Apple TV or Mac Mini?`

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JellyFish, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. JellyFish macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2007
    I have an Apple TV and I like it but I am wondering if a Mac Mini would be a better way to go. The apple TV is fine but it seems like a mac mini can do everything an apple TV can do and more.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The Mac Mini gives you flexibility at the cost of complexity.

    The Apple TV gives you simplicity at the cost of flexibility.

    The new Apple TV software narrows the gap a great deal, but unless you are willing to hack your Apple TV (and I am not sure the new software is hackable yet), you will be limited in what formats you can play back video and audio content compared to a Mac Mini.
  3. JellyFish thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2007
    That is an excellent point. I think I am going to sit tight and see if the mac minis are updated soon. Ideally I would like one with a blu-ray drive and HDMI output.

    I still like my apple TV but the inability to play certain formats is quite irritating and I would like greater flexibility.
  4. frankiepdx macrumors regular


    Dec 28, 2007
    Portland OR
    I went through the same dilemma. When it was time to make my decision I looked at the cost and also realized that no one in the house would ever figure out how to navigate the mini. They have a had enough time just trying to watch a DVD.

    I understand your desire for more options. I think when it's a no brainer, that will be your moment. Found my Apple TV used for $150 and very happy with my purchase.
  5. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    If you're sitting tight for HDMI and Blu-ray on the Mini, I have a feeling you're going to be sitting for a very, very long time.

    The Mini is Apple's low-budget machine. Once Blu-ray is introduced into the Mac lineup, it will likely be some time (read years) before it trickles down to the Mini. The drives are still pricey and the Mini would require an even pricier notebook version. Heck, the base Mini still comes with a combo drive!

    I wouldn't expect HDMI to make an appearance either. Regardless of the Mini's potential as an HTPC, it is first and foremost a computer. You can get a cheap DVI to HDMI cable to hook your Mini to your television.
  6. Subiklim macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2006
    Manhattan, New York
    I recently sold my Mac Mini for an Apple TV. I miss not being able to encode videos, or download torrents when I'm not home, but as far as a viewing experience goes, you can't beat the tv.

    The Mac Mini didn't share with other computers quite as well, it wouldn't always connect to the proper wireless, so I would have to attach a keyboard/mouse to get it right, etc.
  7. georgeoommen macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2007
    I went the mac mini way.. got my mini just about a month back.. got sick of the waiting game and also now the fear is that they might discontinue the mini rather than upgrade it. For my uses, which i think is pretty much the same as yours, purely for media and connected to the TV, the mini is great. of course it doesnt have hdmi, not capable of surround etc, but just the ability of having it act as a home server as well closed the argument for me.

    i can leave my videos to encode for days on end, have my external hooked up to it feeding all my media to my tv using front row. and even have my MBP have time machine backups without the need for the unsupported drives command line hack. so for me not only is it working as an apple tv, but also a time capsule..
  8. insidedanshead macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Hey guys, I was sold on AppleTV, now I'm leaning towards getting a mac mini instead. Is it possible for the Mac Mini's Front Row to pull up the library of my home machine (Dual 2.5Ghz G5) as it's sole source instead of it's own library and instead of having to go to the "shared" section in Front Row?

    Does that make sense? I'd like to pull up my primary machine's music, movies, iphoto library, etc. without having to go to the shared section...
  9. Pigumon macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    I have a mac mini, and as it turns out, this is a VERY capable computer.
    I originally bought it to be a flexible apple tv, but i've used it to "paint" 4x6 foot posters! you can cram 3GB of ram into it..

    Having said that, I want an apple tv! The mini is so much faster than my old PB 12" that it's become a computer, instead of a multi-media center.

    now i want a cheap Apple TV that can play any video files. i think the drop to $229 was a major turning point for Apple TV. They need to add multiple codec support and 1080P output, but still, at $229 i think now is a good time to jump in.
  10. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    I think your decision should depend on:
    How you intend to use the device
    What format your media is in.

    If you are starting from scratch (i.e.: you don't own a lot of MKV files, or have downloaded a lot of torrent files), then Apple TV is a one-size-fits-all appliance. I use it for my iTunes and iPhoto content, and am very satisfied with the results.

    I had a large DVD library and none of it had been digitized, so it was simple to encode it for the Apple TV. Now, I have all (or almost all, anyway) of my music, photos, and DVDs instantly accessible.

    If you want to surf the net, have general-purpose solutions (being able to play all formatted files) then a Mac Mini is your answer. While it isn't an appliance like the Apple TV is, it is a robust solution, complete with a DVD drive.

    So, my question to you is, how easy do you want it?
  11. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    My thoughts exactly. I had this same dilemma about 8 months ago and went with a used Mini G4 (1.42 GHz) with superdrive. Its an ideal home media machine, and was only $350. If this is going to be a media machine go with a used computer you don't need the top of the line for that.
  12. peterbaby macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sorry to disagree :p, I have a mac mini as a media center, and it does all this:
    - With a simple DVI-HDMI cable, you (can) get 1920x1080i (which is not bad, although not perfect 1080p 24p HD... but it's better than Apple TV!)
    - It does surround sound very well ! Remember the jack audio out is also an optical plug ! (never managed to output DTS though, maybe a DVD player software limit...but DD is working great)

    I've ripped all my DVDs (without compression) on a shared hard drive, all my DVDs all listed in frontrow and accessible instantly with the press of a button on the remote (and of course, itunes, iphoto...).
    Video quality is the same (on my Sony Full HD LCD) as from my DVD player

    (note: upscaling capable DVD players will surely do better though... the mini cannot do that :rolleyes:)
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Nor does it need it since it's DVI.

    That's funny, my Mini does 5.1 Dolby Digital. Do you have a G4 Mini?

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