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Briefly: Apple TV tops best seller list at Apple Store - Page 3

post #81 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Case in point. Many widescreen Tv's automatically widen 4:3 to 16:9 by widening the edges of the content while leaving the middle third, or so, untouched. Most people actually prefer that. You concentrate on that middle, but your peripheral vision doesn't pick the distortion up, unless you look for it.

You can scale to any point, up or down. This is being done all the time. I'm surprised you don't know this!

I don't want to pick a fight here but resolution is definitely fixed. Sure, you can scale up to large sizes with a loss of quality. You cannot take a 480 line picture and convert it to 720 or 1080 without loss of quality. Or, should I say, the low-res quality remains the same but it's bigger so that poor quality is more noticeable.

I work in the graphic arts business. Customers are always providing logos to us that come from their websites at 72 dpi. When we ask them for a higher resolution logo, they say "just scale it up!" I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way but it's hard to convince those customers.

Since you mentioned it, I'll mention that I hate the stretch feature available on most widescreen TVs. On mine, it's called "horizon." The center is almost normal and the sides are stretched way out of proportion to fill the screen. It looks horrible and almost makes me dizzy. The TNT-HD station often shows old NTSC movies in 'horizon" mode and calls that HD! What a bunch of nonsense.
post #82 of 106
I am not sure if it has been asked yet... but will the AppleTV work with any Router or only the Airport Extreme. On the Apple website it says:

AirPort Extreme, Wi-Fi 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n wireless network6 (wireless video streaming requires 802.11g or 802.11n), or 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network

So I take it any router will work? So Itunes will just automatically find the Appletv through the router?
post #83 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

I don't want to pick a fight here but resolution is definitely fixed. Sure, you can scale up to large sizes with a loss of quality. You cannot take a 480 line picture and convert it to 720 or 1080 without loss of quality. Or, should I say, the low-res quality remains the same but it's bigger so that poor quality is more noticeable.

That's not true at all. Just the opposite. I don't know how you get that idea.

Scaling can be done badly, or well.

Quote:
I work in the graphic arts business. Customers are always providing logos to us that come from their websites at 72 dpi. When we ask them for a higher resolution logo, they say "just scale it up!" I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way but it's hard to convince those customers.

I owned a commercial photo lab for many years, and I started out in advertising in the early '70's, and shot, among other things, Tv commercials for Clairol Summer Blond products, along with others.

My lab was one of the very first to get into computer editing of photo's with a product (very expensive) that preceded PS.

We did a good amount of computer graphics, publishing, and video, including to and from various computer formats, and resolutions.

I've also experienced this with my work in the audio, and later, video business.

So, now that we have gotten our particulars out of the way, I can tell you that you are making a couple of incorrect comparisons.

One simply can't compare still work with motion related work, except for the techniques, some of which are similar in concept.

We are able to accept far lower resolutions in video than we do in still. Motion covers many defects, that, in a still image, would be unacceptable.

In addition, the generally accepted amount of interpolation in PS that will enhance the photo (it doesn't work nearly as well in text, or line drawings, though there are other, more complex ones that do better) is 100%. Past that, and the image breaks down.

Even so, programs that interpolate using other methods such as that used in Genuine Fractals, and other program add-ons, will go much higher, and give excellent results.


Scaling up logo's is one of the worst examples you could have used. It has little in common with video, or even photographs. You have to vectorize it first, and then work out the errors manually, if any exist.


So, yes, I am very familiar with this technology.

Quote:
Since you mentioned it, I'll mention that I hate the stretch feature available on most widescreen TVs. On mine, it's called "horizon." The center is almost normal and the sides are stretched way out of proportion to fill the screen. It looks horrible and almost makes me dizzy. The TNT-HD station often shows old NTSC movies in 'horizon" mode and calls that HD! What a bunch of nonsense.

But, while I don't like it either, and never use it (unlike most people, I'd rather the screen show grey at the sides than fake the widescreen), it's been shown that most people do like it. Most people do not notice it, and are much happier using all of the screen they paid so much for.

Few consumers are discerning enough to care about these things.

But, read some of the video magazines on the market, you'll learn about this.
post #84 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's not true at all. Just the opposite. I don't know how you get that idea.

Scaling can be done badly, or well.

I don't think there's much point continuing this discussion since we disagree so completely. You're confusing size and interpolation with resolution. I can't resist making a few more points to explain.

Why do you think a high resolution camera costs more than a low resolution camera? Because high resolution CCDs are harder to make; therefore more expensive.

Why do you think HDTV has been so slow to come to market? Because providing high resolution content is difficult and expensive and high resolution displays are expensive to produce.

Why do you think Apple originally began providing TV shows at iTS at 320x240 and then eventually upped it to 640x480? Because the latter is better but it's more expensive in terms of bandwidth and load times are slower.

Why do you think so many people on various forums complain that iTS provides such low resolution content ("near DVD" quality)? Partly because Apple is about to sell a device that handles 720 lines of resolution but their iTS content is only 480 lines. 480 lines doesn't look as good!

Why do you think HD-DVD and Blu-ray DVD players have been introduced? Because high resolution is better and people want it. If scaling could accomplish the same thing, there would be no need for the newer technology.

You can call me wrong all you want but it won't change the facts. As I said earlier, it wasn't my intention to pick a fight but there are a lot of people who simply don't understand that digital resolution is fixed, whether in photos, video, text, or graphics. When you enlarge digital images, you reduce the resolution (lines or pixels per inch) at the same time. Interpolation is a technology used to fool people into thinking they're getting something better than they actually are.
post #85 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

I don't think there's much point continuing this discussion since we disagree so completely. You're confusing size and interpolation with resolution. I can't resist making a few more points to explain.

Why do you think a high resolution camera costs more than a low resolution camera? Because high resolution CCDs are harder to make; therefore more expensive.

Why do you think HDTV has been so slow to come to market? Because providing high resolution content is difficult and expensive and high resolution displays are expensive to produce.

Why do you think Apple originally began providing TV shows at iTS at 320x240 and then eventually upped it to 640x480? Because the latter is better but it's more expensive in terms of bandwidth and load times are slower.

Why do you think so many people on various forums complain that iTS provides such low resolution content ("near DVD" quality)? Partly because Apple is about to sell a device that handles 720 lines of resolution but their iTS content is only 480 lines. 480 lines doesn't look as good!

Why do you think HD-DVD and Blu-ray DVD players have been introduced? Because high resolution is better and people want it. If scaling could accomplish the same thing, there would be no need for the newer technology.

You can call me wrong all you want but it won't change the facts. As I said earlier, it wasn't my intention to pick a fight but there are a lot of people who simply don't understand that digital resolution is fixed, whether in photos, video, text, or graphics. When you enlarge digital images, you reduce the resolution (lines or pixels per inch) at the same time. Interpolation is a technology used to fool people into thinking they're getting something better than they actually are.

You are accusing me of making the error here, but I'm not.

I full well understand that there are higher resolution formats. I've mentioned that there are 18 different digital formats, with different resolutions (though that's not the correct term for this) and frequencies, earlier.

You're not reading everything.

But, how do you think that all of the formats work rogether?

Until all people are able to receive 1080p, the currently highest quality format, though others are coming, they will have to rely upon interpolation. That's what I'm saying. You simply can't disagree with that, because once a person gets a hi def set, they will have no choice. How many people will want to watch a SD program in a small portion of their screen, with borders, not only at the sides, but at the top and bottom as well. No one. Which is why you are not even given the the ability to do it.

I've never said the absurd thing that you are saying I've said, that higher rez original material either isn't available, or isn't better!

Digital photography is in my field of use. Don't even try me there.

What you are talking about is that the ORIGINAL format has its own number of pixels, and scan rate.

I have no problem with that. It's pretty obvious.

But, you are saying something that is simply not true.

Upscaling is a fact of life in video these days. You can't get away from it. No video receivers, widescreen sets, esp. hi rez models, and most DVD players, except the $49.95 specials, will upscale, usually automatically, depending on what they detect, though some will give options there.

All I've been saying is that it is recognised, even though you don't seem to think so, that up scaling is better. And it is.

Anyone, except you (oh, all right, they may be a few others), who has seen DVD's upscaled to 1080p, on a halfway decent Tv, will agree that it looks much better.

On the other hand, cable, satellite, and broadcast SD content can look worse, because the crap is upscaled as well. However, there are a number of sets out there that do a fine job with it.

Before you continue with this, I again advise you to go and read some of the video mags out there. You will see that what I'm saying is not just my opinion, but is recognised throughout the industry.

If you don't believe that, and apparently you don't, then read up on this first.
post #86 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You are accusing me of making the error here, but I'm not.

Melgross, apparently I misunderstood the point you've been trying to make. I understand that through interpolation, DVD players that upscale video to play on high definition TVs do improve the picture. It looks better than a standard DVD player that doesn't have that capability. While upscaling helps, it's not nearly as good as starting with a high resolution picture to begin with. And l agree with what you said earlier, there is good scaling and there is bad scaling. As an extreme example of the argument I was making, no interpolation or upscaling can make 320x240 video look good on a big HDTV set.

I jumped to conclusions and I apologize.

Perhaps I'm easily set off because I have so much difficulty explaining resolution to my graphics customers. They expect us to enlarge their tiny 72 ppi logos and photographs and make them look good in print. Vector art can be enlarged freely. Fixed resolution images can't.

Apologies to other viewers for getting off-topic.
post #87 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Melgross, apparently I misunderstood the point you've been trying to make. I understand that through interpolation, DVD players that upscale video to play on high definition TVs do improve the picture. It looks better than a standard DVD player that doesn't have that capability. While upscaling helps, it's not nearly as good as starting with a high resolution picture to begin with. And l agree with what you said earlier, there is good scaling and there is bad scaling. As an extreme example of the argument I was making, no interpolation or upscaling can make 320x240 video look good on a big HDTV set.

Ok, now we agree. 320 x 240 is too low to give anything but a very soft image on a hi def set. No question. But 640 x 480 is enough, we again agree. The highest original quality will always look better, yes.

Quote:
I jumped to conclusions and I apologize.

It happens to all of us, me included.

Quote:
Perhaps I'm easily set off because I have so much difficulty explaining resolution to my graphics customers. They expect us to enlarge their tiny 72 ppi logos and photographs and make them look good in print. Vector art can be enlarged freely. Fixed resolution images can't.

This is what I've had to do as well. I eventually made Fuji prints to illustrate the situation, and would show them to customers as I explained it to them. It really did help a great deal. When it is in the abstract, it can be difficult for some to understand.

Quote:
Apologies to other viewers for getting off-topic.

It's what we do best.
post #88 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

But 640 x 480 is enough, we again agree.

Not sure I'd go that far.
post #89 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Not sure I'd go that far.

In the context that I was using it, it meant that it was enough to look ok on a larger screen, as opposed to 320 x 240.
post #90 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

In the context that I was using it, it meant that it was enough to look ok on a larger screen, as opposed to 320 x 240.

All I know is the 640x480 episode of "Lost" I bought from iTS looks pretty lousy on my 37" TV. It's a little worse than an analog standard definition TV show off cable and not anywhere near DVD quality.

I think I'll buy another show or two and maybe a movie to see if they're any better. If not, I would be pretty disappointed with the AppleTV I ordered. I might just have to cancel the order and up the inventory on my Netflix membership instead.

I'm using a MacBook, hooked up via DVI to the TV for experimenting. That's not a good permanent solution for me though.
post #91 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

All I know is the 640x480 episode of "Lost" I bought from iTS looks pretty lousy on my 37" TV. It's a little worse than an analog standard definition TV show off cable and not anywhere near DVD quality.

I think I'll buy another show or two and maybe a movie to see if they're any better. If not, I would be pretty disappointed with the AppleTV I ordered. I might just have to cancel the order and up the inventory on my Netflix membership instead.

I'm using a MacBook, hooked up via DVI to the TV for experimenting. That's not a good permanent solution for me though.

It could be your Tv too. Some are crap under these conditions, and some are fine. I see that in the reviews all the time.
post #92 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

It could be your Tv too. Some are crap under these conditions, and some are fine. I see that in the reviews all the time.

I bought an episode of "The Office" and it looks much better. It's in 16x9 format while the "Lost" episode that looks bad is 4x3. There could be various reasons why one looks better than the other but it's not all in my head and it doesn't appear to be a problem with the TV. Thanks for the input.

I'm going to leave my order for the AppleTV in place. I'm pretty set on finding alternatives to paying Comcast nearly $100 each month for what I consider to be pretty poor cable TV service.
post #93 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

I bought an episode of "The Office" and it looks much better. It's in 16x9 format while the "Lost" episode that looks bad is 4x3. There could be various reasons why one looks better than the other but it's not all in my head and it doesn't appear to be a problem with the TV. Thanks for the input.

I'm going to leave my order for the AppleTV in place. I'm pretty set on finding alternatives to paying Comcast nearly $100 each month for what I consider to be pretty poor cable TV service.

Er, I'm not trying to put all of this onto you. Sorry if you got that feeling.
post #94 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Er, I'm not trying to put all of this onto you. Sorry if you got that feeling.

No, not a problem. I appreciate the input.

I've just been trying to determine if ordering the AppleTV and planning to purchase TV shows afterward is a good idea. I think it'll be a combination of AppleTV, Netflix and an occasional purchase of a TV season on DVD that will replace Comcast premium for me. Their internet service is good but they've been too slow upgrading their TV service in my area.
post #95 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

No, not a problem. I appreciate the input.

I've just been trying to determine if ordering the AppleTV and planning to purchase TV shows afterward is a good idea. I think it'll be a combination of AppleTV, Netflix and an occasional purchase of a TV season on DVD that will replace Comcast premium for me. Their internet service is good but they've been too slow upgrading their TV service in my area.

I'm waiting on it. I don't see the need to rush into it. I think that it's better to wait until the second half of the year, and see what happens. At the very least, If Apple can't get Paramount to release new content as well as their old, and can't get the other studios to do so as well, it will hardly pay.


And who knows, Apple may release 720p content. I wouldn't want to buy stuff again, esp without all of the extras, which I often find amusing enough to want.
post #96 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

No, not a problem. I appreciate the input.

I've just been trying to determine if ordering the AppleTV and planning to purchase TV shows afterward is a good idea. I think it'll be a combination of AppleTV, Netflix and an occasional purchase of a TV season on DVD that will replace Comcast premium for me. Their internet service is good but they've been too slow upgrading their TV service in my area.

I stumbled across a beta on the flip4mac website for a program called Drive-In. It creates disc images of DVDs on your Mac and provides an easy way to mount the image for easy use by DVD Player/Front Row. The images are stored in Case files (i.e., DVD cases) so you can have all the disc images for a multi-disc set in one file. It will eat up hard drive space fast at around 8GB a disc, but this to me is far more appealing than purchasing a featureless film from the iTS for roughly the same price as the DVD. I can't see the appeal of movies from iTunes; they're of inferior quality all around: sound, video, extras. I could sort of see the appeal for parents who get a movie to amuse their kids, but for adults the appeal is lost on me.

To me, it would be more appealing if Apple opened up Front Row for plug-ins, have a plug-in that allowed you to browse the DVD collection Drive-In created. Even if it mean having a computer close to the living room, it's more appealing than AppleTV's closed approach to video. Put this together with 802.11n, the new airport extreme, and a USB hard drive to hold the DVD images, and you've got a nice multimedia experience.

A question popped into my head yesterday regarding the Apple TV: What would everyone on these forums be saying about the Apple TV if it came from Redmond, WA instead and was called Microsoft TV (not to be confused with MSN TV)?
post #97 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

The images are stored in Case files (i.e., DVD cases) so you can have all the disc images for a multi-disc set in one file.

Storing multiple disk images in one folder makes sense, but in one file huh? Maybe a single Case file contains "aliases" to multiple disk image files (stored wherever)?
post #98 of 106
I have lots of DVDs purchased over the past 10 years or so. I only occasionally watch the special features on them, if it's a real favorite movie. I don't really understand the desire some people have to rip their own DVDs to their computer, except when they're frequently on the road and want to have a few movies along on their laptop.

Since I have a DVD player at home, I wouldn't want to fill up my computer's hard disk with movies, unless the movies are ones I've bought online. By buying online, I'd be saving the space it takes to store the hard case for a DVD. When you start to get a big collection (I have about 150) it takes up a lot of shelf space. The only disadvantage I see buying movies at iTS is that the quality is not as good as a DVD. Otherwise, everything about it is a plus.

But, I know I'm not like a lot of people. I guess having all of your movies on your computer is a convenience thing. I never heard of a DIVX file until recently when the uproar over AppleTV formats began, so I don't have much issue with the formats AppleTV will support. I do have EyeTV and it doesn't save in MPEG4. That could be a minor problem for me but my (old) EyeTV doesn't save very good quality video anyway. I don't want to view it on a big screen.
post #99 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I'm waiting on it. I don't see the need to rush into it. I think that it's better to wait until the second half of the year, and see what happens. At the very least, If Apple can't get Paramount to release new content as well as their old, and can't get the other studios to do so as well, it will hardly pay.


And who knows, Apple may release 720p content. I wouldn't want to buy stuff again, esp without all of the extras, which I often find amusing enough to want.

I would imagine that when Apple TV is released then they will up the resolution of the movies and TV shows purchased from iTunes to 720p, it just makes sense for them to do it, if not where is the 720p content for Apple TV? Until then there really isn't a need for Apple to sell the 720p content, and after it is relased if the content isn't available then it will be a PR nightmare. And the thing that is going to sell this is not whether it is a cool gadget but the content that is available to view on it.
post #100 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by iDave View Post

I do have EyeTV and it doesn't save in MP4. That could be a minor problem for me but my (old) EyeTV doesn't save very good quality video anyway.

Which EyeTV do you have? My EyeTV 200 has the option to save recordings directly to MPEG-4 but the quality was worse than the already not-so-hot MPEG-2 when I did some testing awhile ago. Plus MPEG-2 obviously makes DVD-Video burning more convenient.

I just checked EyeTV products listed under Preferences > Devices in the software (v2.3.2) and only the 200 has MPEG-4 as a Quality option. They dropped that (and switched from FW to USB) on the newer 250. Neither support DivX, like Plextor and some Miglia products. I've never done much with DivX because my standalone DVD player doesn't support it (and progressive scan, for that matter).

Quote:
I don't want to view it on a big screen.

Me neither since quality would be similarly poor to Maximum Size and Full Screen playback on my iMac. Wireless streaming to my SDTV via EyeHome (before it failed) and DVD-Video playback with my Pioneer DVD changer (post-EyeHome) are the limits of acceptable quality, which is slightly worse than the original analog cable signal.

Right now I don't have any way to play ITunes Store video downloads on my TV to check the quality, but any 640x480 content is probably be better than EyeTV recordings. I'd thought ATV would (and it still might) be my first HDTV-capable component, being a bridge to eventually migrate from SDTV in multiple steps. I haven't had reason to switch to digital cable, especially since it would be more hassle to record with EyeTV 200. The idea of eventually dropping cable TV altogether would be more tempting with ATV in the picture.
post #101 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCG View Post

I would imagine that when Apple TV is released then they will up the resolution of the movies and TV shows purchased from iTunes to 720p, it just makes sense for them to do it, if not where is the 720p content for Apple TV?

Maybe Elgato, Miglia, or someone else will release new PVR products that record directly to 720p MPEG-4 and/or H.264 formats compatible with ATV? The current option of exporting quickly becomes tediously time-consuming, especially H.264. EyeTV 200 has limited MPEG-4 support, as mentioned in my previous post. I'm not aware of H.264 recorders of any type (I haven't looked); do they even exist at a reasonable price/performance ratio?
post #102 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjk View Post

Which EyeTV do you have?

I have the EyeTV Wonder USB. It supposedly records 720x480 MPEG-2 on my DP G5, but who knows what the incoming NTSC analog signal is. Anyway, all I've ever recorded with it was then watched in a small window. Nothing big looks sharp at all. Converting to MPEG-4 would hardly seem worth the effort.
post #103 of 106
Have you watched any EyeTV recordings on your 37" TV? Sounds painful.
post #104 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjk View Post

Which EyeTV do you have? My EyeTV 200 has the option to save recordings directly to MPEG-4 but the quality was worse than the already not-so-hot MPEG-2 when I did some testing awhile ago. Plus MPEG-2 obviously makes DVD-Video burning more convenient.

I just checked EyeTV products listed under Preferences > Devices in the software (v2.3.2) and only the 200 has MPEG-4 as a Quality option. They dropped that (and switched from FW to USB) on the newer 250. Neither support DivX, like Plextor and some Miglia products. I've never done much with DivX because my standalone DVD player doesn't support it (and progressive scan, for that matter).


Me neither since quality would be similarly poor to Maximum Size and Full Screen playback on my iMac. Wireless streaming to my SDTV via EyeHome (before it failed) and DVD-Video playback with my Pioneer DVD changer (post-EyeHome) are the limits of acceptable quality, which is slightly worse than the original analog cable signal.

Right now I don't have any way to play ITunes Store video downloads on my TV to check the quality, but any 640x480 content is probably be better than EyeTV recordings. I'd thought ATV would (and it still might) be my first HDTV-capable component, being a bridge to eventually migrate from SDTV in multiple steps. I haven't had reason to switch to digital cable, especially since it would be more hassle to record with EyeTV 200. The idea of eventually dropping cable TV altogether would be more tempting with ATV in the picture.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm not that close when I watch my 65" screen. we all sit much closer to our monitors than we do to out Tv's. At least, that's true for most people.

The biggest problem with a hi def image is not how sharp it is, but rather, how much of that detail we miss, because we're sitting too far away to resolve it. You have to sit closer than most people realize.

Because of that, I don't find most lower rez content to look bad, not great, but not bad. If I move much closer, then I can see problems. I sit about 15 feet away from the screen, mostly. That is much too far away for 1080p, 1080i, and even 720p is barely realized. That's from the normal multiple seating position. If I move a chair to about 10 feet, which is about the recommended distance for 1080p, the difference is considerable.

This site is highly recommended. It has saved me from quite a few arguments since he published it. When you click on the links, the charts can be clicked upon again for full size.

http://www.carltonbale.com/
post #105 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

You forgot to include the cost of high-speed Internet... cha-CHING!

And the fact that Itunes/AppleTV can't get you live events. I'd rather record the Cubs game than buy highlights of it for $1.99 a day or two after the fact.
post #106 of 106
My living room is small. I sit seven feet from the TV.

Of course, for live TV, you need basic cable or at least an antenna for picking up broadcast TV. Wouldn't want to miss President Bush's speeches you know.
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