New Mac Mini to replace AppleTV

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by jaelae, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. jaelae macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2007
    Hopefully someone can shed a bit of insight here on what I would like to do. I have an AppleTV and it works great - but I also have a windows desktop that I use as a HTPC. I've wanted a mac mini to replace this but without an HDMI cable I have been hesistant. Now with the new upgrade to the Minis (improved video card and inclusion of the mini display ports), I am trying to see if it can be my one device to connect to the TV.

    I currently have a mini display adapter to DVI for my current Macbook Pro and I connect it to my TV and it looks great so I am not too concerned about video - though I do hope it is as clear as my AppleTV currently is over HDMI. My main concern though is with audio. It doesn't have a Toslink optical connetor like the AppleTV does - anyone know what the best quality cable would be to purchase? Or is it just the simple cables with RCA on one end and the mini stereo speaker connector on the other? These usually cannot do 5.1 surround which may be a dealbreaker.
  2. esaleris macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2005
    The HDMI interface is backwards compatible with DVI. So you will be able to connect the Mac mini to an HDMI device by simply buying a converter adapter that changes the form factor mechanically to fit the device.

    The headphone jack is also the optical jack. Just buy a minijack adapter, plug in an optical cable, and you'll start getting the digital connection. If the outputting signal is 5.1 (i.e. DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround), your reciever will decode and send out 5.1 sound.

    One place to try to get all this is Try it for for cheap cables that will fit your needs.
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    The Mac Mini can deliver up to 7.1 Dolby Digital AC3 (and also 7.1 DTS with Plex) already.
  5. jaelae thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2007
    Ah I shouldn't have looked at the plug and nothing else. Is it worth converting the DVI connector to HDMI or will I get the same display using a DVI connection that is already on my TV (I assume that there is no real signal conversion by using an HDMI cable on a DVI connector). If it looks the same, I don't care what I use :)

    I will order that audio cable you linked - I have great results with cablestogo products.

    Looks like this will be the way to go since I can use my Dinovo Keyboard/Touchpad to use it as a computer and always have the option to use the apple remote to jump right into front row functionality. Anything else to look for when using this as an HTPC?
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    If your TV has DVI, then just use that. My Mini is connected to my 1080p projector by DVI>HDMI, but that's only because it doesn't have a DVI port.
  7. Cloudane macrumors 68000


    Aug 6, 2007
    Sweet Apple Acres
    I was thinking along the same sort of lines, I have an AppleTV and have just plugged a new Mac Mini in the same TV (I have a keyboard and mouse there), and can't think of any reason to keep the AppleTV there. Is there anything they do (apart from the onscreen keyboard which I'm not fussed about) that the Mini won't? You can still rent movies through the full iTunes right?
  8. rrijkers macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Exactly what I needed to know. I want to use it for the exact same thing. To the original poster, will you be gettin the 2 or 2.26?
  9. jesterscourt macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2009
    I just ordered a Mini as well (the 2.0 model) and I am curious, my 32" HDTV has VGA and HDMI in, but I want to run the audio through the digital out into my 5.1 sound system receiver.

    So here's the question, which is better?

    Mini-DVI -> HDMI
    Mini-DVI -> VGA
  10. TheBearman macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    Cary, NC
    You may want to consider content. If you download movies from iTunes doesn't it limit the HD content downloads to AppleTV only? Don't know for sure but something to know before going this route.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You cannot buy HD movies from iTunes, only rent them for the ATV. The HD TV shows, which can be purchased, can be played on a Mac or the ATV.
  12. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    How do you guys deal with font size? I had a Mini hooked up to my 52" Sony Bravia and found it difficult to read the menu bars from my couch. That was one of the main drivers for me taking it apart. I then went with an ATV but rarely used it so I sold it too.

    Now I'm kicking around going back to the Mini, but want to be able to more easily read the menus. Maybe it's not an issue with something like Plex.
  13. jw2002 macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2008

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