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Finally, Apple have released an updated Mac mini ideally suited to act as a Mac Media Centre. The previous Mac minis were underpowered in both the processor and graphics departments, making them struggle playing anything over and above standard definition video.

The quiet running and small form factor makes the Mac mini ideally suited to living beneath your TV, and now with its powerful processor and enhanced graphics, the Mac mini is now positioned to be the centre of your digital media experience.

This weeks show is the first of a mini series of shows looking at how to utilise the Mac mini as a Mac Media Centre. As there is so much to cover, I'll start the series from the basics looking at the hardware considerations, how the Mac mini is connected to your TV and audio systems, and looking at using FrontRow, the application within Leopard specifically designed to allow you to control your media using an Apple remote.

I also take a look at using iTunes, moving your iTunes library to an external drive and sharing your external iTunes and iPhoto libraries for use with FrontRow.

To finish off, I look at installing, configuring and using Sapphire - a free plugin for FrontRow that allows you to use FrontRow to manage your external media files. As well as allowing you to use the familiar FrontRow interface, Sapphire has intergration with online services such as IMDB and TVRage to seamlessly retrieve the metadata for your media files.

In future weeks, I'll be taking a look at additional third party utilities and viewers, along with the various options and utilities for controlling your Mac Media Centre using the iPhone or iPod Touch.

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