Mac Mini getting even better as HTPC?

Apple Insider has an article on next-gen Mac Mini computers featuring an HDMI port instead of the current DVI. Since HDMI essentially is DVI + sound, the obvious application for this new version is in the living room, where, incidentally, I was planning to put a Mac Mini anyway. If this article is right, it might become just a little bit less messy/more professional-looking, with just one cable to the HDMI switch in the receiver, and thus single point input selection, instead of having to choose the correct input port on both the TV/projector and on the amp.

I’ve been thinking of setting up an HTPC since the time when AdvMame was actively developed (I think my first serious experiments were made when AdvMame was in version 0.97, which puts it in 2005), and when Plasma and LCD TVs were prohibitively expensive. My plan back then, was to output video at PAL or NTSC resolution from an ATI graphics card, via a VGA to SCART converter that essentially “combined” the horizontal and vertical sync signals in addition to providing the necessary connectors, and so send the resulting signal to my living room CRT TV. This would, was my plan, allow me to watch media files in their original resolution without scaling, and also play my favorite side-scrolling arcade games without the then-obligatory ripping and tearing that originates in differences in sync speeds between the original game system and the current screen you’d be viewing it on.

My current plan sticks to a slightly higher budget: Between my other hobbies and have-tos, I’m building a casual home theater. Nothing fancy as a dedicated room or anything like that, but a functional big-screen (by projector), nice-sounding (by a good amp-speaker combo), movie- and game system, with a Mac- or Linux based solution at the core. As of yet, I see no point in getting a current- or next-gen game console for this system, simply because I don’t usually play the kind of games that are available for the consoles.

Like all other of my hobby projects, this is subject to change, of course. We’ll see what happens in autumn when I’ll feel more like spending time on these kinds of indoors projects again.

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