Mac Mini or AppleTV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by pilot1226, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. pilot1226 macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

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    I'm looking to purchase either an Apple TV or Mac Mini within the next few months. I know that with Apple TV I can stream into my iTunes music library, and with the jailbreak I can even browse the Internet. I know that with a Mac Mini I also have the ability to store things on it because it has a hard drive.

    With the new rumors that the Apple TV will support full 1080 P, I'm wondering if this would be a better option. Or I'm wondering if I get the Mac Mini anyway, that that can support the 1080 P from iTunes.

    Ideally I'd like to connect the Mac Mini to my HDTV, and I will use my iPhone or iPad as a trackpad/keyboard combo.

    Are there any drawbacks to using a Mac Mini like this? I plan on waiting for the new release of the Mac Mini or Apple TV either way.

    I suppose if I go the route of the Apple TV, I can also pick up a new iPad due to the difference in cost between the Mini and ATV.

    What could I potentially do on the Mac mini that I wouldn't be able to do using Apple TV? Is there any speculation that the new Apple TV will allow web browsing natively?

    Also, for what it's worth, this entire post was done using Siri on my iPhone. Not bad.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    I use a mini as my media center. It's connected via HDMI to my HDTV, and also to an external display. I use Plex to manage and play movies and TV shows. I can also use this setup for iTunes, if I choose. In addition, I have the mini available for other purposes that the ATV can't be used for. I use the Apple Wireless keyboard to control Plex from across the room, but you can just as easily use the Apple Remote or your iPhone or iPad.

    Overall, I found the mini to be much more flexible than the ATV. There's no need to "jailbreak" the mini to play any media type, unlike the ATV.
     
  3. pilot1226 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

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    Regarding movies and tv shows: if I had anything digital it would be through iTunes. I don't have the ability (nor want at this time) to put my cable coax into the Mini but I've read up on using EyeTV.

    So, the format thing isn't as big an issue. Though the storage would be nice.

    I'd probably use an app like Touchpad Pro or something to turn my iPhone into a trackpad/keyboard combo to avoid buying a wireless keyboard.

    What are some of the things you mentioned you can do on a Mini that you can't on an ATV? And what role do you thing full 1080p content will do for both devices?

    With mirroring, can I mirror iPad or iPhone Safari onto my ATV screen? Can I mirror at all to OSX Lion via Mini?
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    All the other things you can do on any Mac, such as running any apps. My wife can work on an Excel spreadsheet or operate her office Windows computer remotely from the mini while we simultaneously watch a movie, whether from a ripped DVD via Plex, or directly from a DVD (I have the mini model that has the SuperDrive). Try doing that with an ATV! Don't get me wrong, ATVs are a valid option that works for a great number of users. It just wasn't for me, due to the limitations.
     
  5. pilot1226 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

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    Thanks. Guess we'll see what the ATV3 looks like and I will have to make a decision then. Regarding ripped movies, if I import the movie into iTunes I should be able to stream the thing, right?
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    Yes, if it's in a format that iTunes supports then you can import and stream it.
     
  7. danwilliams macrumors member

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    Just a comment regarding using the iPhone or iPad as a remote control. It will work. However, I eventually went with a Harmony remote to control my Mac Mini connected to my HDTV. The tactile feedback of pressing the buttons was there for the Harmony but not for the iPhone. When I used the iPhone, I found I constantly had to look down to see which button I was pressing.

    Try the iPhone out for a while to see if it works for you. If not, look to getting the Harmony (or a nice universal remote).
     
  8. helicon1 macrumors newbie

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    I was in a similar situation a year ago. Had and loved an iPhone, bought a mini, iPad, eyetv diversity, bt keyboard & touchpad & apple tv since then. The setup is good but a year later I would do things differently.

    If apple update atv to 1080p, and you're happy to buy content from iTunes or use a different Mac to download, the need for a mini is greatly reduced. Think of the tv as a widescreen media consumption device. Internet on tv is clumsy, much better on iPad. Mini is more useful when disentangled from but networked to the tv IME.
     
  9. Mr Rogers macrumors regular

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    #9
    WD Media Hub or Mac Mini

    Why waste time and valuable money on a highly restricted Apple TV when better options are available, media streamers such as the WD Media Hub with 1T onboard HDD, or, if you wish versatility, a HDMI enabled Mac Mini, 2010 0r 2011 revisions.

    As with many others, I utilise a Mac Mini as my media centre, this is linked to my AV receiver and then linked to my LCD TV - result is I have 5.1 sound output for many a downloaded file and all formats are playable, I also can browse the internet and check email all from the comfort of my sofa.

    A good used Mac Mini, preferably under 12 months of age, or supplied with AppleCare should last a few good years, also, you can add huge storage capabilities - I may like Apple hardware, but iTunes is a no go area for me, always has been and always will be.
     
  10. jmhays macrumors member

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    iTunes is OK, but you really should expand your options and look at Plex or XBMC. XBMC is a MUCH more powerful application than iTunes for streaming movies and music.
     
  11. pilot1226 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

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    Good information. Thanks.

    Assuming I would like to browse the Internet on my LED TV, can iOS Safari be mirrored from iPhone or iPad? Or is that the potential difference making me lean towards Mini.
     
  12. Aidoneus macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Yes, you can use AirPlay Mirroring to put Safari from your A5 iOS device onto the big screen using Apple TV.
     
  13. jwm2 macrumors regular

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    Because you are looking at over $500 to do what a $99 + jailbroken unit can do. For $300 i was able to get 3 tv's in my home running off my NAS and i can stream many channels i'd otherwise have to pay my cable company for. Sure the mac mini has other capabilities, but if watching cartoons and various other sitcoms is what you need it for then the mac mini seems like a waste to me.
     
  14. pilot1226 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pilot1226

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    If I didn't want to jailbreak, it sounds like I can go to a steaming website like ESPN3 and mirror it via ATV to my 42" Samsung anyway. So that would be what I wanted... Leaning towards ATV and iPad after refresh now. Thanks!
     

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