Apply TV 2 or New Mac Mini?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Jasontech, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    #1
    I have a dilemma..... I have the option to either get a Apple TV 2 or a New mac Mini for my home theater. Which one is the better bet? Will the Mini do Dolby Digital 5.1 like the Atv will?

    any suggestions would be great.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hanover MD
    #2


    I have not tried 5.1 out from my mini, but it has an optical out so I would think it does....

    theres a huge cost difference between the 2, but if money isnt an issue, I would do the mini.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    FriarNurgle

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #3
    I picked up an ATV2 about a 6 weeks ago. It's a great gadget but very limited. I'm optimistic it will gain some much needed functionality as AirPlay evolves and the possibility of apps becomes a reality.

    If you have the ability, get the mini. There is soooooo much more functionality right out of the box... but you'll pay for it.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #4
    both :)
    mini as media center (eyeTV etc.) and for each tv an atv2
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2010
    Location:
    Greenest and wettest place in North America
    #5
    The Mini will give more options, but if it is truly for your home theater, you may conceder the ATV2.

    If you want HD movies from Itunes, Apple has made some of them available only for rental and only for rental using the ATV2 or the IPAD. You will not be able to get the HD Digital copies on your Mini. I am sure this will change over time but it is frustrating now, if I want to purchase/rent a HD movie and can only rent the HD on ATV.

    I think it is the same with Netflix I have a MACBookPro and ATV2 the movies when played through the MBP or the ATV2 they just look better on the ATV2.

    If this is not in the plan and money is not driving your choice go Mini. My plan, ATV2 hooked to the TV and MacMini as Itunes server to house all my digital purchased or DVD's I am storing in a closet and have ripped to digital. I am presently using my MBP as my ITunes server.

    Best of luck.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    #6
    I had about 400 DVDs that I ripped, encoded and stored on a windows home server. When I bought the ATV2 I also bought a Macmini and just stream all my library through the mini to the ATV2. The Windows home server stays in the closet, sleeping till needed

    My point: if you don't have a large library, the ATV2 is versatile enough and the mini enough storage with out having to add extra firewire drives.

    I am now buy movies through ITUNE store when I need to, and using Netflix off the ATV2. no more ripping and encoding

    If you have a large library, you will need some server or extra storage to handle all your rips, stored isos, music, photos. So you will need some "extra devices", not just the mini.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    #7
    I'd suggest get both. If your decision is not based on cost, which it doesn't seem to be, buy the Mini for $699 US, and for only $99 US extra, get the ATv2.... it's the best solution.

    You'll have a SERVER and a STREAMER ... what could be better?
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #8
    I have both, but it depends on what you want to do.

    1. Do you have a lot of iTunes/ digital content of your own? Then mac mini.

    2. Do you rent a lot of stuff/ Netflix? ATV2

    If you do both, then you need both.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Myers Florida
    #9
    $99 or $599!?!?!? at a $500 difference in price, couldnt you get addon hardware for the ATV2 to complete your setup for less than $500?
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Location:
    NY|NJ
    #10
    although i agree with the above posts


    a cheaper solution if you dont have to have itunes or keep it in the apple ecosystem. Is the ps3. WIth vudu HD, Netflix & the ability to buy & rent movies i feel like it's the perfect home media solution and I believe it has 5.1 surround sound. I know a few of my friends that dont have apple tvs or like the itunes route really love their ps3s.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    such as?
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #12
    Between the two (if price doesn't matter), the mini is an easy choice.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    tallyho

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    How about high capacity NAS and install XBMC on the ATV2? Also taking advantage of various streaming plugins for XBMC (here in the UK that's BBC iPlayer, ITVPlayer and YouTube for 4oD - not sure what people in other countries want or can get). I'm usually happy in Steve's walled-garden (I don't jailbreak my iPhone for instance) but in the case of the ATV jailbreaking is really a no-brainer!
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    Hanover MD
    #14
    I have a ps3 and love it for playing games, but the netflix interface isnt very nice, and the dlna media sharing is ok, but the ps3 also doenst do 802.11N wireless, so streaming HD "could" be a problem.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    kas23

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #15
    This question is akin to this: I want to be able to get to the beach that is 20 miles away from my house, so I can go swimming. Should I buy a skateboard or should I buy an RV?

    Truth is, either is OK. Sure, the Mini is fantastic for what it does and it does a whole lot. However, it's expensive for what you're going to be using it for. Thus, it's kinda overkill for a HTPC. But, it will give you what you want and much more.

    As for the ATV, its like the skateboard. Sure seems like a cool product, but is severely limited in its use. I have one and I'll be the first to tell you, besides delivering iTunes content to your HDTV, it's a pretty useless. Sure, its a fun gadget to fart around on, but in the end, its still useless.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    If you are only using one tv, why the need for the Mini AND the ATV? Can't you stream Netflix from the Mini?
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Location:
    NY|NJ
    #17
    I dont know if that's true. I streamed RED on Vudu wirelessly with no problem. Im using a time capsule as my router. Red was HD.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #18
    Having photos, movies, and music from iTunes play on your system is one of the main points. Airplay directly from iOS is also an important feature. For $99, I would have bought it if this is all that it could do.

    I haven't confirmed it because I don't stream a lot of Netflix, but the PS3 has been reported to get 1080p and 5.1 sound from Netflix. Maybe other players can do this now(?), but ATV2 is limited to 720p, so it will never have the same video quality.
    Personally, I don't own the mini only for home theater. However, if you wanted to surf the web from the couch, pull up video from just about every source on the web and watch it, run slingbox, Eyetv, etc.. it has a lot more benefits than the ATV2.

    So why get an ATV2? There are three reasons I got it despite having a PS3 and mini in my system:

    1. Airplay from iOS.
    2. The simultaneos digital outputs. I can explain why this is important for my setup if anyone cares.:)
    3. Price
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    rendy0212

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    #19
    I have itunes on a windows 7 desktop and have my library set up on a 2tb external (connected via usb). The desktop is older I am not even sure of the specs but it I think it only has a pentium d chip. I have approx 600 movies in my library and can stream them w/ no issues to atv2. That clearly is a much cheaper option than buying a mini and atv2. And most of us have a spare older computer sitting around. Even if you don't you could probably pick up an old desktop for $200 on ebay. 2tb externals are $100 about now so you are out the door for half the cost of a new mini w/ alot more storage space.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #20
    I'm curious.. what are you doing to make use of simultaneous digital outputs (I'm assuming HDMI and SPDIF)?
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #21
    XBMC on a device like the ATV is awesome.. Just seems like its not fully functional yet. An ATV3 w/A5 and jailbroken for some XBMC love would be amazing...
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    tallyho

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #22
    Everything I mentioned in my post is functional right now. What more functionality are you looking for? The only thing I can think of is 1020p support, but for me it's not an issue. I don't have any content higher than 720p and I don't have a TV bigger than 32 inches so really I'm not concerned about 1020p. I suppose if 1020 is a deal-breaker then the ATV2 is not for you...
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #23
    it really depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you just want to stream your media from the available Internet sources or from an existing computer, with up to 5.1 audio, then go with the ATV. For anything else go with the Mini.

    Like the ATV the Mac Mini will output up to 5.1 Dolby and DTS over the optical connextion, however, unlike the ATV it can also pass up to 7.1 audio from the HDMI port. In addition, the Mini can play 1080p/i video files and FLAC audio. My home theatre setup is as such:

    I use a Time Capsule as my HT router and to store my iTunes music and videos, my iPhoto library, and any other shared media, e.g. my DVDpedia library. The Time Capsule is wired to my Mini and the Mini is wired through HDMI to my AVR which is, in turn, connected (HDMI) to my TV. The Mini allows my HT to show iPhoto slideshows and stills, as well as import and edit new photos. We use iTunes to rent movies and listen to music with the visualizers (which is great for a party or to entertain our little one). Of course we use the Mini to play my ripped DVD collection—through DVDpedia's full screen mode. The DVDs play through DVD Player.app so we have simple access to languages, subs, etc. Since there're no Mac-native Blu-ray players I rip my BD content into MKV files for the Mini and use VLC for playback. With Blu-ray rips it is possible to get DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD lossless audio after converting it to FLAC (again, up to 7.1). Lastly, I use EyeTV with four ATSC (over-the-air) tuners (2x HDHomeRun Dual) as my PVR. Using the EyeTV app I can stream live TV as well as my recordings anywhere with internet access. The Mini can simultaneously record from all four tuners, play a recorded program, and stream music to my daughter's SoundBridge Radio. Using a Harmony remote in conjunction with Remote Buddy running on the Mini I have access to every function of all software making otherwise impossible tasks simple—like changing angles on a DVD (through DVD Player) from the couch.

    Plus, the Mini can bring any other computer functions to your HT.

    The AppleTV, while a great device for what it does, can't even come close to a Mini for home theatre.
     
  24. cootersgarage6, Feb 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2011

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2010
    #24
    Ummm....

    Clearly a full computer would be better. It's a fully computer, that you can use your wireless keyboard on to type for YouTube viewing and things like that, and also, it's got a little better graphics, you can play games on it, and you can have apps on it through the Mac App Store, and use it as a theater and a sterio.

    The Apple TV can only surf iTunes media and you must have the computer on with iTunes open, on the same network to view your media. And you can't use a full keyboard on it, play games, or anything like that.. just a viewer and a stereo..

    Get the Mini..
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #25
    I use the digital optical to feed a PS Audio DLIII DAC. This feeds a Denon 4311CI receiver. Since it is analog, I can use the Denon to feed the signal to zone 2. There are limits to what can be done with HDMI in different zones.

    I use HDMI for anything with video.

    The reason simultaneous is important is because I don't have to mess with the ATV's settings when I want to switch from optical to HDMI. The mini requires a setting change, which can be a pain.
     

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