Apple TV vs Mac Mini

With the Apple TV finally shipping, the first review has appeared, and the criticism centre around what the Apple TV won’t do, rather than what it can’t do. That’s to say, the things Apple has prevented it from doing; things it might theoretically be able to do if the claim that it’s running a version of OS X are true.

I expect to see it hacked, pretty soon, and a spate of “Linux on the aTV” articles; but for now you can only use it for what it’s specified for. But you can already buy a Mac Mini, which, albeit for twice the price is upgradable. You can make it do what you want, not just what Apple tell you you want, often simply but adding a Quicktime plugin.

It also comes with a DVD player and a beefier processor, but is it better value? I think it is, unless and until Apple unlock the aTV.

Apple TV Advantages

Mac Mini Advantages

  • Cheaper (half the price, in fact)
  • Better GPU
  • Swisher looking Front Row (but this may just be Leopard’s Front Row 2.0)
  • Supports 802.11n
  • More compact (6.5″ rather than 7.7″)
  • Includes DVD player
  • Faster processor, more memory, storage
  • Can use any playback software (eg. VLC) or even any Operating System (eg. Linux MythTV) to play almost any media
  • Can attach storage via USB

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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