After four years of buggy and frustrating performance, our Bose Cinemate home theater audio system finally died. Good riddance. Oh, and hello again Sony brand. It’s been a while.
But when you upgrade a major component, you also tend to consider what else you can do. Our Vizio (also 4 years old) is working great, so that’s staying. However, we think it’s time to kill cable. Yesterday I bought a Mac Mini to replace cable. It can access everything online via wifi (plus our media library, work files, calendars, etc.) and I can always install an HD antenna to capture the free HD signals from our local stations. I hashed out the connectivity and thought I had everything in order, but quickly realized a few things.
1) My old TV only has 2 HDMI ports.
2) Actually listening to anything on TV through the Mini (like Netflix movies we rent online) requires the use of a headphone jack output. Only.
Problem one will be solved through a HDMI port w/four inputs and one output. Since the TV has only two HDMI slots, one of them must be reserved as output to the Sony audio system. The DVI/HDMI connection from the Mac Mini and the HDMI connection from the DVD player eat them both up. The port will allow for more expansion.
Problem two is what it is. I hope this can be solved by Apple one day, along with including Blu-ray technology in all of their computers.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. If I really want to do this right, I may as well upgrade our 4-year old Logitech Harmony remote too, so it can handle the HDMI switchbox (plus, this remote has been dropped so many times it’s held together with electrical tape.) And you can’t forget a blue tooth keyboard/mouse (integrated) combo so you can sit on the couch and surf the web.
- Mac Mini – $600
- Cables/adapters/etc – $200
- Hub – $80
- Remote – $200
- Key/Mouse combo – $80
- HD Antenna/cables – $100
Not counting replacing the Bose with the Sony (something we actually needed), this is getting pretty expensive. Plus, what if the audio sucks or the timing is off from video on the internet because of the ‘headset’ jack audio hookup from the Mini to the Sony? I mean, I’d be relying heavily on Internet feed for everything – MLB games, movies, streaming events – everything. If the audio is whack, that ruins pretty much everything. Oh, and will the wifi seamlessly stream the 15′ from the Apple Airport to the Mini with no hiccups?