mac mini vs. ATV, which is a better setup?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by acrahm, May 17, 2009.

  1. acrahm macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    Title says it all, mac mini vs ATV. which is a better setup to use as a home theatre setup?

    as of today, i have a ATV that i use for movies and TV, i have boxee on it, but it doesnt work that great (screen size is messed up...i cant figure out how to change resolutions in boxee, and the lag time to watch shows is very slow sometimes, especially in hulu)

    So, i am contemplating getting a mini to use instead of my atv. I have about 800gb of video and i figure boxee will run much smoother on the mini.

    So if i switch to a mini, could one of those $400-$450 refurbed minis run as good as my ATV?
  2. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    ATV=Easier to acess content and in theory has unlimited potetial by hacking.

    Mini=Slightly harder to acess media no HDMI or HD ports. However theres a ton of 3rd party software and you can get 4GB of ram and a 320GB Hard Drive.:apple:

    I would choose the Mini!
  3. davemulheran macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    UK - London/Kent
    I can answer this because I have both.

    I use a new 2009 2.26 1GB mini downstairs. I use plex on this and it accesses all my movies/tv shows and music from my 3.06 ATI iMac wirelessly.

    It is perfect and 1GB easily plays back 720p MKV files. Plex is an awesome interface.

    I also bought an ATV for the bedroom, and this too is very good IF you have all your media in itunes as m4v files. I havent yet loaded ambc in to it, but will be this week.

    I would say, for a large HD TV front room, go for the mini.

    You can connect by using a DVI to HDMI cable. and a seperate rca audio feed

    job done
  4. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    Have a similar setup and I can second the setup. ATV and mini work well together if you have two tvs.

    However, I could not recommend Plex. I have been very disappointed with it. I am not exactly over the moon about frontrow either as you cannot access the iTunes store for anything more than trailers.
  5. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I had an Apple TV for a couple of months, we used it a lot and it worked well, but getting movies and shows on the device was a pain. I started playing around with Plex and loved it. I sold the Apple TV and bought a Mini.

    The Mini is more $$$ but Plex is well worth it.
  6. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Jul 8, 2008
    my house
    Basically what I did as well, actually ATV isn't sold yet :( , but the Mini is WELL WORTH IT
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I have a 160GB ATV and I'm buying a Mini this week. I have found that my viewing has changed slightly so the ATV is more limiting to me. Now I know I can hack the ATV but I don't really care to do that. If the ATV doesn't sell I'll stick it in my bedroom, but I rarely watch TV in there anyway so I'm not sure I care to start. Either way the Mac Mini is 2x the price (generally) but you get an entire computer out of it. Plex is awesome, some don't like it and I get that, but frankly I love it and I love the continual developments that Plex is doing. My vote is for the Mini.
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I have such a hard time trying to imagine not loving Plex. I think it's absolutely great.
  9. mastershakess macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Bel Air, MD
  10. acrahm thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2007
    Sounds like many people like the mini set up more. I might have missed it, but since the mini doesnt have HDMI, whats the best quality i can get out of the mini? ATV is 720p, so would the mini be as good there?

    my only hold up (well besides putting $500 down) is the fact that since i have 700+gb of video, i dont have a "base" to store it in. I use an external right now, but i would not want to keep that on all the time with the mini. How big could i go in terms of HD on the mini, is it upgradeable to 1tb?
    thanks again for all the input!
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    The largest internal Apple offers with the mini is 320GB. The largest you can put in yourself (if you're up for opening the mini, which isn't the worlds easiest task) is 500GB. Most people are using externals (from what I've read in threads here).
  12. srexy macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2006
    The internal drive is limited to 2.5" drives so 500gb right now. You can always hook up an external (what I will be doing when my Mini arrives) FW or eSata drive which opens up your options significantly.

    I've ordered a Newertech Ministack from OWC which apparently will power down when it's not in use but I've heard reports that the fans can be noisy so I'm not going to recommend it until I've had personal experience of it.
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    If you need multiple audio outputs, the ATV is your only option.

    The Mini can do 1080p at high bit rates with Plex.

    Mini takes 2.5" SATA drives. The 1 TB drives are supposedly only a few months away, but we'll just have to see.

    For the ATV, the largest internal drive is 320 gb, or 500 gb with a SATA bridge and a little modding. For external drive you can do eSATA up to 2 TB or USB2 up to 2 TB. The former requires hardware modding, while the latter requires software modding that is broken with an update to the ATV software.
  14. mac.jedi macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    The O.C.
    My advice is to use both. For me, the apple tv is really the only game in town for easily accessing iTunes rentals and streaming podcasts directly via the iTunes store. It's also more family friendly for your iTunes content.

    We use our mini to stream content to our apple tv's and for Video TS files, eyetv, hulu, netflix, 1080p encodes and various internet tv via front row, boxee and plex.

    For me, one device just can't do it all ... yet. That is unless you love using a mouse and keyboard to browse the iTunes store, setting up subscriptions, deleting old content, and generally spending a lot of time setting up rss feeds and managing downloads.

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