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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #11
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I'll throw my vote in for Apple TV.

Single coolest out-of-the-box experience I've had with an Apple product.

For $249 brand new or $209 refurb..... it's cool, it's Apple, and it's cheap.

Yes, you have to use iTunes for your media management. Is that really an issue? FFMpeg, Virtualdub, many good Divx to MP4 converters available. You need to convert these files to play on an iPod anyway. Might aswell have everything in one place, organized.

The interface is awesome. And easy. Whole family can use it easily. No explaining needed.

I'm sure video rentals will come to Canada. But for now I love being able to show family the Iphoto library on the TV.

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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:41 PM   #12
 
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I'm going to throw a couple of points towards the AppleTV, because we have one and I am speaking from experience here. I wouldn't argue against the mini any day, but I don't own one, so I can only say what can be done with the AppleTV. I'd say they're both great solutions, and the final decision always rests with the person whose spending the money...

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Hi,

Q1. is there any chance that Apple TV will provide me with access to the Safari web browser any time soon?
This can easily be arranged right now, if you're just willing to do some hacking. See appletvhacks.net for all the information you'll need.

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q2. is the video output on a Mac Mini to my 46" LCD good enough; or is it crap compared to the HDMI out on Apple TV?
I'm not sure exactly, but I don't think the mini's output is crap by any stretch of the imagination - I'd say they're likely comparable around the 720p mark.

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q3. will iTunes store sell America TV shows in Canada soon?
Not known, but again, very easily arranged right now with an American iTunes gift certificate card - tons of resources on these forums on how to do that - simply buy one on eBay or wherever, and "redeem" it on iTunes, and you'll be able to set up an American account sans credit card and spend away - buy, rent, do whatever you want - no problem

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q4. will iTunes store rent movies in Canada soon?
Same answer as above. You can do it right now.

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q5. will Apple TV support DIVX files soon?
AppleTVhacks.net provides a simple solution to activate DIVX playback, as well as WMV, XVID, etc. Same goes for installing a full version of the OS - which allows use of Safari, etc. Yes, it's a slower processor, etc, but I've seen it being used and it's just fine for surfing, etc. Also, a previous poster mentioned AppleTV's inability to play VIDEO_TS files - true, but if you don't mind a quick Handbrake session, you can quickly (about 45 minutes for me) rip any DVD's VIDEO_TS files to a high quality mp4 file, and move it straight to iTunes and stream it to your AppleTV any time you want. We have backed up over 35 of our DVDs this way - they're just sitting on our computer and we can stream them any time we want to watch them without ever having to bother with the disc again. Just a thought.

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q6. if I buy an Apple TV will I regret getting the 40Gig version?
Depends on how much you need to put on the hard drive - we only store our pictures and some music on it and stream all videos/movies from iTunes so none of our movies (except a couple of kids movies) are stored on the AppleTV. We have not run out of room. Again, appletvhacks.net provides step by step instructions on how to a) put in a bigger drive or b) share a drive if you require it - OR buy the bigger HD one.

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Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
Q7. if I buy an Apple TV will I regret it because there's going to be a new PVR version of Apple TV next year?
I wouldn't know which way to speculate on this one - sorry.

I also agree with smashedbanana - excellent, excellent out of the box experience. And the interface allows my kid to pull up any of her movies in seconds, which is a bonus. Of course Front Row is no joke on the mini either. Not sure about hooking up an EyeTV to an AppleTV - that's a good question from another previous poster... anyone know this?
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #13
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Not sure what you are asking here, could you elaborate? Do you mean on the Mini?
What I mean is, over the years the graphics in Mac Minis was improved (as in all computer models). I seem to recall older Minis have very basic integrated Intel graphic hardware, but newer models have better ATI graphics hardware.

I understand that computers have been outputing at 1600x1080 for years, and HD tv (1080p) is only recently catching up to that. But I thought there might be issues related to the Mini's ability to do full screen tv/movie playback as well as Apple TV -- all that refreshing while processing video and so on.

If I look for a used Mac Mini, is there a minimum level of graphics hardware I should accept? Considering I want it primarily for movie/tv playback.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxlight View Post
What I mean is, over the years the graphics in Mac Minis was improved (as in all computer models). I seem to recall older Minis have very basic integrated Intel graphic hardware, but newer models have better ATI graphics hardware.

I understand that computers have been outputing at 1600x1080 for years, and HD tv (1080p) is only recently catching up to that. But I thought there might be issues related to the Mini's ability to do full screen tv/movie playback as well as Apple TV -- all that refreshing while processing video and so on.

If I look for a used Mac Mini, is there a minimum level of graphics hardware I should accept? Considering I want it primarily for movie/tv playback.
Oh Ok. I would look for a MacIntel Mini not a G4, I had a G4 it was fine but no where near as fast as the dual core Minis not to mention you can put in more RAM and the Ethernet is Gigabit not 100mbit/s. This was important to me as I wanted to be able to use a gigabit NAS to stream my videos to the Mini. Just a note, a comment from ZRXer suggested that the Mini was perhaps only capable of 720p output, in fact it is capable of 1080p output.

I would look for a refurb on the Apple site for a MacIntel Mini Dual Core or Core 2 Duo. The former will be less expensive and serve you just fine that is what I have. You will have to act fast once you see one that you want as the go very fast, check out some other threads here, other people are trying to buy them as well, the refurbs are in great demand. The best time to buy in Eastern Canada is early in the am around 7 or 8 as they are gone later in the day. If you at first you don't succeed try, try again. There are always more being put up on Apples site, just not many at a time and they go really fast.

Good luck.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by screature View Post
The mini will have every bit as good a picture as the Apple TV
Except for possible under scan issues.

I vote for the AppleTV as well, especially if you own or plan to own an iPod Video/iPod Touch. iTunes is the way to organize your content.

How did I know screature would be the first to respond to this thread. For some entertaining reading regarding the Mini/AppleTV debate, click here.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #16
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Conclusion

Thanks for all the useful input from everyone.

I've decided to go look for an Apple TV. Mainly because I think what's I'm really looking for is a dedicated rec room movie/tv watching device rather than a full blow computer in that room.

The tip on renting HD movies with a US iTunes gift card is awesome (thanks ZRXer!). I'll have to drive down to the states (about an hour away) and pick one up at Wal-Mart.

I'm going to post another thread asking where I might get an Apple TV cheaper than on apple.ca -- please join me there!

Thanks again everyone.

Last edited by boxlight; Mar 20th, 2008 at 02:43 PM.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bjornbro View Post
Except for possible under scan issues.

I vote for the AppleTV as well, especially if you own or plan to own an iPod Video/iPod Touch. iTunes is the way to organize your content.

How did I know screature would be the first to respond to this thread. For some entertaining reading regarding the Mini/AppleTV debate, click here.
Yeah you could have bet on that eh?

As far as the underscan issue goes what I do is I set the display mode to overscan when watching Movies and such and then use the keyboard to enter into full screen on DVD Player etc. Works great then when I am finished watching I just go back into display properties and uncheck overscan. No probs.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #18
 
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The AppleTV is too limiting.

Get a Mac Mini ($649 CDN). Get a large external HD (for archiving content). Get an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid (for setting up the Mac mini as a PVR).

Starts ripping your DVDs to your HD. You'll then have access to your video library through Front Row.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #19
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No contest. Get the Mini. The AppleTV is like a computer with a serious lobotomy. The ATV is too 'closed system' for my tastes.
The AppleTV is an iPod for your TV.
The MacMini is a Mac for your TV.

When you think of it that way, it helps to make the decision easier. For me, I am going to get an AppleTV when I get an HDTV. I'd get an AppleTV today if it had an S-Video port. My 32" standard definition Sony Trinitron has a few more years of life left in it.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by guytoronto View Post
The AppleTV is too limiting.

Get a Mac Mini ($649 CDN). Get a large external HD (for archiving content). Get an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid (for setting up the Mac mini as a PVR).

Starts ripping your DVDs to your HD. You'll then have access to your video library through Front Row.
Uhm... you could do that with AppleTV too as long as you already own a Mac. Just put the HD and EyeTV on your Mac instead. Then EyeTV will automatically compress for AppleTV format and add the content to your iTunes for sharing to your AppleTV.
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