Best media centre mac mini

How to turn the Mac mini into a great media centre

EyeConnect from Elgato is an easy-to-use streaming media server that lets you watch videos, listen to music, or view pictures on your HDTV. Whether you have an old TV from the dark ages or the newest HDTV on the market, it's actually rather simple to get your iPad hooked up to your television. Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About.

OWC Wants To Turn Your Mac mini Into A Supercharged HTPC

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No, for our money you need a Mac mini. It's a proper little Mac, so it's ready to be expanded, added to and turbo-boosted to do everything you need it to. The Apple TV, on the other hand, is pretty much a closed box and you can't do anything with your films, television shows and music apart from play them back.

Setting up a Mac Media Center

Oh sure, it has an HDMI port that makes it easy to hook it up to your modern television, but that doesn't, in our book, make up for the pain of being pushed towards buying your content through the iTunes Store. Worst of all, it doesn't do the one thing its name suggests it should; you can't use it to watch regular television. Yes, you can buy TV shows from the iTunes Store to play back, but you can't simply switch it on to watch the news or to activate the electronic nanny that is CBeebies. Admittedly, we did give the current models a bit of a kicking in our review, but that was just because they're quite expensive for what you get; they're capable little machines, and we think buying an Apple TV is a false economy.

Put a Mac in your living room for music, movies and more

So, let's get started. First, you'll need a Mac mini. Don't be tempted to buy a second-hand G4 model; though the processor will be perfectly capable of playing back standard-definition video, the PowerPC models lacked the unobtrusive infrared receiver tucked in at the corner of the optical drive slit. While it's possible to add an after-market IR receiver, we think it's not worth the hassle; go for a Mac mini powered by Intel.

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OWC Wants To Turn Your Mac mini Into A Supercharged HTPC | Cult of Mac

One of the people who helps build these meticulous lists is Tonymacx86, whose website consistently draws several hundred thousand active members and as many as 10 million page views per month and potentially more around the time of Apple events or MacOS updates. Though a trusted guide to many, Tonymacx86 prefers to stay anonymous to avoid overzealous fans and detractors alike. It used to be a lot harder to build a Hackintosh, but thanks to special software made by the community, even moderately computer-savvy people can do it. What's changed is that over the years, Apple and its parts suppliers have offered more code that Hackintosh builders can use to make audio, video and other components work.

Still, the community relies on a dedicated team from around the globe to contribute new code and apps to help make setting up and maintaining a Hackintosh as easy as possible. I figured it should last me for the next six or seven years. Oh, and did I mention it'll be upgradable? Once everything from the microprocessing brain to the hard drive to the case arrived in the mail, I spent two days assembling my new computer.

HOW-TO: Turn your Mac mini into a media center

Imagine putting together an intricate Lego set , only this is a computer with screws, sharp edges, electricity and expensive parts you can inadvertently break if you touch them the wrong way. Look inside my Hackintosh and you see a lot of cords and fans. It's not as sleek as a typical Mac. Looking at my new machine, one downside was glaring. That svelte design Apple's known for? The black box I have now is 8. But it seems ginormous compared to the Mac Mini's 1.

It even takes up more room than the Mac Pro's 9. When my wife first looked at the machine, she gave me the side-eye, "Where's it gonna go? What I didn't expect was that even with parts the Hackintosh community said would work with MacOS, it still took hours to get my new machine up and running.

I had to reach deep into the code of the computer and learn how the software makes video appear on the screen and how it moves audio to a speaker.

I had to learn about software that makes USB thumb-drives work. It was kind of a nightmare. At one point, I cursed my days-earlier self for being too ambitious, too foolhardy and too naive to think this would mostly just work. In the end, it took about 50 hours to get everything working, and another few to load all those apps I couldn't live without back onto the computer.


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There are still some odds and ends that make this less-than-ideal: My Hackintosh works better using the year-old MacOS version That means I don't get the new features that came out this year in MacOS But I can live without all that. It's good that Apple offers software updates for free, but Tonymacx86 said Apple could help the community further if it offered its code to the public, a practice known as open-source.

Apple does publish some of its code, but not all. And remember, Apple makes its money by selling the computers I shunned.


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So, the company's not exactly inclined to help. An Apple spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment. One thing that'll bug me is that I'll have to be much more careful treading around MacOS these days.