"It does everything very well in a small form factor."4.5 starson by dadoctorman
Pros: This little machine can play digital formats, the same as bluray in quality. No HDMI output, get a DVI to HDMI cable for less than $5.00. Comparing it to the model windows computer you chose to compare it to, is like comparing apples and oranges.
Cons: With built in bluetooth and broadband wireless, the only negative is it is expensive. It is also by far the best I have found for the job. No windows machine can touch it.
Summary: It give you crystal clear video...flawless really...in a very small bundle.
You can play your DVD videos on it as well, and the result is every bit as good as bluray.
You can also cruise the web using your TV...with the microsoft mouse 5000...and apple's mini bluetooth keyboard. You do need to get a DVI to HDMI cable...which will cost you less than five bucks at http://www.mycablemart.com/store/cart.php?m=product_list&c=61 . Buy one of their adapters, for 3.5mm stereo to RCA standard output, and put the audio through your stereo...including audio from iTunes. I add a foot long cable to the back with a USB flat male to a USB flat female, and input digital medium with a flash drive...playing it right from the drive. Using it this way, I never actually have to get at the back of the machine.
It makes a great setup, and is essentially foolproof to set it up. The quality is amazing, and the system is so stable, you seldom have to touch anything...unlike virtually anything microsoft makes.
Setup and (if ever needed) repair of the system is intuitive. You simply attach it to another macintosh via firewire, and start the sick machine holding down the "T" key as you do. That will cause the hard drive from the ill machine to show up on the good machine's desktop, such that you can run repair utilities on it, from the good machine. From experience, I use Alsoft's Disk Warrior, as it seems to be the fastest and easiest fix on a mac. The utility also comes as a bootable disk, so if you boot the machine holding down the "C" key, it will boot from the alsoft disk, and usually will repair it just fine.
My macs simply continue to run for months at a time...without rebooting...anyway.
Setting it up as I have, totally integrates your audio and video systems, and makes you able to play anything you choose to feed it. Most of my video plays through quicktime pro...hitting "view" and "Enter Full Screen" from the task bar on top. Move your mouse, and the controls pop up on the screen. Move the cursor for the mouse to the side, and it disappears, until you need it again.
I convert my MKV files to AVI to play them, though the free VLC player, plays them just fine. I use Flip4mac, to play the rare WMV format in quicktime, and have all of the codecs installed, to play virtually anything else, native in quicktime. The entire system takes up less space than most remote controls do these days, and it does exceptionally well at this sort of a task.
I prefer the microsoft mouse 5000, to the macinosh wireless mice, because not only do I have the two button mouse then, but also, the little bluetooth mouse 5000, works just fine off your pant leg...or the arm of your chair.
Yes...for what it is...it is expensive. But I truly do not believe the system you chose to compare it to, can touch it. Cost is the only real drawback that I can see.