A mini overview (emphasis mine):
Apple’s Challenge. It’s clear that Apple used the design and engineering skills that have crammed lots of computer power into the iMac G5, Apple’s laptops, and the iPod to make the Mac mini a solid block of a system. But to hear Apple representatives tell it, the company’s real goal was not just to make a tiny Mac, or a low-cost Mac. It was, to paraphrase one Apple executive, to solve the problem of how to make a $499 computer without it being a piece of junk.
I still can't stop thinking about ways to turn the Mac mini into a DVR. May be some third party will soon come out with an add-on to do just that, until Apple decides it's time to release the best media center ever. They will do it.