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View Full Version : Convince Me Please...




DJAKO
Jan 30, 2008, 01:20 PM
I was almost positive an Apple TV was the way to go, but then I read a thread about getting a Mini instead for your entertainment center.

What are the advantages of the ATV over the Mini and vice versa.



pondie84
Jan 30, 2008, 02:01 PM
The apple tv is a fair bit cheaper and perhaps simpler for some people to use (perhaps). Oh.. and if rentals are your thing the Apple TV can do HD movie rentals whilst the Mac Mini cannot. It is 'n' enabled for wireless connections whilst the Mini is not.

There's a lot more probably... but I thought I'd get the ball rolling. I have a mini and it works just fine for what I want, but I'm not a tech freak!

As for the advantages of the mini... it works with a broader variety of video formats (including divx if that's your thing), which I think is probably one of the biggest advantages. It can play dvd's (the cheapest version comes at least with a combo drive). It has larger storage than the smaller apple tv model.

Again, just getting the ball rolling. Trust me when I say it's not an easy choice to make!

wmealer
Jan 30, 2008, 02:13 PM
This assessment is by no means exhaustive, but my opinion, nonetheless.

:apple:tv

Pros:
-No "Fiddle factor"
-Built-in HDMI
-Built-in Component Video
-Built-in optical audio
-Control the interface with the tiny Apple Remote
-Cost

Cons:
-Restricted to only certain file types (unhacked)
-no optical drive
-no DVR capabilities

Mac mini:

Pros:
-Plays virtually any file type
-Do pretty much anything you want; it's a Mac on your TV!
-Optical drive, which you could swap out for an internal BD player/burner

Cons:
-requires keyboard/mouse for full functionality
-more complex than a typical living room appliance
-no HDMI (no audio via DVI-to-HDMI cable)
-no component video
-cost

pondie84
Jan 30, 2008, 03:35 PM
I should point out that with a mac mini you do get a lot of functionality from the apple remote too. I use mine all the time and love it.

godslabrat
Jan 31, 2008, 05:35 PM
Oh.. and if rentals are your thing the Apple TV can do HD movie rentals whilst the Mac Mini cannot.

Huh? Sorry, I haven't yet upgraded my iTunes, but why the heck not? The Mini should be capable of downloading and replaying a 720p video file... why is Apple relegating this task only to the AppleTV?

CWallace
Jan 31, 2008, 05:38 PM
What are the advantages of the ATV over the Mini and vice versa.

Assuming you are using stock (un-hacked) units:


The Mac Mini HTPC supports many more video and audio codecs but is more complex to configure and operate. At this time, you can't rent movies.
The Apple TV supports a much more limited selection of video and audio codecs, but it is much simpler to configure and operate. You can rent movies.

VideoFreek
Jan 31, 2008, 10:04 PM
Huh? Sorry, I haven't yet upgraded my iTunes, but why the heck not? The Mini should be capable of downloading and replaying a 720p video file... why is Apple relegating this task only to the AppleTV?Different target audiences. The pitch for rental downloads from the iTMS to your computer is that the movies will play on your computer and all currently-shipping iPods/iPhones. This rules out 720p, in that this will not play on the small devices. The Apple TV, on the other hand, is connected to your HDTV and so, in Apple's view, has the most to gain from 720p HD content. There has been some suggestion that even the SD content for direct-to-ATV rentals will be of higher quality than what you can get on your computer from iTMS, but I've seen no official confirmation of this.

The Mac Mini HTPC supports many more video and audio codecs but is more complex to configure and operate. At this time, you can't rent movies.
Yes you can, but you'll be limited to the 640x480 content available from iTMS.

godslabrat
Jan 31, 2008, 10:29 PM
Different target audiences. The pitch for rental downloads from the iTMS to your computer is that the movies will play on your computer and all currently-shipping iPods/iPhones. This rules out 720p, in that this will not play on the small devices. The Apple TV, on the other hand, is connected to your HDTV and so, in Apple's view, has the most to gain from 720p HD content.


That really freaking sucks... why deprive us Mac users of something we can take advantage of at zero cost? Oh well... it's not like I was going to rent a lot of ITMS movies, but it would have been nice to know the option was there.

VideoFreek
Feb 2, 2008, 01:15 AM
That really freaking sucks... why deprive us Mac users of something we can take advantage of at zero cost? Oh well... it's not like I was going to rent a lot of ITMS movies, but it would have been nice to know the option was there.Because you can be sure that if they did offer HD movie rentals as an option on the iTMS, people would start moaning that they were "ripped off" because the movies won't play on their iPods! It's pretty much a no-win situation for Apple right now--whatever they do, some people are bound to complain.

ascender
Feb 2, 2008, 10:19 AM
Am I right in thinking that so long as you get your media in to an iTunes "friendly" format, the Apple TV will play it?

northy124
Feb 2, 2008, 10:38 AM
Yhup the formats are:
.Mov
.M4V
.MP4

ascender
Feb 2, 2008, 10:45 AM
Thanks for clarifying that.

So in effect the box is just another device for you to sync with your main Mac as you would do with any iPod?

northy124
Feb 2, 2008, 10:52 AM
Yh basically i'm only getting it so i don't have to stream to my moms laptop and then connect to HDTV

spatlese44
Feb 2, 2008, 12:13 PM
I'm glad there is an Apple TV and I'm going to grab one before they change things. For me, it's all about the component output cables and DRM. I have an old HDTV that has no HDMI. I was fortunate enough to find an upconvert DVD player I could hack so it would play in the best possible resolution (which 'they' don't want you to do). My TV's days are numbered. If I could, I would hook up a mini to it, but I don't want to mess around with a conversion box. Then there's the ease of use, and for $200, I'll pay the price of admission to see what Apple TV is all about.

Curious, am I the last person with an HDTV that doesn't have HDMI?

MikieMikie
Feb 2, 2008, 12:42 PM
Thanks for clarifying that.

So in effect the box is just another device for you to sync with your main Mac as you would do with any iPod?

You got it.

iTunes is the server. It lives on your computer.

The Apple TV is like another iPod, syncing wirelessly, streaming wirelessly, hooked to your TV.

Live Steam
Feb 2, 2008, 05:21 PM
Curious, am I the last person with an HDTV that doesn't have HDMI?

No my Toshiba rear projection doesn't have HDMI either. Wow I just figured it must be about 7 years old now. I was the first on my block with an HDTV :)

I have to check the Samsung in my bedroom. Not sure about the HDMI on it either.

So what is the consensus? Apple TV or a Mini dedicated to home theater use?

MikieMikie
Feb 2, 2008, 05:48 PM
So what is the consensus? Apple TV or a Mini dedicated to home theater use?

You're asking in an Apple TV forum what the consensus is?

I went out and bought one when I could barely afford it. And I don't regret it for a moment.

Live Steam
Feb 2, 2008, 05:54 PM
You're asking in an Apple TV forum what the consensus is?

I went out and bought one when I could barely afford it. And I don't regret it for a moment.

Maybe you need to get another job so you can afford cable too. I mean what is with the wise cracks? People come here to ask questions and exchange ideas. So just because this is the ATV forum does that mean everyone here is programmed to believe the same things? From what I have read so far, there are more than a few people questioning the idea of ATV.

Live Steam
Feb 2, 2008, 05:59 PM
Here sonny. Maybe you will understand why I asked the question in this forum first. I guess I found the answer somewhere else.

Apple TV | A load of hype for nothing (http://www.pvrwire.com/2007/01/14/apple-tv-a-load-of-hype-for-nothing/)

deetsnai
Feb 2, 2008, 06:31 PM
Here sonny. Maybe you will understand why I asked the question in this forum first. I guess I found the answer somewhere else.

Apple TV | A load of hype for nothing (http://www.pvrwire.com/2007/01/14/apple-tv-a-load-of-hype-for-nothing/)

That is over a year old.

northy124
Feb 2, 2008, 06:35 PM
If you don't mind missing the HD Rentals (Rip your own/rented HD DVD/Blu-Ray's Thats What I Do plus better quality for less GB in my case) Then go for the Mini and a NAS solution.

Northy124

Idgit
Feb 3, 2008, 12:31 AM
Yhup the formats are:
.Mov
.M4V
.MP4

Will it play DivX/XviD files in a .MOV container without transcoding?

northy124
Feb 3, 2008, 05:26 AM
i do think so as it still has the divx codec in it which is needed

Live Steam
Feb 3, 2008, 10:37 AM
That is over a year old.
What has changed? These are the questions I am interested in answers to. That is why I come to this forum. To see what the story is and to decide if ATV is for me. Again, can ATV be used as a DVR? If not I really don't see it's usefulness other than as a conduit to Apple for movie rentals. Again, that I can get from my cable provider. t may not have the selection Apple can offer, but that may soon change too.

northy124
Feb 3, 2008, 10:47 AM
Live steam your missing the point of ATV totally it is for people that want it for Pics and already downloaded movies.

I've decided against it as i want HD Own able movies not rental so i'm considering a Mac Mini as i can do more.

Northy124

filmguy15
Feb 3, 2008, 10:53 AM
Just to clarify: The ATV won't play anything that you can throw in iTunes. It has certain bitrate limits, etc... But the good news is, that if you get a video into itunes, you can just right click it and hit "Covert for Apple TV" and bingo, it will work. That is just a quick and easy solution, which is fine for most things. But if you want top quality for movies, it is better to convert using Handbrake or VisualHub, as you can really customize your compression.

Regarding the original post: It just depends on how much ease of use and "plug and play" functionality you care about. Sure, the Mac Mini will play many different formats, but you still have to have a keyboard and mouse to set things up, and probably to keep things going day to day. The ATV on the other hand, has one elegant interface, which can be navigated with one remote. Soon, you'll be able to do everything under the sun with just that tiny remote. (rent, buy, etc... from the itunes store)

It really depends on personal preference. I am willing to sacrifice the playback of divx to be able to sit down at my couch and call up a movie without fooling with a keyboard/mouse. To each his own...

ebony
Feb 3, 2008, 11:55 AM
Another advantage of the AppleTV is that it gives you thumbnail images of shared content. Thus you only need to manage a single library back on your computer.

I have a mac mini, imac ( media server with 1TB usb drive shared out to mini ) and appletv. Unfortunatley to view image thumbnails on the mini, I have to maintain its own local itunes library. All the content is still stored on the single usb drive connected back to the imac, but it is a major pain keeping both libraries in sync.

The advantage of the mac mini is it has a dvd drive, and I can mount ripped Video_TS folders through frontrow, so I get full dvd quality with all the dvd extras content.

digduggler
Feb 3, 2008, 12:18 PM
I just made the switch from my mini to apple TV. I've had a mini there for about 3 years now (since the initial launch). Worked good, but I had to use a mouse. Last year I upgraded to an Intel based mini (with an IR port) for front row goodness. However, I really only used it for front row.The Sony Trinitron I have has no HDMI inputs, only component. So with mini the best I could do is s-video.

What almost stopped me was the lack of divx support on the apple TV (unless I wanted to get hacky). However, I have Popcorn and the converter to Apple TV yields good results. The downside is I have to convert the file, but I rarely want to watch something instantly after getting it.

So far I'm happy. 1080i >>>> than s-video. It's snappier than front row on my mini was (and now with the shared library I get album art, something still not fixed on the new front row). I'm looking forward to HD rentals when they happen. Youtube is shockingly entertaining (something I couldn't do on the mini without bringing out the mouse and keyboard). And I'll recoup some money from selling the mini and be in the black.

It really depends on what you want to use it for. The rentals combined with actual HD output were a compelling reason enough to get me to downgrade.

Live Steam
Feb 3, 2008, 12:28 PM
Wouldn't this (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Entertainment/DigitalMediaPlayers/EVA8000.aspx) be better. It can stream 1080p. It basically can stream anything that exists on your HD. It can also work as a DVR with an PC or Mac that it interacts with. Again, I guess ATV is not what it can and should be. JMO.

ebony
Feb 3, 2008, 12:53 PM
Wouldn't this (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Entertainment/DigitalMediaPlayers/EVA8000.aspx) be better. It can stream 1080p. It basically can stream anything that exists on your HD. It can also work as a DVR with an PC or Mac that it interacts with. Again, I guess ATV is not what it can and should be. JMO.

Its a $130 more expensive, does not access itunes library directly, cannot play itunes store DRM'd content, does not have wireless n, looks awful and has no internal hard drive.

For some it may be a good alternative, but I'm not convinced.

northy124
Feb 3, 2008, 12:56 PM
Wouldn't this (http://www.netgear.com/Products/Entertainment/DigitalMediaPlayers/EVA8000.aspx) be better. It can stream 1080p. It basically can stream anything that exists on your HD. It can also work as a DVR with an PC or Mac that it interacts with. Again, I guess ATV is not what it can and should be. JMO.

Right we get it you don't like the ATV who cares this is for people who like or a considering getting ATV or being helpful. You are none of those plus that link shows an item that cost $130 more than ATV

Northy124