Use ATV2 to upgrade old Mini?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ianhmltn, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. ianhmltn macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    I recently bought a G4 1.25Ghz MacMini for a home media centre. I've a 250GB firewire 400 attached for the iTunes library and all films/music stored on the external drive.
    I have a DVI>HDMI adaptor to convert the DVI signal to HDMI and have analogue audio transferred separately.

    However, sadly the mini's graphic card isn't up to the job as most films jitter during action/panning heavy movement shots. Static shots run fine.

    I've tried playing films in iTunes, Quicktime and FrontRow, however all have the same effect.

    I tried the extremal drive on my macbook pro and it streams fine, so the firewire is not the bottle neck. The mini has 1GB RAM and should be capable of streaming video.

    So to finally get to my question.

    If I bought a ATV2, use the mini+FW drive as storage will this get around the jitter? Will movies likely play fine? Obviously the ATV2 and Mac-mini would be connected to the same router via Cat5 (ethernet).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    The issue is the Mini's CPU... it's just too old to play modern H.264 video files (acceleration via the graphics card is a recent phenomenon for Macs... only the most recent ones support it).

    Whether or not the AppleTV 2 will solve your problems requires some more information. If all your videos are in straight-up MPEG-4 or H.264 format and are in your iTunes library, then the AppleTV will be a good fit. However, if you play your files from a folder or other self-organized system, it will be a bit harder for the AppleTV to reach outside its walled garden. The fact that the Mini is PowerPC-based also keeps you from running something like Plex Media Server to feed the files to something cheap like a Roku box.

    If you want to keep it simple and are just looking for a cheap device to play video files from a folder, you could get a WD Live or Popcorn Hour. If you want Netflix + lots of other streaming options, the higher-end Roku box offers those as well as a USB port for your local media.
  3. ianhmltn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2011
    Yeah 99% of my films are H.264 and in a itunes Library, all be it on a FW400 drive.

    I've been doing speed tests and even over my generic router, streaming is stable and jitter free, so there shouldn't be any issues with the FW400 drive and network.

    Many thanks.
  4. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Yeah you don't have to worry about the firewire drive... the bitrates on H.264 files are much lower than the throughput of the hard drive and fw400 connection. The bottleneck, if any, would be your wireless network, but it seems you've done your due diligence on that front.

    Since you are already working within an iTunes library, it seems like an AppleTV would be a good bet. Only two things to keep in mind: it's limited to 720p, and you won't get as many internet streaming options as you would with something like a Roku box. If those limitations aren't all that important to you though, the ATV is the way to go.

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