View Full Version : ATV vs Mini
Jun 25, 2008, 12:14 PM
I am wanting to get either an ATV or a Mini to be my central media entertainment hub for my living room.
I was going to get the ATV, but I was thinking it might be too limited.
For those that have an ATV, how does it compare Front Row? Is there really much of a reason to get the ATV over a Mini?
I figured with the Mini I could do other things like surf the web, check email, play WoW or emulators, and offload all of my music and movies off of my iMac to save storage since it's primarily my workstation.
I also thought it would be nice to rip my DVDs directly into it and play them locally instead of streaming everything.
I've been using a PS3 and MediaLink for my media streaming for awhile and it has been good until Sony screwed up the H.264 streaming and show no signs of giving a crap about fixing it.
Edit: I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but it will be hooked up to a 42" 1080i HDTV which has HDMI, Component, and Composite inputs and a surround sound receiver with either optical or traditional audio inputs.
Edit2: ...and I don't keep up with production like I used to. Any word on whether the Mini will be updated anytime soon?
Jun 25, 2008, 12:23 PM
apple really needs to update the mini already i cant take this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 25, 2008, 05:07 PM
Rumors suggest that the mac mini might either be updated or killed off this year in the 3rd quarter (August/September) along with, hopefully, upgraded MacBook and MacBook pro designs.
If you wanna do some web browsing and games, I would go with a mac mini, you can even get them about as expensive as an ATV on ebay or craigslist or something. However the mac mini doesn't have an HDMI out, so it wouldn't be the best quality, while the ATV does
Jun 26, 2008, 08:08 AM
the hdmi thing i can buy the dvi to hdmi cable. it's not that expensive.
yeah i'd like to do those things, but its not necessary. surfing and email would be nice, but i have other things for that. an emulation machine would be pretty nice though.
my main reasons to look at the mini over the ATV is the ability to offload all of my music/movies off of my iMac onto it and play it locally instead of streamed. all of my media could then be streamed to the other computers on my network from that location and i wouldn't have to keep my iMac on all the time. also i could rip my movies directly into my media center that way and not have to tie up the iMac with doing those kinds of things. also i thought the mini may be a bit more versatile in its playback options (easier to load additional codecs etc).
i really like the ATV and i may get one, but I just am trying to figure out if I should go with that or spend a little extra to get something that can do more. it's hard to figure out if the extra money is worth the additional features.
thanks for the info about the mini's possible EOL/refresh.
Jun 29, 2008, 11:59 AM
I've done the Mac Mini and now have the ATV hooked up to the same TV. I have to say I'm unimpressed with the ATV. However I might be too new to this ATV thing. But I want to be able to store all my movies that I have encoded and I can't. Mac Mini you can. Plus I can play the movies stored on my HD's connected to my Airport. So I'd say Mac Mini.
Although I hear there's ways of hacking the ATV to allow me to do what I want. Still researching that though. (anyone with links send them my way)
Mac Mini is what I'm typing this on but it might make it's way back to the TV again soon. DVI to HDMI cable is a piece of cake. Cheep too, geeks.com
Jun 29, 2008, 12:25 PM
But I want to be able to store all my movies that I have encoded and I can't. Mac Mini you can. Plus I can play the movies stored on my HD's connected to my Airport. So I'd say Mac Mini.
If you've got a computer that has iTunes on it, then you sure can store and play all the movies you've encoded - just stream what won't fit onto the ATV. Heck, you can even stream them from the HD connected to your "Airport".
I've got a mini, ATV, TC (500GB), and a DLink DNS-323 NAS. I keep the movies, TV shows, etc. on the DNS-323 and TC and as long as I've added them to my iTunes library on the mini and keep iTunes open I can watch all of them on the ATV.
Jun 29, 2008, 03:14 PM
Here are the main disadvantages of a mini over an ATV
1) FrontRow on the Mini won't let you buy anything from the iTunes store
2) The Mini can't play any Hi Def content from the iTunes store
3) The Mini will count as one of your 5 authorized devices on your iTunes account, whereas ATV won't (or is counted separately)
Of course, the Mini has several advantages if you make use of them, not least being the fact it's a full computer!
I would say that if all you want to do is watch content from iTunes on your TV, then ATV is fantastic and there's no point in spending more money on a Mini. However, if you have media in formats other than that supported by ATV, or if you want to play (limited) games, browse the internet, get e-mail, etc, etc then it's worth spending the extra and getting a Mini
Jun 29, 2008, 03:51 PM
I've got a Mini and a 40gb ATV. The Mini is using Eyetv to record Freeview programs and automatically export them to iTunes, also using a Drobo for storage.
I originally just had a Mini but found that with EyeTV running and ripping DVD using Handbreak the Mini would just not cope, giving slow response within Frontrow and freezing of video during playback.
I've since purchased a 40gb ATV, Im now streaming all media from the Mini to the ATV, this works really well as I now can access over a TB of programs and movies.
The only issue I have is during FF or REV it can be a little non responsive, however apart from that it works great, and haven't looked back.
The only way I would go back to just the Mini was if Elgato sorted out the bug with their Turbo device, this would then resolve the issued of the Mini being overloaded during exports to iTunes, however I guess I would miss the integrated movie rentals of ATV.