Mac Mini for Entertainment Center PC

Posted on 2006-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
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.
Question by:Shiseiryu1
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    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!

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    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.

    Author Comment

      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?

    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    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 for the full script and instructions

    See 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

    Author Comment

    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.

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