Is the Mac Mini as quiet as the Apple TV when playing movies?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by M. Malone, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. M. Malone macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Mar 11, 2004

    I always read posts of people who ask whether to get an Apple TV or Mac Mini to use as an entertainment hub.

    I just got a 2 ghz C2D Mini for free. I was excited because now I can put it in my closet and have it on at all times to stream to my Apple TV (Currently stream from iMac). But then I thought about it, what if I just plug the Mac Mini into the TV directly and play my content directly through it?

    1. Apple TV has been great, silent, I don't hear any fans, and plays iTunes bought HD content without any problem. Can the Mac Mini handle this in the same way, and as silently? I plan on using a DVI to HDMI cable.

    2. If I do use the Mac Mini, I also plan on getting rid of my DVD player, which is also silent when it plays DVDs. How quiet is the Mac Mini when it plays DVD movies? I don't need it to be silent, but I just don't want to hear it when I'm watching a movie. (I know I can try this myself, but I still haven't gotten the required cables and peripherals to try it now)

    3. Based on all of the suggestions people here make when comparing Apple TV to Mac Mini is that the Apple TV is half the price. In my case, I was fortunate to have a Mac Mini land in my hands for free and I plan on either using it as a media streaming hub or plug it directly to replace the Apple TV. In this case, since money isn't an issue, which is a better option?

    Thank you,
  2. inigel macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    No where
    The Mac minis don't make a lot of noise when playing HD movies.

    The only thing wrong about having a mini as an Apple TV alternative is that you can not access YouTube and the iTunes Store. Which means you won't be able to rent movies in HD.

    You can get some TV shows in HD through iTunes, but unless you'll have to use iTunes to purchase.
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    This is not true.

    This is true.

    The Mini is a computer, thus you can do anything with it that you can any other computer.
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    I've never heard the fan on my ATV, but I occasionally hear the fan on the Mini when playing Blu-ray rips. However, I'm usually listening in 5.1 surround, so the fan noise is prett much meaningless. :)

    I don't really notice any fan noise for the most part.

    My opinion is that if you have children or other technologically-challenged users, then the Apple TV is the way to go. Otherwise, a Mini with Plex is the best home theater option available.

    If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can even control Plex by wi-fi; which means you can put the Mini in a closet and just run 20 foot DVI to HDMI and optical cables to your TV/receiver. No fan noise there, that's for sure.
  5. M. Malone thread starter macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Mar 11, 2004
    Thank you so much for that,

    I played around with Front Row on my iMac (for the first time) It's ok. But when people compare a Mac Mini to Apple TV, I assume they're comparing Front Row to the Apple TV interface.

    Today I compared both Front Row and Apple TV Interface. Front Row doesn't even come close. It's DISASTROUS in the way it organizes TV Shows seasons. And the only reason I would have wanted to use a Mac Mini over an Apple TV is because I thought I can set it up to play any video format I want.

    Right now, I get my AVI format videos, then I have to convert them so iTunes can accept them, then I can watch on the Apple TV.

    I was hoping with the Mac Mini I would use Front Row with Perian plug in and have it pull AVI videos out of folders I place in an attached hard drive, for Example I was hoping I can place a Folder like this:

    TV Shows > ShowName > SeasonNumber > EpisodeNumber

    Movies > MovieName

    Music > Album > Song

    Organization is very important to me

    I understand Plex can probably do this, but in addition to this, I would like to also be able to view my iTunes purchased movies and rentals.

    What do you suggest if I want to watch all my AVI files AND iTunes Purchased content in one nicely organized interface? Because If I can't have that, then I'll just continue with the Apple TV and stream from the Mac Mini. I just wish I didn't have to keep converting AVI files all the time.
  6. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    I think what inigel meant was, you can't access YouTube or the iTunes store directly from the Front Row interface ... you can't (at least out of the box - Front Row has a plugin API but last time I looked there wasn't a YouTube plugin). Of course you can do it from the standard OS X desktop, but it's awkward when you're using a Mini connected to the TV.

    I've been using a Mini like this for about 18 months, and no, you don't hear any fan noise.

    You shouldn't worry about how episodes go into folders. If you set the meta data (I use MetaX for this) they will be all in one folder but they'll be arranged in Front Row. But, hmm, pulling off an attached drive may be difficult unless you have all your iTunes library on it. That's what I do. I point iTunes to my library on an external drive.

    To view purchased content and unconverted AVIs, a Mac is the only way to go. It's not ideal for you, but you may need to change how you store your files and let iTunes look after it.
  7. M. Malone thread starter macrumors 6502a

    M. Malone

    Mar 11, 2004
    :( Well after studying the matter, I think it would be more appropriate to just use the Mini as a streaming device into the Apple TV. I'm still gonna have to continue converting all my AVI movies in order to have Apple TV play them. My Ideal set up though, is as follows (This is hoping Apple will take Front Row a further step):

    Mac Mini connected to TV:

    Front Row will be its main job:

    Play DVDs (So I no longer need a DVD Player)

    Be able to organize my shows and movies so they appear on Front Row as they would on Apple TV. This way I can just play everything right out of the Mac Mini.

    Plug EyeTV 310 into it (Mac Mini) so I can get rid of my satellite receiver as well and be able to record live TV.

    Until Apple opens up Front Row a bit more, I think I'll stick to Apple TV.

    And to anyone who asks AppleTV VS. Mac Mini questions, I really don't think they should be asked, they're 2 different things. One is a computer that can play content through front row in an OK way, not very organized. The other is a true media device designed to nicely organize your video content as long as it's iTunes compatible. The downside is really iTunes for only allowing certain file types, would be great if there were plugins to allow itunes to accept any video format.

    Of course, if there are any solutions to my dilemma, I'd be more than happy to try :)
  8. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    All I want to know is how you got yours for free so I can do the same!!!
  9. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I am still not clear what AppleTV gets you that the mini doesn't...

    In EITHER case, you should google and get involved in the Boxee beta. It can be a plug-in/hack for the AppleTV and could be used in the mini. It can be driven off the Apple remote, and can access loads of content. Boxee will also stream Hulu content.

    Also, non-DRM content can be used through an interface called Plex. Check 'em both out.

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