Out here in LA I tend to watch less television than I did before, view more feature-length films (especially because I'm working on projects related to the industry) and drive a whole lot more. Last week I had my high speed modem installed, but I decided not to subscribe to cable television, which saves me about $100 a month in service fees. Instead, I'm going to try using a Mac Mini, along with a number of parts and accessories, as a home media center that depends on the Internet, and eventually Over-the-Air (OTA) digital broadcast television, to satisfy my video entertainment needs. I want the system to take care of the following tasks: - Play from streaming media sites such as Hulu and Netflix - Play DVDs and downloaded video from services like iTunes - Play edited HD home movies to the television, in HD - Provide an easy-to-use interface to my MP3 collection and streaming audio online I also require that it:
- Be stable as a rock. Never crash. I want continuous uptime measured in months, broken only by the need to restart to install a system update.
- Have minimum maintenance and upkeep - this in particular is why I am using a Mac over Windows, it reduces update hassles and hardware compatibility headaches. I want an appliance, in essence, not another system to babysit.
- Be quiet. No loud fans - I'm looking at you, Xbox 360.
- Conserve energy. At 13 watts, the Mini burns far less power than my Tivo HD and Cable Box used to. As I work my way through the process, I'll continue to extend this post with relevant information and links to the parts and software I'm using.