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Is the Mac Mini a Legitimate HTPC Option?
March 04, 2009 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Apple’s Mac Mini has always had the form factor home theater PC users love—a small footprint, a clean design, and easy storage. But is it a legitimate option?
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15 Comments (displaying chronologically) Post a comment
Posted by usblues  on  03/04  at  11:26 AM

I’ve been waiting for apple to update the minis! I want to hook it up in my living room so i can use it with my tv. I don’t think i will order it from the apple store though, they never seem to put anything on sale. I was there last week to get an external hard drive and they wanted almost twice as much as i what i found it for online.  In fact i found some great deals on this site:

Posted by evizzle  on  03/04  at  01:33 PM

The first question that popped into my head when I read about the new mac mini was “can I integrate this into my home theater?”  I need hulu support, the ability to play music and videos from my NAS, and a pleasing interface and I am set.  For me, this fits right in.  (Alongside my Tivo and PS3, of course).

Posted by Dave  on  03/04  at  02:43 PM

I’m already using it as my HTPC.  Together with PLEX blows away anything else out there.  Im coming from using MCE before and I have never had a more pleasant and easy experience with the MacMini.

Posted by dk jones  on  03/04  at  02:56 PM

this is just about perfect for me as is, because i have ripped my DVDs & CDs onto an external drive, so i don’t need a large internal HDD. as well, since i can watch most of what i want on-line i have no need for a PVR. the only thing i’d add to a Mini is maybe Google’s Understudy(Front Row plug-in for Netflix). 

i think the dual video outs is a real boon! sometimes when i’m watching something i want to look it up on IMDb, now that can be possible from one small form-factor computer—the reason i got a 17” Intel iMac instead of a Mini, oh & the 128 MB on the video for HD streaming from ABC & others ‘sites. good job on this Mini!!

Posted by Blake  on  03/04  at  03:10 PM

Lack of a native HDMI port is a deal-breaker for me.  The Mini’s audio port can be configured for s/pdif, but that will only handle first gen AC3 and DTS.  I don’t see a way that this Mini will ever be able to output Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master, or any of the other new gen audio formats.  All Apple had to do was include a built-in HDMI port and it would have been a *perfect* HTPC machine.

Posted by Dave  on  03/04  at  03:25 PM

@ Blake

You can go from DVI to HDMI that is what I am doing already with an adapter from Monoprice.

Posted by Rob  on  03/04  at  06:57 PM

My hope was that the new Mini would have an HDMI port.  If the Mini Display Port supports multi-channel audio at a decent rate, then this is a viable option.  If not it is a crippled platform that I will not be interested in.  My understanding is that so far Apple’s implementation of Mini Display Port does not have audio support.  Crippled!

Posted by paying guest in mumbai  on  03/05  at  06:58 AM

I’v got an XBOX 360, and i’v been trying to sell it off Kijiji, and got a question, Does it have an HDMI port? I couldn’t awser this, what is it?
Is it those blue, green, and red cords you plug into the back of your HD TV?

Posted by dubbo07  on  03/05  at  09:27 AM

Please.  Mac mini as Htpc?  Stop sucking up to apple.

Nvidia Ion.  Atom + 9400 FTW.

Posted by franca Mingle  on  03/05  at  12:18 PM

I smell deployment of malay .  Do you think they could develop HDMI terminal seizures?  Would they be willing to cement the overture?

Posted by Rob  on  03/06  at  09:45 AM

I was ABOUT to jump on the “It OK with software” vote - BUT then I looked at the specs…

No HDMI??? What the heck are they thinking?! So the only digital outputs they include cannot carry lossless audio??

There is NO WAY that this could be used for a proper HTPC setup without HDMI Audio/Video - no matter what software you throw at it.

A real disappointment!! I can’t believ that Apple was TOO CHEAP to pay the license fee for HDMI and include it…  sucks!

Posted by Saul  on  03/07  at  02:56 PM

I have been using a Mac mini to drive my projector for over a year and love it.  It is small, quiet, and unintrusive.  HDMI causes more problems than it solves in a true home theater environment so I am glad that it is not forced on us.

Posted by Bob  on  03/18  at  10:14 AM

For all you amateur HDMI fanatics.  GET A LIFE!  HDMI does not work properly yet.  Any one in the business knows this and stays clear of it until all the manufactures get on the same page.

Posted by Todd A  on  03/18  at  01:27 PM

I dunno Bob, all my HDMI components and interfaces work fine…...making you’re having an issue with operator error. Seriously, or at least more seriously, there is a protocol for getting HDMI and HDCP compliant products to work properly. This is where the potential for operator error comes in.

Posted by frugal living  on  04/09  at  12:04 PM

I’m building a HTPC. This is a small form factor PC, so this has to come into consideration.

In the next 6 months I will be adding a blu-ray drive to this as well, so take that in <a >banking deals</a> consideration as well.

Here is my current setup:
Sony SXRD 50A2000 (great TV):
- 2 HDMI ports

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