Mac mini as Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by SeanEE89, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. SeanEE89 macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2008
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    VA, United States
    #1
    Is there anything I could do with an Apple TV that I would not be able to do if I just paid the extra money for a Mac Mini and an External hard drive.?
     
  2. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020

    brn2ski00

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    Aug 16, 2007
    #2
    i know for a fact that there are a ton of threads on this same topic... just do a search.

    but anyways, I think that you should buy the Mini and replace the HDD with a larger one -- can the external, keep it tight and compact.
     
  3. SeanEE89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Oh ok. Ill search around for them then. If anyone would mind providing links to them it would be greatly appreciated.

    I think I will just get a Mac Mini. It's more expensive, but I get more bang for my buck I think through it.
     
  4. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #4
    Stuff you can't do at all:
    HD Movie Rentals
    Easily sync media with another computer

    Stuff you can do on AppleTV but not with Front Row:
    YouTube
    MobileMe and Flickr Galleries
    iTunes purchasing
    Podcast discovery
    Stream Photos
     
  5. SeanEE89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    I can only do HD movie rentals with AppleTV's??? really?!?
     
  6. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    Nov 20, 2002
    #6
    Yep.

    For me, it came down to being able to rent movies from iTunes Store in HD. Oh - and using my Apple TV as an AirTunes bridge to my big fancy stereo system. And being able to control it all from my iPhone.

    If you have any, ah, procured HD movie files, Boxee can play them very well on the MacMini.

    So it's a toss up really. I just don't have any pirated movies, and enjoy the integration with my other Apple stuff.
     
  7. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

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    #7
    Keep in mind in the price comparison that the will be 3-4 times as expensive by the time all is said and done. Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are practically requirements in a home theater setup. And then software updates which are free on the AppleTV. You are looking at $229 versus $700-$900.

    Regardless. Both units have not been updated in way more than a year. I would wait for updates before purchasing either.
     
  8. SeanEE89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Ok first off is there any planned support for HD content in regular itunes in the near future?

    Also I know the Apple TV comes with only 40 or 160GB of drive space. My question is can I access and play movies and music that I have stored on my windows home server or macbook?
     
  9. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

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    Jan 24, 2008
    #9
    The only sign that they will be adding HD rentals to iTunes is the addition of HDCP to the new MacBook Pros. The fact that the rest of the computers do not support HDCP makes it unlikely that it will happen soon.

    HD TV shows are already available for purchase.

    Streaming works great on the AppleTV. In fact, I wouldn't even recommend the larger hard drive unless you want to leave your main computer off all the time. Personally, I sync all of my music and photos and stream all the video.

    As long as the videos and music are in a supported format, AppleTV has access to anything that you put in iTunes (with sharing turned on). See the following URL for supported formats.

    http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html
     
  10. SeanEE89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    I think I'll probably get the AppleTV then.

    I don't want to sacrifice HD support, but I am wondering if I could eventually use my AppleTV like I would an AirPort Express? I would be able to control it through my iPod Touch right?
     
  11. andrew0122 macrumors regular

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    Springfieldvilletownvilleton, Missouri
    #11
    Yes you can control your Apple TV with either the iPhone or the iPod Touch. All you have to do is download the Remote app from the app store. It works awesome when you are searching in YouTube the iPod Touch works as a wireless keyboard.

    I ultimately chose the Apple TV primarily on the simple cost savings and better streaming than the Mac Mini. I don't rent too much from iTunes, but what I have rented works great.
     
  12. SeanEE89 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Ok ya I think I will be getting AppleTV's then. I just wonder if they'll be able to read my Windows Home Server.
     
  13. mastershakess macrumors 6502

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    May 14, 2008
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    Bel Air, MD
    #13
    Things Mac Mini has that you can't do with ATV:
    -Netflix instant movies (ATV processor is too slow)
    -Hulu (just got removed from Boxee -> ATV)
    -Internet Browser (can easily connect to flickr, youtube, features on ATV)
    -External HDD
     
  14. HTrayne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #14
    Hi Mike,

    I have an unrelated question for you about a post you'd made in another thread a long time ago. I guess there isn't a PM feature in these forums or I'd use it, but it's in regards to your business cards (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=197807)

    Sorry to junk up this thread, I'm just trying to get a hold of you to ask you a few questions about the business cards you'd had made. If you could somehow let me know how we can discuss that, I'd really appreciate.

    Thanks, and my apologies again to everyone for junking up the thread!
     
  15. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #15
    Click on the user's name and a popup appears with PM info.
     
  16. mr1970 macrumors member

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    Feb 15, 2008
    #16
    There are also two things that you could do more easily with a mini than an ATV - play DVDs and use an Elgato TV tuner / DVR. This would remove the need for a DVD player and a DVR (as long as you don't need a set top box for satellite or cable).

    I have an ATV and love it, but those extra functions would move it into a different league...
     
  17. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #17
    You need to have a post count of 5 or above to send a private message.
     
  18. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #18
    I'm not sure why the lack of HDCP should matter to Apple when Apple TV itself has fully functional component outputs and component does not support HDCP! So obviously you could capture the output to your laptop and play pirate so why is Apple worried about playing back HD movies on their older computers? Their policy seems inconsistent at best and worse yet it makes iTunes appear outdated. You can get HD TV shows, but not HD movies. That does not help them compete with things like Blu-Ray or by relation, Netflix. Apple also does not seem much interested in expanding Apple TV's content capability. Now that Hulu is gone from Boxee, your options are even more limited.

    On the other side of things, it doesn't make much sense that Apple hasn't updated Front Row to have more capability. I mean Apple TV's software is pretty much an expanded Front Row yet Front Row can't even do basic things that iTunes itself can do like find movies or music on a networked Mac or server. Apple TV can obviously do this so it just makes Apple look lazy to not at least add SOME of the capabilities to Front Row. I'd like to be able to access my movie/music collection from my MBP anywhere around the house and I CAN but I have to use iTunes when the Front Row interface is so much more flashy. But it won't use a remote source and that's pathetic.
     
  19. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

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    #19
    It's not Apple that HDCP matters to. It's the studios and their convoluted logic. Why develop HDCP at all? The analog hole (component output) exists in most devices that use HDCP over HDMI. The studios decided that the perfect digital copy that you get over HDMI is where they choose to draw the line. Of course ignoring the fact that it only takes one hacker to break the encryption on a high definition source for the file to be posted to a file sharing site. And the fact that you can get a really good copy from the analog hole as well.

    Front Row in Leopard can access shared libraries on the network.
     
  20. rockstarjoe macrumors 6502a

    rockstarjoe

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    washington dc
    #20
    Yes, you need to go to "Sources" and you should see your shared libraries there.

    Unfortunately FrontRow will not stream album artwork from shared iTunes libraries, which is annoying and stupid. I think Apple did this just to make the AppleTv look like a more functional option.
     
  21. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

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    Chicago
    #21
    I don't think album artwork streams in iTunes either from a shared library.
     
  22. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    #22
    I'll take another look, but I'm pretty sure my PowerMac network share didn't show up on my MBP running Leopard the last time I tried it (it does show up in iTunes).

    Hmmm, I tried it again and you're right, the network share showed up on my MBP this time. I'm not sure why it didn't the last time. The lack of artwork is rather glaring, though. In iTunes, it's not quite as glaring since it simply limits you to a list view, but it's still glaring there too as well. I've got a Gigabit network. There's simply no reason to not stream the artwork. I really think Apple makes some dumb decisions sometimes. They need to offer more OPTIONS...pretty much everywhere in OS X and other products. They always seem to think dumb is better.
     
  23. rockstarjoe macrumors 6502a

    rockstarjoe

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    #23
    What is REALLY depressing is that the cover art used to stream correctly, back on Tiger! :eek: Apple: Two steps forward, one step back.
     
  24. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

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    #24
    You are misremembering. Cover art streaming has nothing to do with the OS, only iTunes. Front Row could not access shared libraries in Tiger.
     

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