Apple TV vs. Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by krause734, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. krause734 macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #1
    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?
     
  2. lvavila macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    #2
    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.
     
  3. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #3
    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.
     
  4. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #4
    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.
     
  5. Hermes Monster macrumors 65816

    Hermes Monster

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    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) ;)
     
  6. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #6
    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.
     
  7. archer75 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    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.
     
  8. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #8
    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.
     
  9. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #9
    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.
     
  10. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    #10
    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?
     
  11. michelg1970 macrumors regular

    michelg1970

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    #11
    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)...
     
  12. Seb2k macrumors newbie

    Seb2k

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    #12
    Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think it's possible to output HDR from a Mac Mini?
     
  13. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #13
    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.
     
  14. archer75 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #14
    Correct.
    HDR is more important than 4k.
     
  15. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a

    LewisChapman

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2015
    #15
    Ah I see. The wireless options are scarce and sourcing one that works without line of sight is very difficult.

    Cheers anyway!
     
  16. Starfia macrumors 6502

    Starfia

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #16
    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.
     
  17. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #17
    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.
     
  18. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #18
    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.

    If you want larger interface elements, activate hiDPI. It turns your mac tv into a 'low res' retina panel
     
  19. Snoopy4, Dec 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018

    Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a

    Snoopy4

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    #19
    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.
     

Share This Page