Mac Mini HTPC idea

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by unquist, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. unquist macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2009
    Hey all,
    I've decided to build a new HTPC and get rid of my cable TV, and I'd like to get one of the new Mac Minis to do it. This would be my first Mac ever, so I'm a bit wary about my choices of hardware, and would love to hear what people think about this setup. I'm trying to optimize value here, and spend as little as possible (student budget right now):

    Mac Mini 2009 model: $550 ($600-50 student discount)
    Apple remote from the mac store $20
    extra 2gb of mushkin RAM from newegg: $40
    miniDisplay to HDMI converter from newegg: $20
    basic logitech RF wireless keyboard and mouse from newegg: $25

    total: $681(which includes an estimated $12 of shipping charges)

    And voila, HTPC. Anything I'm missing? Anything a first time mac buyer wouldn't think to get? Other thoughts?

  2. bokdol macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    you may want to think about a bigger harddrive.
  3. cawesjmu macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2004
    Richmond, VA
    I'm assuming you have a a/v receiver. Do you have a mini toslink cable to get some 5.1 sound through? And I second additional hard drive space, either internal or external via FW800. Search for post from CaveMan. He seems to have a lot of experience with the Mac Mini as a HTPC.
  4. waffles123 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2009
    Sounds good to me. You definitely will love your first Mac. This is what I would do:

    1. Find it cheaper: a lot of online retailers (such as Amazon ) have it pretty cheap and NO TAX. So you might be able to save even more bucks if you order online.

    2. Same thing with Apple remote.

    3. Software: THIS IS IMPORTANT: The Mac Mini comes with a media center program called Front Row, which is OK, but not the best. Most people recommend Plex, which is based off XBMC. Also, people recommend Boxee. There are some pretty great themes/skins for Plex such as this skin.

    4. Have fun with your new Mac, and just post anything in these forums if you need help ;)
  5. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Buy your remote from this fine gentleman, $10 shipped.
  6. justinkaisse macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    boxee noobee

    i like boxee, but how to add children's content? i'm a new parent and my 2yo (new wife's child) really likes shows like "handy mandy" . is there a way to get shows like that?
  7. unquist thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2009
    Thanks for the advice y'all! I'll have to look into a bigger HD and some better audio cabling. Appreciate the help :)
  8. zombitronic macrumors 65816


    Feb 9, 2007
    Or forget a bigger HD and share your existing files over your LAN.

    I've got a G4 MDD (2TB of shared files including my iTunes Library and a 2TB Time Machine backup disk) at the base of my network. There's also a HDHomeRun for the true HTPC experience.

    This is all connected to a gigabit switch which is connected to some other devices in my network and another gigabit switch.

    Anyway, at the end of this is my Mac Mini in the living room. The Mini has EyeTV software to watch/record TV through the HDHomeRun. I just set up iTunes on the Mini to use the iTunes Library on the G4 MDD. Front Row uses this same library, all the way across the network. I'm actually really happy using Front Row. I also set up Time Machine on the Mini to back up to the G4 MDD.

    Anyway, this is an option if you'd like to centralize your media library and just connect to it from any computer on your network.

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