Purchasing advice: Apple TV or Mac Mini?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I'm after some thoughts/advice from AI on this...



I'm trying to make a decision on which to buy; an Apple TV or a Mac Mini. Odd question? Well...



I've just got a new HD ready TV (only 26" as I have a small lounge and two small kids so money isn't that available!). My old DVD player (6 years old) is giving up the ghost. I need to replace it, and also want a way to listen to the house mp3 collection in the lounge as we don't have a steroe in there. My options are:



* Buy a new Mac Mini to act as a DVD player connected by a DVI to HDMI cable. Pool all the mp3s and use front row to drive it all.



* Buy a new DVD player and connect to one of the TVs HDMI ports. Buy an Apple TV and connect it to the other. Stream music from the other machines in the house (or load onto it). I have a G4 Mac Mini spare at work I can bring home and sit in a cupboard to act as a media server and gradually start to rip DVDs to it.



Seems a trivial question but I want to get my set-up right. I quite like the idea of ripping all the DVDs eventually, which would be great considering I have a 6 month and a 22 month old, with the eldest into sticking DVDs into the tray! But the Mac mini would save on space.



Any thoughts?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,737member
    If you can afford it, go with the Mac Mini, it's a better choice. It's much more flexible than the AppleTV - for streaming video it will support way more codecs, and then there's additional functionality like PVR (with additional hardware) and DVD player.



    The addition of an EyeTV diversity to the Mac Mini will give you full PVR functionality.



    If you can, wait for the next Mac Mini update, which hopefully will include the X3000 integrated graphics chip (instead of GMA950), which is reputed to have much better video scaling (in English: this chip should give much better picture quality on your TV than the current Mini).



    An alternative to consider is the Pixel Magic HD Mediabox. It's available for about £300, so between the AppleTV and Mac Mini price-wise (but you'll need a KB and mouse to operate the Mac Mini, and the Mediabox doesn't have wireless - this could be added with a wireless to ethernet bridge). It supports far more codecs than the AppleTV and outputs higher quality pictures (up to 1080p).



    The Mediabox will play AAC audio files (amongst others). If you want to play iTunes Store songs, you'll have to strip the DRM first, but this is easy enough to do (with no additional quality loss) if you have access to Windows. Playing iTunes Store video files would present more of a problem, since there's no way to get rid of the DRM. However, there's not exactly a lot of video content on the iTunes UK store, so I guess that's not really going to concern you.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    othelloothello Posts: 1,053member
    thanks Mr. H.



    i had not heard of the pixel magic media box so will take a look. i do have an eyetv usb tuner already but have not ever used it -- our TV supplier here in the UK is NTL and they have just announced their HD set-top box and PVR so i'm waiting for one of those to be installed!



    i like the idea of the mac mini, though going for a separate DVD player means i could get an upscaler to work on my new HD TV. but maybe waiting for the next mac mini upgrade will be the best, especially as they will hopefully put the new wi-fi n format in it.



    you are right, video content from itunes is not a great concern at the moment -- but in the future it might be. but then i can always use the mac mini i guess.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    othelloothello Posts: 1,053member
    seems someone else has thought about this issue:



    http://theappleblog.com/2007/01/16/a...right-for-you/
  • Reply 4 of 6
    I'd go with the Mac Mini...problem with AppleTV is that movies have to be playable in iTunes, which can be a pain DVDs with multiple chapters etc, since they need to be ripped as one file to work in iTunes, as opposed to a VIDEO_TS folder which essentially is the DVD.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by othello View Post


    I'm after some thoughts/advice from AI on this...



    I'm trying to make a decision on which to buy; an Apple TV or a Mac Mini. Odd question? Well...



    I've just got a new HD ready TV (only 26" as I have a small lounge and two small kids so money isn't that available!). My old DVD player (6 years old) is giving up the ghost. I need to replace it, and also want a way to listen to the house mp3 collection in the lounge as we don't have a steroe in there. My options are:



    * Buy a new Mac Mini to act as a DVD player connected by a DVI to HDMI cable. Pool all the mp3s and use front row to drive it all.



    * Buy a new DVD player and connect to one of the TVs HDMI ports. Buy an Apple TV and connect it to the other. Stream music from the other machines in the house (or load onto it). I have a G4 Mac Mini spare at work I can bring home and sit in a cupboard to act as a media server and gradually start to rip DVDs to it.



    Seems a trivial question but I want to get my set-up right. I quite like the idea of ripping all the DVDs eventually, which would be great considering I have a 6 month and a 22 month old, with the eldest into sticking DVDs into the tray! But the Mac mini would save on space.



    Any thoughts?



    Use the G4 Mini until the Intel Mini gets a new rev. May not be till Santa Rosa is out but the next rev will happen sooner or later and its already been a while.



    Buy a NAS (or build one) with the money you save and rip to that. Or just save the money until the next mini comes out. Migrate files from G4 to Intel.



    However neither mini will be really suitable to rip DVDs to given the drive form factor (notebook). Well okay, you CAN keep attaching FW drives to the mini to get more storage. But heck, if you want to rip DVDs you want a lot of disk space.



    There are a lot of new NAS boxes out there. Hopefully there's a new one thats a 4 SATA drive BYOD NAS that doesn't cost $600+ empty.



    I may just get a D-Link DNS 323 and run as a RAID 1 as a stopgap. Id hate to rip all my DVDs to a JBOD array and have it go *POOF* and have to re-rip. Hence the desire for a RAID-5 box...



    6 mos old and a 22 mos old I'd just stay with old gear and hope it stays out of reach.



    My 28 month old just drew all over my big screen...grr...



    Vinea
  • Reply 6 of 6
    You could of course always build your own MythTV or Freevo box...
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