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iConnected: Use AirPlay, iCloud, Apps, and More to Bring Your Apple Devices Together by Ben Harvell

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Chapter 9

Do Even More with iCloud and AirPlay

As capable as iCloud and AirPlay are in their own rights, if you’re willing to spend a little extra cash, you can create an even more connected environment or add features you thought were previously impossible. In previous chapters, I’ve mentioned many hardware add-ons and apps that enhance core capabilities such as watching TV and sharing information. But there’s a whole raft of products and apps you can get to extend iCloud and AirPlay in unique ways. This chapter brings them under one roof.

Mac Mini Media Center

It may seem a little over the top to buy a Mac Mini solely as a media center but Apple’s portable Mac is an ideal contender for living room use at a lower price than any other computer in the Mac line. Using the remote-control methods covered in Chapter 4, a Mac Mini can be the ideal partner for your TV, connected via an HDMI cable and controlled from an iOS device or other Mac.

Because the Mac Mini has built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet, it can connect to your network easily and even share media from other computers. Unlike most set-top boxes, it has a suitably large hard drive to keep all your TV shows, movies, and music. You can also attach an external drive to the Mac Mini if you need more room and, of course, it can connect to a media server if you have one running on your network.

There are several apps that allow you to control a Mac as if it were a regular media-streaming box, including Plex and XBMC Media Center. These ...

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