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krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404
I have a Mac Mini and a 2nd Gen Apple TV. I do really like the Siri Remote and 4K on the new Apple TV, however the Mac Mini hooked to the TV is much more functional. I can play chess, run my huge iTunes library, a full fledged browser, among other programs. MacOS on a TV vs Apple TV OS is a good debate. What do you guys think?
 

lvavila

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2013
56
36
I have a Mac Mini and a 2nd Gen Apple TV. I do really like the Siri Remote and 4K on the new Apple TV, however the Mac Mini hooked to the TV is much more functional. I can play chess, run my huge iTunes library, a full fledged browser, among other programs. MacOS on a TV vs Apple TV OS is a good debate. What do you guys think?

I will be picking up a Mac mini soon (as a server) but with that said, ATV is an appliance where-as the Mini is a computer. So if you are the only consumer, maybe the mini works for you. In my case, my wife and 6yr son just want to watch streams with no fuss.

Define your use cases (pro/cons) for each and pick from that criteria.
 
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krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404
Apple TV
+ Siri Remote for ease of use, Apps designed for TV, Price
- Limited functionality is frustrating compared to MacOS

Mac Mini
+ More functional. Full browser, iTunes, Programs, File Storage, Computer with huge screen.
- Using a keyboard and mouse in the living room is a bit awkward and sometime the resolution of the TV is not that great, not bad in the bedroom. No microphone/Siri. Price.
 

nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,566
5,793
I have both.

I have an entry level Mac mini (headless) with all my family's photos and videos, along with iTunes media library. It is continuously backed off to Backblaze.

Apple TV's UI is far better suited for TV and is the only device hooked up to my TV.
 

Hermes Monster

macrumors 65816
May 4, 2010
1,159
356
UK
Can't you AirPlay from the Mac Mini (though this would need a monitor of some sort to all be connected to the MM) to get the desktop experience when you need it?

Otherwise, I'd use the MM as a server, and use an app like Infuse / Mr MC / VLC / PLEX on the ATV to browse and play your local movie files. And I'm sure there'll be a chess app at some point (if there isn't already) ;)
 

rctlr

macrumors 6502a
May 9, 2012
738
175
Can't you AirPlay from the Mac Mini (though this would need a monitor of some sort to all be connected to the MM) to get the desktop experience when you need it?

Otherwise, I'd use the MM as a server, and use an app like Infuse / Mr MC / VLC / PLEX on the ATV to browse and play your local movie files. And I'm sure there'll be a chess app at some point (if there isn't already) ;)

Yes you can, but it's a poor experience, you still need to use keyboard and mouse to navigate.
I've got a Mac Mini as a server to the house, and ATVs on the TVs. These are running Plex, VLC etc - connecting back to the Services running on the Mac Mini.
The Mac Mini is still free to do computing things, and the family can enjoy media separately.

I did have the Mac Mini plugged into the TV, but when you want to do an email or do some work - TV time was paused.
 

archer75

macrumors 68040
Jan 26, 2005
3,114
1,743
Oregon
I bought a mini to use as a plex server but it was just too weak and I returned it. Now I just use my PC to serve plex. Which I prefer because plex is available on everything and it doesn't lock me down to any one device.
 

krause734

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 30, 2010
592
1,404
For instance, I can browse and type in this forum. Go on Google Maps and look at places. I much prefer the MacOS layout and it's really not bad on a large TV. The text is a little small in the living room (maybe I need a bigger TV :)), but it's perfect in the bedroom. It's also a group computer experience in the living room when I want to share something which I like. We're not all craning over eachother to look at a Macbook or iMac.
 

Uofmtiger

macrumors 68020
Dec 11, 2010
2,131
878
Memphis
I have both.

I have an entry level Mac mini (headless) with all my family's photos and videos, along with iTunes media library. It is continuously backed off to Backblaze.

Apple TV's UI is far better suited for TV and is the only device hooked up to my TV.
I have a 2010 Mac Mini that is hooked up to a display in the office and a receiver in the living room via HDMI. I also have an AppleTV in the living room setup.

I agree with your point. The Apple TV's UI is better for TV than the Mini. Not even a contest. I rarely ever use the mini in the TV room these days, but I keep it hooked up in there...just in case.
 

LewisChapman

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2015
600
861
We started to use the ATV’s in each room less and less to the point that we now mainly watch our media via Plex through the built in Smart TV app. It’s less waiting and source switching.

The only thing that is missed is the Airplay mirroring which came in useful occasionally.

As a previous poster said, it depends on how tech savvy the other users are and whether a TV-based UI is more appropriate!

I have a 2010 Mac Mini that is hooked up to a display in the office and a receiver in the living room via HDMI. I also have an AppleTV in the living room setup.

I agree with your point. The Apple TV's UI is better for TV than the Mini. Not even a contest. I rarely ever use the mini in the TV room these days, but I keep it hooked up in there...just in case.

Do you broadcast the Mac Mini to your living room wirelessly via HDMI?

If so, would you be able to recommend a wireless HDMI solution?
 

michelg1970

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2011
228
57
The Hague - The Netherlands
I have a QNAP NAS in my house that replaced my MM and its abundance of connected external drives three years ago. NAS plays Plex perfectly on ATV and other MacOS/iOS devices, either at home or on the road. I missed my MM Server only for 10 minutes... If I want MacOS on the big screen, I just connect my MB Pro (never happened)...
 

Seb2k

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2017
16
10
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think it's possible to output HDR from a Mac Mini?
 

Uofmtiger

macrumors 68020
Dec 11, 2010
2,131
878
Memphis
We started to use the ATV’s in each room less and less to the point that we now mainly watch our media via Plex through the built in Smart TV app. It’s less waiting and source switching.

The only thing that is missed is the Airplay mirroring which came in useful occasionally.

As a previous poster said, it depends on how tech savvy the other users are and whether a TV-based UI is more appropriate!



Do you broadcast the Mac Mini to your living room wirelessly via HDMI?

If so, would you be able to recommend a wireless HDMI solution?
No, I am lucky to have my office closet back up to the entertainment center in the living room. I run a longer HDMI cable since it doesn’t have far to go.
 
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LewisChapman

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2015
600
861
No, I am lucky to have my office closet back up to the entertainment center in the living room. I run a longer HDMI cable since it doesn’t have far to go.

Ah I see. The wireless options are scarce and sourcing one that works without line of sight is very difficult.

Cheers anyway!
 

Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
817
476
Yeah, that's a fine debate – that would come down to what individuals would like (and like to pay).

One possible consideration is that tvOS has its own App Store and could wind up having exclusive apps or games not available on the Mac.
 

techwarrior

macrumors 65816
Jul 30, 2009
1,250
496
Colorado
For instance, I can browse and type in this forum. Go on Google Maps and look at places. I much prefer the MacOS layout and it's really not bad on a large TV. The text is a little small in the living room (maybe I need a bigger TV :)), but it's perfect in the bedroom. It's also a group computer experience in the living room when I want to share something which I like. We're not all craning over eachother to look at a Macbook or iMac.

How about both.

Most modern TV have 2+ HDMI inputs. Use ATV for most TV and stream functions, and Mini for computing tasks. Just change TV inputs and off you go.

As for awkward Mouse\Keyboard use in the living room, if you have a Mac Book of any type, you can remote screen into the Mini and use the laptop to navigate and input. Else, you can mount a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or trackpad on a lap sized board to use as an all in one input console, something like this.

ATV can stream content from Mini in a number of ways, iTunes, AirPlay, Plex, etc.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2013
1,654
483
Oregon, USA
A direct mac can do much more, but that list won't include 4K until the Mini gets updated. Go with atv if you need 4K or the apps really deliver the content you're after.

the resolution of the TV is not that great, not bad in the bedroom.

If you want larger interface elements, activate hiDPI. It turns your mac tv into a 'low res' retina panel
 

Snoopy4

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2014
662
2,968
I have a Mac Mini and a 2nd Gen Apple TV. I do really like the Siri Remote and 4K on the new Apple TV, however the Mac Mini hooked to the TV is much more functional. I can play chess, run my huge iTunes library, a full fledged browser, among other programs. MacOS on a TV vs Apple TV OS is a good debate. What do you guys think?

We have a Mac mini in the home theater. Everything is stored on a 10 Tb drive attached to it. Our entire library is local. If we make a purchase we download it immediately which takes time with slower internet speed have at our new home which is rural.
 
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