PDA

View Full Version : Apply TV 2 or New Mac Mini?




Jasontech
Feb 8, 2011, 07:45 AM
I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

any suggestions would be great.



EvilC5
Feb 8, 2011, 07:48 AM
I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

any suggestions would be great.



I have not tried 5.1 out from my mini, but it has an optical out so I would think it does....

theres a huge cost difference between the 2, but if money isnt an issue, I would do the mini.

FriarNurgle
Feb 8, 2011, 08:11 AM
I picked up an ATV2 about a 6 weeks ago. It's a great gadget but very limited. I'm optimistic it will gain some much needed functionality as AirPlay evolves and the possibility of apps becomes a reality.

If you have the ability, get the mini. There is soooooo much more functionality right out of the box... but you'll pay for it.

mheidt
Feb 8, 2011, 08:35 AM
both :)
mini as media center (eyeTV etc.) and for each tv an atv2

RWinOR
Feb 8, 2011, 08:36 AM
The Mini will give more options, but if it is truly for your home theater, you may conceder the ATV2.

If you want HD movies from Itunes, Apple has made some of them available only for rental and only for rental using the ATV2 or the IPAD. You will not be able to get the HD Digital copies on your Mini. I am sure this will change over time but it is frustrating now, if I want to purchase/rent a HD movie and can only rent the HD on ATV.

I think it is the same with Netflix I have a MACBookPro and ATV2 the movies when played through the MBP or the ATV2 they just look better on the ATV2.

If this is not in the plan and money is not driving your choice go Mini. My plan, ATV2 hooked to the TV and MacMini as Itunes server to house all my digital purchased or DVD's I am storing in a closet and have ripped to digital. I am presently using my MBP as my ITunes server.

Best of luck.

georgee2face
Feb 8, 2011, 08:51 AM
I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

any suggestions would be great.

I had about 400 DVDs that I ripped, encoded and stored on a windows home server. When I bought the ATV2 I also bought a Macmini and just stream all my library through the mini to the ATV2. The Windows home server stays in the closet, sleeping till needed

My point: if you don't have a large library, the ATV2 is versatile enough and the mini enough storage with out having to add extra firewire drives.

I am now buy movies through ITUNE store when I need to, and using Netflix off the ATV2. no more ripping and encoding

If you have a large library, you will need some server or extra storage to handle all your rips, stored isos, music, photos. So you will need some "extra devices", not just the mini.

nep61
Feb 8, 2011, 11:56 AM
I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

any suggestions would be great.

I'd suggest get both. If your decision is not based on cost, which it doesn't seem to be, buy the Mini for $699 US, and for only $99 US extra, get the ATv2.... it's the best solution.

You'll have a SERVER and a STREAMER ... what could be better?

Bye Bye Baby
Feb 8, 2011, 12:39 PM
I have both, but it depends on what you want to do.

1. Do you have a lot of iTunes/ digital content of your own? Then mac mini.

2. Do you rent a lot of stuff/ Netflix? ATV2

If you do both, then you need both.

omegaphil6
Feb 8, 2011, 12:48 PM
$99 or $599!?!?!? at a $500 difference in price, couldnt you get addon hardware for the ATV2 to complete your setup for less than $500?

gdeusthewhizkid
Feb 8, 2011, 12:59 PM
I have not tried 5.1 out from my mini, but it has an optical out so I would think it does....

theres a huge cost difference between the 2, but if money isnt an issue, I would do the mini.

although i agree with the above posts


a cheaper solution if you dont have to have itunes or keep it in the apple ecosystem. Is the ps3. WIth vudu HD, Netflix & the ability to buy & rent movies i feel like it's the perfect home media solution and I believe it has 5.1 surround sound. I know a few of my friends that dont have apple tvs or like the itunes route really love their ps3s.

ZilogZ80
Feb 8, 2011, 01:02 PM
$99 or $599!?!?!? at a $500 difference in price, couldnt you get addon hardware for the ATV2 to complete your setup for less than $500?
such as?

Uofmtiger
Feb 8, 2011, 01:26 PM
Between the two (if price doesn't matter), the mini is an easy choice.

tallyho
Feb 8, 2011, 01:26 PM
$99 or $599!?!?!? at a $500 difference in price, couldnt you get addon hardware for the ATV2 to complete your setup for less than $500?

such as?

How about high capacity NAS and install XBMC on the ATV2? Also taking advantage of various streaming plugins for XBMC (here in the UK that's BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer and YouTube for 4oD - not sure what people in other countries want or can get). I'm usually happy in Steve's walled-garden (I don't jailbreak my iPhone for instance) but in the case of the ATV jailbreaking is really a no-brainer!

EvilC5
Feb 8, 2011, 01:37 PM
although i agree with the above posts


a cheaper solution if you dont have to have itunes or keep it in the apple ecosystem. Is the ps3. WIth vudu HD, Netflix & the ability to buy & rent movies i feel like it's the perfect home media solution and I believe it has 5.1 surround sound. I know a few of my friends that dont have apple tvs or like the itunes route really love their ps3s.

I have a ps3 and love it for playing games, but the netflix interface isnt very nice, and the dlna media sharing is ok, but the ps3 also doenst do 802.11N wireless, so streaming HD "could" be a problem.

kas23
Feb 8, 2011, 01:44 PM
This question is akin to this: I want to be able to get to the beach that is 20 miles away from my house, so I can go swimming. Should I buy a skateboard or should I buy an RV?

Truth is, either is OK. Sure, the Mini is fantastic for what it does and it does a whole lot. However, it's expensive for what you're going to be using it for. Thus, it's kinda overkill for a HTPC. But, it will give you what you want and much more.

As for the ATV, its like the skateboard. Sure seems like a cool product, but is severely limited in its use. I have one and I'll be the first to tell you, besides delivering iTunes content to your HDTV, it's a pretty useless. Sure, its a fun gadget to fart around on, but in the end, its still useless.

Biscuit411
Feb 8, 2011, 01:53 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

If you are only using one tv, why the need for the Mini AND the ATV? Can't you stream Netflix from the Mini?

gdeusthewhizkid
Feb 8, 2011, 02:48 PM
I have a ps3 and love it for playing games, but the netflix interface isnt very nice, and the dlna media sharing is ok, but the ps3 also doenst do 802.11N wireless, so streaming HD "could" be a problem.

I dont know if that's true. I streamed RED on Vudu wirelessly with no problem. Im using a time capsule as my router. Red was HD.

Uofmtiger
Feb 8, 2011, 03:37 PM
I have one and I'll be the first to tell you, besides delivering iTunes content to your HDTV, it's a pretty useless. Sure, its a fun gadget to fart around on, but in the end, its still useless.
Having photos, movies, and music from iTunes play on your system is one of the main points. Airplay directly from iOS is also an important feature. For $99, I would have bought it if this is all that it could do.

I have a ps3 and love it for playing games, but the netflix interface isnt very nice, and the dlna media sharing is ok, but the ps3 also doenst do 802.11N wireless, so streaming HD "could" be a problem.I haven't confirmed it because I don't stream a lot of Netflix, but the PS3 has been reported to get 1080p and 5.1 sound from Netflix. Maybe other players can do this now(?), but ATV2 is limited to 720p, so it will never have the same video quality.
[SIZE=1]
If you are only using one tv, why the need for the Mini AND the ATV? Can't you stream Netflix from the Mini?Personally, I don't own the mini only for home theater. However, if you wanted to surf the web from the couch, pull up video from just about every source on the web and watch it, run slingbox, Eyetv, etc.. it has a lot more benefits than the ATV2.

So why get an ATV2? There are three reasons I got it despite having a PS3 and mini in my system:

1. Airplay from iOS.
2. The simultaneos digital outputs. I can explain why this is important for my setup if anyone cares.:)
3. Price

rendy0212
Feb 8, 2011, 03:50 PM
I have itunes on a windows 7 desktop and have my library set up on a 2tb external (connected via usb). The desktop is older I am not even sure of the specs but it I think it only has a pentium d chip. I have approx 600 movies in my library and can stream them w/ no issues to atv2. That clearly is a much cheaper option than buying a mini and atv2. And most of us have a spare older computer sitting around. Even if you don't you could probably pick up an old desktop for $200 on ebay. 2tb externals are $100 about now so you are out the door for half the cost of a new mini w/ alot more storage space.

profets
Feb 8, 2011, 03:53 PM
Having photos, movies, and music from iTunes play on your system is one of the main points. Airplay directly from iOS is also an important feature. For $99, I would have bought it if this is all that it could do.

I haven't confirmed it because I don't stream a lot of Netflix, but the PS3 has been reported to get 1080p and 5.1 sound from Netflix. Maybe other players can do this now(?), but ATV2 is limited to 720p, so it will never have the same video quality.
Personally, I don't own the mini only for home theater. However, if you wanted to surf the web from the couch, pull up video from just about every source on the web and watch it, run slingbox, Eyetv, etc.. it has a lot more benefits than the ATV2.

So why get an ATV2? There are three reasons I got it despite having a PS3 and mini in my system:

1. Airplay from iOS.
2. The simultaneos digital outputs. I can explain why this is important for my setup if anyone cares.:)
3. Price

I'm curious.. what are you doing to make use of simultaneous digital outputs (I'm assuming HDMI and SPDIF)?

profets
Feb 8, 2011, 03:56 PM
How about high capacity NAS and install XBMC on the ATV2? Also taking advantage of various streaming plugins for XBMC (here in the UK that's BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer and YouTube for 4oD - not sure what people in other countries want or can get). I'm usually happy in Steve's walled-garden (I don't jailbreak my iPhone for instance) but in the case of the ATV jailbreaking is really a no-brainer!

XBMC on a device like the ATV is awesome.. Just seems like its not fully functional yet. An ATV3 w/A5 and jailbroken for some XBMC love would be amazing...

tallyho
Feb 8, 2011, 04:35 PM
XBMC on a device like the ATV is awesome.. Just seems like its not fully functional yet. An ATV3 w/A5 and jailbroken for some XBMC love would be amazing...
Everything I mentioned in my post is functional right now. What more functionality are you looking for? The only thing I can think of is 1020p support, but for me it's not an issue. I don't have any content higher than 720p and I don't have a TV bigger than 32 inches so really I'm not concerned about 1020p. I suppose if 1020 is a deal-breaker then the ATV2 is not for you...

Wondercow
Feb 8, 2011, 04:42 PM
I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

any suggestions would be great.

it really depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you just want to stream your media from the available Internet sources or from an existing computer, with up to 5.1 audio, then go with the ATV. For anything else go with the Mini.

Like the ATV the Mac Mini will output up to 5.1 Dolby and DTS over the optical connextion, however, unlike the ATV it can also pass up to 7.1 audio from the HDMI port. In addition, the Mini can play 1080p/i video files and FLAC audio. My home theatre setup is as such:

I use a Time Capsule as my HT router and to store my iTunes music and videos, my iPhoto library, and any other shared media, e.g. my DVDpedia library. The Time Capsule is wired to my Mini and the Mini is wired through HDMI to my AVR which is, in turn, connected (HDMI) to my TV. The Mini allows my HT to show iPhoto slideshows and stills, as well as import and edit new photos. We use iTunes to rent movies and listen to music with the visualizers (which is great for a party or to entertain our little one). Of course we use the Mini to play my ripped DVD collection—through DVDpedia (http://www.bruji.com/dvdpedia/)'s full screen mode. The DVDs play through DVD Player.app so we have simple access to languages, subs, etc. Since there're no Mac-native Blu-ray players I rip my BD content into MKV files for the Mini and use VLC for playback. With Blu-ray rips it is possible to get DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD lossless audio after converting it to FLAC (again, up to 7.1). Lastly, I use EyeTV with four ATSC (over-the-air) tuners (2x HDHomeRun Dual (http://www.silicondust.com/products/models/hdhr-us/)) as my PVR. Using the EyeTV app (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/eyetv/id329886711?mt=8) I can stream live TV as well as my recordings anywhere with internet access. The Mini can simultaneously record from all four tuners, play a recorded program, and stream music to my daughter's SoundBridge Radio. Using a Harmony remote (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/remotes/universal-remotes) in conjunction with Remote Buddy (http://www.iospirit.com/products/remotebuddy/) running on the Mini I have access to every function of all software making otherwise impossible tasks simple—like changing angles on a DVD (through DVD Player) from the couch.

Plus, the Mini can bring any other computer functions to your HT.

The AppleTV, while a great device for what it does, can't even come close to a Mini for home theatre.

cootersgarage6
Feb 8, 2011, 04:56 PM
Clearly a full computer would be better. It's a fully computer, that you can use your wireless keyboard on to type for YouTube viewing and things like that, and also, it's got a little better graphics, you can play games on it, and you can have apps on it through the Mac App Store, and use it as a theater and a sterio.

The Apple TV can only surf iTunes media and you must have the computer on with iTunes open, on the same network to view your media. And you can't use a full keyboard on it, play games, or anything like that.. just a viewer and a stereo..

Get the Mini..

Uofmtiger
Feb 8, 2011, 06:25 PM
I'm curious.. what are you doing to make use of simultaneous digital outputs (I'm assuming HDMI and SPDIF)?I use the digital optical to feed a PS Audio DLIII DAC. This feeds a Denon 4311CI receiver. Since it is analog, I can use the Denon to feed the signal to zone 2. There are limits to what can be done with HDMI in different zones.

I use HDMI for anything with video.

The reason simultaneous is important is because I don't have to mess with the ATV's settings when I want to switch from optical to HDMI. The mini requires a setting change, which can be a pain.

profets
Feb 8, 2011, 08:55 PM
I use the digital optical to feed a PS Audio DLIII DAC. This feeds a Denon 4311CI receiver. Since it is analog, I can use the Denon to feed the signal to zone 2. There are limits to what can be done with HDMI in different zones.

I use HDMI for anything with video.

The reason simultaneous is important is because I don't have to mess with the ATV's settings when I want to switch from optical to HDMI. The mini requires a setting change, which can be a pain.

Ahhh, not bad.. I guess AirPlay in this situation must be nice to feed audio to a second zone.

profets
Feb 8, 2011, 08:59 PM
Everything I mentioned in my post is functional right now. What more functionality are you looking for? The only thing I can think of is 1020p support, but for me it's not an issue. I don't have any content higher than 720p and I don't have a TV bigger than 32 inches so really I'm not concerned about 1020p. I suppose if 1020 is a deal-breaker then the ATV2 is not for you...

Its been about a week since I read about it, but at the time it sounded like 1080p content can cause some stuttering and sound was limited to stereo - both are ok for me as I'd use the ATV in a bedroom where 1080 & 5.1 aren't important.. But if it was my primary use in a home theatre then its a different story. Been meaning to pick up an ATV to try out it actually.. possibility of using xbmc on a $100 device seems like a no-brainer.

Uofmtiger
Feb 8, 2011, 10:13 PM
Ahhh, not bad.. I guess AirPlay in this situation must be nice to feed audio to a second zone.
Also you can use direct mode and send the signal from the better DAC and take advantage of it in more than one system. I should mention that I got the 4311 about a month ago and have not had time to compare it's DACs to the PS Audio.

I have habit of using electronics in more than one system since my home office shares a wall with my main system.

EvilC5
Feb 9, 2011, 07:12 AM
Having photos, movies, and music from iTunes play on your system is one of the main points. Airplay directly from iOS is also an important feature. For $99, I would have bought it if this is all that it could do.

I haven't confirmed it because I don't stream a lot of Netflix, but the PS3 has been reported to get 1080p and 5.1 sound from Netflix. Maybe other players can do this now(?), but ATV2 is limited to 720p, so it will never have the same video quality.
Personally, I don't own the mini only for home theater. However, if you wanted to surf the web from the couch, pull up video from just about every source on the web and watch it, run slingbox, Eyetv, etc.. it has a lot more benefits than the ATV2.

So why get an ATV2? There are three reasons I got it despite having a PS3 and mini in my system:

1. Airplay from iOS.
2. The simultaneos digital outputs. I can explain why this is important for my setup if anyone cares.:)
3. Price



I can confirm that the ps3 can play HD movies from netflix, but mine is wired to my network. my problem exists when my wife is trying to watch something on netflix/itunes on one tv, my son watching cartoons on netflix, and me trying to watch something else in the man cave. I had lots of problems doing it wirelessly, so all but 1 of my ATV2's are wired now.

at any rate, the ATV2 is great if you have a computer running itunes when you need it, the mini is great to serve as that role as well as watch netflix directly from silverscreen (or whatever it is you have to run on the mac to watch movies). it can also serve as a PVR to capture tv programs....etc.

so in the end, its all about your budget and what you want to be able to do at that moment in time.

RWinOR
Feb 9, 2011, 08:22 AM
I used to use my PS3 to stream Netflix as well. Especially after it stopped playing disks. If the movie was available in HD the PS3 played it with no issues what so ever. This was on a wireless Apple 'N' network and the PS3 was still only 'G'. The only real issue streaming was using any DLNA server, I found that Media Link worked best but still had issues streaming movies from my own network. If the movies were HD the PS3, choked, stopped, started, stopped started etc. If the movie was normal def, the movie played fine except for one small annoying thing, the voice and video where ever so slightly out of sync. just enough that if you watched the mouths move the voice started a fraction of a second behind it. Made it difficult to watch movies with lots of face shots and talking. Also keep in mind the PS3 will not play any movies purchased from the Apple store. Only movies you ripped. I heard that even the Amazon digital movies have to be played on a special Amazon player.

The other issue I had with my PS3, was streaming or purchasing movies from the Sony store. It could not even stream the trailers without stopping and starting, and if I tried to purchase a movie to rent, which I did about 10 times, it took over 24 hours to download a SD movie and 3 days for a HD movie. I can get a Blueray disk mailed to me from Netflix faster then that.

Once I upgraded to the ATV2 streaming from home network no issues, HD, SD all stream perfect and in sync. Streaming from Netflix works very well, although there is a second tread I have been reading about sound dropping part way in a movie, and I do have a similar issue. I had thought is was Comcast and bandwidth, I may check this farther.

If you are running an Apple Network and want to stream your home stuff, the ATV2 may be better, if you are on windows and have a Media server, then perhaps the PS3 may be better, Sony plays nicely with MS and does not play very well with Apple. There are third party Media servers, but in my experience they work but not as well. I tried 3 or 4 to get voice in sync none worked.

The other thing I discovered about streaming to a PS3 or any DNLA device is the software you load for the DLNA media server will mess with your Itunes home sharing, if you place an ATV2 on your network. I had extreme issues with the Itunes Library being intermittent until I delete all DLNA servers on my MBP.

Hope this helps

EvilC5
Feb 9, 2011, 08:44 AM
weird, I leave TvMobili and EyeTVConnect dlna servers running all the time as well as itunes and dont have any issues doing dlna or itunes streaming...but again, anything dlna is wired....so that might be it.