime to launch in full-screen and in my goal of getting our Mini HTPC up and running with as few keyboard maneuvers as possible I’ve discovered a nice alternative. By purchasing Quicktime Pro ($29.99) you can easily launch movies fullscreen with a simple Command F (Command is the Apple Key for switchers). I’ve created a macro on my system that automatically enables full-screen so anytime a movie is launched it goes full-screen and starts to play. You can easily do this as well using the ever-helpful Keyboard Maestro which costs $20. When Tiger launches, there is an excellent chance you’ll be able to do this right out of the box with Quicktime 7 (probably will have to pay for QT 7 Pro) and Automator a new graphical scripting tool that lets you program your mac without knowing a damn thing about apple script – just what actions you wish to take place. More when Tiger is released…

A tip or two for Quicktime usage… Open the prefs and check the box to Automatically play movies when opened and un-check the box to Show hot picks movie when opened. Until Apple has something truly of interest to share, you’ll want to focus more on your own stuff.

In Keyboard Maestro, I’ve actually exported my macro and you can just download and import it from the site via this link.

This process will only get better, but for now this should hold you over for a bit.

I wrote and “tested” this from my Powerbook without iPhoto 5…if I missed something critical, please let me know.

— Jonathan Greene

It’s always a good time to get your own Mac mini from Amazon!




4 Responses to “Beginning to Manage your Video Collection…”

  1. Chris Says:

    It might be helpful to point out that iPhoto works well with any content that can be encapsulated in a .mov container. This not only includes MPEG2 video from PVR applications, but iMovie end products, downloaded Quicktime movie trailers, and so forth.

  2. Stephen Says:

    I use Xinema for watching the odd Quicktime movie in full screen. Should be available at the popular download sites.

  3. Fred Says:

    Quicktime Pro and Keyboard Maestro for $50 just so you can play a video fullscreen?!?!?! No, no, no, no, no. Just get VLC. It’ll do all that and more, and it’s free. In particular, it will play .mov, .avi, .divx and .mpeg movies just fine, and it remembers what screensize you last had between launches. (I don’t remember the URL, just check VersionTracker.com.)

  4. Jonathan Greene Says:

    I have vlc and it is a great app. The point though as I understand it (waiting on iLife5 with my “soon” to ship mini) is that Quicktime opens the video from iPhoto 5.

    I already own both Keyboard Maestro and Quicktime Pro and found that a quick action based macro enabled fullscreen video for movies being launched. My goal is action in the fewest clicks once I am seating on the couch.

    VLC – http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ – is an excellent media player / server and I plan on using it as I do now for most video types except for archived DVDs for which I will just use the Apple DVD player since it can easily open Video_TS folders and give you full access to DVD content with menus as though you had inserted the disc.

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