Hi all, I'm looking to set up an HTPC in the near future and would like some advice. My current system is flawed, but works well for our needs at the moment. Current Hardware: Mid 2010 15" MBP 27" iMac Time Capsule (3Tb) Fantom Green (3Tb - via USB to Time Capsule) Buffalo Cloudstor (2Tb as remote cloud server) iPad "4" iPad Mini Apple TV 2 My current workflow is as follows: Rip DVDs onto my MBP and convert them to .mkv's using Handbrake Add metadata and package as .m4v using iFlicks drag to "automatically add to iTunes" folder on Fantom drive This process is a bit cumbersome, especially since I typically rip to the Cloudstor drive, then convert from that drive through the MBP to write onto the Fantom. This takes quite a long time, especially when I have TV seasons to convert. More than once, I've had my MBP running for 24+ hours doing non-stop conversion. I use Home Sharing on the MBP to stream video to the Apple TV from the Fantom. Both the MBP and the iMac share the same iTunes library on the Fantom drive. The limitations of my current setup should be obvious. I can only access the itunes library from one computer at a time, my MBP must be open and on in order to stream video to the ATV2 or other devices, and converting video ties my MBP to both the power plug and the LAN. My goal: Streamline this as much as possible by using a central HTPC solution with the following features/options. Always-on iTunes server (able to stream content to one or more devices) Ability to access iTunes library remotely from iOS/OSX devices Integrate security cameras into the system (and be able to review them via one of the Apple TV's in the house) Upgradable for future requirements Reliable and "foolproof" My original thought was the following: Purchase a Mac Mini Connect to one TV as a monitor and "hub" Use it just like my current MBP in terms of adding content to iTunes and Home Sharing But considering what I want from the system, I don't know that this is the best solution. I like using the Apple TV as the interface device. The quality is there, and it's pretty easy to use except for a few minor hiccups (lack of any customizable organization, so 300+ movies becomes a bit difficult to maneuver, as are multi-season TV series). I also like being able to have a simple remote. I saw this post from several years ago, and it seemed to have some good insight: http://www.mactalk.com.au/18/26550-how-ultimate-itunes-media-server.html I don't think mimicing that setup is going to be the best for me (though I do like the XServe RAID setup idea, and I'd be curious to hear feedback about that option...) Questions: What do you guys think would be the best option? Would a Mac Mini have the horsepower to handle video conversion? Would an XServe setup like the link above be a more reliable replacement for the External HDD piggybacking on the TC? If I kept the Mini in a remote "server cabinet", what would be the easiest way of accessing it to manage video conversion of stored videos? I also have some questions about OSX Server: I'm also curious about the option of accessing my library off the LAN (while travelling, for example). Would I be able to access my iTunes library while off-LAN from an iOS/OSX device? Should I replace the Time Capsule backup functionality with that feature in OSX Server to some RAID array (like the XServe)? Would that be more reliable/hands-off than the current system? If a Mac Mini is a reliable choice, which should I look for? The standard 2.5GHz i5 dual core $200 more for the 2.3GHz Quad i7 $300 more for the 2.6GHz Quad i7 If the Mini isn't capable, what should I look for instead? I'd run 16GB of aftermarket RAM in either option, along with a small SSD to handle the OS and any apps necessary to properly run what I need. I assume all storage will take place on external media. Any help would be greatly appreciated!