Jan 16

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Apple Tv or Mac Mini

Last week Apple didn't just release the iPhone. They also released Apple TV, a single use appliance that allows you to play music, watch movies and view your pictures from your home PCs or Macs. When I saw it my first thought was how this would stack up compared to the Mac Mini as a multimedia device. Both are small, both have iTunes -- what are the exact trade-offs? Luckily, the Apple Blog has written up a great side-by-side comparison of the Mac Mini and the Apple TV.

The stack-up is what I expected. Apple TV is cheaper (by $300), simpler, but also more restricting. It has a made for TV welcome screen, but I can't surf the web or play Rhapsody through it. The Mac Mini has all the freedoms and configuration issues of... well... a computer. Sure I could use it, but could a friend of mine? Not so sure. Still it will allow me greater freedom with my media, still look very slick, and can be repurposed elsewhere when something shinier comes along. Of course, I wouldn't make my choice just between these two devices. Microsoft's Media Center or Ubuntu on a Shuttle PC would have to be considered as well.

tags: mainstream acceptance  | comments: 10   | Sphere It

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Comments: 10

  Justin Watt [01.16.07 07:14 PM]

Brady, def check out the Koala Mini, which comes preloaded with Ubuntu, and which I discover via Allison's post here back in November: System76, Linux Hardware for Everyone.

  Wai Yip Tung [01.16.07 08:04 PM]

Thanks you bringing the attention of this. Apple TV does not seems to get much press coverage. I don't know what to make of a box that can't play DVD nor YouTube though.

  Lowell Henderson [01.16.07 08:59 PM]

Interesting, I took my old Beige G3 with AV running OS 9 with iTunes into my TV/Stereo center. Despite what some say, the box jumps right into TV mirroring on startup (no monitor), and I placed an alias into the startup items folder for iTunes. For a box you can find cheap on places such as Craigslist, it's a pretty cool way to integrate iTunes into your stereo system for cheap!

  Anonymous [01.17.07 12:52 AM]

Mac Mini, of course!

  Michael Sparks [01.17.07 02:39 AM]

I started writing a reply to this, but it ended up way longer than it should be, so I shifted my reply off to my blog instead.

However the short version is this: Apple TV is better optimised to plug into your TV today, and HDMI rather than DVI is a boost, and hints at where they plan to go. I prefer a computer to keep the capabilities of a computer and a cooker to keep the capabilities of a cooker... (Hey, buy this *general purpose cooker* which can only boils eggs, but it boils then real well!)

  lightsaber [01.17.07 07:34 AM]

You can do much much more on a Media Center PC. You may even hook up ambient light system (http://www.a-r-e.nl) and place behind your flat screen TV !!

  JayZee [01.17.07 07:48 AM]

You might be a little premature, describing the Apple TV as a single use appliance. Others have already noticed that, like the iPod, the Apple TV mounts on the OS X desktop as a storage device. It can be used to store any type of file. Some people are speculating that it could serve as a network backup device via Leopard's Time Machine.

  Karate Dave [01.17.07 10:53 AM]

Yea, I am wondering. The Media Center PC is pretty good even though it is a PC ...

  Henrik [01.17.07 11:29 AM]

zzzz, the one feature that will convince me is the noise level and simple standby. So how to they stack up on that?

  victor [10.25.07 10:11 PM]

I dont get it, I just bought a dvi to vga and a itv (monster cable) stuck my computer to my home receiver and hua la!! I now i have a mac tv with surround sound why bother with an AppleTv

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