Mac

Mac Media Center

In this article, I will take you through building a Mac Media Center. Since Apple announced the Mac Mini one hour ago, we have been talking about building a Mac Media Center and using a Mac Mini to do it with. Which Mac Should You Get? Many Macs are on the market, and you must consider who you will use your Mac Media Center to decide which Mac will suit your needs the best.

Center

The Mac Mini

The Mac Mini seems to be the obvious solution for a Mac Media Center. Its small design and low noise and heat make it a great candidate to fit in with your existing mix of stylish audio equipment. The Mini is a great little device; it has a nice processor, a DVD drive, some hard drive space, and enough ports to plug it into all the necessary equipment. The last thing you need is a big ugly tower case with noisy fans to sit next to your TV and destroy whatever audio fidelity you are trying to enjoy. And the Mac Mini has some sex appeal, too.

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The iMac

The iMac is also a good candidate for a Mac Media Center, although its appeal is slightly different from that of the Mac Mini. In a limited space environment, the iMac can serve a dual purpose. It can be used as a desktop machine daily and switched to a Mac Media Center by night. The iMac comes in various sizes, from 17″ to 24″, so depending on the space you have available and where you want to put it, you have a few options. The iMac comes standard with just about everything you will need to use it as a Mac Media Center.

The Rest of the Mac Pac

The Mac Pro, iBook, and Mac Book Pro aren’t as versatile as the Mac Mini and iMac but can be used as a Mac Media Center. The 17″ Mac Book Pro would make a nice mobile entertainment system, but not a dedicated media center. Using a Mac Pro as a Mac Media Center is insane. It’s like using a crowbar to open a can of beans. You’ll need some hardware to go with the Mac Media Center. For the rest of the article, I will use a Mac Mini as an example. I have a Mac Mini and have built a media center with it, so using my first-hand experience will hopefully be a little more accurate than speculating on what is possible if you have x…y…z…There are a couple of things you will need to get your Mac Mini up and running as a Mac Media Center. Some of these devices are Apple devices, and some are generic devices. Some work well, and some are just a disaster.

Remotes for your Mac Media CenterThe first device you will need to begin hunting for is a remote. After all, what good is a Mac Media Center without a remote that the family can fight about? There is the infamous Apple remote, which comes with most Mac minis and iMacs.It’s a small remote, but it works well. It comes in a typical Mac style. It’s tiny, does everything you need it to do, and has no fancy features. All in all, it only has six buttons that allow you to control the entire Mac Media Center.

There are also several generic remotes available. Logitech has a bunch of remotes, some of which work well with Mac and some that are PC only. I have a Microsoft keyboard and remote and have been unable to get them going on the Mac. I would advise using the Mac remote. It is small and, with half a dozen buttons, is quite easy to use. My DVD player’s remote, for instance, has 47 buttons, most of which I have never used, and I don’t have the slightest inclination to find out how they work. You’ll also need a keyboard for your Mac Media Center Edition. Of course, there are those times you need to input some data into the screen, like in iTunes. For instance, you might need to enter your password when purchasing content. content.No one wants to keep jumping off the couch to press a button. I mean, we barely find the energy to get up for another beer.

You can either connect something directly to your Mac Media Center, like a USB or Firewire drive, or you can connect a Network Attached Storage Device. The difference comes in when you consider what you want to do with your storage. If you wish to storage purely for media content and want it to be available only to the Mac Media Center, then a USB or Firewire drive is a great option. But if you have more than one computer on your network, like most households today seem to have, you might want to consider a network-attached storage device, also known as a NAS. The software you will need once you have decided on which Mac you want to use is a Mac Mini, in my case, and you have your remote and keyboard ready. You have some idea of where you are going with some extra storage in the not-too-distant future; you need to sit down and consider what software you want to use with your Mac Media Center.

You have about a dozen options. I’ve looked at a bunch of them, and I’ve narrowed it down to 3 that I think you should consider. The best way to decide which media center application you want to use is to install all 3, use them for a week or two, and then decide whether Mac Mini comes with the front row, which I chose to use. But here is a breakdown of the 3 I suggest: Front RowFront row is an Apple application and comes on most Mac Mini’s. It’s a simple interface, looks like an iPod’s interface, and has that glass effect.

It’s a very cool interface and makes your TV look like it’s in a league. Center StageCenter Stage is an open-source application for a Mac Media Center. It’s a good design, and there is ongoing support and development for it. Center Stage is a lot more customizable than the front row and allows several skins to be installed. Center Stage also has additional plugins to make your Mac Media Center do more. This is just a friendly warning when using non-Apple software on an Apple machine, especially when it’s open-source. Make sure you run the stable version. Running a beta version could cause unwanted interruptions during your romantic movie, which will result in a night on the couch.iTheatreiTheter is also an open-source Mac Media Center.

You need to, at the very least, have a VGA input. HDMI is preferable, but VGA is a minimum. having audio in is another requirement. While you can get away with not having an audio information on your TV, it’ll only make your life a little more complicated. Audio out would be the last piece of a nice puzzle. Connecting your TV directly to your sound system will enable you to control the audio volume on your Mac Mini from one central place. I’ll be posting an article on HDTV soon.

About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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