Mac Mini Media Center?

I am a big fan of my home entertainment setup. I’m not sure how much of this I’ve shared on thegeekydad before, so I’ll just do a brief rundown of my current setup. When we moved in to our new home, my wife really wanted to keep the television out of the family room. With our first baby on the way at that time, I was cool with it. The upside is that we were then able to turn our in-construction home’s formal living room into a dedicated media room. That rocks.

The media room currently boasts a 47″ Vizio LCD HDTV, Tivo Series 3, upscaling Sony DVD player, Wii, and my AppleTV. I love it all, but I’m most-often asked about the AppleTV. After explaining that it’s basically an HD-video iPod for my TV, people just ask, “Well, why don’t you just connect a Mac Mini to the TV so you can have a lot more features?” That’s a fine question.

The AppleTV does exactly what I want it to do: it enables me to enjoy my home network’s media from my den, including all of my DVD movies that I’ve ripped and stored on my home server. It doesn’t replace my Tivo by any stretch of the imagination, and although I do have Elgato’s EyeTV Hybrid TV tuner stick on my iMac upstairs, I love my Tivo too much to do away with it. It does its job perfectly for me, so why switch?

So, the Mac Mini media center has really been more of a curiousity for me. Sure, I’d love to build one just as a weekend project, but I don’t see it replacing my setup. Besides, my wife (not a uber geek), is perfectly comfortable with the Tivo remote and interface. That’s something a lot of geeky husbands overlook. If the non-geeks are already comfortable with and able to use the existing setup, adding tech complexity is probably a bad idea.

Other people have other needs, however. And, I have at least one friend who is about to start building his home entertainment setup from scratch. What should he do?

MacWorld editor Chris Breen has been chronicalling his adventures in creating a Mac Mini media center this week. I’ll just point you to his info and video rather than repeating. If you’re looking for a fun project or starting from scratch, this could certainly be a winner. For me, though, a separate Tivo and AppleTV setup is not only cheaper, it’s more wife-friendly. And that pretty much makes it a winner.

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2 Responses to Mac Mini Media Center?

  1. George says:

    I own one of these 47 inch Vizio’s and love it. I have had no problems at all. I have been looking at Vizio’s new soundbar, hoping I’ll ge tone fore father’s day

    http://www.vizio.com/product.aspx?id=3298&pid=2624

  2. Allen says:

    I’ve thought about that, too. The Tekzilla podcast did a review of the sound bar, but I haven’t stopped to check it out yet.

    Link to review: http://revision3.com/tekzilla/gdcsoundbar

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