Apple TV vs. MCE

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by twh1, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. twh1 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Ok, first off I am neither an Apple fanboy or MCE zealot. I want to offer my opinions of both the Apple TV and MCE.

    I have 2 MCE setups in my house and have been running them for years - both are currently Vista MCE.

    I just bought an Apple TV to test the differences side by side.

    Can play pretty much every format video/audio/pictures
    Super easy interface
    Has a TV Tuner
    Has a DVD drive

    Apple TV
    Super easy interface (fast, minimal, looks good)

    OK, really the thing for me has to do with the way in which ATV handles picture slideshows and miusic..... in MCE, I can choose ANY music, whether that be a playlist, artist, albumn, etc and I can chose a set(s) of photos (all from a central server) - the thing is that when i have music and photos playing (we do that alot at our house) i can forward/backward though BOTH the music and photos - standard "next" moves the music track, and the 5-way pad right/left moves the photo - not to mention that I can actually see the artist info on the screen at the same time with the photo...

    With ATV, I am locked into a single playset for music, and can only move the photo forward/back but not music.

    I know i am just venting a bit, but I really want the ATV to work for me.... I have wrestled the idea of a mini, it would add some of the function as MCE (video format, DVD) but wanted a smaller (and cheaper) solution with ATV - In all reality I don't mind the lack of a TV tuner as I want to get into more timeshift recording, but the lack of some, IMHO, "basic" function like selecting any music, and photoset hurts..... not to mention just a simple DVD playback from a disk.... I am patiently waiting for the update here soon to see if any of these are addressed (probably not), but still hopefull

    Anyway, I could go on and on about the differences, so if anyone cares to know more we can thread it out here - otherwise in my opinion, the MCE setup seems to be a better overall solution right now given the "lack" of features in ATV.... though I am hopeful Apple will come through and listen to it's customers

    Just one man's opinion
  2. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    How come nobody wants to answer this question? Maybe Microsoft is better???
  3. WarMace macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    It would probably be a better comparison to set the Mini side by side with the MCE. The Apple TV is merely an iTunes appliance not a low end computer like an MCE. As with all Apple products, I would expect the Mini to do everything the MCE could do but a little better and it would cost about $200-300 more.
  4. Malfoy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    MCE(either XP or especially Vistas) gives ATV or the mini a thorough smackdown. i love my macs, but I give credit where its due. and MS did MCE very right.
  5. skinnylegs macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2006
    San Diego
    MCE has a great UI and online guide but unless you're into analog TV signals, you won't be happy. I had a state-of-the-art Media Center and loved *everything* about it except watching TV or movies. So, I sold it and got an Apple TV which I have been quite happy with. True story.
  6. Malfoy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 1, 2005
    are you pulling digital tv from the ATV somehow?
  7. skinnylegs macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2006
    San Diego
    My bad. I should have elaborated.....

    I use my Apple TV for music and pictures and I use my Cox Cable DVR for tv watching and recording. In terms of movies, I'm not trying to come off as snobby but I seldom watch anything other than HD movies which I play on my HD-DVD player.
  8. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    I really like my Apple TV... but yeah, I think Apple's really dropped the ball on the Apple TV.

    All they would need to do to make me ecstatic with the damn thing would be:
    - allow easy installation of extra codecs.
    - allow normal use of the USB port (HDs, Elgato, whatever).
    - allow extensions to Front Row (EyeTV interface, etc).

    As you can see, that's not a very demanding list. It basically just asks that they stop actively preventing their customers from tweaking.

    As it is, I've adapted to the Apple TV rather than adapting it to my life. Call me a Grade-A iSucker.
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

    ATV and MCE are really completely different products with MCE providing much more functionality for a bit more complexity. The closest match for ATV is really an MCE extender as it provides no PVR fumctionality but provides remote playback of media held elsewhere. Having said all that, if you fit the target customer profile for ATV it is superb. If you don't it's a waste of money.
    Since I got my iPhone I've been busily ripping all my DVD's onto my iTunes library and the ATV became a great product for me. I got one last week and love it for it's simplicity and ease of use:
    it really does feel more like a part of my home theatre than a computer and i like it all the
    More for that.
  10. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    I read his vent twice. I saw no question marks.

    What question was he asking?
  11. dukeblue91 macrumors 65816


    Oct 7, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    I got the Apple TV for the simplicity of it and it does what it's supposed to do in a perfect manner.
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    I think Front Row or ATV is a great product if you fit the simplistic user profile. But once again like most Apple products, once you've grown out of it there's nowhere else to go.

    MCE grows with you.
  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Let's look at your " pros " lists and compare them to my iMac / Apple TV system. ( Apple TV coming today! )

    Can play pretty much every format video/audio/pictures ( My iMac can do this )
    Super easy interface ( Apple TV has this )
    Has a TV Tuner ( My iMac has this )
    Has a DVD drive ( My iMac has this )

    Apple TV
    Super easy interface (fast, minimal, looks good)

    It looks like I will have EVERYTHING you mentioned for both devices when the Apple TV gets here!!!!! :D:D:D:D

    I retired from the IT business after too long in it. I am both a Microsoft MCSE and a Novell CNE. Not that either have any bearing on purchasing an Apple TV, but I'll be darned if I am gonna run a Windows PC in my house ever again! :D

    I have 3 kids and a wife who all have and use a computer. I know this sounds like hype, but after I switched them from Windows to Mac machines my use of headache remedies ended!!!!!

    Life for me has been so much more peaceful over the last 3 years since we converted all our computers to Apple Mac.

    SIMPLICITY !!!!!

    That's the key, so it will be Apple TV for me.

    MCE is just another windows PC with a particular hardware/software configuration. We do have a Windows box here that is configured as an MCE, we built it before MCE came out. We use it as a door stop now.
  14. twh1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    I get that Apple TV and MCE are different products, but, some of the features that make them similar, are completely different in usability. Some have commented that they can use their iMac to record shows, etc and deliver to the ATV (so can I, and I do), but those are not the comparisons that I mean - rather the simple task in showing a slide show and some pictures (like i said before) I to have to deal with the "wife acceptance" issue (I have to say that she does like the ATV in appearance sitting on the shelf than the PC).

    My intent was to spark some interest in discussing what ATV would need to satisfy ALL digital entertainment - not necessarily which is better - I am pretty sure that i will be getting a mini to try as well (I do it on my iMac right now) - like one poster said here, they use the Comcast (in my case) DVR for all of their TV needs, I will be doing the same, but all I really want is a "Apple" type box, minimal controls, and be able to view my media in many different ways with many options if I choose - I know Apple s smarter than the boxes they have out there - I am sure they have their reasons for such things as no DVD player, disable USB, no loading of additional codecs.... (before we get in a long discussion about hacking the ATV - and I did) - I am talking about out of the box function

    I have been recommending Apple product to most everyone I talk to these days, not be/c I feel that they can offer everything that they need, but b/c the have the "potential" to do that.

    Apple has been very successful at "being different", I get that, BUT if they are not careful, they will get more and more market share and then everyone else will be "different" too......

    "You are a very unique person, just like everyone else" - Warren Miller

    I will continue to support Apple (I have an iMac, iPhone, my mother in law is getting a MacBook Pro, I will give my ATV to my in laws and probably get 2 minis, one for a HTPC setup and one for my wife) I just hope that Apple will listen to just a few, IMHO, downfalls of the way in which they lock down some functions in their products - b/c more people (dare I say like us here....) hacking to make them better - please listen Apple, don't forget your roots, don't bow to the almighty dollar, and go back to giving people what the want in their products - we all know it takes time, we are with you, just don't cripple a great idea - like being able to load codecs, a functioning USB port, and a slide show setting that allows for any song, and photo

    Don't even get me going on a copy/paste function for the iPhone - LOL

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