Mac Mini as Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by nando2323, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. nando2323 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #1
    I already own an :apple:TV and I like it very much. I was thinking of purchasing another for the bedroom. But I was also thinking about just purchasing a Mac Mini and keep that in the Living room and move the ATV in the bedroom. So the question is. Can I hook up the Mini to my iTunes Library that is on my iMac? Is it a simple just share the iTunes Folder and connect to it in iTunes or is it more involved then that?
     
  2. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #2
    If You Mean Network It Then Yes It Can Be Done Not Sure How Though. BTW Theres A Hack/Mod That Lets You Run ATV On Mac (Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac And Mac Pro), But I Also Don't Know Where To Find It:( Google Might Know Though
     
  3. iLifer macrumors newbie

    iLifer

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    #3
    In answer to the OP's question, yes this can be done - I have my mini doing just that. On your iMac, launch iTunes and go to:

    Preferences>Sharing>Share my library on my local network[tick]

    There's also an option of what you want to share and whether or not to password protect it.

    On your mini, launch iTunes and go to:

    Preferences>Sharing>Look for shared libraries[tick]

    Everything is now set up. This works like a charm for me. My mini is hooked up to a 5.1 surround system which now doubles as a hi-fi when accessing my music via Front Row. All my music resides on an external HD connected to my iMac.

    The one and only downside to this is that iTunes needs to be launched on both computers when you want to access your music via your mini. It's no hassle though.

    Enjoy !
     
  4. ebony macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    #4
    the problem with using a mac mini as an iTunes streamer is that thumbnails for movies music etc are not displayed on shared libraries.

    So on an apple tv looking at your iMac iTunes library you get a good looking interface( version 1.1 anyway ) with preview thumbnails of all your media, on the mac mini their will be no thumbnails.

    It reduces the impact of the interface a lot. I have this setup and manage a second iTunes library on the mini, just so I get thumbnails.

    Advantages of the Mac mini is, its a full computer, it can be usefull having a second independent iTunes library, the frontrow interface is still aimed at being a media center unlike the apple tv which has turned into an iTunes store portal.
     
  5. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000

    Fonzijr1964

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #5
    you can do it yes. it would be cool but i would rather do it with a Mac Pro
     
  6. Josh396 macrumors 65816

    Josh396

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    Oct 16, 2004
    Location:
    Peoria/Chicago, IL
    #6
    Just out of curiosity, why would you rather do it with a Mac Pro?
     
  7. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000

    Fonzijr1964

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #7
    more storage space and you can have more bigger screens. I would use it as the main computer for the library though
     
  8. saltyzoo macrumors 65816

    saltyzoo

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    #8
    I'm doing exactly that. mini in the living room with external storage drives, ATV in bedroom.

    I'm seriously considering replacing the mini with an ATV though and moving the mini into my office just as a file server. The ATV just does a better job of displaying 1080 than the mini does. I've tried every resolution and DVI-> HDMI on the mini just isn't as good.
     
  9. dongmin macrumors 68000

    dongmin

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    #9
    If you're using the Mini purely for streaming media, then you should go with an ATV instead.

    The Mini, obviously, is a fully-functioning computer so you could do a lot more. I like to surf the web, among other things, on my living with my wireless keyboard and mouse.

    It's a better integrated solution, in my opinion, since it can play DVDs as well as manage all your iTunes and iPhoto content.
     
  10. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
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    #10
    I'm using a Mini as a media server, instead of an :apple:tv. It works great with an external hard drive for expanded storage, and works double-time as a adult-supervised computer for the kids. Sure there's no YouTube capability in Front Row, but you can actually do full-blown surfing, and go full screen when desired.

    I should say, though, that the Front Row interface has become flaky with Leopard. Long pauses when flipping though music, multiple pauses for buffering when watching on-line trailers. Hopefully the next update fixes this.

    Unless it's just me.
     
  11. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000

    Fonzijr1964

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #11
    i still think the mini is dumb. it doesn't work as well as the other macs for video out and defiantly not as well as a :apple:TV
     
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #12
    Well, many of us don't think it's dumb. I own both an ATV and a Mini. The ATV won't drive my projector-based 10-foot wide screen home theater system, it cannot provide me with HDTV and DVR, nor does it permit anything more than 250 gigs of "storage" without major hardware hacking. Just because your imagination is too limited to see the virtues of a Mini doesn't mean it's dumb...
     
  13. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #13
    The Mini Is Better Than :apple:TV For Many Reason's That I'm Not Going Into, But Personally I Like The Fact I Can Have Full Internet Access On My TV It Handles 1080p HD Video Extremely Well (Considering It Has Integrated Graphics), It Looks Nice With My Set Up, So What If I Miss Out On HD Rentals Which I Don't Need As They Are 720p And I Have 1080p HD Videos From The Internet For Free Plus I Don't have Crappy Movie Size Restrictions.

    Northy124
     
  14. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000

    Fonzijr1964

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #14
    its 107in
    I'm not saying its not good for that i just don't like them and i think they need to have some major work done
     
  15. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #15
    What Part Of The Mini Needs The Major Upgrade/Work Done? And Do You Own A :apple:TV?
     
  16. Fonzijr1964 macrumors 68000

    Fonzijr1964

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #16
    it needs more power (CPU) and to have better video out if its not gonna come with a screen. It also needs to have more (or just bigger) HDD options. and in my opinion it could be thiner if left with the same specs as now.

    And no as I said in a privios post i am not going to get an :apple:TV until its functional as a DVR:)
     
  17. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #17
    Compared to the Apple TV? You're joking, right?

    It already has this. It's called "Firewire".

    Are you an engineer? The only way to make it thinner would be to make it wider and deeper. If you've never opened a Mini you'd be rather impressed at how much is crammed in there.
     
  18. timswim78 macrumors 6502a

    timswim78

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #18
    I agree that the mini needs more power, but not necessarily in the CPU area. If Apple put a decent graphics chip in it, then the GPU would handle the video decoding using much less power, and producing much less heat than with a beefed up CPU.

    As far as hard drive options, you can easily add a nice-looking firewire drive. However, I think that the mini would be nicer with a 3.5" drive.
     
  19. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #19
    Why won't the ATV drive your projector?
     
  20. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #20
    My projector is VGA, S-video and composite.
     
  21. Boghog macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    #21
    A question for those of you who use a mini as their media center:
    How up-to-date does that mini need to be if I just want to watch TV (with eyeTv sat receiver), share iTunes content with my iMac and surf the net? Is an old Intel Core Solo enough?
    Thanks
     
  22. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #22
    PowerPC Would Be Enough So I Think Your Fine With Core Solo (Thought It Was Core Duo That Was First In Mac Mini).
     
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #23
    Core Solo will choke on even moderate bit-rate H.264 decoding. Your Eye TV will be fine because broadcasts in the US are in low bit-rate MPEG-2, which the GMA950 gpu handles quite nicely.
     
  24. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #24
    I have my Mac mini doing that too. And sharing media between computers is a cinch. Heck, its built-in! No hacks or any trickery required.
    I use a Mini G4 1.42 GHz. Works like a charm.
     
  25. chas0001 macrumors 6502a

    chas0001

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Alicante, SPAIN
    #25
    Have you considered running the AppleTV Take 2 on the mini? http://www.macgeekblog.com/blog/archive/2008/03/13/atv4mac-1-2-available.html
     

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