Replay it again, Sam

January 26, 2005

Apple's new Mac mini is a snazzy little computer. Because it is so small, the mini is an ideal computer to act as a media server.

Yesterday, Engadget discussed HOW-TO: Turn your Mac mini into a media center; "It can serve the role of scheduler, controller, audio/video recorder, audio/video playback, audio/video download, and it even makes a decent audio/video production unit, as well."

The mini is less than ideal as a home media server not just because of its limited storage capability, but due to the fact that it, unlike most Windows Media Center PC's, requires external hardware and additional software to serve as a DVR. I'd bet that Apple will likely release its own DVR software with a future revision of the mini before too long, however.

Since I acquired some more disk space, I started playing around with DVArchive. DVArchive is cross-platform software for networking a computer to a ReplayTV. It allows one to download recordings from the ReplayTV and edit and remix those recordings. Of course, since the most powerful computer at World HQ is an iBook G3, editing or archiving programs to DVD is not feasible. A Mac mini, on the other hand, would make an ideal audio and video server...

In contrast, TiVo's just-released TiVo-to-Go downloads programs in a proprietary file format and requires additional processing to use those transferred recordings as standard MPEG-2 files.

DVArchive doesn't just take programs off of the Replay, but acts as a networked Replay unit, so that it is possible to watch programs stored the computer on the television using the Replay. (Amazing Race marathon?) Additionally, DVA allows one to control the ReplayTV from the computer.

The only drawback to DVA is that it is a cross-platform program written in Java, so its interface is less intuitive than and not as pretty as a native Mac OS X program.

Posted by Andrew Raff at January 26, 2005 05:54 PM
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