In my humble opinion, Macs are at the stage now where they are not only a viable alternative to a Windows PC, but a preferred alternative. Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is due to be released this month which will replace the current Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Leopard is actually certified as UNIX. That's the kind of stable and secure operating system that they use in banks and the space shuttle. While virus and worms for Windows number in the hundreds of thousands you can count all OS X virus threats on your fingers. The Mac seems to be a great computer for everything...
Everything except games.
But the lounge room computer is a media center. It needs to play DVDs and music, connect to Joost and YouTube, browse the web and online banking, access Gmail and Google Calendar and... well... everything, except play games.
So I've spent the last few months carefully researching how to make a Mac media center. I already have a nice LCD TV and a great surround sound setup. Mac Mini is the obvious choice. I will wait until Leopard is released before we get it but the specs should be as follows:
- 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) on two SO-DIMMs
- Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM share
- 160GB Serial ATA hard disk drive
- Dual Layer DVD±R/W (SuperDrive)
Elgato EyeTV Hybrid is a USB TV tuner that supports both analogue and digital television and also allows me to connect an analogue source through composite or s-video so I can record off my VCR. Firefox, VLC Media Player and Joost all work on Mac so we won't lose our favourite programs.
If I've missed something, please let me know... it's not too late, comment below!