Mac Mini as home entertainment

I’ve been meaning to post about buying a Mac Mini, and hooking it up to a Samsung 32′ R7 HD TV in the living room. It works wonders on your music collection, with Front Row at your beckon call. Setup was flawless, plugging straight into the wireless network and downloading the latest updates. It’s even parent-friendly.

Not only that but I get to fiddle about alot with OSX, after ordering the bluetooth keyboard (sturdy weight on it) and bluetooth mouse. The added bonus was being able to dump the massive DVD player, and VHS recorder, and their remotes, in favour of the Mac sitting on top of the satellite box.

It makes a great home entertainment system, now all I need it so make it into a PVR.






11 responses to “Mac Mini as home entertainment”

  1. EWI avatar

    Hi, Gavin. Which format do you intend to record video in? A related question – are you going to get an external HDD for storage? For your DVR functionality, which device are you going to go with?

  2. Gavin Sheridan avatar
    Gavin Sheridan

    Not sure what format yet EWI, but considering something from Elgato as an addon to the Mac Mini for plugging simple analogue. Maybe a miniMate for extra storage…

  3. James avatar

    It is indeed made for it… I love the way you flick with the remote between video/desktop/music – but I suppose I would lose that once I installed linux. Was considering getting one as my Freevo box.

  4. Gerry O'Sullivan avatar


    I thought you were supposed to be a penniless student 😉

    Anyways, have a look at ScreenCastsOnline. The most recent show was all about recording digital TV onto a Mac. The exact format used in the screencast is not available here yet, but it gives a good overview of how it works.

  5. EWI avatar

    How are you going to approach HD? Ignore or invest in the kit now…?

  6. Gavin Sheridan avatar
    Gavin Sheridan

    @EWI, HD is a long way off. No plans for SKY HD. What I like about the Samsung is the straight VGA port. You can also use picture in picture to have OSX up full with a small window showing whats on telly.

    @Gerry, I reckon since DTT is a long ways off here (little sign of movement by RTE), I will just get a plain analogue input thing from elgato. It will do the trick for now.

    Why can’t we be like the Uk with all their DTT/freeview? Then all I would need is a simple USB dongle. Oh well.

  7. Simon avatar

    Gavin, are you hooking up your Mac Mini using the VGA or do you have a DVI/HDMI cable?

  8. Gavin Sheridan avatar
    Gavin Sheridan

    VGA Simon.

  9. Tim avatar

    Hi, i was just wondering how you record whats on the tv onto your mac mini’s HD, is it software or just something else?
    Also Gavin said that you can look at OSX and tv in picture in picture mode on samsung tvs, can anyone shed any light on how to do this?


  10. Gavin Sheridan avatar
    Gavin Sheridan

    The PIP button on the R7s does it…

  11. Thaddeus Jeffryes avatar

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