Apple recently unveiled a software update to Apple TV, calling it Apple TV Take Two. Remember the joke that Microsoft would get it right at version 3 (whatever “right” meant)? Whether that will be true of the Apple TV or not remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can build our own Apple TV Take 3 today with the following recipe.
- Mac Mini
- HDTV (Preferably one with DVI Inputs)
- Elgato Systems Eye TV www.elgato.com
- Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
- External Hard Drive (Optional – But Recommended)
I think you’ll find that the above setup, while more expensive than just an Apple TV, it’s really what people where hoping for when the Apple TV was announced. While the Apple TV is a nice hardware channel to iTunes and its content, the above system is more of a real media center. Not only do you get iTunes, but also Eye TV turns your Mini into a Tivo-like super device for your cable/dish and over the air HD signals. Add to that a mini can play DVD’s you can begin to see the extra value the above recipe brings to the table. By replacing the Apple TV with a Mac Mini, you are able to increase your channel count to not only iTunes, but iTunes, cable/dish, over the air HD signals, your own DVD’s, and all the video content that is available on the web. Much of that content you would be able to store on the Mini or an external drive for later viewing pleasure, or convert it for your iPod/iPhone. Don’t forget though, a Mini can also do everything else a normal can do, and it’s all connected to that big HDTV.
Again, I admit it’s a bit more expensive, but isn’t that what economic stimulous packages are for?