Trying to setup "Apple ecosystem" in apartment

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Weerez935, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    Just curious what you guys think the best route for me to go is.

    I'm a pharmacy grad school student and my wife and I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment. I don't have enough money to buy all the products at the moment but am curious which direction to head in.

    What we have:
    iPhone 4S (me)
    iPhone 3S (wife)
    MacBook Pro (wife)
    MacBook Air (me)
    iPod classic (wife)
    iPod nano (me)

    For Christmas my father got me an iPod small Sony speaker/ clock / radio thing. I think I'm going to take it back and exchange it for Apple TV or an AirPort Extreme.

    I already have a good router so I'm not sure if I will benefit from 802.1.0 or whatever. I already got a thunderbolt ssd lacie external lacie drive for my MacBook Air (my wife also got me a case off etsy). I was considering Apple TV mainly because of the lack of good movies on hbo/ Cinemax/ show/ epix and am considering canceling it from charter for Netflix/ Hulu instead. I'm also debating about a Mac mini but am unsure how well it would work with my 720 Sanyo. I've seen mixed reviews on them.

    Our main uses are:
    Photography (wife)
    School work (me)
    Browsing (both)
    We're both kind of interested in webdesign

    Just curious how you apartment dwellers setup :).
  2. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2012
    Serious question, why do you need to have everything apple branded? If your router works, why replace it? Apple TV isn't spectacular as its not jail broken, so pretty much your just getting another cable box.
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    That's what I was wondering.
    I was curious if they were worth the expense :)
  4. macrumors P6


    Jan 23, 2005
    I have an AppleTV and really use it a lot to stream music and photos into the living room. Also use it for Netflix and it has been a stable Netflix platform for me. I guess look at the features and decide if you like it.

    As far as the newer Apple routers, they (like most high end newer routers) have dual band that can help in a mixed device environment like you have. What model router do you have now?

    If you have a newer router with dual band, the only real benefit to the Apple router products is they are easy to manage from iOS devices with the Airport Utility apps.
  5. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I have a dual band belkin. It has guest, belkin 2 and belkin 5 as networks as well as the printer.
    I really didn't want the router unless there was some benefit.

    As for Apple TV I'm mostly curious on how good the movie selection is. I'm considering canceling charters movie package and getting Hulu and Netflix accounts and just having basic digital cable. I never find myself going to the 700 channels to find the news in hd lol. I also think their on demand/ hbo/ Cinemax etc is lacking. The movie list barely changes over months of time. It also cost more for that package than Hulu and Netflix. The added streaming would be nice as well.

    On the Mac mini I'm mainly curious if its worth getting and hooking up to my "dumb" 720 TV. It's a few years old and only has USB, 2 hdmis, and VGA ports. I may be upgrading it and moving it to the bedroom though. I just haven't had a desktop in years and it seems like a viable space constrained solution.
  6. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2012
    In a short summary, no. The Apple TV might be when jail broken but as of current content I wouldn't buy the ATV as a sole cable tv replacement. I still have VIP TV and Netflix that seems to get me by, might change with a jail break if it comes.

  7. macrumors P6


    Jan 23, 2005
    Sounds like you have a top notch router already. The only advantage I see with an Apple router is it is easy to manage from an iOS device. But your have Mac desktops to do that, so I don't see much of an upside for you.

    You can see a list of current iTunes movie rentals here to get a feel for what is available. You can also rip DVD content and just drop it in iTunes to watch on an AppleTV. Don't know if that with Netflix would meet your needs or not.

    If you mean to use the Mini as a computer and the TV as your monitor, IMO the resolution is just not that great and I don't care for that solution. As a media server there are a lot of options to convert the Mini into a media server.

    The new Minis are very nice machines and you can hook it up to an inexpensive computer monitor and have a great setup.
  8. macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2008
    I would have to say the only advantage to going with an apple router in your case would be for automatic time machine updates. You could simply just use the SSD external drive and it would be much quicker.

    As for AppleTV, I think it is great but I don't find it puts me in a position to cut cable. It has netflix and hulu+. It may have changed since I tried out hulu+ but I found a lot of content wouldn't play on the AppleTV and would only play on a pc/mac. You also seemed to have less access to the regular free content with the + account than the free account but that was just my experience. For iTunes content, I think that it is great for renting movies and I found them to typically be cheaper by a $1 than the same HD movie on cable companies. The store isn't great for finding movies that are recent releases but I haven't run into situations where a movie was in Amazon Prime but not iTunes for instance.

    I have a PS3 and have been renting movies through Amazon Prime more lately. The quality is excellent for HD and as a Prime member you get access to at least as much content as Netflix if not more.

    You could install AirParrot or Airplay content from your Mac to the AppleTV as well. I use my parents subscription to HBO and Showtime to access HBO/Showtime to Go apps online and airplay using airparrot.

    I hope that AppleTV gets its act together a little better and offers Amazon Prime so that I can get to the point of cutting cable but even with their lousy movie selection I just can't justify cutting the cable cord yet. When I think about how much TV watch and the various content I consume I really don't think $120 a month for cable and internet is a bad deal.
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I'm not planning on getting rid of cable just the on demand movie channels and premium channels.

    Thank you guys for all the advice the iTunes movies and Netflix seem to have much better offerings than what I currently have.

    So now my main conflict is get an Apple TV with my Christmas gift cards or wait and buy a Mac mini. If the mini to the tv is not a viable desktop solution then I may opt for a cheaper one to use just as a media server or not at all and buy a new MacBook Pro. I just don't have room for an iMac or Mac Pro.

    The gift cards are to Walmart so either Apple TV, the iPod clock thing I'm returning or putting it towards a better tv.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    The main things I use my appleTV for is pushing my camera role onto the TV or playing music through the speakers its connected to. Netflix is nice but the xbox/ps3 does the samething there..
  11. macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I was considering an Apple TV as well, but then I realized I can use Netflix and Hulu on my Bluray player, Xbox360, and PS3. Do you have any of those devices?

    If not, you could always use one of your Macbooks for Netflix by plugging it in to your TV.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    Another cable box? - I love my Apple TV - if you are buying things in iTunes as I am its a wonderful box - not anything like a cable box - not sure what planet you are on ...
  13. macrumors member


    Nov 3, 2012
    Why do you want/need a mini?

    if you buy an Apple TV here's some things you can do that makes the mini a useless purchase.
    -stream movies, music and photos from your macbooks
    -mirror your macbook (depending on which model you have) to have a desktop experience with your TV screen. if your macbook can't mirror on Apple TV, just connect it with a cable.

    imo, if you have to decide between a mini or an Apple TV, I'd go for the Apple TV
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I got Apple TV today.
    I had a 100$ gift card to Walmart and ordered it online.
    Originally I thought that the Sony iPod dock came from best buy and it just seemed like a good chance to buy the mini at 100$ off. Since the item I returned came from Walmart I opted for Apple TV instead since it ended up being free with gift cards.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    I hope you enjoy the ATV - I love mine - AirPlay mirroring lets me play any video file on it - and my huge iTunes library is accessible through iCloud - I'd recommend the Rowmote Pro app to turn on and off AirPlay mirroring with ease.
  16. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2012
    Wow that's new, you buy content on iTunes and watch them, def nothing like a cable box:rolleyes:, I'm on the planet that has smarter people on it (aka: not your planet)

  17. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I haven't set it up yet but the content looks much better than on demand is here!
  18. macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2012
    Has Apple TV started to support Amazon Prime Instant video? If not, I recommend the Roku.
  19. macrumors P6


    Jan 23, 2005
    No Prime video on the ATV yet. I wish they would add it.

    I had a Roku and was not happy with its inability to stream iTunes/iPhoto data natively. Roku does not support DLNA, so you are stuck with something like Plex.

    If you don't care about iTunes/iPhoto streaming, I agree Roku is a good choice for things like Netflix or Hulu etc.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    A cable box if I'm not wrong requires an expensive subscription service - it can do pay per view content I'm sure but they are way different - I guess you could call it a cable box of the future but I'm confused where you think a cable box and Apple TV are the same they are not
  21. macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    I'd recommend the Apple TV + Netflix. You already have the Apple TV so you're in the right direction. I'd say the last piece to the puzzle is an iPad. Lots of uses for a tablet computer. It can be the thing you use to watch movies in bed (no need for another HDTV), reading news in the morning, replying to quick emails, remote control for Apple TV, etc.

    Another thing you might want to consider is a centralized media/backup server. I assume you and your wife have different iTunes accounts and iPhoto libraries. Having a centralized media server or using iTunes Match would allow you to pull media from any device without the need for syncing or managing two different locations (you and your wife's). You can play music on the Apple TV without needing a computer to be the source. It will all be in the cloud.
  22. thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    I was planning on an iPad eventually. I got a 128 gb thunderbolt ssd drive which currently holds all our photos/ library (I imported hers to mine with a flash drive) and we still have about 100 gigs left. I was considering the lacie quatro though but then is need a router with thunderbolt.

    I'm thinking about storing the whole library on the ssd (it already is) and deleting from the air after signing up for iTunes Match.
    Although I still have 30+ gigs on it.
  23. macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2012
    They are both content providers, which you pay for. Monthly subscription or pay per use it ends up costing more pay per use if you watch more than 15 shows a month. Cable tv isn't that expensive and you get a minimum 50 channels that you can watch for as long as you want, plus you have the option to buy and pick choose movies. I think same **** different pile applies here.

  24. macrumors 68040

    Jul 18, 2011
    Your setup seems pretty comprehensive to me. You can use your iphone4s to stream media to your apple tv (I know you can do this directly from the Atv, but the remote's interface sucks).

    I echo the others' sentiment that a mac mini would be redundant since you already have an air (both would use similar peripherals in the form of an external display, keyboard and mouse/trackpad).

    So save your money and enjoy your current gear. :)

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