AV guy at a loss....

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tfulmino, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. tfulmino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #1
    Hello to everyone.

    I am hoping to get some input on this topic. I have read through the posts and everyone has great input; however, I am more lost then ever on the topic.

    My wife and I recently hooked up our macbook pro to our Panasonic 50" plasma to watch Lost on ABC. We bought the apple wireless mouse and keyboard. After using the system a while I was hooked and started doing some research.

    The big question which I know has been answered time and time again is Mac Mini or Apple TV.

    I love how seamless everything works with apple. My wife has her laptop and I have mine. We both take pictures, watch movies, and share an itunes account.

    The goal is to bring all this to the TV seamlessly and organized. Both units will allow you to do this (Mac Mini w/ Plex or Boxee OR Apple TV). But I felt it was only natural to also be able to surf the web and use a mouse/keyboard. From what I read, the only way to surf the web on Apple TV is with Safari HD.

    Maybe surfing the web is retarded and I am over thinking this whole process. :)

    I would love to hear some viewpoints on this and how you were able to also accomplish this goal.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Todd
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    Seems like an Apple TV would work for you, but so would a Mini. Front Row is much more integrated with iTunes at the moment, but Plex development is working in that direction. Either will work, and either will leave you wanting features from the other. Decisions, decisions...
     
  3. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #3
    Well, I can tell you from experience that a MacMini under the TV is truly a GREAT experience... for FrontRow. I used it as my main Mac for a while, and really, it just wasn't what I thought it would be. I had to remote into it from a dell laptop to really do anything (aside from music/photos/movies) and that really really got old fast. Another thing that got old was the wireless keyboard and mouse. Usually it connected fine, but on the rare occasion that the BT connection failed, I had to drag out the wired keyboard and mouse and monkey with it to get it working. ** On the other hand, you have a fully functional Mac, which is really small and very cool.

    When it came down to it, the thing that made me switch to AppleTV when I bought my MBP is the content on multiple machines. It seemed silly, difficult, and time consuming to keep everything sync'd together nicely. And after my experience with the Mini and remote desktop/VNC, I was ready for EASY. The AppleTV makes it EASY. Open up the MBP, boot up iTunes, watch the AppleTV sync. Add photos in iPhoto, buy some CDs on iTunes, add an MP4 into my movies folder, click sync in AppleTV, and watch/listen in a matter of minutes. It just couldn't be easier.

    My setup used to be ::
    1.66 Intel CD MacMini
    Olevia 37" LCD (used DVI to HDB15 adapter; ran at 720p)
    Apple BT keyboard
    Logitech BT mouse
    Harmony 880 remote

    Setup now ::
    2.4 Unibody MBP
    Olevia 37" LCD (use Component cables; run at 720p)
    AppleTV + 250GB internal PATA drive
    Harmony 880 remote

    Don't get me wrong... having the Mini was enjoyable in FrontRow. All of my friends were super impressed, and I used it EVERY day. Just... after having both... The AppleTV is way WAY easier.

    Just my 2 cents. Good Luck :)
     
  4. hualon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #4
    This person speaks the truth. I spend 8 hours a day programming in XP at work and when I get home I don't want to have to screw around with keyboards, wireless mouses, shell accounts, etc. etc. ad nauseam. This is why I bought an ATV which is so dead easy to use that you don't even have to think about it.
     
  5. emegmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    #5
    While the appletv is super easy to use and gets you a great interface, I prefer my macbook set up as my media center. I use my harmony 550 to control front row. It is the exact same look as an appletv. You do not need a keyboard or mouse. I keep all my media on external anyways so streaming is not an issue. I tries boxee and plex but could not make them easy to use like front row. The appletv is nice but my macbook is much better. I screen share from my macbook pro, use its keyboard and track pad to surf the net and download torrents, Handbrake movies, ect. The apple tv does only one thing but it does do it well.
     
  6. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Canada EH!!!
    #6
    I had my iMac connected to my TV for a while. I just swited to ATV this week and it's MILES better. It's much easier to use, and the interface is better than Frontrow. Easy access to Podcasts is a very cool extra feature. So .. one more vote for ATV. I've hacked mine and I can surf the web but, to be honest, that doesn't work very well. Your better off using you Macbook to surf!

    Cheers.
     
  7. duffer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #7
    Mac Mini all the way. Download and install Plex. This is by far the best media center for the Mac and it is not hard to setup. The latest version has iTunes and iPhoto integration and Aperture is on the way. Use the apple remote or use Snatch to control everything if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch.

    I'm currently using my iMac connected to my plasma. Plex as the media center. Snatch as my wireless remote on the iPhone and Harmony 880 for all other remote needs. The setup is great and I couldn't be happier.
     
  8. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #8
    But Plex looks more like an XBox and less like an Apple product ;)

    Actually, Plex looks really cool. If I had my Mini still, I'd prob install and try, ESPECIALLY if it had automatic syncing. That is KEY with multiple computers.
     
  9. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    #9
    I've had my MBP hooked up to a 50" Panny unit and the experience just isn't enjoyable.

    - First off the resolution was never right and I wasn't prepared to mess w/3rd party software to correct the resolution.
    - As previously mentioned - keyboards and mice were a pain
    - Perhaps related to the first point - the display gave me a headache and wasn't enjoyable to use for content consumption OR creation.

    My ATv might be limited but w/my Harmony Remote, a large XP box running iTunes and Boxee it seems like a powerhouse these days.

    As food for thought - for the price of a new 2ghz Mini you could buy an HP Mediasmart AND a refurb ATv.
     
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #10
    I use a Mac Mini G4 but I do not have an HDTV so surfing the web is pretty much limited to YouTube and even then I use it nearly 0% of the time. FrontRow is used constantly (and bittorrents).

    Even with an HDTV that I have setup at my parents house I have found that surfing the web is really pretty inconvenient due to text size. You just cannot comfortably read anything unless you're within 5 feet of your TV. I would leave the web surfing to your laptop in the living room. The less input needed (apple remote) on a Media computer the more fun and useful it is.
     

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