Webifying the living room

Weird, Fred Wilson and Stowe Boyd just bought MacMinis for their living room TVs. I just did too. I don’t know how I got along without it. My friends (and son) loves having it on screen. Dave Winer has built me something cool for photos, too.

This setup is SOOO much better than the Apple TV (and is even much better for my uses than the Xbox’s Media Extender that brings the upstairs computer onto our screen).

Lots of fun ahead, but not this week since we have to prepare for our Europe trip (we leave for London on Wednesday). Argh, too much to do and not enough time to do it in!

31 thoughts on “Webifying the living room

  1. Niels ~ The solution is to make your Mini the central server, then you are not streaming to it, you will be streaming from it.

    I understand that for you, with a central server (most likely a tower) already hosting your media, an Apple TV is the perfect solution.

    I have a dual 533 Powermac packed with five hard drives that I use as a file server and a 500 Mhz Cube with a 120GB as a media server (it’s silent) now, but I have just installed a Core2Duo Mac Mini in my living room as my main system, with the previous setup remaining in my office as a backup.

    I’ve replaced the Mini’s hard drive with a 200GB 7200rpm 16MB cache Hitachi, as well as added a 500GB Seagate Barracuda in a LaCie mini case that matches perfectly

    The Mini drives my LG HDTV beautifully, and Apple’s music visualizer is absolutely stunning on a good HDTV! The mini also hooks directly to my killer surround sound system with the digital optical cable from Belkin. My music has never sounded better!

    There are many free HD podcasts that look great on the big screen, and OSX is clear and readable from the couch. My HDTV is driven more by the Mini than by the cable box. Soon I won’t need cable TV anymore.

  2. Niels ~ The solution is to make your Mini the central server, then you are not streaming to it, you will be streaming from it.

    I understand that for you, with a central server (most likely a tower) already hosting your media, an Apple TV is the perfect solution.

    I have a dual 533 Powermac packed with five hard drives that I use as a file server and a 500 Mhz Cube with a 120GB as a media server (it’s silent) now, but I have just installed a Core2Duo Mac Mini in my living room as my main system, with the previous setup remaining in my office as a backup.

    I’ve replaced the Mini’s hard drive with a 200GB 7200rpm 16MB cache Hitachi, as well as added a 500GB Seagate Barracuda in a LaCie mini case that matches perfectly

    The Mini drives my LG HDTV beautifully, and Apple’s music visualizer is absolutely stunning on a good HDTV! The mini also hooks directly to my killer surround sound system with the digital optical cable from Belkin. My music has never sounded better!

    There are many free HD podcasts that look great on the big screen, and OSX is clear and readable from the couch. My HDTV is driven more by the Mini than by the cable box. Soon I won’t need cable TV anymore.

  3. I’ve been eyeing the Mac Mini for sometime. The main advantages over Apple’s TV are: faster processor; Blue-tooth; DVD; and a fully functional computer on your TV. What’s missing – BlueRay/HD DVD. I gather you can use a universal remote with the Mini’s IR receiver. The iTouch would be a great platform as a remote. I’ve read about the Remote Buddy, but with Apple’s releasing an SDK we will certainly see other applications in this area.

  4. I’ve been eyeing the Mac Mini for sometime. The main advantages over Apple’s TV are: faster processor; Blue-tooth; DVD; and a fully functional computer on your TV. What’s missing – BlueRay/HD DVD. I gather you can use a universal remote with the Mini’s IR receiver. The iTouch would be a great platform as a remote. I’ve read about the Remote Buddy, but with Apple’s releasing an SDK we will certainly see other applications in this area.

  5. @gwhiz – I certainly agree with you that by using anything but an aTV you have much better storage options – if you want to have the storage together with the box in question.

    I do however stream all my content from a central server to my aTV, so I don’t really care that the aTV has a pitiful small hard-drive. The clincher for me with the aTV instead of a mini is that even though I am streaming, all the artwork for movies, cd’s etc streams along with whatever I’m playing – and also when I browse albums I can view the artwork for the albums. That is something I cannot get working when using a mini with a remote source for my media.

    If someone can tell how to do that, I would consider switching from my aTV to a mini, as there are some stuff the mini definitely can do better than the aTV.

    Having said that, I’d still would like to hear what reasons people have to chos the mini in favor of the aTV.

    Niels

  6. @gwhiz – I certainly agree with you that by using anything but an aTV you have much better storage options – if you want to have the storage together with the box in question.

    I do however stream all my content from a central server to my aTV, so I don’t really care that the aTV has a pitiful small hard-drive. The clincher for me with the aTV instead of a mini is that even though I am streaming, all the artwork for movies, cd’s etc streams along with whatever I’m playing – and also when I browse albums I can view the artwork for the albums. That is something I cannot get working when using a mini with a remote source for my media.

    If someone can tell how to do that, I would consider switching from my aTV to a mini, as there are some stuff the mini definitely can do better than the aTV.

    Having said that, I’d still would like to hear what reasons people have to chos the mini in favor of the aTV.

    Niels

  7. @Niels – For one the storage options for the Mini are drastically better and far more expandable. For households with massive libraries of media… Believe it or not, storage will be a deal killer for the current iteration of the AppleTV. That’s why I’m so excited Seagate sponsors Mr. Scoble’s show. He has the inside skinny on storage trends and access to candid opinions on where it’s all headed (yes, Seagate’s CEO *IS* candid).

    @Robert – Looking forward to Friday in London. Hope your hotel’s locked and loaded. Availability was mighty tight. Also, hope you have a plan for using your iPhone while in London. I had no end of grief while in Heathrow.

  8. @Niels – For one the storage options for the Mini are drastically better and far more expandable. For households with massive libraries of media… Believe it or not, storage will be a deal killer for the current iteration of the AppleTV. That’s why I’m so excited Seagate sponsors Mr. Scoble’s show. He has the inside skinny on storage trends and access to candid opinions on where it’s all headed (yes, Seagate’s CEO *IS* candid).

    @Robert – Looking forward to Friday in London. Hope your hotel’s locked and loaded. Availability was mighty tight. Also, hope you have a plan for using your iPhone while in London. I had no end of grief while in Heathrow.

  9. Definitely a good use of a MacMini. There has been some speculation that the mini will be discontinued. I personally hope Apple will combine the Mini with the languishing Apple TV.

  10. Definitely a good use of a MacMini. There has been some speculation that the mini will be discontinued. I personally hope Apple will combine the Mini with the languishing Apple TV.

  11. Hi Robert,
    So, what’s so much better with the mini compared to aTV? I do at the moment have an aTV hooked up to my WideScreen, and I think it’s pretty sweet. However, I’m always looking for something better, so I’d be interested in hearing why a mini would be better.

    Niels

  12. Hi Robert,
    So, what’s so much better with the mini compared to aTV? I do at the moment have an aTV hooked up to my WideScreen, and I think it’s pretty sweet. However, I’m always looking for something better, so I’d be interested in hearing why a mini would be better.

    Niels

  13. I’ve been thinking about AppleTV or Mac Mini for the living room for a long time. The Mac Mini seems more appealing just because it’s more flexible and has a DVD drive, but is there any iTunes synching capability from one Mac to another? I’ve seen references to streaming but not synching as the AppleTV does it.

  14. I’ve been thinking about AppleTV or Mac Mini for the living room for a long time. The Mac Mini seems more appealing just because it’s more flexible and has a DVD drive, but is there any iTunes synching capability from one Mac to another? I’ve seen references to streaming but not synching as the AppleTV does it.

  15. As soon as I get the money to buy a Macbook Pro (year end bonus!!), I will be moving my Mini into the living room under my 52″ Samsung permanently. Mac Mini + Front Row + ElGato Hybrid + Airport Extreme w/ 1TB storage + the Remote Buddy application ( + Blockbuster Total Access unlimited mail DVD rentals) = dream media center.

    In the meantime, as my Mini sits at my desk, we have been hooking up my wife’s MacBook almost nightly to the TV to watch DVDs and saved video and to listen to iTunes.

  16. As soon as I get the money to buy a Macbook Pro (year end bonus!!), I will be moving my Mini into the living room under my 52″ Samsung permanently. Mac Mini + Front Row + ElGato Hybrid + Airport Extreme w/ 1TB storage + the Remote Buddy application ( + Blockbuster Total Access unlimited mail DVD rentals) = dream media center.

    In the meantime, as my Mini sits at my desk, we have been hooking up my wife’s MacBook almost nightly to the TV to watch DVDs and saved video and to listen to iTunes.

  17. I hooked up a Mac Mini to my 52-inch LCD about a year ago. I rarely surf the web on it, but I constantly use it to watch TV shows. It was a perfect solution since I mainly use my Macbook as my main computer.

  18. I hooked up a Mac Mini to my 52-inch LCD about a year ago. I rarely surf the web on it, but I constantly use it to watch TV shows. It was a perfect solution since I mainly use my Macbook as my main computer.

Comments are closed.