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OWC Kit Transforms a Mac Mini Into a Strapping HTPC

Other World Computing, which sells Mac-oriented gear, accessories and software, has a little modification in mind for Mac Mini owners who want to beef up their media playback capabilities. Announced at this year’s Macworld (raging on in San Francisco until Saturday), OWC is launching the Media Center Solution for the Mac Mini, transforming the compact computer into a formidable HD player with up to 12TB of RAID storage.

The Media Center Solution isn’t just a storage upgrade–once you ship your Mini off to OWC, they outfit the system with new hardware, software and accessories to rival any HTPC.

OWC’s upgrade includes an optional memory bump to 4GB and offers three external RAID storage solutions in 4GB, 8GB and 12GB capacities. The software changes, moreso than the added hardware, are what makes this an appealing upgrade for anyone tech shy about building a Home Theater PC. OWC installs a bundle of software including the Plex media center and Handbrake and MakeMKV for ripping discs. A Blu-Ray drive is another optional external add-on.

The software setup is designed to be user-friendly: OWC set up hot folders for automatic DVD rip transcoding and color-coded folders for various media formats like movies, TV shows, etc. You can even toss an EyeTV HD or EyeTV Hybrid for watching and recording cable or satellite on your Mac Mini. Or, if you happen to have an HD antenna set up, you can pipe that in, too. OWC includes an Apple remote and iTunes gift card for downloading the Plex iOS app which can also serve as a remote on an iDevice.

The big RAID box will take up a whole lot more space than the size-conscious Mini, but OWC has a nice prototype in the works that stacks below the Mini and has room for a HDD and a few ports. Given the pricing of a typical 4TB RAID solution, Ars Technica expects the Media Center Solution to start off around $700.


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