Yep, I was looking to create and have a media center at home that I could pull all my DVDs into and server out to whatever device I wanted. As I was looking about to how best accomplish this, I checked out small HTPCs and the MacMini. Now, given my new-found respect for the OSX and full Apple tool-set, I decided to go with the MacMini. The last time I tried using Windows Media Center, it failed miserably and corrupted a whole group of videos.
I have gotten the MacMini and it is hooked up in my room to my LCD HDTV. I have a 1 TB drive hooked up to it for backups and a 3 TB drive for the media (iTunes library). It was up and serving media in minutes of being out of the box. Also, it moved my entire iTunes library and files from my MBP as well, without me having to worry about anything. All I had to do was move the library to the external drive.
With any of my Apple devices, no special software is needed for me to watch or listen to any of my music or videos. I just connect to my shared library and boom, press play. What is really sweet is using my Apple TV – so easy to use and watch videos that it is a wonder I haven’t done this years ago. Of course, this is when all devices are on the same wifi network. To use the library while I am away from home, I use an app called Media Server, which I have a client for on each of my devices. This lets me connect from anywhere.
Now, however, is the long arduous task of ripping my movie and tv DVDs into iTunes. I have well over 450 DVDs, with a large percentage being TV shows. I am focusing on movies right now, TV Shows to come later. I have over 175 movies pulled into iTunes right now. I get roughly 40 a week, so I am hoping by summer time I can be done with the movies and started on the TV Shows.
The other thing about the MacMini is I now have a DVD player in my room. While it wont matter soon (all of them will be in iTunes anyway) it is nice to have again.