I picked up a second-hand Mac Mini yesterday. It is pretty much the same spec as the one Beth uses (same generation, manufactured late ’08, slightly slower CPU, less RAM, smaller HD). I had intended that Beth’s computer would serve as a media player; she would use it with the TV for her web browsing (mostly the CBeebies web site), and then we would use it in the evenings for iTunes and for downloaded progs. However it turned out that she relishes being able to use it in her own room, so she can play with it (and watch DVDs on it) while Kate and I watch the TV downstairs.
So a different solution for media playback was in order. I’ve been using my MacBook Pro with the TV recently, but it is a hassle doing all the plugging and unplugging. I considered an AppleTV, but the Mac Mini does a good job and will be more versatile. I think we’ll use it for a lot of Spotify listening too. I decided to call it “Haloumi”; we greatly enjoyed some haloumi at the BBQ last Saturday.
I’ve connected it to the TV with a DVI->HDMI cable, and to the amp with Mini-TOSLINK->TOSLINK cable. Had a minor hassle getting a decent picture out of it — spent ages faffing with the Mac’s video settings before finding an undocumented setting deep in the TV’s menus that makes it use “actual pixels”.
We now have four Macs in the house — the two Mac Minis (Haloumi and Stilton), my MacBook Pro (Shropshire Blue, which desperately needs a new battery) and Kate’s PowerBook 12” (well, actually Andrew’s old one, as Kate’s PowerBook — Boursin — has dead video hardware). I think a new computer for Kate will be the next priority.