• Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 472
  • Last Modified:

Mac Mini for Entertainment Center PC

Hello Experts.  I currently have a Roku HD 1000 device setup in my living room (connected to surround sound and 56" widescreen) which I use to view pictures and listen to MP3s stored on a Iomega network hard drive.  It's pretty cool but since the new Mac Mini came out, I'm thinking that it might be able to do the same things plus more.  However, I've never messed with a Mac before so I'm not sure.  Can you please help me with the following questions:

1. Will FrontRow be able to play MP3s stored on my network hard drive?
2. Will FrontRow be able to see the pictures stored (in a shared "Pictures" folder) on the network hard drive?
3. Can you make the machine have Frontrow load on startup?
4. Can you make the Dashboard appear on startup?  (I'm thinking when I turn on the TV to see the weather widgets and stuff)
5. Is there anything else I should take into consideration?

I don't need the Mini to watch/record TV (I have a dvd recorder that can do that)...I'm just looking for a cool upgrade to my Roku.

Thanx in advance.
  • 2
  • 2
1 Solution
1. yes, the Roku uses the SMB (samba) protocol and has an IP address. Both you'll find on the macmini as well
2. yes, for the same reason
3. yes, by adding FrontRow to the "login items" in the accounts control panel
4. yes, same
5. you'll be wondering where all the buttons on your remote control have gone.... FrontRow has got only six!

The Intel Mac minis  have optical audio out. Good for stereo systems.

With BlueTooth keyboard and mouse, you can probably control it easily from the couch.
Shiseiryu1Author Commented:
  Thanks for the info.  Let me ask one more quick question.  How useful do you think the Speech recognition feature would be for using the Mac mini from the couch?  I know you can make it obey commands, but I don't know which ones it does.  For example, the typical stuff that I want to do...view widgets, open frontrow to view pics/music...can it do that?

It can do anything based on voice commands.

For instance, you can say <play>, <artist>, <track> and that song will be played. A lot is implemented in the OS (see list of commands below, and you simply enable "speakable items" in the Speech control panel, although the amazing example I give you have to be scripted and compiled. Don't worry it is easier than what it sounds.

See http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2003022401411159 for the full script and instructions

See http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/speech/ for general info

Below is a list of the commands or "speakable items" that comes as default on an iBook. You can create more, and individual applications add more to the list themselves. With the voice command "make this speakable" you can easily add for instance certain web pages to the list of speakable items.


What Time Is It?
What Day Is It?
Turn on push to talk
Tell me a joke
Start screen saver
Show me what to say
Save this document
Quit this application
Quit Speakable Items
Paste the clipboard here
Open the Speech Preferences
Open the Speakable Items folder
Open Speech Feedback window
Open Speech Commands window
Open Sherlock
Open my browser
Open a document
Move page up
Move page to top
Move page to bottom
Move page down
Minimize this window
Minimize Speech Feedback window
Minimize Speech Commands window
Make this speakable
Make this into a sticky note
Make new item
Log me out
Listen continuously
Hide this application
Get my mail
Define a keyboard command
Copy this to the clipboard
Close this window
Close Speech Commands window
Cancel last command
Application Speakable Items
Internet Explorer
System Preferences
Make a new message
Get new mail
Make this bold
Send this message
Reply to sender
Forward this message
Mark as unread
Apply rules to message
Show fonts
Delete this message
Reply to all
Open address book
Add sender to address book
Make this italic
Make a new Finder window
Move this to the trash
Show all windows
Connect to server
Go to my favorites folder
Show view options
Add this to my favorites
Minimize all windows
Go to my home directory
Show the toolbar
Hide the dock
Hide the toolbar
Make this speakable
Make a new folder
Show the dock
Empty the trash
Shiseiryu1Author Commented:
That's really awesome...thanks for the tips.  It sounds to me like the Mini may be a great replacement for my Roku.  I've never used a Mac before but it sounds like it is going to be fun and powerful.  Thanks for the tips.

Featured Post

Upgrade your Question Security!

Add Premium security features to your question to ensure its privacy or anonymity. Learn more about your ability to control Question Security today.

  • 2
  • 2
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now