I'm just experimenting with this idea so far. I want to sell my windows PC and either buy a mac mini or an iMac. What I would do is get an enclosure for my HDD and connect via USB or firewire or Thunderbolt. I don't necessarily need a fancy setup I just need to be able to watch HD content and stream it to other computers and my TV. Right now I stream to my tv using my xbox and media center. here is what I want to do: 1. Use a mac mini that I can use as a HTPC and a computer. I understand that streaming and viewing HD content is not all that resource intensive nor is OS X. I will still use this computer as a computer it will not souly act as a HTPC. I'm essentially going to make this. 2.I also want to get away from my cable provider and only view television shows online though various services. Here are my concerns. 1. If I do use external HDD can I back those up to time capsule on another external drive? 2. Ideally I want to be able to view my desktop screen on my tv in my living room and use the TV as an additional display for the mac mini or iMac. 3. What could I do so that I can work on the mac mini in my office and have someone else watch a movie from Plex in the living room? 4. Would streaming from an external HDD affect my video? I would probably stream via FW800. 5. I need to be able to connect my 5.1 surround sound speakers. I will add other concerns to this post as they arise. Thanks for your help. My concerns are which is a better bang for the buck? I also want to be able to connect my surround sound speakers to the computer. I would also be using the computer as a main rig so it should be able to run Windows occasionally as well. This rig will be on 24/7 or almost is there any danger to having HDD connected via usb running 24/7? with that purchase I would also be buying the apple wireless keyboard and trackpad. I would also get a display, preferably 27". Option 1:Mac Mini setup cpu: intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz RAM: 2gb which i could upgrade later for cheaper then whatever apple charges. HDD: 320gb 5400rpm as I already have two 2tb HDD that will be in enclosures. apple wireless keyboard apple trackpad iwork apple care total 977$ I will wait for the next update before I set this up if I ever decide to. I would also need to get a webcam and a display in this setup could I backup an external drive to another external drive with time machine? as I have more then 500 gb of media. Option 2:iMac setup CPU core i5 2.7 GHz RAM 4gb HDD: 1 tb 7200rpm (I already have two 2tb HDD that will be in enclosures.) apple wireless keyboard apple trackpad iwork apple care total 1809$ This option would be a full setup price include education discount The setup so far. I will use the Drobo to hold all my media, backup the iMac/mini and my media. For software I will use Plex for the media center time machine for backup time tamer for backup management What do you think?