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Mac Mini vs PS3 or Xbox 360

 
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blizzack1
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Mac Mini vs PS3 or Xbox 360 Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Now, first off, this isn't a flame. I've been a life-long mac user and am looking to add a Mac Mini to my A/V setup in my living room so I can watch downloaded content and store all my audio.

I am about to order a refurb'd mini, but while detailing my plan to a friend last night, he asked why I didn't just get a PS3 or Xbox 360 and save myself some money.

I didn't really have an answer for him, as these systems seem to be quite capable in their own right - especially since I've seen that some mini users are excited to have an XBOX 360-ish interface.

Am I correct in thinking that the main reason the premium is being paid for the Mini over these systems is for the ability to run OS X and have a much nicer user experience surfing the web/downloading?

Any feedback is appreciated, as this purchase will be a birthday gift from my gf!

Thanks for your responses.

Josh
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trustory
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you were going to choose one of the consoles for a HT set up the PS3 would be the one to go for, it has Blu-Ray and support for a greater range of codecs than the 360. So the choice then is between the PS3 an the mini. The mini is the more rounded machine for a HT set up and is probably what I would go for if the £100/$200 price difference isn't too much.
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optikinescant
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the decision making comes down to a couple factors: primarily usability, the need for gaming, and customization.

Customization and Usability can go hand in hand. There are multiple media center type applications available for the mac mini, only the one for each PS3 and XBOX360 and typically getting the majority of the content is dependent on a networked PC or Mac to share the files. Out of the box the user experience provided in Front Row - the standard UI for an HTPC on the mini is amazing for a newbie. My Fiancé picked it up instantly and can't live without it now. Nothing beats the simplicity of a 6 button remote, nice clean typography, and cover previews for movies, music, and photos.

If we gamed a lot, the 360 would have put up a fight in the debate for what to get, but we don't or at least not enough to constitute the purchase of another console. I have an old PS2 and we occasionally rock out with Guitar Hero 2&3 or throw down on some Katamari, but that's only when we're having gatherings with friends who come to down now and then. Games are not really big in our entertainment equation.

Back on to customization, I think you misinterpreted what you've read about people trying to make their mac mini like an XBOX 360 interface. What a lot of people have been doing recently is replacing Front Row with the XBOX Media Center Beta, an originally linux based media center mod that got its name as a mod for the old XBOX, and by default, looks nothing like an XBOX interface - though its completely skinnable and can be made to look like whatever you really want (I have mine to be similar to the AppleTv/Front Row interface via the XTV Skin which is fairly brilliant). Its in beta, but its already the best performing video player on the mac, surpassing VLC and mplayer from what I've experienced.

So yeah, thats a long winded way of saying it all depends on your needs.
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spankone
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

im sure you can run linux on the ps3 and also theres now play tv for the playstion that is either out or coming out soon. that means you can turn the playstation into a full pvr aswell
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spankone
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.play.com/Games/PlayStation3/4-/3595202/Play-TV/Product.html?cm_mmc=Google-_-VideoGames-_-Hardware-_-Play+TV&source=5063&engine=adwords!10249&keyword=%28play+tv+game%29&match_type=


play tv
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optikinescant
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spankone wrote:
im sure you can run linux on the ps3 and also theres now play tv for the playstion that is either out or coming out soon. that means you can turn the playstation into a full pvr aswell


You can indeed. Not sure how that holds up on the warranty of the device itself. And I bet you could ironically run XBMC on it if you could run Linux on it. LOL. Also, the PlayTV is going to end up being very DRM'd when it hits stateside I believe. Anyhow, like I said, it's all need based.
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smirkingjack
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a PS3 so I can not comment on it, but I do have an Xbox 360 and a Mini, and can say that they are apples and oranges.

Unless you have a large hard drive in your Xbox it makes a poor choice because you would then need another computer to hold the music and for the 360 to connect to. And that other computer either needs to be running Windows for the Windows Media Player or you need to buy a program that uses the same streaming protocol. The Wife Acceptance Factor is also very low on the 360. Unless you want to purchase a remote control for it you have to use the controller to navigate an interface that isn't particularly intuitive. And to my knowledge you can only do music.

The Mini on the other hand is an entirely different beast. Instead of powering a whole computer I only have to power an external drive. And instead of only being able to do music, I can store music and movies, tv episodes and pictures. And the Mini can stream to my other machines on the network and I have it streaming music across the internet. And I can grab the external drive along with my MacBook and have an HTPC anywhere I want to be. Front Row also makes for a much nicer interface and since the wife already has a MacBook the WAF is high. Having a 37" monitor is pretty sweet too.
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flashpaul
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have all 3 and the mini is by far the best machine for watching video

The xbox is really loud - sounds like a jet taking off
The ps3 is quieter but still too loud

The mini is totally quiet and it can stream DVD's over the network , try that on a games console

Another reason to use the mini is codec support , if you use VLC , Perian or OSXBMC then you can play almost any video format

Both PS3 and Xbox are very limited when it comes to codec support

The downside to the mini is it can be challenging to connect it to a tv properly
So do some research on your tv model before buying a min
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mogul @ norway
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am using the mini for video and xbox360 for gaming.
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just purchase the mini.

You can do so much with the mini. Where in order to do most of the items with the ps3 or xbox 360 you would have to install mods or other operating systems and configure a whole bunch of garbage.

If you want to exchange music from your mac to your xbox 360 there is a wonderfull application called twonky media one of the best on the internet.


If you want to run blu-ray. I would wait blu ray 2.0 is due out in the fall and you will need to upgrade the blu ray drive in order to play the new disk's because the blu ray 1.0 drives cannot process all the new content that will be availible in the 2.0 drives it doesn't hurt watching dvd's but you want the best experiance with blu ray wait.
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blizzack1
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

macmanmacman wrote:
I would just purchase the mini.

You can do so much with the mini. Where in order to do most of the items with the ps3 or xbox 360 you would have to install mods or other operating systems and configure a whole bunch of garbage.

If you want to exchange music from your mac to your xbox 360 there is a wonderfull application called twonky media one of the best on the internet.


If you want to run blu-ray. I would wait blu ray 2.0 is due out in the fall and you will need to upgrade the blu ray drive in order to play the new disk's because the blu ray 1.0 drives cannot process all the new content that will be availible in the 2.0 drives it doesn't hurt watching dvd's but you want the best experiance with blu ray wait.



Well, it looks like a Mini it is, then! Of course refurbs yesterday sold out in a few hours. My iMac will have to wait for some company.

I'm a bit embarrassed with my next question though:

I'm running it on a Sony Trinitron CRT... from 1992. It has s-video and composite. Should I expect any problems? As you can guess, HD isn't a huge priority just yet Smile

Thanks for all the great responses, guys.
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stupkid
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to hook your mini up to a Standard Definition TV you are going to need a DVI->svideo||composite out. Apple sells one for a few bucks and it works really well. After a few weeks of using my CRT TV I had to upgrade to an HDTV. The resolution on an SDTV is really terrible for using a computer.

Oh, and I don't know what kind of speakers you have, but if you need to get RCA out that is another adapter that you will need (mini phono->RCA) and Apple sells those as well.

EDIT: Just to give you exactly what I'm talking about here is the exact text from the Apple supplied adapters:

"DVI to Video Adapter" and the "iPod AV Cable"
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blizzack1
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stupkid wrote:
If you want to hook your mini up to a Standard Definition TV you are going to need a DVI->svideo||composite out. Apple sells one for a few bucks and it works really well. After a few weeks of using my CRT TV I had to upgrade to an HDTV. The resolution on an SDTV is really terrible for using a computer.

Oh, and I don't know what kind of speakers you have, but if you need to get RCA out that is another adapter that you will need (mini phono->RCA) and Apple sells those as well.

EDIT: Just to give you exactly what I'm talking about here is the exact text from the Apple supplied adapters:

"DVI to Video Adapter" and the "iPod AV Cable"


Hah, I was worried all this would drive me to an HD TV Smile

I am tired of hooking me ipod shuffle (which broke Sunday, incidentally!) up to my stereo, so I figured the mini would accomplish this, while also allowing me to watch movies... I figure the mini will be fine for this, and eventually when I add an HD TV I can really take advantage!

Thanks for the response!
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SOCOMRAIDER
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well while you can't do as much with PS3 as compared to a Mini. The PS3 can do more than a 360.

Yes the 360 has a better interface, which is a matter of opinion. I personally like the PS3 for my "front end".

While it isn't a full fledged web browser, you can surf the web on the PS3. If you will eventually get an HDTV, I'd say PS3. Blu-Ray is the official winner. While people say there isn't that much of a difference, there is. You can save and rip all your music onto your PS3. Online play is free. You can stream your computer content (must be an acceptable format, music here, video here.) to the PS3. There will be the DVR function coming out sooner or later (Play TV). Home will be coming out soon as well.
Plus another important factor, no red-ring of death.
While the PS3 is more expensive than a 360, it comes with wireless (360 does not) and comes with a standard hard drive. Which is easily replaced with any laptop SATA drive.

As of right now, my PS3 is my gaming machine, DVD/Blu-Ray player, media server front end, web browser, video chat (PS Eye), and a little Folding@Home.

Yet, it doesn't do as much as a Mac Mini, except for Blu-Ray.

So I say if you are just doing some media center functions, maybe a little gaming with some DVD/Blu-Ray action. Get a PS3.

Or if you need actual applications, like word processors or video editors in addition. Get the Mac. Though using a computer on a SDTV isn't very pleasing to the eye. A gaming console will be better, except for web browsing will be horrible as well.


BTW, the PS3 is customizable as well. You can actually make your own theme. With whatever backgrounds with custom icons. My personal favorite, is the Apple icon set, along with the Sony hardware set.
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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