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View Full Version : Why shouldn't I get an AppleTV over Mac Mini??




jdl8422
Oct 5, 2009, 11:49 AM
looking at getting an apple tv for streaming content. I want to be able to stream tv rips and music from my mac pro. One day I would like to stream Blu-Ray rips. but im not sure if it is possible to get 100% quality rip from the blu-ray. For now I think an apple tv will work just fine. I have read many times to get a Mac Mini instead. With the ability to hack an apple tv to play Hulu and other internet content. Is it worth getting the mac mini since the apple tv has HDMI and seems to be a little easier to use. Anyone here have a better pro and con for getting the apple tv over a mac mini?



spice weasel
Oct 5, 2009, 12:05 PM
An Apple TV will be easier to use, but it is less powerful and cannot do as much. The Mac mini is a full-fledged computer, so you have more options. But it is more expensive, requires more work to get it set up, and there is a learning curve if you use software like Plex.

If you want easy and cheaper, get an Apple TV. If you want more flexibility and power, and don't mind paying more for it, get a mini.

Whatever you do, though, you may want to wait a bit to see if Apple releases any new hardware in the next few weeks. There are lots of rumors indicating something is in the works.

MikeDTyke
Oct 5, 2009, 12:11 PM
Whatever you do, though, you may want to wait a bit to see if Apple releases any new hardware in the next few weeks. There are lots of rumors indicating something is in the works.

I second this, current rumour is that macmini might drop in price.

I've tried both options and you just can't get away from using a keyboard and mouse with the mini. Also if you want to download HD content from iTunes (a big if, as you're ripping) AppleTV is your only current option.

My AppleTV works fine. I even go to the bother of transcoding any internet video into a suitable format, as i've found Boxee and it's partner in crime (name escapes me) unstable. Coming back to the appletv, i found the screen blank, even though i could hear the plinks as i pressed remote buttons.

srexy
Oct 5, 2009, 12:20 PM
If you've got the dosh get the Mini - Plex blows away Front row/iTunes for numerous reasons.

I don't have a keyboard hooked up to my Mini - I'm able to do all of my Vuze/Handbrake stuff using screen sharing or touchpad for my iPhone. If for any reason I click "Movies" on my Harmony remote and Plex has crashed, or more annoyingly - Airport Utility software is notifying me that it has decided to check for updates (even though I've turned every notification off - pisses me off no end this bit!), I have "Plexpwr" and "fullscrn" soft buttons programmed into the Harmony. I just cycle Plex off/on and then if it isn't full-screen make it so.

You will need a keyboard/mouse for initial set-up however.

jdl8422
Oct 5, 2009, 12:23 PM
I'd like to get a mac mini if I could rip blu-ray at 100% quality. I paid alot of money for my TV (Samsung PN58b650) and Klipsch surround setup. I'd hate to not use it to its full potential, especially since the tv can play 24fps from a blu-ray source. Right now I'm hoping the apple tv will be fine for using Boxee and streaming my itunes. Maybe in the near future apple will merge the apple tv and Mac Mini to make a real HTPC. Id like to see the mini with an HDMI out

TuckBodi
Oct 5, 2009, 01:36 PM
I'd like to get a mac mini if I could rip blu-ray at 100% quality. I paid alot of money for my TV (Samsung PN58b650) and Klipsch surround setup. I'd hate to not use it to its full potential, especially since the tv can play 24fps from a blu-ray source. Right now I'm hoping the apple tv will be fine for using Boxee and streaming my itunes. Maybe in the near future apple will merge the apple tv and Mac Mini to make a real HTPC. Id like to see the mini with an HDMI out

Or just be a little bit more patient and wait for the current :apple:TV to get 1080p capability. :D

http://xbmc.org/trac/changeset/23418

digitalmac
Oct 5, 2009, 01:56 PM
Currently, I am using mac mini in my living room connecting to my Sony HW10 projector via an Onkyo receiver. I would very much love to have the FrontRow to be able to select the different audio track from my .mp4 files after I converted my DVD through Handbrake. I found iTunes has such capability. Love to see Apple to update the FrontRow soon.

VirtualRain
Oct 5, 2009, 02:29 PM
I'd like to get a mac mini if I could rip blu-ray at 100% quality. I paid alot of money for my TV (Samsung PN58b650) and Klipsch surround setup. I'd hate to not use it to its full potential, especially since the tv can play 24fps from a blu-ray source. Right now I'm hoping the apple tv will be fine for using Boxee and streaming my itunes. Maybe in the near future apple will merge the apple tv and Mac Mini to make a real HTPC. Id like to see the mini with an HDMI out

My TV also does 24HZ to 120Hz conversion rather nicely. Unfortunately, Plex has issues with 24Hz playback. In fact, you may have seen my thread on Plex and 24fps playback... currently it seems like a known issue that it has trouble maintaining audio sync with 24Hz playback. You can fiddle around with the audio delay to try and line it up but it's hardly an acceptable solution in my opinion. I find it bizarre that this isn't a showstopper issue. It's a real shame since otherwise Plex is an absolute delight for a media center app.

As for the lack of an HDMI out on the Mini, you can obviously run the optical audio separately and the video using a DVI-HDMI cable. There's also a third-party adapter (http://kanexlive.com/products/item.aspx?id=3495) cable to combine the optical audio with display port video onto a single HDMI cable, but other than for satisfying someone's obsessive compulsive need for a single cable, I don't see any advantage to this solution since your TV likely has multiple HDMI inputs.

kage207
Oct 5, 2009, 07:02 PM
My setup is my own little box. I have ATV and decided to put that into the bed room. My setup of my box is out on the main TV which hosts all the movies, music and more. I also have a Time Capsule for back ups. I bought the computer for about $800 and made a more powerful machine instead of the Mini. It can do 1080p output so that's why I went with it.

ATV is easy and streams all that stuff from my main computer and my MacBook streams that stuff as well.

TRAG
Oct 7, 2009, 11:15 AM
I'd like to get a mac mini if I could rip blu-ray at 100% quality. I paid alot of money for my TV (Samsung PN58b650) and Klipsch surround setup. I'd hate to not use it to its full potential, especially since the tv can play 24fps from a blu-ray source. Right now I'm hoping the apple tv will be fine for using Boxee and streaming my itunes. Maybe in the near future apple will merge the apple tv and Mac Mini to make a real HTPC. Id like to see the mini with an HDMI out

The Mac mini does have HDMI capabilities with Mini DisplayPort. They are like counterparts for computer and TV. Pretty much the exact same thing, just small differences.

There is a program that can rip Blu-ray discs and contains/rips them into a MKV file; so you'd get a ~30GB file. Then from there you can Handbrake it down to ~4GB. It's called MakeMKV (http://www.makemkv.com/). You do, however, need a drive that can read Blu-ray and write to something (CD, DVD, what have you). I haven't used the program but there is a thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=748615) about it.

I have a wireless mouse and keyboard for my mini hooked up to my HDTV with a Monoprice Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5311&seq=1&format=2). Or you can use this (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5969&seq=1&format=2) which does video and audio in one adapter. And I use a Dynex HDMI cord and Dynex Y-cable (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7220777&st=Dynex&lp=5&type=product&cp=1&id=1114639085343). Sure I could get better sound quality with a TOSlink, but I can't complain. All I use it for is DVD rips and streaming. My Blu-ray collection is that big yet. The picture is amazing for the 1080p videos I've watched on it. I'd say go that route if you want to watch Hulu, Netflix, DVD, or pretty much any other file type. You don't have to convert on a computer then put it on an ATV. You can play right off of it.

VirtualRain
Oct 7, 2009, 11:35 AM
The Mac mini does have HDMI capabilities with Mini DisplayPort. They are like counterparts for computer and TV. Pretty much the exact same thing, just small differences.

I have a wireless mouse and keyboard for my mini hooked up to my HDTV with a Monoprice Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5311&seq=1&format=2). Or you can use this (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10428&cs_id=1042802&p_id=5969&seq=1&format=2) which does video and audio in one adapter.

I'm curious why you opted to go with MDP->HDMI rather than DVI->HDMI. The latter is electrically the same (no confeversion required) whereas display port to HDMI requires signal conversion.

richardhunt
Oct 7, 2009, 02:20 PM
I use a Mac Mini on my bedroom TV with a Sony PS3 Bluetooth keyboard (it has a built-in trackpad for mouse use). I have :apple:TV on the other 2 TV's in the house. Every DVD I have has been ripped and encoded into mp4 format so any apple device can use it.

kage207
Oct 8, 2009, 12:34 PM
I just don't like the price point of the mac mini and I rather just build my own computer if you are looking into a media center. I also use airmouse and the apple remote app to control my computers and ATV. It's convinent and I don't have to recharge anything really.

TRAG
Oct 11, 2009, 10:18 PM
I'm curious why you opted to go with MDP->HDMI rather than DVI->HDMI. The latter is electrically the same (no confeversion required) whereas display port to HDMI requires signal conversion.

Great question. I'm glad you asked. I have a 2009 Mac mini. So my only options are Mini DVI or Mini DisplayPort. I read this great article (http://i.gizmodo.com/5187481/monoprice-mini-displayport+to+hdmi-adapter-hands+on-hd-itunes-now-plays-on-tvs)from Gizmondo and it explains how there are HDCP compliant issues for iTunes and HDTVs. Basically, if I go with Mini DVI I can't play certain movies with iTunes.