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Used mac mini desktop VRS new apple tv

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:09 pm    Post subject: Used mac mini desktop VRS new apple tv Reply with quote

Hi, buying a new Non-wifi-smart LED tv 47" with a 2d to 3d converter for anything connected to it's HDMI input.

Looking for advise-recomendation please, pros and cons for what to connect to it because I'm not very computer savy.

Have done some searching.
It seems I have two options, considering either connecting the tv HDMI to a used Mac Mini desktop or a new Apple TV.

Our current apple configuration:
Our house internet has an airport extreme. We use comcast coaxial cable tv company for our internet provider.
It's their cheapest package and it does come with some basic consumerism channels.
But we don't watch any cable tv from it. We just got rid of the only tv we had, an old tube tv.

We don't have the required cable company converter boxes..
For me, there are tooo many commercials on cable tv however one of our house mates thinks they would like to use/view some of the cable channels...

I do have an old vhs player and some vhs tapes and at least one is an old tv series I like to watch once every 3 years for laughs. It's not available anywhere on digital or dvd.

I have an Iphone and also a macbook pro (with a dvd driver) I currently use as my "Laptop tv" to watch youtube, and "free" movies I find on the internet to stream or download first.
I have three housemates who would also use the new tv. Two housemates also have iphones and a newer macbook (with no dvd driver) and an ipad.
The third housemate has no computer and uses a non apple cell phone.

Money is a good part of the consideration, so I'm looking for a balanced decision:

Option 1 (apple tv):
I see the apple tv is going for about $100 w/shipping.

Option 2 (used mac mini desktop):
I see some used mac mini with power cord going for about $120 on ebay (80gb 512ram g4 1.25 ghz 10.5 snow leopard installed) (no keyboard or mouse).
Plus ebay has $10 for a VGA to HDMI connector converter cable.
I see there are iphone apps (i.e. Mobile Mouse) that allow it to work as a wireless mouse/keyboard with a mac mini.
So it appears that's all that would be needed...

Option 3 - you tell me?!

Here are the pros/cons I've sorted out, PLEASE let me know if I haven't thought of anything:


1. Slightly cheaper, about $30, than a used mac mini setup

2. Designed to work with a tv
3. Smaller box-may mount better behind tv than the mac mini
4. Is new so may last longer than a used mac mini
5. May use less electricity than a mac mini
6. Comes with a remote
7. I can return the Apple TV if I don't like it without paying shipping
8. Will not require the attention and maintenance the mac mini may
9. The Apple TV is newer than a used mac mini so it may operate better/faster.......

1. More versatile
2. Will double as a spare computer
3. Can store movies/content on it for viewing later
4. VGA port will require a connector adaptor to HDMI but I think it'll work fine
5. If there is a problem, the seller may not allow returns and if they do I will have to pay return shipping and probably their shipping too
6. Can play and burn DVD's and CD's
7. Shouldn't have any lag that people complain about with the Apple TV airplay
8. Can stream anything to the TV, unlike the Apple TV
9. Won't involve a separate laptop like the Apple TV airplay does
10. The mac mini can do so so so much more than the Apple TV, it's a computer.
11. Perhaps there is something that will allow our cable to be connected to the tv through the mac mini, unlike the Apple TV
12. Can play games...

Let me know what I'm missing with this comparision please so I can make an informed purchase without any disappointments!

Thank-you for your time and help!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty lengthy post to try to respond to, but I'll toss in my two cents.

The ATV is great, but I don't care for being locked into what Apple chooses to provide (assuming you don't want to set up a server). It's also finicky about what type of containers it accepts and what streams are in those containers.

However, it's always on/in standby so it's always available.

I prefer to use a mini (or any HTPC for that matter) as it's more flexible in what it supports. As much as I love the G4 minis, they are not what you want for an HTPC. They are limited in what they can do, and what connections they support. Also, all of the older minis, G4s included, had DVI connections. A DVI to HDMI will not include audio which would require a different adapter, which are fairly expensive. Memory isn't important for an HTPC so don't worry about having more than 2GB.

More recent minis have included HDMI connections, and that would be the minimum for use as an easy HTPC. I think you would want to consider a 2010 mini as a base line, as that model still has an optical drive.

You can let the mini sleep, and wake it when needed, or shut it off and turn it on when needed.

You can use a fancy programable remote like a Harmony, or get an Apple remote for a few bucks on eBay. No need to pay Apple what they want for one. Or if one came with any of those MacBooks, that would work fine too.

Grumpy old man of computing.

[Desktop] Intel mini - Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD / 120GB SSD 10.10

4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

Make sure it has pins!
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