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Apple TV? (1 Viewer)

McPaul

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Just curious if Ron or anyone have an Apple TV and how the quality is, have they got it up to 1080p as yet? or is that only with the next release?

I notice that Canadians can now rent movies and TV shows which we never could before. SD is $5. I'm assuming HD is a buck more.

What is the quality like? and are they worth the money?

Thanks!
 

Sam Posten

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I don't have one, my perception is that it is one major rev away from greatness tho. They need to put one of the new CPUs in it with a badass graphics chip in it plus make an 'app store for apple tv' and this could be a great product. Until then its functionality is just redundant with so many other gadgets you might have, its price is a bit high, although nothing touches it for user exoerience but Boxee is giving them a run for the money.
 

Todd H

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I have one. I use it to stream movies, music, and photos to my television. I've also rented a couple of HD movies on it as well. The quality of the rentals was ok, but doesn't compare to Blu-ray. The resolution was 720p with DD5.1 and looked a bit soft on my 52XBR4.

I mainly bought it for my wife. I ripped all of her DVDs with Handbrake and stream them from my Mac. The quality isn't quite as good as DVD (surprisingly close though) but she doesn't care. She just likes the convenience of scrolling through a menu and clicking on the movie she wants to watch.
 

Shane D

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a friend of mine has one and loves it. he rips out all his stuff and streams it to it. him and his wife rent at least 1 movie every weekend too. he swears by it but then he loves being able to download. he has a massive itunes purchase library.

on rentals though you do have to make sure what your renting is in 5.1 because only about half are. Like i think the lotr movies are only in 2.0.
 

JohnRice

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I'm wondering about an Apple TV mainly for streaming music. In fact, I would probably buy a monitor for it and not even hook it up to a TV. For now, anyway. I might eventually hook it up to both, so I can play music without turning on the main TV. Does anyone know how long this model has been out, or is it still the original one from, what, 2007? If so, I would be expecting an update sometime soon. I know someone who probably could tell me, but also probably won't due to confidentiality agreements.

Maybe it will help if I give a little more info. I am not loaded with gadgets by any means. No iPhone, no iPod, but I do have over 60 days (and constantly growing) of music loaded into iTunes, mostly at 320 Kb/s encoded with LAME, which I like to stream to any or all of three audio systems around the house. I may start reconverting some to lossless, since storage is so cheap. Currently I am using 2 Macs to stream music. One upstairs and one downstairs, both sharing the same files loaded on a drive connected to an AirPort Extreme and then fed to AirPort Expresses as well as the Macs themselves. All this music is unemcumbered, BTW. All converted from CD. No online purchases. The hassle is, neither Mac is actually in the same room as the best two audio systems. So, playback isn't as versatile as I'd like.

Anyway, the basic 40GB Apple TV seems like a nice way to go since I would be using external storage.. What I really want is something like using Front Row, but without the cost of a full computer. It would be nice to be able to watch movie trailers like in Front Row though. Does it do that?

BTW, how do you play back movies stored on your computer with this? I've never done it with Front Row and have no idea how.


Edited by JohnRice - 7/5/2009 at 07:02 am GMT
 

JohnRice

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Thanks for the info Dave. No TIVO. No cable or satellite. I just use an antenna for the little TV watching I do. I guess I will finally get the network set up properly and add an Apple TV. No doubt as soon as I get it there will be a major update. At least it is reasonably inexpensive.
 

DaveF

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Just checking; sometimes people have the hardware they want without realizing it :)

An iPod + 1/8" stereo-to-RCA cable also works adequately for connecting music to a home stereo. Not nearly as elegant or robust as an AppleTV (or Tivo), but a fair solution for the budget minded (that is, my original solution, before Tivo).

The AppleTV seems to be fairly limited device. But those who like, love it. On the MacBreak Weekly podcast I listen to, they have have good things to say about it.
 

JohnRice

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Yes, it does seem a bit limited compared to what it should be able to do. This seems to have been partly intentional, such as with the worthless usb port, which is a little annoying. DVR capabilities would be nice, but it can access that if the main Mac is set up for it. However, it will do what I mainly want, which is to easily access the nearly 2,000 hours of music I have on the server. Definite coolness factor too. When you look at it, $200 is pretty reasonable.
 

Patrick Mason

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The AppleTV hardware has never been upgraded, but the software has been considerably improved. It will stream movie trailers as with Front Row, and videos can be uploaded to the device just by dragging them to the "Movies" tab of iTunes (and enabling Movies to sync with the AppleTV in its own iTunes preference pane.) Make sure you have all your music available from one of your Macs though, as the AppleTV will only sync with one computer.
 

DaveF

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The AppleTV would be a killer device for me if it had three features (two reasonable, one not so)
* Tivo-quality DVR
* External harddrive support
* Blu-Ray & DVD ripping capability integrated (first playback of disc auto-rips & compresses and saves to iTunes library)

Such a big-company sanctioned HTPC would be an immediate buy for me.
 

JohnRice

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You know Dave, it seems to me that it already has some of that. You can have DVR capabilities on the main Mac, and then it can access it. While unlimited external HD support is an obvious feature, you still can configure iTunes on the main Mac to store files wherever you like, including an external drive, then it will access the files. Maybe it's not quite as smooth as it should be, but there is actually external drive ability. I expect the ripping feature is a sticky issue. Not sure you'll see that any time soon.
 

Joe Casey

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but I do have over 60 days (and constantly growing) of music loaded into iTunes, mostly at 320 Kb/s encoded with LAME, which I like to stream to any or all of three audio systems around the house. I may start reconverting some to lossless, since storage is so cheap
Just curious why you'd consider converting lossy files to lossless. Granted, 320kbps is decent but you won't regain any of the lost information. It'd just be a waste of HD space.
 

DaveF

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Originally Posted by JohnRice

You know Dave, it seems to me that it already has some of that. You can have DVR capabilities on the main Mac, and then it can access it. While unlimited external HD support is an obvious feature, you still can configure iTunes on the main Mac to store files wherever you like, including an external drive, then it will access the files. Maybe it's not quite as smooth as it should be, but there is actually external drive ability. I expect the ripping feature is a sticky issue. Not sure you'll see that any time soon.
Unfortunately, it really doesn't have any of that, and it never will. External HD support requires hacking it. Integrated DVD or Blu-Ray drive will never happen; auto-ripping is fantasy. And requiring a second computer to be the DVR means it's not "Tivo-like".

Being an avid Tivo user and regularly watching TV on DVD, the aTV isn't for me; my ideas are just crazy talk. But the aTV is definitely for others, and hopefully it will get rev'd to better serve its market.
 

JohnRice

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Originally Posted by Joe Casey

Just curious why you'd consider converting lossy files to lossless. Granted, 320kbps is decent but you won't regain any of the lost information. It'd just be a waste of HD space.
I had already stated that all of my music came from CD, and when I said "reconvert to lossless" I meant going back to the original CDs and reconverting them, but this time using lossless.
 

JohnRice

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Dave, maybe you have already done this, but look at the aTV as a component. Instead of buying all this stuff over that you already have in the main computer, the aTV is simply a portal to easily get that stuff to your HT. The main computer actually does all the brain work, To me, it actually makes a lot of sense. Maybe Apple should also offer essentialy a Mini configured as a stand alone unit, but for all those people who already have the main computer, the aTV seems to be an extremely inexpensive to let it reach out to the HT. Admitted, it is a work in progress, hopefully.
 

DaveF

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice

Dave, maybe you have already done this, but look at the aTV as a component. Instead of buying all this stuff over that you already have in the main computer, the aTV is simply a portal to easily get that stuff to your HT. The main computer actually does all the brain work, To me, it actually makes a lot of sense. Maybe Apple should also offer essentialy a Mini configured as a stand alone unit, but for all those people who already have the main computer, the aTV seems to be an extremely inexpensive to let it reach out to the HT. Admitted, it is a work in progress, hopefully.
I have nothing ill to say about the AppleTV, but I seriously researched it last year and it simply doesn't work for me. The AppleTV doesn't do DVR; I have two TivoHDs, so no good there. Tivo plays iTunes and iPhoto libraries so aTV adds nothing. I haven't rented a DVD in a year or two, and have no interest in online rental/purchases, so aTV adds nothing to my movie watching.

But what about a DVD library? I studied this hard, and concluded it's a poor solution for me. I'd need an AppleTV, an external drive or two, about six months to rip/encode all my DVDs, and the hacked software for the aTV to make it all work. So I'm out $600 and many many hours of my life dealing with ripping DVDs. And I lose all the special features and commentaries. And I'm living in the fear that Apple issues a service patch that breaks the whole thing. And the whole world is going HD and Blu-Ray, making a digital DVD libray evermore obsolete. This is not a good price / performance ratio.

No, for me, the aTV doesn't work as a standalone or a component.
 

JohnRice

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Maybe I misunderstood you Dave. I had the impression you were saying there is no reason for anyone to use an aTV. In my situation, where I have no interest in having a DVD library at my fingertips either (I prefer to just play the DVDs) and since the little TV watching I do is strictly OTA, Tivo doesn't make much sense. If I want some DVR capabilities from digital broadcast, I can add that cheaply to the main Mac and access it with the aTV. What it does do is give me nice access to all my music, without having to turn on the TV. Just hook a small monitor up.
 

DaveF

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Not no one. Just not me. :) The AppleTV has some great features, but they aren't features I want or need.

My fantasy wish list of features are things that aTV doesn't do and won't ever do. (DVR, Blu-Ray Player, BR Ripper). But without those features, it doesn't add anything to my mix.

As for TV: I'm HD OTA with a TivoHD. So good... :D

I don't understand your comment about listening to music from the aTV without turning the TV on. How do you do the menus?
 

JohnRice

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Originally Posted by DaveF

I don't understand your comment about listening to music from the aTV without turning the TV on. How do you do the menus?
The rest of that post said something about just a monitor for the menus. That may bring people in saying how absurd the idea is, but go back to my main purpose of the aTV being a menu system for all my music. At this point, I don't have much interest in streaming video. My HT is used just as much for music alone as for movies. The way I see it, for roughly the price of a middle of the line Oppo (when there was one) I get a nice menu system for music. Let's face it, people spend twice that much on a programmable remote.
 

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