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Mini or AppleTV

 
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MrWrite0413
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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 7:59 pm    Post subject: Mini or AppleTV Reply with quote

Yes, that's my question. My goal is simple: To show my movies, iPhoto pix, other graphics on my new Toshiba HD TV in our great room. I'm confused about the best approach -- doing this wirelessly from my workstation via AppleTV OR hooking a Mini to the TV. (the issue isn't money. The issue is which will work best and make me happiest.) I'm tempted to try the AppleTV route. I have a new Mac with the faster IIn airport card. But I got to thinking: why mess with wireless transmission. Would it be smart to just sync or backup my video/pix to a Mini. I mean a mini should be faster, right? And have more storage? and it comes with Front Row and all the iLife apps, right. So why mess with an AppleTV router? On the other hand: I see that the ports are much different on these. AppleTV has the HDMI connectors, which I hear are wonderful. I don't see them on the Mini; I see Ethernet and DVI connectors. (My new TV is NOT near my cablemodem, so the ethernet port may do me no good).
My problem, I guess, is that I don't understand the overall merits of Mini vs AppleTV if the main goal is running Apple's iLife apps on your TV set.
By the way: ALL of the AppleTV material talks only about iTunes. the implication is that AppleTV only accepts files from iTunes. Surely that can't be, right? I thought it also accepted your iPhoto albums, too. -- david
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dungeon92
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 12:07 am    Post subject: yes it does Reply with quote

It syncs through iTunes so it'll interact like an iPod so putting pics on it will be the same. If you have another Mac or else a PC with Bonjour for Windows you can Ad Hoc the two since the Mini has AirPort standard.
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g5g5
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Re: Mini or AppleTV Reply with quote

MrWrite0413 wrote:
ALL of the AppleTV material talks only about iTunes. the implication is that AppleTV only accepts files from iTunes. Surely that can't be, right? I thought it also accepted your iPhoto albums, too. -- david


It does. Everything is controlled through iTunes. Just think of the Apple TV as a giant 5G iPod. It basically syncs the same way. That being said, you can't stream photos from other computers. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple fix that in the first firmware update.

As for what to buy....

It sounds like you are already set in the Mac department. I would go with the Apple TV for now. When Leopard comes out and the Mac mini get updated it will a different story. After all, the Mac mini is a better all-around Mac HTPC solution. I'm just waiting to buy a new Mac mini to compliment my Apple TV. My G4 Mac mini and iMac are feeling soooo old these days. Sad
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garty
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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Mini or AppleTV Reply with quote

MrWrite0413 wrote:
AppleTV has the HDMI connectors, which I hear are wonderful. I don't see them on the Mini;


You can get a dvi - hdmi cable to connect your mini to hdmi on the tv.

I think the quandry is that both have their advantages and disadvantages so there is no one right solution.

For example the mini has a dvd player so you can use it as a dvd player as well as a way of playing your iTunes content, the apple tv does not. However using the mini, unless you are lucky, you might have to tinker with video resolutions using switchresx or displayconfigx to get your picture to fit on the tv whereas with the apple tv it just works.

Personally I use both, I have a mini in the family room which is used mainly as a dvd player and an appletv in the bedroom which I use for watching tv shows I've downloaded from iTunes.

I am seriously considering swapping the mini out for an appletv and reverting to my dvd player because I find the appletv is just more convenient to use as it was specifically designed for that purpose and you dont have to mess with keyboards and stuff like that plus frontrow can be a bit flaky at times, one annoying habit is when you update itunes then run frontrow nothing happens because itunes is sat there in the background waiting for you to accept the license agreement. That really confuses other family members! But I am waiting for Leo Pard to see how much better frontrow will be before I do anything.
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cuvtixo
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:19 am    Post subject: No, The Mini for now!!!!! Reply with quote

I've been both impressed and very frustrated with my Apple TV, and I'm thinking of getting a new mini to replace it.
1. You have to have non-iTunes movies in mp4 format- and not all mp4s work. It takes my g4 ten hours to rip my DVDs into mp4 with Visual Hub. I could have spend a few more bucks for Quicktime Pro- but that could be even slower.
2. iTunes movies are more expensive than DVDs, and I can't use them in DVD players, etc..
3. Only syncs photos from One other computer with iPhoto (I think it works with Adobe Photo Album on Windoze)
3. The hacks available on the net seem to mostly require another Intel Mac to do. Even then, directions aren't clear and use the command line, sometimes seperate linuxPC commands. C'mon Mac-hackers! You can do better!
The AppleTV streams movies pretty well, so I'm not interested in the hardrive upgrade, but I'd like to use other video formats (the upcoming YouTube feature is a step in the right direction, but mostly, YAWN! )
4. The AppleTV gets HOT. I bought a fan to cool it down, but that kinda defeats the silence factor.
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shorafix
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 5:15 am    Post subject: Re: No, The Mini for now!!!!! Reply with quote

cuvtixo wrote:
I've been both impressed and very frustrated with my Apple TV, and I'm thinking of getting a new mini to replace it.
1. You have to have non-iTunes movies in mp4 format- and not all mp4s work. It takes my g4 ten hours to rip my DVDs into mp4 with Visual Hub. I could have spend a few more bucks for Quicktime Pro- but that could be even slower.

Get elgato turbo.264 @ $ 100,- which will allow you to transcode your DVDs content in realtimte with your G4.
cuvtixo wrote:
2. iTunes movies are more expensive than DVDs, and I can't use them in DVD players, etc..

You may copy your DVDs with Mac the Ripper onto an internal or external device of any Mac and then use turbo.264 in order to transcode and store into iTunes -> AppleTV in realtime....Or you just buy a DVD-player @ $ 80,- leaving AppleTV playing music, pictures and other digital media.... Cool
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DigitalBoy88
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was considering purchasing an Apple TV and applying many of the patches (ala Perian and VLC among others) to allow playback of non-itunes files, and streaming files from a source other than the itunes service.

After seeing the results that a friend had with his AppleTV with some HDTV samples that I uploaded to him, I opted to get a Mac Mini.

Here's my reason why: I have a *lot* of digital media in HD format, specifically 1080i and 1080p MKV and AVI files, generally HDTV captures of various TV shows that I keep on a pair of Buffalo Terastations.

The Apple TV with the Perian codec tool and Vlan media player would playback 720p HD files adequately, but could only muster what would charitably be called a slideshow with 1080i and 1080p (especially 1080p) file samples.

Since the bulk of my digital media is in 1080i or p, this disqualified the Apple TV as a candidate to replace my current Windows based HTPC.

Right now, I'm running a 1.66GHz Core Duo, but will be purchasing a 2GHz Merom (the 2.33 would be nice, but not for more than 2X the price of the 2GHz processor), and the 7200 RPM 160 GB 2.5" SATA drive that are listed in the "pimp my mini" thread in the Mini upgrade forum.

With that, and a good codec (CoreAVC is the most effecient one out there that I know of, it torpedoes FFDshow easily for effeciency and speed), I shouldn't have to worry about playing the upgrade game for quite some time, as broadcast standards aren't likely to change any time soon. Especially when Leopard is released and can fully utilize the 64 bit instruction sets in the Merom.

I admit, I do like the AppleTV interface and the simplicity for integrating into a pre-existing home theater setup, but the wee little beastie is just too underpowered for my needs, and non upgradeable thanks to a hard soldered processor.

If you're not a hardcore quality nazi like myself, and don't have a huge library already in place, then an Apple TV will probably work for you until they release the next generation, which will probably have the new Fujitsu H264 realtime codec chip, which can encode/decode 1080p in realtime.
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terrapin72
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought an AppleTV - and returned it two days later. Interesting device, and certainly ranks high on the "easy to use" scale. However, when I purchased my new Sony LCD TV along with it, the attraction of a full OS-X machine to act as an HTPC was too much - I also needed a new DVD player, so for effectively $110 more, I had the Mac Mini - and infinitely more flexibility. I really will primarily use it as a "head end" for my iTunes and other digital video sources that are housed on my 20" iMac. The fact that I can playback a wider variety of video sources, and get all the other benefits of it being an actual computer (from simple iTunes visualizations, to Mac Mame, etc..) Paired up with a wireless keyboard and mouse stashed in my coffee table, I like being able to have the power of a computer in my HT stack - so, imho, the additional flexibility makes the mini a much better choice over the AppleTV.
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randyharris
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with you DB88, the AppleTV is really, really cool. But unfortunately it is not geared towards HD content which leaves me ultimately uninterested.

And the lack of a DVD player is an unreasonable ommision.
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Fergster
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a MacMini in my living room and an AppleTV in the bedroom for some time but am now going to put another Apple TV in the living room and move the MacMini to the home office.

Reasons are basically:

The Mac is under utilised and is just serving media. Would be nice to use it as a proper computer. I use it occassionaly for email/browsing but it's just not practical on a 42" TV display.

Plug ins such as Sapphire and nitoTV are better than Frontrow (or Backrow) for navigating through tv shows which makes up the majority of my media.

Ferg
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