PDA

View Full Version : Will I regret buying a Mini?



mikenick
25th November 2009, 08:56 AM
Hi all,

Posted this over in Whirlpool's Apple section, but thought others here might be of use.

Considering a Mac Mini & EyeTV Diversity as home theatre unit. I posted yesterday on Whirlpool asking if anyone could talk me out of that option helpful comments all round (as usual), and I'm still thinking the Mac Mini is the way to go.

.

Mates suggested I should wait, musing that:

(1) the relatively minor upgrades to the products in November suggested that the Mini was nearing the end of its lifespan, and;

(2) Apple would therefore likely release a revised or brand new product soon to replace the tired old and relatively poor-selling Mac Mini with something better, perhaps something deliberately aimed at filling the gap between the Mac Mini and Apple TV with specific TV tuner hardware.

.

That hasn't convinced me to wait, because:

(1) when it comes to computer hardware, I'm never very keen on the idea that you should wait for something better, because there's always something better just around the corner, and;

(2) I'm not sure what innovations or changes would alter the Mini (or offer a new product) in a way which would be vastly superior to the idea of using the Mini & EyeTV.

.

So, my question to Apple fans here is: what dream features or devices would you want Apple to release in a new Mac Mini or Mini/AppleTV replacement? I can't think of what it would be (especially as I'm not fussed about bluray).

decryption
25th November 2009, 09:03 AM
I don't want Apple to put in a TV tuner - why would they want to support all the different formats and shit like that? Elgato is doing a pretty awesome job on their own with EyeTV.

The Mac Mini is perfect as it is. It's flexible enough to do whatever you want with it and is not crippled in any way. Possibly the only change would be the addition of a Bluray drive, but I have a PS3, so I don't reality I don't really care, but I know there's others who would dig it.

fother
25th November 2009, 09:07 AM
There will always be innovations coming. If you wait for the ultimate version, you'll never get anything :)

What's missing from the Mini now that would be worth waiting just in case it comes??

About the only gap I can think of is blu-ray, and I haven't seen anything suggesting it's on its way to the mini any time soon (quite the opposite). And sounds like you're not concerned about that anyway.

I bought a mini about 6 months ago, and the eyeTV, and cannot recommend it highly enough

gehenna
25th November 2009, 09:08 AM
I agree, 3rd party tuners are the way to go for flexibility. However adding software support for tuners in the likes of Front Row would be nice. Having the native support in Windows Media Center for different broadcast formats worldwide is great, but being able to add your own flavour or combinations of tuners to your box is also great because you can go as large or as small as you want.

Having said that if you want that kind of support or flexibility in a HTPC then just install and configure Windows Media Center and be done with it. It's really the only way to fly when you're want a truly integrated TV + media experience. Combined with the Mac mini form factor it's awesome.

mikenick
25th November 2009, 09:14 AM
...just install and configure Windows Media Center and be done with it.

Stupid question - you mean running Windows 7 through bootcamp, right? Or is there a Mac OSX compatible version of WMC?

haydio
25th November 2009, 09:15 AM
My Mac Mini is probably one of my best computing decisions I've ever made, teamed with EyeTV, two TV tuners and an Apple Remote it makes one of the best PVRs I've ever used.

The only thing I wish Apple would add to the Mac Mini is a HDMI port, purely so I don't have a to run a video adapter + cable and a audio cable separately.

Also, if you can find a older generation, the one with 1GB of RAM cheap anywhere, buy that, we had them on special at work ($499) as soon as the new ones came out, and I snapped one up instantly, even with the 1GB of RAM it is really speedy, and plenty adequate for EyeTV.

samuelowens
25th November 2009, 09:47 AM
I don't know how people are interpreting a speed bump and the introduction of a server model as a sign the Mac Mini was nearing the end of its lifespan.

At any rate, the platform that has been introduced will be good for at least another 18 months with drop-in processor upgrades (with the recent firmware upgrade, the mini now unofficially handles 8GB of RAM so it's okay on that score, and the 9400M is good enough for integrated graphics). Suitably low power quad-core mobile processors may well be introduced into Apple's 15" and 17" laptops early in the new year. However, these are upscale products and it will probably take a further 12 months before they trickle down to Mac minis and white MacBooks. Hence, IMO you're unlikely to see major changes to the Mac mini until at least early 2011. The changes you'll see are faster dual core processors, bigger (and hopefully faster) hard drives, more RAM and maybe Blu-ray optical drives, all things that can be achieved without significant re-engineering.

muskawo
25th November 2009, 09:54 AM
I've had two mac minis, a 1.42 ppc and a 1.83? intel and they have both been great as media centres. Only reason I upgraded this year was to watch hd stuff and cause xbmc is buggy on pre intel macs.

I havent gotten into the tv tuner side of it so im not sure there.

I think they are fine the way they are, they always pop up cheap as refurbs or on clearance lists too.

A new mini/appletv hybrid would probably have a lot of protection on it anyway which is something I hate. I love being able to run whatever I want on the mini without hacking it.

if something better comes out sell the old one. People always want minis for some reason.

mikenick
25th November 2009, 10:03 AM
My Mac Mini is probably one of my best computing decisions I've ever made, teamed with EyeTV, two TV tuners and an Apple Remote it makes one of the best PVRs I've ever used.

Good to know. Does the DVD drive in that Mini accept DVDs from any regions? Or is it region locked with a limit of 5 changes like in some Macbooks?

samuelowens
25th November 2009, 10:09 AM
All DVD drives manufactured in the last 8 years get region-locked after five changes unless you hack them.

However, the Pioneer drive in the new Mini will happily ignore regions if used in conjunction with a suitable program like VLC that also ignores regions. There's no region-free firmware.

At any rate, a dedicated DVD player will work better on that front.

mikenick
25th November 2009, 10:12 AM
At any rate, a dedicated DVD player will work better on that front.

True, though I'm wanting to use the Mini as a replacement for the Philips DVD/PVR that I've had for about 9 months and have always found cumbersome, clunky, buggy and unsatisfactory.

zeddie2001
25th November 2009, 10:22 AM
The only thing I wish Apple would add to the Mac Mini is a HDMI port, purely so I don't have a to run a video adapter + cable and a audio cable separately.

Cablesson Mini DisplayPort + USB Audio to HDMI Converter (http://ukhdmi.com/Cablesson_Mini_DisplayPort___USB_Audio_to_HDMI_Con verter_QQ101853)

You can get these from some Australian Apple Resellers too to save on O/S Postage. I agree though, it would be nice if it was built in.

samuelowens
25th November 2009, 10:24 AM
VLC 1.0.x is also clunky, buggy and unsatisfactory (unfortunately; 0.9.x worked fairly well), and the mini reading DVDs is nowhere near as quiet as a dedicated DVD player (two factors to bear in mind).

mikenick
25th November 2009, 10:29 AM
Thanks for that. Often watch movies on a 4 year old Macbook, so hopefully it wouldn't be any noisier than that!

timdotexe
25th November 2009, 11:04 AM
I would also like to mention that the 'resellability' of the Mac Mini is great.

You will find that even if a new model comes out sometime soon you can easily recoup a large % of your original outlay on ebay if you decide to upgrade.

I would have no hesitation in buying a current model mac mini!

mikenick
25th November 2009, 11:27 AM
That's definitely what it looks like judging from the price of the second-hand ones floating about online.

Reckon I might go the entry level one for $780 (education discount). 160GB HDD doesn't bother me as I'm happy to use an external drive if need be.