Apr 27 2009
I can’t wait to get an Apple TV. But it won’t be happening anytime soon: I am a television Luddite. My 25″ CRT TV is as close as I get to home theater. But, should that stop me from watching iTunes video on my TV? No!
Somewhere in all the rabid excitement of a new Apple product launch, we forget that, “hey, I can already do that.” In fact, as you’ll see here a repurposed 2-year-old Mac mini makes a great Apple TV and even includes some extras.
What you’ll need:
- a Mac mini (or other Mac with Apple DVI or mini DVI output)
- Front Row, Center Stage or iTheater
- the Apple DVI to Video adapter (or mini DVI to video adapter) ($20)
- an IR remote like Keyspan’s RF Remote or Griffin’s AirClick USB remote (Approx $30)
- a TV with RCA composite video inputs
If your mini is a recent purchase, you already have Front Row. If not, don’t despair. Tiger users should try the CenterStage project. While still in development, this project supports EyeTV recordings and sports a slick interface. If you are still rockin’ with Panther, try iTheater. iTheater is a streamlined interface supporting anything QuickTime can play. These media applications will serve up your pictures, DVDs, movies and more in a TV friendly format.
We need a remote to match the function of the Apple TV. These are cheap. RF remotes have a better range, and do not depend on line-of-sight like IR, but either will do.
The adapter will downsample the video output of your mini to your television’s resolution. So, you may have to adjust your display settings to get things looking their best. Also, do not mistake this solution for an external monitor. The picture quality you will get is great for movies and photos, but not for general computing.
The Apple TV may be the best product you don’t buy. It might also be a great excuse to retire your mini to the entertainment system and buy that new Intel Mac.