How a New Mac Mini Will Improve One Home Theater Setup


Apple just refreshed its desktop lineup, and while most of improvements got raves, the new Mac Mini was roundly criticized by almost everyone. Almost everyone, that is, except Darrell Etherington over at our sister publication The Apple Blog. Sure, he concedes, the Mac Mini is underpowered, overpriced and practically un-upgradeable. But Etherington thinks it’s perfect for his home theater setup. If your video setup involves a hodge-podge of devices and speakers, his write-up may make you a believer, too.



Two years ago I canceled cable and bought an HD projector and a Mac Mini and haven’t looked back.

It’s an iTunes jukebox (controllable from Apple Screen Sharing, an iPhone, or Front Row if the the projector is on), DVD Player, printing and scanning server, a file server, a backup server, a torrent hub, and video digitizing and encoding station, and a DVD burning station.

It’s also a backup computer in an emergency. Nice if your laptop has to go for repair.

I use an addon to launch Boxee from Front Row allowing me to control Netflix (and formerly Hulu) with just the remote, but otherwise I just screenshare and launch either in the browser from my laptop. There’s also use a free VNC app to control the Mac Mini from an iPhone (a little rough, but ok for hitting play / pause).

I the 2 years since I cancelled basic cable, I’ve paid for the Mac Mini and 1TB of external storage and still have a tiny, low power, fanless computer going forward.

Equally as important, I returned a giant cable box, sold my TiVo (I don’t DVR anything), and gave away my old DVD player and now have a lot less blinky stuff under my screen.

I’d like a bluray player, but I don’t really want another glowing box, so I’m waiting on that.

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