A Mac Mini in the Living Room

Since the release of the Mac Mini, I’ve been looking for reasons to pick one up. Currently, there’s a G4 tower in my basement and I’d like to return it to the 20th Century.

macmini-tv.jpg

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Plug the Mac Mini into my TV, and use either the El Gato EyeTV Wonder or Plextor ConvertX as a personal video recorder.
  2. Use the KeySpan Remote Control to control the PVR, the Mini’s DVD player, iTunes, iPhoto, and Skype from the couch
  3. Use the Mini as a file server and WiFi base station to the rest of the computers on the network

In theory, it sounds pretty slick, a true Digital Hub. In practice, I’m less optimistic. I’d rather not have to navigate the Mac OS from the couch.

Two things require further investigation:

  1. Can a specific key on the KeySpan can be mapped to each of the applications?
  2. Are the PVRs reliable with broadcast, over-the-air TV?

Has anyone tried something like this in their own home?

2 Replies to “A Mac Mini in the Living Room”

  1. Any updates to someone who’s very close to giving this a try? Have you found that you can really get away without a keyboard? I assume no problems with with Blu-ray playback?

  2. Nicole, Navigating anything covered by Front Row is great with the Apple remote. Occasionally something will lockup and a I need to VNC into the machine to bring it back to life – or there’s a software update to install. Not a big deal considering there’s usually a laptop nearby. Blu-Ray support is rumored for June, but I’m less optimistic about Apple supporting it at all – considering they have a number of machines designed to play video that lack optical drives (AppleTV, iPod, MacBook Air).

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