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shaftcmu
Mar 7, 2007, 09:47 AM
For some time now I have wanted to buy a Mac Mini and use it as my media center. The release of iTV I feel is hindering future enhancements of the Mini. Is the iTV a way for Apple to gouge us for another $300 for a media center when the Mac Mini could perform the same tasks with some enhancements? I am not being a “hater” I am honestly wondering why I would buy an iTV rather than a Mac mini? Can anyone add to my arguments or prove me wrong before I blow a $1000 on a media center? Thanks.



Cave Man
Mar 7, 2007, 10:01 AM
The Mac Mini works great as a media center. At the very least, the dual core processor can decode HD 720 videos. It also gives you much more flexibility than the aTV will. The biggest disadvantage is that the mini only has 802.11g, which isn't suitable for transmission of most HD movies. Of course, if you have all your movies on the Mini (or on an external firewire drive, such as the MiniStack) then it's a non-issue.

Also, the mini is running low in Apple's stocks, and that generally means an update is imminent. Considering that the Mini is just a repacked Macbook, I suspect the revision will have the Core 2 Duo and 802.11n, just like the new Macbooks. It'll probably still have the on-board Intel GMA graphics chip, but that's plenty for doing HD movies.

You can see my setup here (http://www.phototone.org/).

shaftcmu
Mar 7, 2007, 11:38 AM
I was wondering if anyone thought the new release of the mini would have HDMI input/ouput or a HD DVD player. This would be killer.

I was also wondering if anyone used there Mini to record or store recorded TV.

roland.g
Mar 7, 2007, 11:46 AM
I was wondering if anyone thought the new release of the mini would have HDMI input/ouput or a HD DVD player. This would be killer.

I was also wondering if anyone used there Mini to record or store recorded TV.

HDMI out instead of DVI is a possibility but doubtful. Think about it, DVI + optical audio is the same thing and right now Apple displays don't do HDMI in, so they would need an adapter. You won't see HDMI in. Or a HD DVD player. The Mac Prol will be the first thing to go HD optical drives. People think that the Mini can be so many things. They aren't going to pack that much into a $600-800 entry level Mac. Sorry.

shaftcmu
Mar 7, 2007, 11:53 AM
Why couldn't you pay more for extra features like an HD optical? I thought the Mini was introduced to become a media center? then Mac introduces the iTV and confuses me a little.

roland.g
Mar 7, 2007, 12:04 PM
Why couldn't you pay more for extra features like an HD optical? I thought the Mini was introduced to become a media center? then Mac introduces the iTV and confuses me a little.

The Mini was introduced to be a low end entry level Mac, affordable and attractive to switchers and non-power home users, many of whom already had a monitor and keyboard and mouse. It has become a machine that many use for a media center and try to beef it up to do more than that, I have 2GB in mine and a 500GB drive in a miniStack. However, it WILL be the last Mac Apple upgrades to offer any sort of HD optical drive simply because the Mac Pros will get it first, followed by iMacs, then the notebooks, maybe only the MacBook Pro, then last when almost the entire industry is going HD opticals the way that Superdrives are standard in almost every computer, then the Mini will go HD. Why would they, even as a BTO, put that feature in a low cost computer before all others. Every business ever always wants to upsell. You can't offer something in a cheaper model that isn't available in a more expensive one.

People want the Mini to be more than it is for 3 reasons:

1. They don't like the AIO of the iMac

2. They don't want to pay the price of the Mac Pro and it's FB-DIMM RAM

3. The idea of the media center which it really does fine as now, except for gamers

and it will continue to be this way till, if and when, Apple comes out with a mid-range tower/headless iMac offering dedicated graphics and 2 screen + 2 hard drive options.

Cave Man
Mar 8, 2007, 03:10 PM
Here's a link (http://www.macworld.com/news/2007/03/08/intelgdc/index.php) to the improved GMA from Intel, which should make its way into Minis and MacBooks sometime this year.

psycoswimmer
Mar 8, 2007, 03:15 PM
I remember this post on Engadget a while ago that had a whole thing on the differences (chart and paragraph) on the :apple:TV and Mac Mini. I can't find it though. :(

To answer your question, the Mini costs more money than the :apple:TV, and some people may not need to also run Mac OS X on their TV.

shu82
Mar 8, 2007, 04:10 PM
I think the :apple: TV is more switcher bait. "Hey for 300 bucks you can stream all the songs and shows in itunes from your dell. And you have that cool interface that the mac guys impress all the ladies with. It's not like youre buying a new computer." Reel 'em in Steve, Reel 'em in

Cave Man
Mar 8, 2007, 04:30 PM
I'm hoping that :apple:TV is just a box for Front Row and that it'll decode any QuickTime-compliant files so long as they're referenced in iTunes. I've moved nearly all of my DVDs to MPEG-4 (H.264 2-channel) and have them on a MiniStack with a 400 gig drive that's connected to the AEBSn. The other DVDs are ripped and are those for which I want to preserve Dolby 5.1 - hopefully :apple:TV will play them as such.

emptyCup
Mar 8, 2007, 05:27 PM
Is the iTV a way for Apple to gouge us for another $300 for a media center when the Mac Mini could perform the same tasks with some enhancements?

The AppleTV is basically a media extender, like the Airport Express, for those people who don't want to watch on their computers and don't want to put their computers by the TV. Maybe it will be able to connect directly to the iTunes Store, or support an EyeTV tuner, but we won't know until people actually get one later this month. If anything, it is for people who consider having to buy a $500 computer just to watch TV gouging.

shu82
Mar 8, 2007, 07:53 PM
Considering the low grade hardware (Pentium M) I doubt it will run an eyetv. Much less an eyetv hybrid for HD.

Kid Red
Mar 16, 2007, 11:50 AM
The AppleTV is basically a media extender, like the Airport Express, for those people who don't want to watch on their computers and don't want to put their computers by the TV. Maybe it will be able to connect directly to the iTunes Store, or support an EyeTV tuner, but we won't know until people actually get one later this month. If anything, it is for people who consider having to buy a $500 computer just to watch TV gouging.

Exactly why I like it. I want to be able to get movies from my Mac to play in my HT across the house without burning and wasting DVDs. Also, I'd be able to stream iTunes and listen on my HT stereo (I have AE but use that to connect to outdoor amp/speakers) So currently, if I want my 20gigs on my HT system, I have to set up a dock for my iPod. One from DLO is $200 I think. So, for $100 more I get movies, trailers, unlimited downloads, storage in my office, rather than HT room, and hopefully in the future I can buy HD movies from the movie store. I like having it all in my office, out of the way as opposed to trying to integrate non rack sized components into rack cabinets, etc. I plan on getting a 500gb external HDD to store movies on, torrent files, more mp3s, etc and stream it all to my HT system.

And lastly, I want to get EyeGato, or whatever it's called and record HD programming, then stream that to my HT and I can give the DVR back to my cable company.

OwlsAndApples
Mar 16, 2007, 11:54 AM
I think that the mini is also perfect for people whose PC tower has given up the ghost, leaving a perfectly fine screen/keyboard/mouse combo. Just my idea...

macjonny1
Mar 16, 2007, 12:08 PM
HDMI out instead of DVI is a possibility but doubtful. Think about it, DVI + optical audio is the same thing and right now Apple displays don't do HDMI in, so they would need an adapter. You won't see HDMI in. Or a HD DVD player. The Mac Prol will be the first thing to go HD optical drives. People think that the Mini can be so many things. They aren't going to pack that much into a $600-800 entry level Mac. Sorry.

Unfortunately a lot of TVs now don't have optical audio IN. My new Sharp 52" aquos has HDMI inputs, one of which has an analog audio in if it is for a DVI to HDMI input. So, the audio has to be analog. I don't really care as I won't have surround or anything for it but it still is not quite the same as the HDMI input.

JAT
Mar 17, 2007, 10:07 PM
Exactly why I like it. I want to be able to get movies from my Mac to play in my HT across the house without burning and wasting DVDs. Also, I'd be able to stream iTunes and listen on my HT stereo (I have AE but use that to connect to outdoor amp/speakers) So currently, if I want my 20gigs on my HT system, I have to set up a dock for my iPod. One from DLO is $200 I think. So, for $100 more I get movies, trailers, unlimited downloads, storage in my office, rather than HT room, and hopefully in the future I can buy HD movies from the movie store. I like having it all in my office, out of the way as opposed to trying to integrate non rack sized components into rack cabinets, etc. I plan on getting a 500gb external HDD to store movies on, torrent files, more mp3s, etc and stream it all to my HT system.

And lastly, I want to get EyeGato, or whatever it's called and record HD programming, then stream that to my HT and I can give the DVR back to my cable company.
You might want to check the specs of the iTV again. It is basically the wireless iPod everyone has been waiting for. It is not an HDTV streaming device. Put the Mini in the HT and skip the iTV. Love mine.

Kid Red
Mar 20, 2007, 08:26 AM
You might want to check the specs of the iTV again. It is basically the wireless iPod everyone has been waiting for. It is not an HDTV streaming device. Put the Mini in the HT and skip the iTV. Love mine.

I thought it was able to stream from iTunes? So if I got an EyeGato HD tuner and recorded programs I should be able to play the recording right? Supports 720p so I'm not sure why it wouldn't stream HD? I know it won't stream live, I'm talking about recordings.

I want that ability and I want the UI to play my MP3 collection, and photos, etc. Can that be done as cleanly as the iTV?

JAT
Mar 24, 2007, 12:25 AM
It's specs say 720p24 as the only HD, which is basically a completely unused HD resolution. Sure, there's a few QT clips on the net, yippee. Everything else in the specs is SD. TV is 720p60 or 1080i60, and the new discs are all 1080p24. iTV can't handle any of that.

When someone comes out with some home-brew software to make it useful, I'll change my tune.

Kid Red
Mar 24, 2007, 08:42 AM
Are you sure ATV can't handle that as opposed to simply that iTunes doesn't have naitive files at that rez? You're saying that if I donwloaded a HD clip, sa xvid (ppular HD format) and converted it to mpg or mov with Divx Doctor that iTunes would play, my mac would play it, but when streamed to ATV I'd get a blank screen?

JAT
Mar 28, 2007, 11:58 PM
Sounds like people are starting to hack this thing already and add video formats to it. Maybe it won't be quite as limited as they say.

If you download something HD, you'd have to convert it into a QT-compatible, 720p24 format to play it in HD through iTV. Otherwise, yes, it simply won't play with iTV. Whether you say it's iTunes or iTV that isn't compatible doesn't really matter, does it?

Sure, you can convert everything. Conversion takes time and can easily reduce quality, it would simply be better if there were several possible resolutions (and formats) available to iTV so you could play whatever. Like the Mac itself does.

Kid Red
Mar 29, 2007, 08:30 AM
Yea, the hacking things looks promising, however, I'm almost more inclined to pick up a mini and run M$ Media Center software on it in Boot Camp. I have a PS3 and I'm bummed I can't do something similar on it either. You can only load it with stuff, and videos need to be converted to it's format as well.

Mini and boot camp and media center seems like the best choice right now.

shu82
Mar 29, 2007, 12:54 PM
Has anyone thought about using both, with a plasma tv? Think about this setup:

-Intel Mini
-Apple TV
-Lacie Mini HD
-Eyetv Hybrid

Hook the mini up to the TV via dvi(or dvi-vga). Hook the :apple: tv up with the HDMI. Connect the two with gigabit. Use the mini for watching/recording live stuff via the eyetv hybrid. Then use the Apple TV for all the playback. You wont have to worry about using Displayconfigx or whatever to set up the TV.

I want to make these guys work together. You could record/download/rip DVDs with the mini while watching what you already have with the :apple: tv. They should look great together in a ministack! If you want to check on anything (rip progress,email,web,chat,download), just hit the tv/video button and grab your mouse.

I know you can technically do this all with your mini. The hdtv playback part is a little hard with so many things going on at once. Since there is already an Xvid hack, half of my problems are solved. Disable front row on the mini and let the :apple: tv handle that part. Use your mini as just a functional encode/record/rip/dowload box. It is already well capable of this, but playback functionality has been left out. The :apple: tv is set up to fill that gap!

I guess the old school comparison would be the :apple: tv is your cable box and your mini is your vcr

The only downside of the :apple: tv is that it is not capable of just sticking in the hybrid directly into the usb. That would be wonderful. I would give the guy who hacks that cash on the spot.

JAT
Mar 30, 2007, 01:07 AM
You seem determined to toss money out the window. Go for it.

Personally, I'd just rip and watch at different times. You'll be straining the system even with the iTV with that plan. The HDD can only go so fast.

shu82
Mar 30, 2007, 05:07 PM
Yea, I just want a faster mini with an hdmi out. Now that we have the :apple: tv, I don't think that is going to happed:( .

Will they ever put an hdmi port in the mini? I would trade mine in, in a heartbeat!

iW00t
Mar 30, 2007, 07:53 PM
There may be a revised Mac Mini in the pipeline, think of it as an TV Pro.