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Hi Dave,to answer your questions:
1) I have 5 speakers but not planning on adding more.
2) I have a sub that uses coaxial cable
3) Nope no bluray, I play only mkv HD movies
4) I have a TV with multiple HDMI inputs
My preference would be to not buy a processor or receiver, and just use decoding off the Mac Mini using Media Player Classic or VLC or other. But it seems I need to have an external decoder since I can connect multiple sources such as computer, xbox, pvr. I thought about getting the NAD M15 processor. The problem I read is that the HDMI on it doesn't carry audio. If I get an El Cheapo receiver, would it use a lot of power even though I don't plan on powering speakers through it?
Thanks for the info Smurfmand. You will definitely need to get a processor to run 5 speakers with a sub. You can also get a receiver to use as a processor, but make sure it has pre-outs so you can use your Butler amp (most of the really cheap receivers do not have pre-outs). I don't think a receiver will use much more power than a processor if you are not using its amps.
Regarding HDMI audio, most newer processors/receivers have HDMI that handles audio, but I don't specifically know about the NAD M15. If whatever processor you get truly does not support HDMI audio, you will have to connect the Mac Mini to the processor via a optical Toslink cable (mini Toslink on the Mac side, and regular Toslink on the processor side).
You have a lot of options for processors-- they don't necessarily have to have HDMI as your TV has multiple HDMI inputs. An important consideration is how important 2-channel music is to you in this system.