Apple iTV or Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Altimeter88, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. Altimeter88 macrumors member

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    Jul 17, 2006
    #1
    I have a 50" plasma that my mac pro is hooked to via the secondary monitor port on the video card. I always said that I would get the iTV when it came out to link up to my iTunes etc.
    Now that it is out I don't know if it would be better get a MacMini instead of the iTV so I can use it to play DVDs to on my plasma, or play other format videos etc.
    Basically what do I get out of an iTV over a Mac Mini, besides cost of course.
     
  2. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #2
    Get the Mac Mini, the iTV is basically good if you...
    1) buy a lot of TV shows from iTMS
    2) Have a lot of time to rip your own DVDs, encode it with handbrake, just so you can transmit it to the iTV (you need a Mac to do these of course).

    In short, It is like a one trick pony!
     
  3. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
    #3
    I'm in the same situation, and I think I'm going to get a Mac Mini. I'm just wondering when everyone thinks it will get a core 2 duo upgrade, because I don't want to buy one and then have it be upgraded right after I get it.
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    It seems like there aren't a lot of huge advantages to the iTV over having a Mac Mini in that role. The only thing I can think of is that it's got the hooks to more easily front-row video streamed from other computers than Front Row on the Mini can. But that seems relatively minor....
     
  5. Altimeter88 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jul 17, 2006
    #5
    Yeah after reading more on the iTV I think I will actually just keep my current setup. I have a MacPro with a 50' HDMI cable wired through the wall to my Plasma. I do miss front row but have Media Central which works pretty good. I just can't get the exact res to work on my Plasma, I have 1366x768 but can only do 1280x720 so there is a bit of overscan. Oh well, I can't justify the extra money for a dedicated Mac Mini or AppleTV just to have front row. I do like the product though and could see myself using it in other parts of my house if the need comes up.
     
  6. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

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    Buffalo
    #6
    I would agree that you are probably better off with a Mac mini if you can afford it. It seems the only thing that the Apple TV has that the mini doesn't is HDMI, and I think you can get a DVI to HDMI adapter to solve that problem.
     
  7. siurpeeman macrumors 603

    siurpeeman

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    #7
    you can't browse the web or check email with an apple tv, but you can with a mac mini. i'd definitely go for a mac mini for os x and its accompanying applications.
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #8
    I use on with my HDTV, and mine's an old Core Duo 1.66 GHz. Works like a champ. Any one you buy now (or later) will work even better, but even the oldest Core Solo 512MB RAM mini would be fine as a media device and superior in almost any way to the iTV.
     
  9. Littleodie914 macrumors 68000

    Littleodie914

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    #9
    I'd definitely go with the Mac Mini. The iTV seems to be the type of product you would couple with a computer that has lots of videos and movies you would want to stream from your iTunes library to a TV. Since you're going to be watching mostly DVD's and videos stored on your hard drive, it makes sense to just grab the Mini, and watch them that way.

    In addition, should you choose to drop the plasma sometime in the future, now you've got a second computer lying around you can do things with. (And that, assuming you aren't storing all your DVD's on it, can double as a storage/backup device.)
     
  10. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #10
    I'd put my money into a Mini because it can be used on my 12-year old JVC CRT, and I've heard the tv will only work with an HD compatible LCD or plasma monitor. (Just die during Oprah, and my wife will let me go LCD. DIE, JVC, DIE!)

    I also want it as a central iPhoto for all our cameras, and the main iTunes library. If I wanna get fancy, I'll load OSX server on it, and transfer the email server functions from the aging sawtooth G4 in the basement.

    Question: can a Mac Mini output true 1080p via DVI-HDMI output?
     
  11. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    Jan 3, 2006
    #11
    I think it can, but not every TV lets you get the full resolution when you hook a computer to it.

    If you afford it and don't mind dealing with a bot more complicated setup, Mac mini is better. However, the cheapest Mac mini is $599, while AppleTV is $299.

    Does anyone know of a good DVI to HDMI converter?
     
  12. UrsaMajor macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2007
    #12
    Most likely if someone has a $2k+ for an HDTV, a difference of $300 is a nonissue. Most would want functionality and ease of use.

    DVI & HDMI are very similiar. DVI lacks the audio feed. Don't get suckered into paying a lot for a cable. $6 or less for a 6ft is about right.
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #13
    The Apple TV product isn't even a 1080P device, right? Not every HDTV costs $2k. The point is a valid one for the (lot of us) who have $600 or $900 HDTVs.
     
  14. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    #14
    Yepp, my HDTV cost me $700, so $300 difference is significant.

    Actually, I need DVI to component converter. Samsung manual says DVI input on my TV is only for set-top boxes and such, so it is not compatible with computers. I have no idea why and of course they only tell you about that in the manual, so I did not know about it until I actually bought and took it home.
     
  15. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    Seattle, WA
    #15
    Curretnly using a monster DVI to HDMI switch, plugs into the back of the mini and then use an HDMI cable to my Sony HDTV 34".

    Only 30$ at Radioshack.
     
  16. tuc macrumors 6502

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    Aug 25, 2003
    #16
    core 2 duo update

    I'm waiting for this too. I was kind of surprised that they didn't annouce any mac stuff at mwsf, but it makes sense if they want all the media attention focused on the iPhone thing.

    With the macMini being the only machine using the pre-2 core duo, I guess they hold off on the core 2 duo update until they've used up their stock of pre-2 core duo chips.
     
  17. ipedro macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    Toronto, ON
    #17
    AppleTV vs MacMini?

    I've been waiting for the AppleTV to launch since it was first given a sneak peak. However, now that it's been released and the veil removed, I don't see why I should get an AppleTV over a full blown computer for use as my entertainment device via Front Row.

    In my opinion, the AppleTV's biggest downfall is the small HD. Sure it is meant for streaming, but my main (and only) computer is a MacBook Pro which when not in use is closed, therefore sleeping. I'd rather have a large HD on a unit that sits next to my TV's who's main purpose is to store all my entertainment (music and video).

    If I get a Mac Mini, I'll start off with an 80GB drive and have the potential to upgrade it to support hundreds of GB's more.
    The AppleTV on the other hand only has 40GB to boot and is non upgradeable.

    Aside from the price, why should I get an AppleTV over a MacMini? The MacMini has a similar easy menu (Front Row) and remote and in addition also has a DVD player which is sorely lacking in the AppleTV.

    My first concern is will the Mac Mini power a 47" LCD screen?
    Secondly, does Apple intend to discontinue Front Row now that they've release AppleTV? Or does Apple intend to expand AppleTV by introducing live shows, You Tube content or other video not available to FrontRow?

    I'm sitting on the fence now.... any comments?
     
  18. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

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    #18
    Does the Mac Mini support HDMI?

     
  19. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #19
    Via a DVI to HDMI converter, yes.
     
  20. ipedro macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #20
    But the question is can a MacMini's measly video card power a big screen TV? I recall that PowerMacs originally required a video card with dual DVI's to power the 30" Cinema Display.

    Has that changed since the release of the new Mac Mini?

    If I can use a MacMini with a 30" Apple Cinema Display, I really see no reason to get an AppleTV which is in essence a less powerful MacMini.

    With a MacMini, I'll have an AppleTV(with FrontRow) + DVD player + iChat (with an iSight) + couch web surfing (with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse).
     
  21. UrsaMajor macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2007
    #21
    You're right, a good number of HDTVs are sub 1k, I saw a 20" for $299 today - with HDMI input; I'm surprised how quick prices are dropping. My comment was based on the OP's 50" plasma.

    I'm curious why it says it won't take a computer feed. What's the model #?
     
  22. KevAllen83 macrumors member

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #22
    I think the main difference between a TV and a monitor is that the 30" Cinema was a 2560x1600 (I think?) resolution, while a high def TV is around 1366x768 and up. The dual DVI was needed for that size resolution on the Cinema Display. That 42" 720p TV is the same resolution that a small 15" monitor is, just magnified in size.

    So, in theory, that Mini would probably be more than sufficient to send video to the TV
     
  23. ipedro macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #23
    Thanks for the clarification :)
     
  24. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #24
    I have also been considering the Apple TV vs. a direct hookup to one of our Macs. I attached my CRT HDTV to my Mac Pro earlier (DVI-->HDMI). I could bring iTunes over to the TV and launch an iTunes TV show file, and it played on the TV okay.

    Worked a little better with the MacBook Pro, since I could then use FrontRow and not squint at the blurry OS X text while I'm trying to select my video. I'd like something set up a little more permanently than my MBP, since I don't typically have it in the living room.

    All this leads me to believe I wouldn't need Apple TV at all... if only the Mac Pro had the FrontRow experience and a remote. :/
     
  25. ipedro macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #25
    ... actually, FrontRow will be part of Leopard so if you can wait a few more months, you'll have your setup right there.

    I'm going to wait for the first reviews of AppleTV and for the release of Leopard before buying any hardware for my future Apple centric, cable tv free, entertainment center.
     

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