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The computer in the living room: setting up a Mac mini media center

Christopher Breen | May 8, 2013
Trot back to the 16th century and corner famed prognosticating monk Nostradamus, and it's quite likely that when posed the question: "Will those living in the year 2013 be able to call up any media programming they like from a single box?" he'd respond with an enthusiastic "Mais oui!"

Elgato continues to offer a way to get live TV into your Mac via its $150 EyeTV Hybrid--a TV tuner on a USB stick. With this device you can both display and record unscrambled cable TV as well as digital over-the-air broadcasts (antenna required). While this solves the live events issue for many people, it doesn't grant access to the vast majority of cable programming.

Given these limitations, the Mac mini, like the Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, and countless other set-top boxes, remains a media accessory, though one more powerful than these dedicated devices. While it falls short of a cable or satellite box (complete with DVR) or true à la carte programming, it remains a worthwhile addition to the AV cabinet of the technically-inclined.


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