Mac Mini, the Media Server Evolution

9 thoughts on “Mac Mini, the Media Server Evolution”

  1. The one thing that a lot of people seem to be getting wrong about this whole concept is that a Media Center machine needs to be a lot *more* powerful than a “standard-issue” machine and the Mac Mini is a lot *less* powerful. Even a dual G5 has trouble playing back high-definition video so if this “Media Center Mac” (which I hope we’ll see soon) is going to feed into Steve Jobs’ new high-definition fixation, it certainly isn’t going to be the Mac Mini.

    In order to really succeed as a media center, you need more encoding and decoding horsepower, preferably in the form of a modified chipset which includes these abilities natively. The Mac Mini, in other words, fits into the “Media Center” concept in form only… not function. Media Centers also require at least two tuners (preferably four) and generate a lot of heat… this again, would not be plausible with the Mini’s form factor.

    Give me a stackable component with on-board native MPEG4 encoding and decoding and then we can talk.

  2. I think the Mac Mini is the perfect start to a good media center. I don’t think your media center needs to house your best computing horsepower. Why not use your desktop computer as a media server, with a TV tuner, collecting all the tv shows, movies, music, photos, etc…, serving them either wired or wirelessly (802.11g at least) to your Mac Mini media center? Personally, I would rather organize and setup all my media on a desktop and then just easily access it with a remote on my couch. Anyway, I don’t think Apple has any intentions of the Mac Mini becoming a media center. It’s just a step in the direction of one. Apple will watch what all the hardware hackers out there can concoct, collect the best ideas, and once the world is ready for a media center (ie. CableCard is ready, fast enough broadband is available in enough areas) then they will release ‘iHome’ or whatever they wish to call it, with a ‘made for tv’ interface running ontop of OS X. In the meantime, lets see what the hackers out there can come up with.

  3. Om –

    You can record HDTV to the Mini… the trick is playback. I think the LaCie Silverscreen HD can do it, but I can’t be sure without seeing it for myself or seeing a review somewhere else. Working on getting a unit to test…

    1. I’ve connected my G4 Mac Mini to my 26″ Sony Bravia in that manner. All you should need is a DVI-HDMI cable…I bought one for ~$14.95 at a local computer store. You’ll also need a cable that has a mini-stereo plug on one end (Mac Mini) and 2 RCA plugs on the other (TV) to send audio.

      hj

  4. Apple is music and video production centric today, but the natural evolution must be to create a digital server for all media, live, recorded and created. I’m a long time Windows user and bought a Mac mini because I love the form factor (no more legacy ports) and native DVI. I figure there will be more to come, both from Apple and third-parties. Windows XP Media Center has unresolved hardware and usability issues. I hope Apple is learning what not to do.

  5. Chris,
    I bought a Radio Shack MDMI connector but the SONY doesn’t seem to recognize the signal as I loop through the TV inputs on the remote. I pulled the power plug on the SONY to try to force a recognition. There must be some bootup sequence magic involved. Are you any further on connecting your MacMini video out to your SONY HDMI in. I’m sure I can connect it to the RGB but I wouldn’t expect high def so why bother. … John

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