For some users, mainly power users who have all manner of content and workflows crafted, converted, and made convoluted, an Apple TV just isn't computer enough to run their home media empire. For them, a full-on Mac, often a Mac Mini with handy HDMI port, is a far better and more flexible solution. But there's a lot more to setting up a Mac media server than just plugging in cables and pressing play. Luckily, there's also Shawn Blanc:
Repurposing an old Mac into a home media server is a great idea. A nerdy, tedious, somewhat overrated, great idea.
I used to have my Mac Pro plugged into my TV. Total overkill, but gloriously so. I didn't get to anywhere near the level of nerdery Shawn covers, but I wish I had.
Check it out:
Source: Shawn Blanc