My desk felt kind of empty without Adam’s Mac. Before it left I had begun using it to play movies. The built in DVD player is great, though for some reason it won’t play all DVDs. I suspect the studios have been fraking with the DVD standard and old players don’t work on new discs. They are so considerate. I had no problem connecting to the XP box and playing music or through the Internet and getting Pandora.
Two years ago I made a Windows box to play movies and maintain a network connection. It eventually failed due to heat issues. For several months it worked, even if it was a little noisy.
So, I began wondering if a Mac could perform the same function. How would you hook it to the TV? What kind of remotes would work? What does the UI look like? Etc. It seems Apple has been working on the computer set-top box problem. See the Apple TV. The Mac Mini might be just the thing.
A little research revealed that it connects easily to new DVI equipped HDTVs and they offer an adapter for $20 that has S-video and RCA video. Front Row is the UI that Apple TV has and should work on any recent Mac. An Intel Mac should have no problems playing video on HDTV. The Mini is tiny and cute. It also has no storage. Recording TV is possible through a $150+ device.
The UI still remains an issue that I will have to work out. It depends on the storage solution. This is an expensive or thorny issue.
Right after Christmas one of the Mac stores put out a clearance 1st gen Intel Mini for $488. It seemed like the lowest price I was going to see. So, I got it and an adapter. We’ll see how it goes.
A 700 MHz Mac could play standard def TV, but I don’t know about the requirements for HD. I think a 1.25 G4 with AGP video could probably do this. A 1.25 G4 would be about $500 plus $150 adapter (old, nVidia 5000 or Radeon 9000). $650 for an old minimum requirements Mac or $600 for a new dual core. Come on! I settled on a low end 2nd gen Mini with 1st gen dual core processor for $500.
This is a Core Duo (1st gen dual core) 1.66 MHz with 512 meg on 40 gig running Leopard (not Tiger).
Now, if I could just get the damn storage solution to install Windows. I tried 3 times already and the motherboard only recognizes 120 gig. Almost all my hard drives are way bigger; 3 500s, 4 200s, a 250, a 320, and probably more.