For about 8 months now I’ve been a proud owner of a Mac Mini thats sole purpose in life is to reside underneath my TV. Of course it functions as a media server, but it is a full blown mac after all so can do pretty much anything you want. Here’s the rundown of what mine gets used for:
- iTunes Library Sharing
- Serving downloaded and personal video via airport
- PVR (for Freeview Digital TV here in the UK) via EyeTV for DTT, recording both TV and Radio
- Spam Filter for 2 email accounts (using Spamsieve)
- Downloading torrents using Transmission
- Watching/Downloading Video podcasts with Democracy
- Front Row/Media Central playback via the TV (of course)
- Quick, accessible backup server for important files from other computers in the household or at work via FTP
I guess what I’m trying to point out that having a machine that is reliable and always on, doing things in the background for you so you don’t have to is just plain cool. On any given day you can expect Mail, Spamsieve, EyeTV, iTunes, Transmission and Democracy to be open, all doing their thing in the background.
This of course wouldn’t be possible without OS X. So, other than pointing this out, this brings me to the point of my ramblings… just how is Apple going to convince me to buy an iTV? Right now, the mini is just too useful for me to part with. I can’t see me ‘swapping’ the Mac mini for a iTV as my spam filtering will go out the window, whilst everything else will have to take place on other computers – which are not always on. So, there will have to be something truly unique that the iTV will offer for me to want to shell out the best part of £200 here in the UK.
I think many others may be in the same boat – clearly Apple wants to target the mainstream with the iTV, but how about those of us who are closer to the bleeding edge, who might have a machine that performs the (announced so-far) functions of the iTV already. I’m stuck! I can’t see what Apple can really bring to the table with the iTV which would make me want one enough. Clearly there are unannounced features, but surely not anything too groundbreaking. Any ideas? If you already use your mac for dedicated media functions, what do you want out of an iTV, or why would you buy one?