Mac Mini vs Apple TV

RavingMac

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Not sure this is where to post this thread. I tried doing a search for Apple TV on the forum to see if my question had already been covered, but didn't have any luck.

I have a 37" HDTV in my family room that I'd like to use to listen to iTunes and potentially download movies etc from the iTunes store. I also wouldn't mind surfing the web from my couch occasionally either (but I know you can't currently do this with the Apple TV)

Bottomline: I am leaning toward buying a mac mini for the additional capability over the Apple TV, but want to make sure I'm not missing something. Is there anything the Apple TV gains me I can't get from the Mini?
 
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I heard that you can install XBMC into the apple tv and it is pretty useful, but I don't know if this is truly possible.

I have been trying to adapt my new mac mini to my tv. I like the way it does everything else but connecting to a tv has been difficult.
 
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Since the Mac Mini comes with Front Row (the interface used by the AppleTV), there is absolutely nothing you're missing out on by not getting the AppleTV. So you're getting a lot more with a Mac Mini than with an AppleTV, but you're also paying more. It's up to you to decide whether the extra cost is worth it.
 
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RavingMac

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Since the Mac Mini comes with Front Row (the interface used by the AppleTV), there is absolutely nothing you're missing out on by not getting the AppleTV. So you're getting a lot more with a Mac Mini than with an AppleTV, but you're also paying more. It's up to you to decide whether the extra cost is worth it.

Thanks. The extra cost isn't that much of an issue. I had come to the same conclusion, but wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking something. Now all I have to do is decide between the $599 and $799 versions.

I'll probably end up going for the larger HD and more ram.

Again, Thanks for the advice.
 
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Keep in mind that you still have to purchase a keyboard and mouse since the Mac Mini comes with neither. Since you'll be using it as a media center, you'll need to get a wireless keyboard to be able to use it from your couch.

It's a bit pricey, but the Logitech Di Novo Edge is the absolute perfect media center keyboard. It's slim, not too wide, has media buttons, and best of all, it has a trackpad right on it, so no need to fiddle around with a wireless mouse or getting one of those gyroscopic ones.
 
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RavingMac

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Thanks, I'll check it out.
 
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I was in the same boat a while back...Mac Mini or Apple TV. I went with the Mini and haven't looked back for even a moment. It does everything I want and more...TV, movies, music, web surfing, etc.

I found the installed 2GB and shared video memory wasn't up to the task on some high-def movies so I increased the RAM to 4GB. It's been fine since then. The Mini's video output is connected to our LCD TV with a mini DVI to HDMI adapter cable and the audio is connected to our receiver via a Toslink to Mini Toslink audio cable. We have a Logitech S 530 wireless keyboard and mouse for couch web surfing. (It works great but I don't think you can get it anymore. The Logitech DiNovo Edge looks very sweet as well.)

FWIW I am actually using a Newertech Ministack v3 (1TB/7200RPM) connected to the Mini via FW800 as the boot drive. It's very speedy and actually outpaces the stock 320GB drive.

In lieu of Front Row I've added Boxee and it works perfectly on the Mini. I still use iTunes as normal and the $36/year Pandora widget (installed on all of our Macs) for "set it and forget it" music.

TMI I'm sure, but the bottom line is that the Mac Mini makes a very, very nice and versatile home media server.
 
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I've been using my Mac Mini as a media centre for a few months now, and before that I used a G5 PPC.
The Mini is ideal. It surfs the net, plays all my music and video. Ideal for on demand TV services. Of course it's also a great DVD and CD player, as well as being a useful DVD and CD burner. All in all, it's bloody wonderful! :)

I have a 1TB external drive for all the media and this also acts as my time machine drive for the mini and the other 2 Macs connected to the network.

The mini also acts as a media server (running Firefly) for my wireless/internet radio/media player in the bedroom. The Mini is never turned off and never goes to sleep. It's run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The PPC was too noisy for this, but the mini is silent in operation, and consumes very little power, so it's ldeal for the job it is doing.

The only downside.... My TV is a non HD 42" plasma on the wall.
This doesn't make the best computer monitor, even being connected by a DVI lead. Computer text on a TV can be a bit difficult to read, so reading forums and text heavy web sites can be a bit tiring. This is made worse using the light grey on white background text that Safari favours.
Video is not a problem. It's stunning. The Mini playing movies is superb, but this of course depends on the quality of rip in the first place.
 
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RavingMac

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Okay, I pulled the trigger last night. Mac Mini (4GB, 320GB) and Denon 790 AVR heading this way. :D

I will probably be asking for more pointers as I get everything set up.

Thanks for all the good advice.
 
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