I have a WDTV and I do like the unit. However, it does not support nearly as many sound formats as I'd like. FOr the money, it's a nice piece. But overall I have to think the Mac Mini would be a better piece...
One of my big questions is which would sound better.
There are several variables at play and unless someone
has tried both then its hard to say which route would
sound better. I have read and been told that if your
DAC has both USB and Toslink, better try them both as
sometimes Toslink sounds better..
Has anyone compared both USB and Toslink outputs on a
MacMini (using a reference glass Toslink cable) and
determined a clear winner sound wise?
With the WDTV, the OS in embedded in firmware. There's
also a chance (maybe) that a MacMini has more going on
in terms of processes and disk activity and thereby be
slightly influencing the digital signal? Many had noted
that a MacMini with Solid State Drives sounds better than
with a regular hard drive so it is plausible the digital
signal could be influenced by noise or additional things
going on inside the box before it even hits the USB or
Buying a MacMini to experiment could be an expensive
trial so I am curious if someone (who already has a
Mac Mini setup) also bought a WDTV just to try it out..
You make a very good point.. But just in case I want to go
hog-wild and serve up video as well, I am going with either
a MacMini or a WDTV due to both having 1080P video output.
Since the AppleTV only does 720p, I want to give myself
the option of 1080P via a MacMini or WDTV. I didn't
mention it as a main topic item because I wanted to focus
on the sound quality side of things..
I recently switched from the Apple to Tv to a Mac Mini as an HTPC. Prior to the Apple Tv i had tried several proprietary single box solutions; anyone remember Turtle Beach or Roku.
The single box propriotry solutions, and i would lump Boxee into this were for lack of a better word disasters. SOftware that had not been properly tested, hardware incompatibility issues and limited playback formats. I suspect that the WDTV would suffer from the same limitations. To much competition in the market place. i give Western digital 12 months before they drop all development and support of the UI
My suggestion would be to go with the Mac Mini run with a USB to and external DAC; the Benchmark is a slam dunk in my opinion.
For the UI load Plex currently in pre-release but its interface is gorgeous, plays back video and referecnes your itunes library