Mac Mini VS Apple TV on a home theater network

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rdsii64, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. rdsii64 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    #1
    My overal goal with my living room home theater set up is to rip my entire standard deffinition dvd collection to an upgradable NAS(read add drives as I need them) in an itunes compatible format. This means that the NAS, my imac, and what ever head unit I attached to my tv will be connected to the house network via gigabit switch. Now comes the million dollar question. Which is better suited for this type of set up the Apple TV or the mac mini?
     
  2. the-oz-man macrumors 6502

    the-oz-man

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    #3
    While both will work, the mini is the clear choice here. It will of course set you back more money, but it sounds like you want to get this right the first time.
     
  3. freepeacesweet macrumors member

    freepeacesweet

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Cayman Islands
    #4
    Mac Mini all the way. My apple TV freezes up randomly. It's just not the same.
     
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #5
    If you have two audio devices (e.g., TV and receiver) or need it to be kid-friendly, the Apple TV is probably better. Otherwise, the Mini.
     
  5. jonesboy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    #6
    Mac mini. You can get some nice software to make it nice and pretty as a home media/pvr if you want.
     
  6. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wash, DC Metro
    #7
    I use both.

    I have the Mac Mini acting as my iTunes server for my Apple TV. I'm not familiar enough with the various software out there, but I like the user interface of the Apple TV.
     
  7. LeoFio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #8
    Apple TV with aTV Flash installed has a lot of potential, but the AppleTV is so underpowered you would be better off the the mini. Installing Boxee and/or XBMC on it to play your collection will make it feel less like a computer hooked up to your TV, which some people like.
     
  8. Mhaddy macrumors 6502

    Mhaddy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #9
    I've been going back & forth between an ATV and a Mac Mini for my home theatre solution for weeks now and I think I've finally decided on a Mini, and here's why:

    - Extra processing power afforded by the Mini to watch 1080p videos
    - My movies, music and pictures will be stored on a NAS and the Mini can easily mount & stream from this
    - I'll throw the Boxee Beta (or Plex?) on it, use a bluetooth remote and/or keyboard & mouse
    - Optionally be able to use it to do non-media-related things on my TV
    - Gigabit ethernet (if I decide to go the wired route down the road)

    Downsides:

    - Price
    - Adapters: Need a mini-DVI to DVI (or HDMI) for proper output to my TV
    - No optical output
     
  9. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #10
    Corrections:

    -The Mini comes with the mini-DVI to DVI adapter
    -The Mini does have optical output.
     
  10. mattwolfmatt macrumors 65816

    mattwolfmatt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #11
    I started with an Apple TV and had tons of problems. Switched to a Mac Mini and I'm so glad I did.

    Read Chris Breen's article on setting it up. Works like a charm. Some of the remotes and software he suggests are a little overkill, but otherwise, works great!
     
  11. Mhaddy macrumors 6502

    Mhaddy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #12
    Even better :)
     
  12. getbigg21 Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2005
    #13
    Yeah I went with the Mac Mini. I purchased the toslink cable for optical sound and a dvi-hdmi adapter and I'm all good now. I'm running Plex on it for my movies and tv shows.
     
  13. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #14
    I own both.

    I would most definitely use the Apple TV if you insist on making your media iTunes compatible anyways.

    If you aren't wedded to the iTunes format then I would use a Mac Mini and Plex. While it can still handle iTunes formats fine, I would then (personally) encode the DVDs with some high-quality Handbrake settings as MKV's.
     
  14. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #15
    This.

    In the past I used a Mac mini, but when the Apple TV started supporting both AAC and AC3/Dolby Digital audio in the mp4/m4v containers, I finally had a format that I could standardize on. The existence of Handbrake completed the picture.

    I found using the mini fiddly and irritating (to myself and others) while the Apple TV 'just works'. I know that is not always the case for others, I can only speak about my own installation. Being able to use the iPod Touch/iPhone Remote app is icing on the cake.

    A.
     
  15. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #16
    where did ya get the dvi-hdmi adapter? Was it expensive and does it "just work?"

    thanks!
     
  16. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #17
    Check monoprice.com. Very cheap but they work, and yes, it should just work.
     
  17. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #18
    would the mini serve a better purpose with server software installed as opposed to just using plex and items like that for the HT experience?

    also how would you integrate both an appletv and a mini into the home theater? i guess one could be placed upstairs in the master bedroom or the kids room and just stream everything to it correct?

    thanks
     
  18. j2048b macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Cali
    #19
    Thanks, have already spent a ton on trying to get mine to show up, but need to send it from dvi to component and have not had any luck!

    so i wanted to ask the specific dvi to hdmi they purchased, so then i could tru to send the hdmi to component through the item i already bought!

    thanks
     
  19. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #20
    I have the following:
    -HP MediaSmart EX485 w/about 9TB storage on it. This contains all my media, including my primary iTunes content and resides in my basement storage room.
    -Mac mini w/Plex. This is on one display that only I use, as I wanted to perfect it before family use. Also my primary display has no digital input. All my DVD/Blu-ray content streams to this from my server wirelessly. It's encoded MKV and M2TS.
    -AppleTV on my main family TV. This sync's to my primary iTunes library and is only used for iTunes content since I dropped cable/sat TV.

    Eventually I will transition the Mini to the main display for the family, but I didn't want to fiddle with trying to go digital to analog for my video. At this point I'm unsure what I will do with the AppleTV.
     
  20. Mhaddy macrumors 6502

    Mhaddy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #21
    Outside of the installation and configuration of the thing (which I don't have a problem doing), are there any other irritants with the Mini where the ATV "just worked" better?
     
  21. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #22
    I've got several irritants I want to work out before it's family friendly.

    -The mini isn't elegant in Plex when it comes to mounting remote shares. If Plex has been restarted I have to manually remount the folders that contain my content. There should be a better way but I haven't found it.

    -Patches, etc.. OSX updates come out and I always feel compelled to apply them, but I usually wait and let them accumulate a bit. Of course this requires a password. I use my iphone as a keyboard for this.

    -Using iTunes video.. Since my mini is on my home theater location, I manage my iTunes library from a different computer and store the content on a server, I'm not sure how to properly access it with Plex. It's not a big deal since I have the Apple TV but I assume I would have to manually copy the files to the Mini and then launch it with Front Row since Plex cannot play it natively. I need to investigate this. Apple TV you would just tell to "sync" with your iTunes library.
     
  22. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #23
    What brentsg said. When I get a new DVD, I just feed it to Handbrake and add it to iTunes on my desktop machine. iTunes is configured to sync '10 most recent unwatched movies', which means as soon as I add it to iTunes, iTunes is pushing it to the Apple TV. Even if I didn't have the automatic syncing, it would be matter of clicking the Sync button.

    I've experimented with Plex, and I find the interface irritating (pretty, but irritating just the same). I've tried Boxee, and found it uninspiring. In the end, I've gone back to iTunes and a stock Apple TV. I don't want to 'play' with these devices, I want to use them.

    Some might say "well, you've bought into the Apple ecosystem". Yes, yes I did. Apple has come up with an ecosystem that I want to buy into.

    A.
     
  23. liveonlocation macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #24
    I am currently trying to set up my Mini to run in the family room in the basement. I had been using it before, but retired it for an apple TV. I now have the appletv in the livingroom upstairs and everything is great with using it.

    I have my media in iTunes on a PC in the office. Roughly 28,000 songs, 200 movies, 200 tv episodes in the library. Half purchased through iTunes and the rest ripped and converted from my own collection.

    The frustration lies is getting the Mini setup to be as user friendly as the AppleTV for my wife to use AND to be able to access my library in iTunes on my PC.

    I am thinking of selling the mini and just getting another appleTV.

    I'm trying Plex and Boxee, but neither seems to handle the iTunes library on the PC effectively compared to the AppleTV. Too Bad.

    I am also in Canada so the attraction of using Hulu doesn't even factor into my decision making unfortunetly.

    I am open to suggestions, as long as it doesn't involve moving my library or re-encoding everything.

    Great forum BTW.

    Thanks
     
  24. sparkie1984 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    a small village near London
    #25
    i cant decide between the two either!!!

    thing with me is im converting blu-rays too but still want the 1080p quality which i believe the atv cant do can it?
     

Share This Page