If you want something more capable than an AppleTV to hook up to your television (most notably the ability to play local content), the Mac mini has the perfect form factor for a working HTPC… and now Mac accessory maker OWC is ready to supercharge it for you for that express purpose.
Called the Media Center Solution, the service works by just shipping any new Mac mini to OWC, who then go about upgrading the RAM to 4GB, installing a bundle of open source media center software like (Plex, Handbreak, MakeMKV) and then linking the Mac mini with either a 4, 8 or 12TB RAID, which will allow you to store up to 6,000 hours of DVD-quality video.
That’s not all. Not only will OWC send it to you back with an optional external Blu-Ray drive, you can also pick between two Elgato HDTV interfaces allowing you to use your Mac Mini as a DVR. They’ll even throw in a $15 iTunes gift card and an Apple Remote.
Honestly, none of this isn’t stuff you can’t do to your Mac mini yourself, but OWC is hoping to catch the attention of Apple lovers who would like a real Mac controlling their home theater without making compromises but without having to futz with a lot of software or components. The Media Center Solution is meant to be like an Apple product in that it “just works.
It won’t be cheap, though: all of the components included in even the baseline package cost $700, so expect converting your Mac mini into a supercharged HTPC to get expensive really fast.