Mac Mini with HDMI

HDMI for mac mini

Apple has updated the little desktop Mac Mini, and if you were thinking about buying a new MacBook or iMac, you might think a little about grabbing this instead.

The new Mini comes in a slim unibody case, 1.4-inches tall, shrinking from 2 inches, and gains an SD-card slot, an HDMI port for true media-center integration, faster NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics hardware (up from the old 9400M graphics). It also keeps FireWire 800, Mini-DVI Mini DisplayPort (and an HDMI to DVI Adapter in the box), four USB ports and Ethernet.

There are two models. One costs $700 and comes with a 2.4-GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and a 320-GB hard drive. The other is $1,000 and drops the optical drive in favor of 4 GB RAM, two 500-GB hard drives and a 2.66-GHz processor. This version runs OS X Server. Both have removable bottom panel for easy access to RAM.

That Apple would release such a big update with nothing more than a short press release used to surprise us, but these days its pretty standard. With HDMI, this is clearly aimed at the home entertainment market, but it could also be a great new Mac for anyone who has an iPad already. In fact, if you already have a monitor in the house, you could buy a Mac Mini and an iPad for $1,200. That’s the same as you’d pay for the cheapest MacBook Pro.


Mac mini HDMI imminent?

Apple’s stock of the current-generation Mac mini is apparently dwindling, leading to speculation that the long-awaited HDMI update might be almost upon us.  Apple Insider has heard from multiple sources that Mac mini availability is low, with Apple themselves giving distributors no ETA on when new stock could be expected.


The Mac mini last saw an update in October 2009, with faster processors and more internal storage.  However the much-tipped connectivity update never materialised; rumors have been circulating for some time now that Apple plan to replace the Mac mini’s DVI port with an HDMI connector.

That’s in part based on prototypes spotted using NVIDIA MCP89 chipsets – the successor to the GeForce 9400M used in the 2009 machines – passing through Apple’s verification tests. It remains to be seen when – or indeed if – the Mac mini will see its refresh, but Apple Insider reckon it’s only a matter of weeks away.


Finally watch Blu-ray movies on your Mac?

Macworld – Our long national nightmare is over–you can finally watch Blu-ray movies on your Mac!

Well, sort of.

The Kanex XD (which took home a Best of Show award at 2010′s Macworld Expo) takes advantage of a special feature of the $1699 Core 2 Duo ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice ) and $1999 Core i5 ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice ) 27-inch iMac models that allows the all-in-one Mac’s Mini DisplayPort connection to receive video signals (all other MiniDisplay Port-graced Macs only support video output).

The Kanex (pronounced “connects”) converter lets you connect an HDMI video source–Blu-ray player, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, or HD DVR, for example–to your iMac for HD video and stereo audio playback. (You can also use it with a Nintendo Wii, but you’ll need a composite-to-HDMI converter.) Several companies have announced plans to offer similar products, but the XD is the first one to actually see the light of day.

The package includes everything you need: the iMac-like brushed aluminum converter (the metal acts as a heat sink–good because the XD produces a lot of heat), a three-foot HDMI cable, a three-foot Mini DisplayPort cable, and a power adapter. Although the XD supports up to 1920 by 1200 resolution (slightly better than 1080p, which is 1920 by 1080), Kanex says that the only standard HD resolution the iMac’s Mini DisplayPort input supports is 720p (1280 by 720). Which means you won’t be able to see Blu-ray movies or play 1080p games at their full resolution. Also, you’ll need to set the video output of whatever device you plan to attach to 720p before you connect it, and that requires using a separate display.

Kanex recommends a specific order for setup: turn on your Blu-ray/console/DVR, connect the HDMI cable from it to the XD, connect the power adapter to the XD, then connect the Mini DisplayPort cable from the XD to the iMac. I connected a PS3 using these steps, and at first nothing appeared on the screen, but when I unplugged the Mini DisplayPort cable from the back of the iMac and the plugged it back it, the PS3′s output showed up just fine.

Once everything was up and running, I played portions of two Blu-ray movies and a few minutes of a PS3 game. The movies looked very good, and the game played without any noticeable lag.

Using the iMac’s included Bluetooth keyboard, you can control volume and brightness from the couch, as well as switch between the Mac’s desktop and the input from the XD by pressing command-F2.

Macworld’s buying advice

If you own a 27-inch iMac and want to make use of its screen to play console games, watch Blu-ray movies, or enjoy HD TV shows from a cable box or DVR, the Kanex XD can make it happen. Due to a limitation of the iMac, however, you’ll have to settle for 720p resolution instead of 1080p.


Right Angle Swiveling HDMI Adapter from UKHDMI

UKHDMI has decided to spoil our geek hearts with a two-pack Right Angle Swiveling HDMI Adapter and that means you can choose two port savers meaning male to female. The Right Angle Swiveling HDMI Adapter are available only today for the very special prove of £5.99 meaning that the shipping is more expensive standing at $6.

You want to know why the price is that special? That’s because the connectors are plated with 24 carat gold in order to provide the highest quality signal when connecting your devices to a HDTV or to a computer with a HDMI port.

The Right Angle Swiveling HDMI Adapter support mackuna HDMI cables of up to 10m, and they are great because you do not have to bend your cables anymore as they can be adjusted up to 90 degrees so that you can connect the cables however you want and wherever you want.

Well, it’s a great deal as these adapters usually cost more than £10.


DVI to mini DisplayPort converter

It’s not uncommon as we upgrade parts of out computers to need adapters and other gear to make things work together. If you have your eyes set on a new display for your computer that uses DisplayPort and your machine lacks the right output Atlona has a new adapter just for you.

The adapter is called the AT-DP400 dual link DVI to Mini DisplayPort Converter. The converter is USB powered and works with Mac or PC systems. The device is specifically designed to work with the 27-inch iMac computer with resolutions up to 2560 x 1440. The screen connected to the adapter can be used as a main display or have the desktop extended to it.

The adapter is HCDP compliant and it also supports the 2560 x 1600 resolution that 30-inch LCDs use. The adapter will also let PS3 and Xbox users connect the consoles to the iMac without additional hardware at a resolution of up to 720p. The adapter is up for pre-order for $199 and is expected to ship on March 10.


Parallels “Switch to Mac” edition bundles app transfer cable

Parallels have released a new virtualization package intended to make first-time transitions to Mac from Windows all the more straightforward.  The Parallels Desktop Switch to Mac Edition consists not only of the company’s Parallels Desktop 4.0 app – which allows you to run Windows apps on an OS X machine – but a data migration cable that automatically transfers programs and files to your new machine.


The Transporter cable is basically a branded USB-to-USB file transfer device, such as we’ve seen before, but is made clever by Parallels’ software.  That automatically identifies apps and data on the Windows machine, making sure all the files needed to get you up to speed are present on your shiny new Mac.

They also throw in a full two hours of tutorial video content, intended to make migrating to OS X headache-free.  It’s apparently available now, priced at around $100; not bad considering Parallels Desktop 4.0 alone is $79.95.



LaCie – HD movies on the go


LaCie has strengthened its portable hard-drive line-up with a device that’s more rugged than Clint Eastwood with a hangover.

The brilliantly titled LaCinema Rugged HD is a hard drive that packs in 500GB of storage and is compatible with any HDMI-supported TV.


The LaCinema Rugged HD is also compatible with both Mac and PCs, and supports most codecs – including H.264, MKV, WMV9, MPEG-4.

To make the hard-drive as rugged as possible, LaCie has added a scratch-resistant aluminium shell, internal anti-shock absorbers, and a shock-resistant rubber bumper which is said to protect media files against everyday blunders.

We think it looks like it can stand a nuclear holocaust, but for some reason that’s omitted from the press release.

For all the number crunchers out there, you’ll be glad to read that the hard-drive can hold up to 700 movies, 165,000 songs or 165,000 photos. And if you want one, expect to pay around the £260 mark.

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