Tivo Killer?

Think Secret reports rumors about the “rebirth of the Mac Mini” as a home entertainment hub, featuring an Intel CPU and including “both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality.” True, there are already several Mac-based living room video recorder arrangements available… but not ones that come from Apple, who can now capitalize both on its iPod success and on the lower cost of x86 chips. Allegedly, its DVR functionality will be stellar: “Sources with knowledge of the project have dubbed the latter a “TiVo-killer.”

I’m still flummoxed by the relative lack of success of the Mac Mini as a general desktop computer. Amy’s has been flawless: Cheap, tiny, silent, attractive, and 100% stable. I’d be very inclined to use a home entertainment variant of it in place of the Tivo, especially if it offered a way around paying the monthly subscription, and let me burn DVDs.

Music: African Head Charge :: Primitive

6 Replies to “Tivo Killer?”

  1. I’m pretty convinced that whatever the first Intel based macintosh is, it won’t be a ‘replacement’ for any existing product line (iMac, iBook, Tower etc). Rather it’ll be some sort of ‘break out product’ like the iPod was, something quite different and new for Apple.

    It’s quite possible that a Tivo like living room device could be such a thing, however I don’t think that such a device would replace the mini, and I’m not sure about the timing (though I do expect some sort of ‘intel update’ at Macworld in January).

    Should be fun to watch – and I won’t be replacing my Tivo Series 1 box until this rumors dead 8-)

  2. Rather than thinking of it as a replacement for the Mini, it could be marketed as something that serves equally well on the desktop as in the TV/stereo cabinet — a true multipurpose computer. Although a lot of people might be alienated by the idea of having a complete, rather than entertainment-tailored GUI in the TV hutch. Maybe it could have two “modes” — desktop mode or entertainment mode. Thinking out loud…

  3. Whatever it is, I suspect it’ll be good :) So either I get a new, inexpensive Intel-based mini, or I get a good deal on a closeout of the PowerPC ones…

    BTW, I had intended this to be a small, always-on server type device. Anyone hear reviews one way or the other about the current mini in that role ? Any heat issues, etc…?

  4. I can answer why more people don’t buy the mini. If you’re replacing a g3 iMac, for example (as my mother was over Thanksgiving) a mini doesn’t make any sense. By the time you add Appleworks and a decent monitor you’re most of the way to the cost of a G5 iMac. Which is what we got her. (it’s a sweet machine, but Apple pooched it completely by not putting a modem in it and not having them in stock when the machine shipped. Mom is now getting broadband.)


  5. Jim – $499 for a Mini, $299 for a 19″ LCD display (buy.com), $99 for AppleWorks = $900. But the iMac starts at $1299 for a 17″. So I’m not quite seeing how your math works out — you’re saving $400 and getting a larger screen by going Mini, no?

  6. And for my intended application, it’s cheaper still. $(whatever) for the Mini, hook it up through a KVM switch with my dual-boot WinXP/Ubuntu Linux box and share the 19″ LCD, K/B & mouse. At most, I’m out for a USB version of a KVM switch over the cost of the Mini itself.

    Already got a 200 GB Maxtor drive for $29 (after rebate) last Friday in an after Thanksgiving sale at Staples, which can go in a $30 external USB2.0 enclosure I already have, to get a decent amt of storage attached to it.

    Badda boom, badda bing – small, quiet file/utility server upon which I can also use that lovely Mac interface :) Anyone see problems with that approach ?

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