Mac Mini & HDMI Sound

Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing out a Mac Mini entertainment system.  I don’t watch nearly as much TV as the average individual and since I discovered that ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPNU are all available as streaming products through Verizon Fios, I decided I should test out a system that I would rely on should I cut the cable cord.  After I’ve had a significant exposure to the setup I’ll provide a full review with how it works, what I’ve setup, and how much money I’ll save in the first year of cutting my cable and plugging in a Mac Mini.

One of the problems I had to overcome when I was first setting up my Mac Mini entertainment system was getting the sound to run through the HDMI cable and out my speakers.  By default OS X Snow Leopard relies on its internal speakers even when an HDMI cable is plugged into the computer.  This is something I hope Apple will fix in OS X Lion as it would save many individuals some headache.

After pondering as to why the sound wasn’t coming out of my television, I remembered that when I plugged in my USB headphones that I had to make a few configuration changes before I could get them working.  I then fired up System Preferences and navigate to Sound.

Next, I selected the Output tab and noticed the HDMI option.  I had found the answer to my problem.  Selecting the HDMI option for Sound quickly turned my Mac Mini entertainment system into the sound giant I was expecting.  Not being able to hear sound through my television or speaker system would have ruined mi experiment and I would be stuck with cable television for ever.  Stay tuned for more details about how the Mac Mini works as an Entertainment Center and if cutting the cable is a good idea for you!