Home theater confusion

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MacBH928, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. MacBH928 macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008

    Lately I am starting to get confused by the home theater options.
    If you can make it clear it will be wonderful.

    Why do I need an Apple TV when I can hookup a mac-mini which will do a lot more than Apple TV?
    XBMC is a free alternative to Apple tv, and on a mac-mini it will be great.

    I understand I can hook-up my ipod or iphone to the tv and watch movies full quality, this is also another option to strike out the use of Apple tv.

    The only advantage to Apple tv is probably its price, which I can easily find a used pc/mac-mini with xbmc installed and it will do almost exactly the same stuff.

    Am I missing something?
    I am really new to this, so i am guessing that I am
  2. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    Well, it depends on how much you want to get your hands dirty. Certainly a Mini or other computer can do everything and more that the :apple:TV can, but often at a higher cost, whether that cost is dollars or your time in setup and maintenance.

    For me, I'd much rather have the relative simplicity of the :apple:TV. I will likely never be ripping my DVDs or Blu-rays to enable them to play on an :apple:TV or anything, but that's my choice. You may wish to do all of that. And more.

    If you are using iTunes to buy your movies and load them to the iPhone or iPod, I'm pretty sure you are NOT getting the full HD version, even if you bought it. iTunes, I'm pretty certain, downloads an "appropriate" size file to the iPod/iPhone, and holds the HD version on your Mac or PC, and will stream it or sync it to your :apple:TV, or you can play it in iTunes.

    That's what iTunes did when I downloaded some HD TV shows. HD on the Mac, "Appropriate" file size to the iPhone.

    I'm not sure if the same applies if you rip your own films, load them into iTunes, and send them to the device.

    It's not just about what it does, but how it does it. If you're comfortable with the extra work needed to set up and maintain your own computer as a media server, that's fine. But if you're not, or if others in the family need to be working with it, then the :apple:TV might be the better solution.

  3. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    thank you for replying,

    I guess they are all one and the same some how,
    I am thinking of buying a 1 or 2 year old mac mini/pc that will be low cost and will do the job perfectly
  4. getbigg21 Guest

    Jun 5, 2005
    i would do a Mac Mini if you can afford one. i have had both and i feel it's the best way to go. i have mine hooked up to my TV and the picture is amazing.
  5. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I think this about sums it up for me...

    I love my Apple TV. I use it almost daily for watching Video podcasts, and renting movies - all from the iTunes store.

    For that it is perfect. If I was going to add anything, it would be the ability to watch Hulu. That is the only reason I would even consider going to Mac Mini route.

    The simplicity of not needing a keyboard (wireless or not) makes the Apple TV so much easier to use.
  6. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    I think it starts with what you want to do. ATV is essentially a portal for the iTunes Store. If you're happy paying for all your content through iTunes, then Apple TV is a good option. If you want to import other media, whether stored or streamed, then there are better solutions.

    One nice thing about iTunes is it generally has decent HD bitrates and 5.1 audio. Down side is price, selection and quality greatly lags BD through Netflix. If you have a settop box w/ Netflix, then you've got all you can eat streaming on top of that, and then no need to buy the ATV. $0.02.

    Apple needs to beef up the playback capacity. 5 Mbs max is uninspiring. ~20Mbs w/ 1080p and HD audio passthrough would be cool. At least there would be a path for adding your own content to iTunes for playback.

    We can all dream.
  7. Mhaddy macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2005
    On that note, what would be the oldest generation or lowest spec'd Mac Mini that could comfortably watch 1080p content? I understand the reason the ATV can't do 1080p is not because of software but because of the meat (or lack thereof) under the hood.
  8. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    Fairly sure you need the 9400m to do 1080p, doubt the Intel GPU could handle.

    Which sadly means, current gen is the oldest you can go for 1080p.
  9. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 17, 2008
    It doesn't have to be a mac-mini, it can be a PC.

    I know Apple TV has a remote, but I understand you can do the same for a mac-mini or a PC. I even saw iPhone app that you can control the TV with

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