Apple TV vs Mac Mini

Discussion in 'iPod' started by hanaku, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. hanaku macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    What would be the better way to get my iTunes content over to the big screen, Mac Mini or Apple TV?

    Here’s a handy table comparing the two products (information on the Apple TV was found at Ars Technica citing AppleInsider).
    Apple TV :
    Price: $299
    Audio Output : HDMI, optical audio, analog RCA stereo audio
    Hard Drive: 40GB
    CD/DVD: None
    Processor: 1.0GHz Pentium underclocked on a 350MHz bus
    RAM: 256MB of 400MHz DDR2
    Software (selected): Apple TV interface (modified Front Row)
    Video RAM : nVidia G72M with 64MB DDR2 Video Memory
    Wireless Features: 802.11b, g, n
    Weight: 2.4lbs
    Video Output: HDMI, component video

    Mac mini:
    Price: $599
    Audio Output: Combined optical digital audio output/headphone out
    Hard Drive: 60GB
    CD/DVD: Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    Processor: 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo
    RAM:512MB (Video RAM shares this RAM)
    Software (selected): Mac OS X, iLife, Front Row
    Video RAM: Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory
    Wireless Features: 802.11b, g and Bluetooth 2.0
    Weight: 2.9lbs
    Video Output: DVI, VGA with included adapter, S-Video and composite video with optional adapter

    I am sure there are more considerations to ponder in making your decision, but if you get lost or confused just ask yourself, “What do I want to do with this thing?” Once you know the use of the product, you may have a clearer idea of what to chose.

    Well, what should you get?
  2. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    well, if i plan to stream media to my TV wirelessly, i would get the :apple:TV. If I want a computer, I'd get the mac mini.

    They are two different machines with two end purposes in mind.
  3. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    The Apple tv has the big advantage that you only need one media server for various locations. So one computer can serve the Apple tv in your bedroom, your living room, etc.

    The Mac mini has the advantage that you can play more than just iTunes content.

    It's all about your needs, not really the specs alone.
  4. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    You'd still need an :apple: TV in each location. The Mac mini has the advantage of being able to play not only more than iTunes-compatible content, but access to email, the web, etc.
  5. i.Feature macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2005
    Montreal, Canada
    For me it comes down to be able to add an over the air ATSC tuner... and record... the mini can do that... the :apple: tv can't... maybe someone will find a work around as it does have a usb port... but i'll just be playing wait and see now till at least the summer... sucks though... would love to buy one or the other now
  6. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    But an :apple: tv is cheaper than a Mac mini.

    As I said it is about your needs. If you need internet in the rooms get a Mac mini, if you don't just get an :apple: tv.
  7. hikeNM macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    So the Apple TV won't stream iPhoto? It will only stream media from iTunes?

    If so, then there's no way I'd buy an Apple TV. We look at our iPhoto library as much as listen to iTunes.
  8. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    Yes, it does stream photos too. What it doesn't stream though is your video folder in your home directory or play DVDs or run the internet.
  9. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I have seen quite a few of these threads. :rolleyes:

    They are two completely different products designed to do completely different things. However the MacMini can also do what the :apple: TV does but not as well as it is not dedicated to that purpose.

    The only similarities they have is the footprint.
  10. poopyhead macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2004
    in the toe-jam of greatness (Fort Worth)
    I faced the same question 3 weeks ago and bought a mini, here is why.

    hooked up to a HD Lcd tv I can use the mini as a computer as well
    the mini has a built in up converting dvd player and a cd player
    with the addition of a large external hard drive and some free software I am able to "back up" my dvds onto the external hard drive meaninig that I can watch 50+ of the dvds I own in dvd quality without ever leaving the sofa. apple tv is great if you actually plan to invest in downloading movies and content from itunes but if you already have a substantial dvd collection it doesnt offer much.
    within a year or so I should be able to buy a reasonably affordable bluray or hd-dvd player/burner and hook it up to the mini and back up these dvds as well.

    a mini can easily work as a media hub and computer comprable to a several thousand dollar escient home media center whereas an appletv is simply a way to stream content to your home theatre

    as for price you pay 279 more for a mini than an apple tv and while this is substantial its not that bad considering the added abilities of the mini in an era when people are willing to drop 600-700 dollars on a game console that isn't much more than a game console.

    also the mini like tha apple tv can stream content from all your other computers
  11. skinnylegs macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2006
    San Diego
    I already have Eye TV Hybrid on my iMac which allows me to watch, record etc. TV. I will be able to stream recorded content via :apple: TV but.....

    TV tuner cards have their *major* drawbacks. Visual quality is *never* as good as, for instance, digital cable and the *only* HD content you can view and/or record with a TV tuner card is OTA stuff. I am much happier watching my pristine digital/HD signal without it being essentially degraded to craptastic analog quality. PVR stuff? I leave it to my DVR. :)
  12. mrmma macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    The TV mini HD and the Elgato 500 both have QAM tuners so that you can receive unencrypted HD over cable. I have this for my LCD TV and get the digital networks that I would get over the air. I've heard that some get more than this. Anyway, I can't comment on their quality, but it seems that if the source is digital and the tuner is digital, there should be in theory no loss of quality. If I had the money to blow, I'd buy a Mini, a TV mini HD, and have my DVD/Web station/TV recorder in my living room. Add an iSight, and I can have a video chat from my couch (which currently doesn't seem to be a feature of the iTV.
  13. MeWannaMac macrumors member

    Jan 25, 2007
  14. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    This is silly. Mac mini is better than Apple TV in almost every way, except for the price. That said, there are few caveats.
    1. Although Mac mini isn't exactly complicated, Apple TV will be easier to setup and use in your living room.
    2. Perhaps Front Row will be as functional in 10.5 (Leopard), but for now, Apple TV is more capable than 10.4's Front Row.
    3. Mac mini practically requires wireless keyboard and mouse to be used in the living room/home theater setup (Apple should offer MacBook Pro-style Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad).
    4. 512MB RAM on Mac mini is not enough for smooth experience.
    In a perfect world, everyone will spend over twice as much for Mac mini ($599 + more RAM + wireless keyboard and mouse). It's more powerful, has a DVD drive, can play almost every audio and video formats, has snazzy home theater-friendly Dashboard widgets, etc. Although it pales in comparison to dedicated gaming consoles, it can double as a gaming device even.

    But Apple TV costs less than half. I find Apple TV to be too limiting for my home theater (needs 5.1-channel audio and 1080p), but perhaps an update will resolve any barriers.
  15. hanaku thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    That seems lots of pepole interest in this topic,
    but if we buy one of Apple TV, does that mean we can download movies anywhere (such as FreeMovieNow or EZMovies) on the iMac, and then watch them on our widescreen tv?

    Or, do we have to purchase movies and tv shows from the iTunes store in order to watch them on the tv with the Apple TV dealie?
  16. Metatron macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2002
    I would have to go for the mac mini. Apple could have added a dvd player to the apple TV and replaced everything one would need in thier living room. Instead they are limiting the playback to itunes content. Apple is an amazing company, but steve's "invisible hand" tends to ruins a products full potential. The iphone and apple tv are great examples. 10 years from now, when a physical content medium is more trouble then it is worth, the apple TV will be were it is all at. Until then, the mac mini is the best of all worlds.

    Go ahead, flame me now. :p But if you don't believe me, you better start looking for another Steve, because he won't live forever. And if he alone is apple, we should all fear because there will never be new G5 powerbooks next Tuesday.
  17. flashphire macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2007
    Nah, they both clearly have their places. Mac Minis are powerful and pretty cheap, but I've got to say I'm looking to buy an AppleTV. A Mac Mini is just overkill in comparison and that extra money could go to buying something else (DVD player?).

    I just can't wait until the AppleTV linux comes out, and all the other Hacky's.
  18. davede70 macrumors member

    May 8, 2006
    I have been weighing both of these as well. I am leaning more towards the MacMini because I would like to turn it into a PVR as well. But since my own burned dvds won't play in 5.1 sound, I am just going to have to stick to Tivo and a dvd player.

    I was thinking this same thing. It will be interesting to see what the nerds will be able to do to the MacMini. They are our only hope.

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