Media 2014: Back to a MacBook
Shortly after we moved house in December I wrote about my new media setup.
It was an experiment; effectively we were betting that a Mac Mini would:
- Replace a Sky TV box for watching Formula 1 via sky go
- Increase the amount I watched items in my media library.
- Act as a backup hub
Here’s how it turned out:
7 Months later I am selling the Mac Mini to fund a retina MacBook Pro.
The Mac Mini had to run an odd hodgepodge of software to do its many tasks. None of that software turned out to be reliable or easy to use:
EyeTV – when used daily the interface got annoying. It was hard to record a series of TV shows and the remote control support was poor. I never got volume control working and slowly we stopped using it.
Sky Go – sky go is too limited for the money. We have gone back to a regular sky subscription. If Sky Go had been more reliable, then perhaps we would have kept the Mac Mini around longer. The inconsistent nature of which shows arrived on Sky go and the inability to watch entire F1 races in HD on demand was just to frustrating. Also when driven with a mouse and keyboard the website bordered on unusable.
Handbrake etc – this part did work well. I cooked up some scripts to get everything going and it ate through my library in a few days. However, it didn’t get used for long.
iTunes Library – I have had an always on media server for the last 7 months and used it less than 10 times. Most of my media consumption is via iPlayer, Amazon instant video or iCloud. My own media collection rarely gets a look in.
Backup – 3 months after buying the Mac Mini I sold my MacBook. So I didn’t need to back anything up. My Partner just uses Dropbox as his data is quite small.
I’m going to be sad to see the Mac mini go, it’s a great piece of hardware, it’s just a poor fit for my current use case given the software available.