Considering this new setup...

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 8, 2007
1,234
190
Mesa, AZ
Right now I am using a 13" MBA and an ATV3. I have been thinking about switching things up and I'm looking for some opinions on this possible set up.

I really only need a "desktop machine" for downloading A/V files, working on some occasional Word documents, typing out long emails, and watching/streaming A/V. I would say that I spend 80-90% of my time on my iPhone now, using Facebook and doing random Google searches, messing with my fantasy sports teams, and general web browsing. While the iPhone is capable, it isn't exactly "enjoyable" to use past 30 seconds at a time (its good for quick tasks, not so much for longer, more complex tasks). My MBA mostly serves as a media server at this point - streaming movies/TV shows to my TV. It works ok, but as most know, AirPlay isn't perfect. Also, it only has a 128GB hard drive, so I have to play most of my files off of an external drive.

I'm considering picking up a Mini and connecting that directly to my TV via HDMI. This will allow for more local storage, and it will give me direct access to my media files right through my TV rather than having to stream everything to the ATV. I can get a BT mouse and keyboard and basically just use my TV as a monitor at all times (I have a nice LG 55" LED TV). My couch is about 6-8' away from the TV.

Additionally, I am thinking about picking up an iPad Air/Mini. This would give me a more enjoyable day to day experience as opposed to using my iPhone all the time, it gives me obvious portability, and I could use the BT keyboard to pound out longer emails and things like that.

I'm envisioning using the iPad about 90% of the time, using it as my "primary machine", and the Mini about 10% of the time, mostly for downloading/watching movies and TV shows, playing audio through the surround sound, managing iTunes, and very rare tasks like editing photos, typing up Word documents, things of that nature.

Does anyone else have a set up like this? Does it make sense or am I overlooking something?
 

hthomas

macrumors member
Mar 16, 2010
73
0
Right now I am using a 13" MBA and an ATV3. I have been thinking about switching things up and I'm looking for some opinions on this possible set up.

I really only need a "desktop machine" for downloading A/V files, working on some occasional Word documents, typing out long emails, and watching/streaming A/V. I would say that I spend 80-90% of my time on my iPhone now, using Facebook and doing random Google searches, messing with my fantasy sports teams, and general web browsing. While the iPhone is capable, it isn't exactly "enjoyable" to use past 30 seconds at a time (its good for quick tasks, not so much for longer, more complex tasks). My MBA mostly serves as a media server at this point - streaming movies/TV shows to my TV. It works ok, but as most know, AirPlay isn't perfect. Also, it only has a 128GB hard drive, so I have to play most of my files off of an external drive.

I'm considering picking up a Mini and connecting that directly to my TV via HDMI. This will allow for more local storage, and it will give me direct access to my media files right through my TV rather than having to stream everything to the ATV. I can get a BT mouse and keyboard and basically just use my TV as a monitor at all times (I have a nice LG 55" LED TV). My couch is about 6-8' away from the TV.

Additionally, I am thinking about picking up an iPad Air/Mini. This would give me a more enjoyable day to day experience as opposed to using my iPhone all the time, it gives me obvious portability, and I could use the BT keyboard to pound out longer emails and things like that.

I'm envisioning using the iPad about 90% of the time, using it as my "primary machine", and the Mini about 10% of the time, mostly for downloading/watching movies and TV shows, playing audio through the surround sound, managing iTunes, and very rare tasks like editing photos, typing up Word documents, things of that nature.

Does anyone else have a set up like this? Does it make sense or am I overlooking something?

How do you plan on downloading movies and tv shows on your iPad?
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
595
414
My current setup has some similarity here. My living room has a Mini hooked directly to the TV, and the Mini also serves an AppleTV (soon to be two) hooked up to other TVs in the house. It's hooked up to an NAS for storing the media library (and Time Machine backups, for that matter).

The Mini works fine of this purpose - perhaps a bit overkill, but then, I have additional plans: I'm also in the process of setting up MythTV and a SiliconDust Prime to act as a TV Tuner/DVR combo for cable TV. This gets me out of renting set top boxes from the cable company (just a small charge for a CableCard) and puts me closer to cutting the cord altogether once the streaming technology and content catches up.
 

famous600

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2010
705
1
I have a similar set up as well. Mac mini running OSX server connected to tv with a drobo 5d thunderbolt. Have xbmc for my media collection and Plex server to push to rokus.
 

Civil Engineer

macrumors member
Apr 10, 2013
41
10
SiliconDust Prime

When i look at the siliconDust site it says the Prime only works with Windows. Is that correct?
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
595
414
Well, it doesn't support Mac as a native Mac app, but the underlying BSD system can run MythTV, which can use the SD Prime.

Personally, I'd have preferred to use Elgato's EyeTV, but that doesn't support the Prime at all.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
I'm envisioning using the iPad about 90% of the time, using it as my "primary machine", and the Mini about 10% of the time, mostly for downloading/watching movies and TV shows, playing audio through the surround sound, managing iTunes, and very rare tasks like editing photos, typing up Word documents, things of that nature.
You could also use the iPad to remote desktop into the Mini and do a lot of the tasks right there on the iPad, but have the capability of the Mini. Using a free App like TeamViewer you could even do this while away from your house (so long as your Mini is awake).

I have a Microsoft Surface RT, and while the tablet by itself is marginally good, I can connect to any type of computer with it and do things remotely, which makes very useful indeed (I use it at work in a heavily mixed operating system environment).

Also with the Mini, you can share any printer as an "airprint" printer and print things right from your iOS device. There are several printers now that have that feature built-in, but if you have an older printer that works just fine, then having the Mac make the link it really useful.
 

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 8, 2007
1,234
190
Mesa, AZ
Interesting. I've never really heard of being able to remote access another computer via iPad. Are there regular apps for that or would I have to jailbreak the iPad to do that?
 

SBA

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2008
85
8
Interesting. I've never really heard of being able to remote access another computer via iPad. Are there regular apps for that or would I have to jailbreak the iPad to do that?
I use TeamViewer on my MBP to access my mini on my home network (and from my work pc sometimes). They have an iPad app too that works ok for basic tasks. You're literally shown your mini's desktop, but have to control everything via touch.

It's free and works just fine.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
Interesting. I've never really heard of being able to remote access another computer via iPad. Are there regular apps for that or would I have to jailbreak the iPad to do that?
I Use Teamviewer when away from my house since it connects through the Web. If your on your local network you can regular old VNC, but its not optimized at all. So Teamviewer is much better for all cases.
 

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 8, 2007
1,234
190
Mesa, AZ
Interesting, thanks for the tips!

FYI, I finally got everything together - Apple Wireless Keyboard, Apple Magic TrackPad, new iPad Air, and I got my MBA connected to the TV via HDMI. It's working great! So far so good. :) Much more responsive than doing everything through AirPlay/Apple TV. And of course the iPad is what it is...a beautiful device and a great couch companion. :)

I think I may look into selling my MBA now and getting a Mini to hook up to the TV though. It just seems like a waste having a laptop closed and tethered to the TV. Also, I think I could find a more powerful Mini to use as a primary machine for as much or maybe even less money than what I might be able to sell the MBA for.
 
Last edited:

famous600

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2010
705
1
Nice, I'll look into that, thanks!
Except now they charge if you need to remote in away from your network. Teamviewer is where it's at. I vote picking up a Mac mini and an apple remote. I use XBMC on my mini and it can be controlled with the remote so it is easier for the family to move around instead of always breaking out a keyboard etc. and I run rowmote pro on he ipad in the event I need a trackpad. I have only used a keyboard/mouse during set up. It really takes away from the home theatre feel IMO. You can also run air server which makes the mini an airplay receiver so you can still throw airplay content at it.

FYI I picked up a 2.5 2012 mini on local craigslist for $180. The deals are out there! And the 2.5 is more then enough for my needs.
 

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 8, 2007
1,234
190
Mesa, AZ
Except now they charge if you need to remote in away from your network. Teamviewer is where it's at. I vote picking up a Mac mini and an apple remote. I use XBMC on my mini and it can be controlled with the remote so it is easier for the family to move around instead of always breaking out a keyboard etc. and I run rowmote pro on he ipad in the event I need a trackpad. I have only used a keyboard/mouse during set up. It really takes away from the home theatre feel IMO. You can also run air server which makes the mini an airplay receiver so you can still throw airplay content at it.

FYI I picked up a 2.5 2012 mini on local craigslist for $180. The deals are out there! And the 2.5 is more then enough for my needs.
Very interesting. I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for a sweet deal on a Mini. Thanks for the input!