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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apple And The HDTV: Our Mini As Media Server

For a while there, we used my Mini to download movies and then when we wanted to watch them on the big screen, we just moved it into the living room and hooked it directly up to the the TV.

Then we got the 50" plasma, our laptops and the PS3. It got to be easier to just download stuff to my laptop and then wirelessly stream them to the PS3 and view it that way. It was also a pretty cool party trick.

Two problems with that, though, is that movie watching became dependent on how well my network was running - usually OK, but sometimes we'd get the occasional annoying pause - and I couldn't use my laptop while we were doing things. Well, I probably could but I didn't really want my compiles slowing down Doctor Who.

So now we have the Mini permanently behind the TV, hooked up via DVI. If I've torrented something, I can just access the Mini's Drop Box folder, drag and drop the torrent file to it, and then Transmission picks it up and does the work. We've got a bluetooth keyboard and a trackball, but then I found AirMouse for the iPhone which works like a total charm for couch orientated control. If need be I can VNC in as well.

The only other trick I'm considering is a way to email myself torrent files, have an app on the Mini which monitors the inbox and pulls them if found.

But put that on the large pile of unfinished apps, games and Great American Novels I've planned as well...

As I'm writing this, there are questions about whether Apple will keep the Mini in its lineup. I certainly hope that they do - it's a great design and fits a niche that few other computers really can. Without the Mini, we'd be stuck with a Windows based solution for sure to get anything nearly this convenient.

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