Mac Mini or Apple TV for Home Media

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macuser154, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. macuser154 macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2009
    Which offers more? I am considering buying either an Apple TV, loaded with ATVFlash, or a Mac Mini, to use Front Row, Plex etc.

    Or should I just wait and see if a new Apple TV comes out?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009
    I read rumors on this site that they might actually combine the two in the near future, as many people are buying minis as multimedia servers anyway.

    Don't get either until you see what the updates bring.
  3. mdgolom macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2006
    I own a couple of minis and an ATV. If the money isn't an issue, I would go with the Mini. The only down side of the mini is the overscan issue with the TV which doesn't bother me. The overscan will either leave a border around the screen or your menus bill be off the screen. There are software packages that will allow you to compensate for the overscan, but I'v never tried them.
  4. benlee macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2007
    Mac Mini X 1000.

    I had an appleTV and sold it and got a mini and have never looked back. Can watch any format and is way more reliable.

    But wait for an update.
  5. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  6. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    Go for a Mac Mini, wireless keyboard and the works.

    Personally, I'd go for an Apple TV ATM cause I'm cheap :)
  7. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    This is not an issue with every tv, my Sharp has a setting that goes something like stretch, side stretch, pixel dot by dot. Anyways a little fiddling around solved the problem for me.
  8. bigdaddyp macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2008
    Get the Mini

    I use front row , transmission, MetaX, ripit, cocktail and quicktime pro. With these programs I have completely dropped my satelite dish. I use an external antennae on my tv to watch broadcast shows, any I miss I download using transmission. I then use quicktime pro to save them as .mov files and use metax to tag them. Then I drop them into itunes and have them beautifully organized when I go into front row. I used ripit, handbrake and metax to convert my entire dvd collection into itunes compatible files that again itunes organizes and displays beautifully organized in front row. I upgraded the hd to a 500 gb unit and have a ministack usb/firewire hdd underneath for a total of 2 terabytes of storage that can be streamed to other macs in the house. I do all that on my mini.

    If you have another machine you can dedicate to doing the heavy lifting you could get an apple tv but I would get the new western digitalt tv ($150 USD) which has no internal storage but now has built in ethernet and plays way more formats and can handle 1080 hd files. I was thinking about getting the Apple tv for a second room but since W.D. released the upgraded unit I am going that route myself.
  9. katyoshi macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2009
    Honolulu, HI
    Get a refurbished ATV. Its cheap. Hack it and add an external HD. Then if you have extra cash, buy new mac minis.
  10. macuser154 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2009
    What about audio quality etc.? Is there any difference?
  11. dbwie macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    If you just want to use the media in iTunes on your TV/entertainment center, get the appleTV. If you want to do more than that, get the Mini.
  12. MacKiddyWiddy macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2009
  13. JCP21 macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
  14. twilcoxen macrumors newbie


    Dec 23, 2008
    Colorado, USA
    Mac Mini = Additional Computer

    I've just been setting up a mini as a media center with Plex and love it. The audio and video quality are both great. But the primary reason I went with a mini is to have another computer available in the house. My kids love to use it for Photo Booth (easily entertained), Club Penguin, etc. A wireless keyboard/mouse and external web cam and you're all set.
  15. mr_matalino macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2005
    There are PLENTY of other threads about this same topic. Search for them as there are many different ideas and opinions that might help you decide.
  16. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    If you do decide to go for the appletv, go refub and put in a larger HD. 160gb is for the birds! Remember, though, that the drive connection on an appletv is a PATA/IDE (older style), so the hack requires some time and patience.
  17. benlee macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2007
    i found the AppleTV to be way underpowered. I had movies on an external hard drive, connected via USB to my Time Capsule, which was wired to ATV and wireless N to macbook. When I attempted to stream on the ATV, the movies would freeze.

    People say to hack it, but I found that to be unreliable. I was having to restart my ATV almost every time before I used it.

    You will not regret getting a Mac Mini. you have an extra computer and it is essentially only a couple hundred more than an AppleTV + harddrive upgrade. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can use an app to control the mini from your couch.

    Also, you can control the mini, via screenshare, from any mac in your house. Unless money is your concern, don't think twice and get a mini. Even if money is a concern, save up and get a mini.
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    You should get an Apple TV only if:

    1. You need a simple interface (e.g., children who operate it)
    2. You need more than one audio output (ATV has 3, Mini has 1)

    Otherwise, the Mini is superior (but more expensive). We have both, and both have their purposes.

    Now that's the $64,000 question.

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