seeking a real media center computer...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jonny3t, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. jonny3t macrumors newbie


    Mar 28, 2006
    Silicon Valley
    Hey y'all,

    I'm a PowerBook user for work, and I have a new Intel Mini (with maxed out RAM so she smokes fast, man, fast!) which I love, but there's something missing.

    ...if only the Mini came with dual display capability, but it doesn't. *sigh*'s what I'm looking for a computer to do:

    1. sit humbly in one square of my shelving unit:*10173*10185
    2. Be hooked into two displays permanently--one small monitor that fit snug into another small sqare shelf in the same unit as well as a ceiling-mounted projector.
    3. ...dreamily have Front Row and be compatible with the delicious little Apple Remote (but I know this is wishful thinking).

    Does anyone have ideas of the best way to make this happen? It doesn't need to be a very powerful machine at all--the most taxing thing would be playing video files.

    Thanks, all, for helping me think this one through.
  2. SRSound macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2005
    If you feel like taking an iMac off the stand, that could act as both your in-shelf computer AND monitor while simultaneously hooking up the display output to your projector. Or, of course, simply get a DVI-splitter for your mini (i know it wouldnt be the same without dual display capability, but at least you could get the picture in both places)
  3. p0intblank macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    MediaCentral is a nice little media center that you can use on any display connected to your Mac. Navigation is a little slow and the user interface isn't as nice as Front Row's, but it's freeware... you can't beat it.
  4. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    A modded XBOX?

    not a mac, but a damn good media center that can be networked to iTunes and your mac.
  5. joshysquashy macrumors 6502a

    May 13, 2005
    is there not an easy hack for the mac mini enabling dual displays? theres one for the ibook that works a treat!
  6. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    The mini only has one output, where would you connect the second monitor?

    Does the ibook allow connecting two displays? Or just two counting the built in one?

    If you really want two displays why not get an imac and connect a second display? Why do you really need a second monitor so bad for a TV room?
  7. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    If these exist (I've heard them be talked about in school theater), get a DVI Dual-Splitter (powered). This way you get two moniters displaying the same thing!
  8. jonny3t thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 28, 2006
    Silicon Valley
    The idea is that its not a TV room at all. I don't have a TV. The projector will only be in use 2 or 3 times per week for watching movies. The second display would be mostly for using iTunes, I'd say (y'all have seen, right? :) )

    I've seen DVI splitters, but from what I read, it sounds like the computer wouldn't treat the displays seperately--rather, it'd just be like one big screen as far as my video card is concerned. It seems like a partial solution...I'd have to, like, manually resize a movie file to take up the whole screen rather than just hitting good ol' Apple-F or Apple-0. Maybe I'm interpreting this thing wrong?

    I think what I'd really like is some kinda magic touch-screen thing for the small display...haha...I may be really going over-budget now...
  9. mandoman macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2005
    Doesn't sound like you really need both screens going at the same time.
    In that case, a simple DVI switch (not a splitter), is probably your best bet.

    Otherwise, I like the iMac suggestion. But getting a second mini and syncing
    them via bonjour may be more cost effective if you already have a screen.

    If you just need the music aspect for the small screen, than forget the small
    display idea entirely and get yourself a squeezebox.
  10. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Does DR. Bott have this type of splitter? I thought I say something like this somewhere else in the last few weeks :cool: Try a quick Google search.
  11. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    Then, what is wrong with getting an iMac 17'' as SRSound suggested? Its built-in screen for your iTunes browsing and its DVI output for your projector...
  12. jonny3t thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 28, 2006
    Silicon Valley
    ...well, the 17" iMac is a fantastic machine, but its also a bit too big for the shelving situatation I have--I'd need to clutter up the living room with a desk or extra table to make the iMac work.

    I'm starting to think that I'll go with the Mini + DVI Switcher idea if I can find a switcher on the cheap somewhere.

    Thanks all for your ideas and help! :D
  13. dongmin macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2002
    My recommendation:

    1. used/refurb ibook ($699 refurb at
    2. keyspan express remote
    3. use sreen spanning hack to get dual display
    4. connect 2nd display to iBooks mini-vga adpater


    1. wait for the low-end Mac Book with Front Row + Apple Remote
    2. pray that it has spanning native or there is a hack out for it soon after
    3. connect 2nd display

    BTW, you can use the spanning hack with an eMac, I believe. That would probably be the cheapest solution.

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