In this article I am going to Frett Board take you through the steps of building a Mac Media Center. Since Apple annoucned the Mac Mini every one has been talking about building a Mac Media Center and using a Mac Mini to do it with.Which Mac Should You Get?There are a number of Mac’s on the market, and you need to consider who you will use your Mac Media Center in order to decide on which Mac will suite your needs the best.
The Mac Mini
The Mac Mini seems the obvious solution for a Mac Media Center. It’s small design, and low noise and heat makes 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 additional equipment you need.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 is also a good candidate for a Mac Media Center, although it’s appeal is slightly different from that of the Mac Mini.In a limited space environment the iMac can server a dual purpose. It can be used as a desktop machine by day, and be 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 avalible, 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 really as versitile as the Mac Mini and iMac, but can none the less 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 a little like using a crow bar to open a can of beans.You’ll need some hardware to go with the Mac Media CenterFor the purposes of 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 .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. Afterall, 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 works well. It comes in typicall mac style. It’s tiny, does everything you need it to do and has no fancy features. All in all it only has 6 buttons that allow you to control the entire Mac Media Center.
There are also a number of generic remotes available. Logitech have 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 small, and with ahlf a dozen buttons is actually 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 EditionOf course there are those times you need to input some data into the screen, like in iTunes for instance, you might need to punch in your password when purchasing 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.
Apple have a nice bluetooth keyboard that you can use from your couch. It looks like a normal Apple keyboard, yet it has no cables and just fits a couple of batteries at the back.This is a must for your media center. From time to time you NEED a keyboard and having to crawl out from under a warm blanket in the middle of winter can spoil the mood.Of course Logitech and a few other have keyboards that would work just as well. But pairing an apple bluetooth keyboard with the built in blue tooth in a Mac Mini is easier than making toast.Add some storage to your Mac Media CenterIf you have ever spoken to anyone about a media center for digital media, the word storage would have poped up a number of times.The Mac Mini at best will only have and 80GB hard drive, and when you are downloading movies, TV shows, music, adding your own CD’s and dumping you digital pictures you can devour disk space rather rapidly.So before you know it, you’ll be hunting for a storage device of sorts.Now you have a couple of options as far as storage is concerned.