HTPC - Mac mini OR iPad + Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MuzakaEklekta, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. MuzakaEklekta macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2006
    I've been recommending a Mac mini HTPC to my brother for ages. Perfect for Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, web browsing, Spotify, etc. I've been using my 2009 Mac mini with the bluetooth KB + trackpad and love it.

    While pricing up a Mac mini HTPC, i've just had a realisation that it's actually cheaper to buy an iPad and Apple TV and just airplay the two.

    The £399 model with an aftermarket £50 SSD will be fine. So £450 for the Mac mini option.

    Apple TV is £79, and iPad Air £319 = £398 for this option.

    Is this a dilemma anyone has come across?
  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    Airplay (naturally) relies on WLan, which is not as reliable as a cabled Ethernet connection. Especially as you have two streams at the same time: One for the content from the internet (or local media server) to your iPad and then forwarding the stream to the AppleTV. This adds to frequency clogging (next to other WLan devices sending in your neighbourhood).

    At my location the 2.4GHz band is - more often than not - only usable with interruptions (=dropouts in streams). 5GHz band is still usable, but the increasing spectrum population is already noticeable.

    And while I prefer the better UI usability of the iPad in a living room scenario, it is blocked for the quick inbetween internet lookup during streaming duty. No dealbreaker, but can be annoying. Not even considering the battery issue here.

    Thus I'd prefer the Mac (mini) solution.

    P.S.: If you're an Amazon prime customer - the FireTV has been offered to those for half the price and thus cheaper than an AppleTV. Airplay to it is said to be usable with an app (can't verify, as my FireTV has yet to arrive).

    With all kind of clients (like e.g. Plex, Netflix etc.) available on that, it might be an alternative for you. I've already read comments from people claiming it has completely replaced their AppleTV and they are very satisfied.
  3. MuzakaEklekta thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2006
    Very good point there mate about the 2x wireless streams. Also, I didn't even consider the FireTV. Food for thought there :)

    There's just too much of a gap between the AppleTV and Mac mini as a HTPC. One is lacking and one is OTT.

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