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Mac Mini Home Theater

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Tag: digital audio

Kenex Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapterRight after posting about my dilemma between digital and analog audio and I come across this press release from Apogee.

Apogee Inc., manufacturer of AV and computer related products, is debuting the long awaited Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter with USB digital audio. The new adapter will join the Kanex™ family which includes a full line of Mini DisplayPort adapters for DVI, VGA and HDMI.

I don’t know if this will fix my issue, but it certainly seems possible that this device would allow digital audio to be passed through HDMI while leaving the headphone jack available for analog output. It may not be possible to output both simultaneously, but the possibility of a software toggle to switch between one or the other definitely has piqued my interest. Hopefully we’ll get more information in the coming weeks.

The product is planned to be released in August 2009. Read the full press release.

Ok, I love how well the Mac Mini handles digital audio.  The audio quality is great, DTS and Dolby Digital come through untouched, and music never sounded better.  So why am I considering analog audio?  I recently installed some Polk Audio Atrium 55 speakers in the backyard.  They are connected to Zone 2 from my Yamaha receiver.  Unfortunately, the Yamaha Receiver can only send analog sources to Zone 2.

Ideally, I’d like to find a way to send out both Analog and Digital output from the Mac Mini simultaneously, but from the limited research I’ve done, that doesn’t appear to be an option.  The best I’ve found is an application called AirFoil which allows you send audio from the Mac Mini to another computer or an Apple Airport Express which could in turn output the analog signal.  It might also be possible to find a receiver which passes digital audio to a second zone, but if they do exist, it is most likely out of my price range at this point.  The AirFoil software would also require a hardware purchase of the Airport device, but it seems a little silly to plug an Airport in right next to the Mac Mini for the single purpose of passing analog audio to the receiver.

If anyone has any suggestions before I drop any more cash at the Apple Store, please let me know by posting in the comments.