Best setup for Mac Mini in the Living Room?
August 2, 2005 8:22 AM   Subscribe

My parents have a Windows machine in their office, but since I already have a firewire video camera and a Powerbook G4 running Tiger, I'd like to get them a Mac Mini so that they can see their 8-month old grandson in all his full screen, 30fps glory via iChat. Question: What are the best peripherals for them to use the Mini as a second computer in the **living room**? (which wireless keyboard, adapters for hooking the Mini to the TV, etc?)

-should I get the Mini with pre-installed bluetooth and buy Apple's bluetooth keyboard/mouse, or are there better [not necessarily bluetooth] 3rd party wireless keyboards, maybe even with a more practical built-in mouse/trackpad for easier couch computing?
-should I get the Mini with pre-installed Wifi, or would a USB Wifi adapter be cheaper/better?
-they have a large-screen HDTV. what's the best and/or cheapest way to hook the Mini up to their TV?
-is EyeTV or another such program ready for primetime, if they want to use the Mini as a DVR, since it'll be hooked up to the TV anyway?
-can they use Virtual PC (or just built-in networking) to access the files on their wireless-capable Windows machine?
posted by ericbop to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
  • I've got one of these for wireless use of my entertainment system Mac. It's not bluetooth, so if you used it, you wouldn't need the bluetooth module installed. That said, I'd get the bluetooth module, so if your parents had a compatible cellphone they could use Salling Clicker to control things. I do this as well, and it's really cool, including nifty features like album art on the cellphone while controlling iTunes.
  • Get the internal Wi-Fi. USB might be cheaper, but the internal one will be using Apple's drivers on Apple's card. Always better for interoperability.
  • If the HDTV has a HDMI port on it, you'll need an adaptor, but if it's got a DVI port or a VGA port, you can connect it directly. Go for the DVI port if possible. Most big-screen HDTVs are sensed properly by Macs and give appropriate native resolution.
  • EyeTV is ready for prime-time, though I hear their listing service is not the best.
  • Built-in SMB compatibility will get them connected to their Windows shares. File compatibility might be an issue, but most files can be opened on the Mac side with appropriate, and most of the time, native programs.

posted by tomierna at 8:50 AM on August 2, 2005

Go to and search for "Logitech USB Desktop Microphone". It costs $30. An Apple engineer recommended it and it works well.
posted by ryanrs at 4:50 AM on August 4, 2005

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