Today everyone is abuzz about the new iPod Hi-fi. But perhaps the more interesting part of Steve Jobs' product announcement was the new Intel-powered Mac Mini, which now has the power to live up to its obvious promise as an entertainment server.
The premium Mini ($799) now comes with a dual core processor, and with DVI output, and a Superdrive, it could conceivably act as a DVR and media hub. Unfortunately, that's not what Steve Jobs has in mind.
The new Mac Mini now has a remote, and Front Row software, but no tuner card. And Front Row only works with Quicktime-compatible video files.
Steve Jobs wants you to buy all of your media from the iTunes Music Store (inevitably to soon be renamed as the iTunes Media Store). And while iTunes made its mark with "Rip. Mix. Burn." as its mantra, Apple's foray into video seems to be all about "Pay. Download. Watch."
Unlike CDs, DVDs are encrypted, so ripping them to your PC, at least in the US, is a murky legal manner. While it will be possible to do on a Mac Mini, I doubt that Apple will make it easy or intuitive, like ripping CDs in iTunes. No, the video experience will all be about pay to play. And that top->down approach to content is so 1999.