Mac mini media center applications

This can be a more robust and compact solution to housing multiple drives, and it can also be less expensive than buying multiple Firewire externals. It's an excellent way to get some usage out of any old IDE drives you have laying about; there are also enclosures made that will convert notebook drives into Firewire storage.

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Now we get to the fun part. We're going to do our video recording on one end and playback on the other. Our Mac mini is the brain of the back end. Awwwww, yeah. This device allows us to quickly switch between multiple sound sources without having to plug and unplug cables all the time. One input is the output from the Mac mini, another is the output from the TV itself so we can bypass the crappy internal speakers, a third is output from our trusty old Windows laptop we use as a dedicated jukebox serving up Audiogalaxy Rhapsody, last.


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If you have a stereo or home theater system with digital inputs, you're going to want to take advantage of that high fidelity by keeping your audio signal in the digital realm along the entire pathway. An all-in-one solution for piping digital audio out, as well as playing back TV, video, and image content on your Mac is the EyeHome from Elgato Systems. The box connects to your Mac via ethernet, or wirelessly via Airport Express. The unit comes with software that lets you easily view the media on your Mac: In the best of all possible worlds, you have a nice spankin' new TV with a DVI connector, which you simply hook up via the Mac mini's DVI out to achieve the holy nirvana x resolution signal.

The industry is moving in the direction of keeping all of these signals digital from end to end, which is good for us because it means higher quality video and audio, and that we don't have to keep buying a gazillion adapters from the Apple store. If, like most of us, you have to convert your Mac mini's sweet digital output back to old analog, there are two fairly straightforward options: Note that that product page must say at least a dozen times the adapter is only for use with a G5, which is truly annoying since they link right to it from the Mac mini product page.

They must not have gotten around to updating the page yet, but it reportedly works just fine with the Mac mini. My G4 Powerbook came with one: You'll have to get both the DVI to S-video and the S-video to composite adapter, connect them, and hook that contraption into your composite RCA cable: For those of us who are really old skool, there's always beloved coax.

We've got coax coming out of the RF inverter switch to our TV. If you've got a TV that's old enough to only have coax in, you'll need an RF modulator also.

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Coming back to the not so cheap solution is our old friend the EyeHome. If you have a TV that has component video connectors, this is the highest quality analog solution you are going to get. Still, it's a noticeable improvement over S-video, and probably worth the investment if you have a TV that supports it. Finally we arrive at the heart of your home studio: Let's just make a long story short and say that it technically works, but you don't want it. The hottest kids on the block right now are from Elgato Systems - sound familiar? In the States, we basically have two choices, because the USB solution is just not going to cut it when we can have Firewire.

This box has gotten consistently positive reviews on its own as well as combined with the EyeHome as an integrated PVR solution on the Mac.


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At press time, our unit was still on back order because we're not the only ones who had the same idea, and the thronging Mac hordes beat us to it. So we can't show you our EyeTV in action, but its place in our existing setup couldn't be simpler: We're old skool and don't have cable, but if you do your cable box is basically a step in the chain between the TV and the EyeTV.

You can even record gameplay on your Playstation, when you get really bored.

The computer in the living room: setting up a Mac mini media center | Macworld

It will suck up about 2GB worth of space every hour, so make sure you have enough free space either in your staging area, if you offload files to a central server, or that you capture the footage to an internal or external drive with enough space. EyeTV offers scheduled recording options, and the excellent TitanTV channel guide, but one of its major limitations is its inability to switch channels on your cable or satellite box. If you have unscrambled analog cable you're fine, as the coax feed can go right into EyeTV's built-in tuner for changing channels.

But if you've got digital or satellite cable, this is the most serious issue to consider before purchasing EyeTV. You won't be able to use it like TiVo. Apparently Elgato is working on a solution to this problem, but as of right now it's still vaporware.

The good news is you can record in HD perfectly fine on your Mac mini at either 1. In fact, you only need a Mhz processor for recording, because it's the breakout box itself that does the heavy lifting, and not your Mac. On the other hand, you could use the 'bad news' as an excuse to finally give in and get that sweet HDTV plasma screen you've been drooling over. As the old adage says: Yep, it sucks.

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    Ports on back of original Apple TV. Mid Mac mini. Rear of Mac mini. Share this: Like this: Like Loading Donations Donations Low End Mac is funded primarily through donations. Join our email lists! Or just point your favorite podcast-savvy RSS reader to: Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area. With the release of the new Mac mini as well as several intriguing new programs, it's time once So you've upgraded your Mac mini to make it an effective media center.

    You've connected it to your All week long, Christopher Breen has show you how to assemble a media center using a Mac mini as Mac mini media center Revisiting the Mac mini media center Mac mini media center: Mac mini media center: Get content Mac mini media center: Is it worth it? Show More. Download Macworld Video Format: