The Mac mini has always kind of been the “odd man out” in the Mac lineup. It doesn’t fit the “four-square” lineup (consumer desktop, consumer laptop, Pro desktop, Pro laptop) Apple introduced years ago. It’s infrequently updated, slightly underpowered, and upgrading it is almost as fun as a <insert colorful phrase describing something REALLY unpleasant here>
That’s not to say the mini is a bad machine. Far from it. The mini’s small form factor makes it nice in areas with limited space. My dad has had one for years, and it suits his purposes just fine – he needs it for basic Office use with a little bit of iLife thrown in for good measure. Couple one with a couple of miniStacks, and you have a decent file server. I’ve even heard of various web sites being run off of one.
As more video content is being made available online, the mini has taken on another popular purpose – as a media center for your TV. Its small form factor allows it to sit with your other equipment easily. It’s got plenty of ports for expansion (something many video players lack), and its built in Bluetooth and AirPort means you don’t have a lot of extra cabling to deal with, either.
Of course, we wouldn’t tease you with the idea of something cool you could do with your Mac mini without showing you how to actually do it. That’s why we’ve put together a nice walkthrough for attaching your mini to your home theater and setting up the software so that you can watch your movies on your HDTV.
You can find it at: http://www.macsales.com/mediacenter
If you’d like to see this kind of setup in person, and you’re going to be at the Macworld Expo, be sure to visit our booth, #1354. We have a mini integrated into a basic home theater setup, so you can see just how well it actually works.