Mac Mini vs. Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by adm531, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. adm531 macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2009
    I want one or the other for my HDTV at home. I use my iOS devices a lot, and could see them becoming increasingly handy now that Airplay is here. Does anyone have both a mac mini and an apple tv set up and could they say which system is better pls?
  2. Wheeler macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2007
    Depends what you have and what you will use it/them for.

    Do you have a desktop (such as a mini) with itunes running at all times and media you want to stream? If you don't the aTV will be limited to rentals and netflix basically, plus some limited airplay like youtube.

    If you do have a dedicated itunes server, the aTV is much easier to use on a TV than a mini in my experience, as it always has a "10 foot" gui, where as the mini will need to be running boxee, plex, front row, or another media center to be able to be easily controlled from the couch. Boxee and plex have good ios apps for control, but when you need to switch between them is when the problems pop up (have to use a osx remote app like RemoteHD or hippo, which work well but not as easy as picking up the aTV remote or using remote app for everything).

    Limited file formats on non jailbroken atvs- mini will play everything.

    Can use Hulu desktop on a mini, which is a real nice option.

    Essentially for me, as I have utilized both over the years but now use 4 atvs, it comes down to ease of control. I was happy to do the juggling to control all the different apps on a mini, but my wife could not use it. With the ios romote app, she can do tons of stuff on the aTV's.

    So if its just for you and you want to be able to watch all apps and all formats and dont mind a lil extra work to switch between apps, go with a mini.

    If you want something simple that anyone can use- aTV.
  3. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    I had to make the same decision a while back and apart from the cost it was easy the MAC mini is by far the better option. The only way the Apple TV could even come close to doing some of the things i wanted was to jailbreak it and i did not want to go that route.

    I am running Plex client server on the mini with a couple of external drives for the media files. The mini is connected HDMI to my TV and i can access all the files from either my macbook pro running the Plex client or my iphone also running the Plex client.

    If you are not familiar with Plex read up on it. It is a free download

    I have multiple file formats and everything is handled flawlessly by the system.

    I would consider the ATV for a second system fed by the mini but only when the ATV has an app store with Plex available.

    The IOS version of Plex includes a remote to control the mini so you can do it all from the sofa.

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