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Apple fit with early lead in "digital living room" - Page 3

post #81 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Dang Ireland. You just got TREATED.

Happy St. Patty's Day though.

Thank you, same same.
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post #82 of 176
Back in the early days of computing, before wholesale use of PC's, we used dumb terminals hooked up to main frames. These dumb terminals where just little boxes with screens attached and all of the processing was done on the backend. The cool thing about them was that they required zero support and never required upgrading. This is really what an AppleTV is - its a dumb terminal that isn't suppossed to do anything except provide a front end to a backend server.

As a result, everything that you might want from an AppleTV is actually what you want for the backend - want DVR, add it to the backend computer. All of the negatives mentioned around AppleTV are really features missing from the backend. When, or if, AppleTV makes sense for you is really dependent on what you have available on the backend - hardware, software, and content.

This, in my opinion, is a very smart move on Apple's part. AppleTV becomes a driver for people to purchase Macs in order to gain access to OS, iLife, and hardware features that make AppleTV work even better. DVR? DVD changer option? Automatic wake-up? Apple could add all of this to their Macs and create another reason to purchase them instead of a PC.

Additionally, since the AppleTV is so dumb, it really doesn't ever have to change or become obsolete. As a result, the costs can really come down as production ramps up. At this point, you can add AppleTV's throughout your home and save money by not having to pay for multiple DVR's, DVD playors, cable boxes, etc.

Plus, it creates the opportunity to create new types of devices. If AppleTV was combined with a screen, you would have a device that would provide all of the functionality of your home media system, but in a compact, easy to set-up system. Imagine one on your kitchen counter, in your bathroom, or even in your workshop. Why not even have a portable version? You could carry it around the house and watch/listen to it where ever you want. You get a home media system without the cost of all that hardware and without the hassle of trying to set it all up.

I think Apple is really on to something with this dumb frontend/smart backend solution. Long term, it will be cheaper and easier to use than what we have the today and creates opportunities for Apple to sell more Macs and even new types of media devices. I'm actually more excited about AppleTV than I am about the iPhone.
post #83 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

I will make a prediction that I think everyone would agree with, Apple will never license Apple TV technology to another manufacturer. They may at some point in time license Fair Play if they think they need to, but not the rest of it.

You have a good point, but I was just saying what I think Apple needs to do, not what they will do.
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post #84 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyTJ View Post

I'm actually more excited about AppleTV than I am about the iPhone.

So you're the one.
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post #85 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

You have a good point, but I was just saying what I think Apple needs to do, not what they will do.

There are a lot of things people think Apple "Needs" to do, me included, that they don't really need to or won't do. No insult intended, and I don't know anything more than 99% of the people on this board. Apple could benefit greatly in hardware sales from licensing Fair Play to iTMS competitors, especially with the release of Apple TV. Apple does not have all the content locked in to iTMS and there is some types of content that they will never cary even if they could sign deals for it. Therefore it would benefit Apple's hardware customers would do this, but then it could also undermine iTMS and Apple's bargaining power with the content owners. One problem with success that I see for Apple is that if they had with the iPod and iTMS with the video industry then they are could be opening themselves up to anti-trust lawsuites similar to those that Microsoft went through.
post #86 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyTJ View Post

I think Apple is really on to something with this dumb frontend/smart backend solution. Long term, it will be cheaper and easier to use than what we have the today and creates opportunities for Apple to sell more Macs and even new types of media devices. I'm actually more excited about AppleTV than I am about the iPhone.

They may be going for a "dummy terminal" type of solution, I'm not sure that I would agree that the computer is the place for a DVR though it could be controlled by the computer. The hardware itself should have dedicated hardware encoding to ensure maximum performance independent of other loads and demands on the main computer. It doesn't need to be part of the Apple TV, but should be able to be controlled by the same UI from either Apple TV or from the computer.

Then again the same could be said about the rest of the computers in the house, why buy 3 $1500 computers when you could buy one $2500 computer and 3 $200 dummy terminals for a front end and save money in the process.

In the long run I don't see Apple doing this, the signs do not point in that direction. Apple TV will grow into a more capable device with more features and be more computer like and independent. In a way that is what is happening with the iPod. Also Apple's AirPort is adding the network expansion at a central point, but it is moving toward a dedicated central storage area instead of a main frame computer. This makes sense because Apple makes money selling hardware, the more high end products they sell the better for their bottom line.
post #87 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyTJ View Post

This is really what an AppleTV is - its a dumb terminal that isn't suppossed to do anything except provide a front end to a backend server.

As a result, everything that you might want from an AppleTV is actually what you want for the backend - want DVR, add it to the backend computer. All of the negatives mentioned around AppleTV are really features missing from the backend. When, or if, AppleTV makes sense for you is really dependent on what you have available on the backend - hardware, software, and content.

Interesting point, but I don't think this was exactly what Apple was going for. I think that they are/were trying to make a device that would sell lots of iTMS content plain and simple. While this may bring in a little bit of revenue from the severely-limited audience that would pay for TV shows on a per-episode basis, I really think they missed the mark.

If their plan from the beginning was to make a dumb-terminal device, I guess it worked
But from their pricing model, they must have been thinking more. Your point about having the backend Mac do all of the work and the iTV only being a terminal would in theory be ok [Apple would make a killing]. But in practice that is way too expensive to be an option for most people. The strong point I'm trying to make is that the Mac and TV are very separate entities. Sure, there might be times when you want to stream a few photos and movies for the holiday party but overall there doesn't seem to be a big need to have them arm-and-leg tied together just to have the iTV function. Without a Mac, the iTV is useless. Again this is nice for Apple to make money selling more Macs; but I don't want to have my main Mac being tied up (CPU cycles, major HD space, RAM overhead, etc etc) for the sole purpose of watching TV, seems very counterintuitive. The only option is to buy another separate Mac to act as the backend powerhouse/storage server [which is again very cost prohibitive]. Just to get it even with a DVR, you're looking at a little under $1,000 minimum (mac mini + elgato type solution), and even then you'll end up with an oddball disconnected set of multiple units trying to jury-rig a consistent user experience with multiple remotes.

The iTV should be at least able to be a self-sustaining device. When I want it to connect to my Mac(s), great! When I just want to watch/record TV, let me do it with it. They're trying to tie together 2 completely separate devices, unsuccessfully by making the iTV so codependent.
post #88 of 176
Ditto!
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post #89 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyTJ View Post


As a result, everything that you might want from an AppleTV is actually what you want for the backend - want DVR, add it to the backend computer.

Which means that instead of a $300 device you have a $3,000 dollar device because you'll need the new server. I personally would not be comfortable working on a computer that was streaming video in the background. Multi-tasking is great but it seldom works as well as advertised. Just when you click save on your important document, the the kids in the living room are flipping channels. But I guess Macs never crash.

Quote:
AppleTV becomes a driver for people to purchase Macs .

You might be right for the same reason as above.

Quote:
Additionally, since the AppleTV is so dumb, it really doesn't ever have to change or become obsolete. As a result, the costs can really come down as production ramps up.


When has Apple ever lowered the price on anything? They just upgrade the featues for the same price.

Quote:
Why not even have a portable version? You could carry it around the house and watch/listen to it where ever you want.

I have heard that Bill Gates has 100's of TVs in his house. I only have 4-5 rooms I can't see carrying a box and a monitor and trying to find a plug, reestabish a wireless connection, etc. I already have a TV in the living room and the bedroom.

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post #90 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



Yeah, I meant to upload something like this but I've not go round to it because I've been a bit busy replying to comments like this and making cups of tea

$299. No offense but you'd be lucky to get $20. The name is too long, and particularly advantageous or relevant. Also, there isn't a huge market for domain names with that subject.

It was truly un-visionary to register leopardvision.com. We we all learn our lessons one way or another -- I've made plenty of mistakes.

Just promise me you don't do lionvision.com when Apple OS X Lion comes out :-)
post #91 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

$299. No offense but you'd be lucky to get $20. The name is too long, and particularly advantageous or relevant. Also, there isn't a huge market for domain names with that subject.

It was truly un-visionary to register leopardvision.com. We we all learn our lessons one way or another -- I've made plenty of mistakes.

Just promise me you don't do lionvision.com when Apple OS X Lion comes out :-)

Well if I do ever put that up we'll see. A few months ago someone would have said "apple-tv.com" was worthless, but not now - I own that one too.
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post #92 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribulation View Post

...The iTV should be at least able to be a self-sustaining device. When I want it to connect to my Mac(s), great! When I just want to watch/record TV, let me do it with it. They're trying to tie together 2 completely separate devices, unsuccessfully by making the iTV so codependent.

And Apple TV basically is a self-sustaining device, not a dummy terminal. It has a 40 GB HD that can store content for viewing independently of the host computer or any other's that it can link to on the network. I believe that it is also set up to link to Apple's Quicktime site for viewing trailers over the internet. Apple TV has a processor and an OS which is probably based on the OS X core with a Core Video, Animation, and Image as well as a Quicktime framework. Apple TV is not a dummy terminal that relies on the host computer for it's processing, and it can accept streamed content from any computer it is networked to. As long as that streaming is of an encoded file and the decoding is done on the Apple TV then the processor load to any computer that is streaming video will be minimal since it is just reading the disk and sending packets out to the network.
post #93 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Well if I do ever put that up we'll see. A few months ago someone would have said "apple-tv.com" was worthless, but not now - I own that one too.

Hey Ireland,

Who are you expecting to buy such a domain name?
Apple?
Just curious and puzzled.
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post #94 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by gugy View Post

Hey Ireland,

Who are you expecting to buy such a domain name?
Apple?
Just curious and puzzled.

Dunno, certainly not Apple. I buy domains like kids buy candy.
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post #95 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Well if I do ever put that up we'll see. A few months ago someone would have said "apple-tv.com" was worthless, but not now - I own that one too.


You could maybe sell this to Apple although I doubt they'd pay a lot for it. ~250-2000 maybe.

As far as Leopard Vision though, that has nothing to do with a potential product name so it wouldn't work. Apple TV did have a potential product name when you bought it.
post #96 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

I believe that it is also set up to link to Apple's Quicktime site for viewing trailers over the internet. ... .... As long as that streaming is of an encoded file and the decoding is done on the Apple TV then the processor load to any computer that is streaming video will be minimal since it is just reading the disk and sending packets out to the network.

There's the catch!
Are movie trailers really that all important? But sure, leave them be - I'm not saying cut it from iTV, just add it to the main subset of the device [which should be a DVR].

**IF** the content is already encoded on an other machine you're saying, the internal HD can be used. Does anyone even know exactly what the internal HD is actually going to be utilized for at this point? Even if it does transfer over shows captured from my elgato-enabled Mac, there're still all of the other issues I mentioned before. It's turning a relatively easy processes into a multistep, perpetually unneeded copying process. It'd be like recording a show to VHS, then dubbing it to another VHS tape (tying up both VHS players) and then finally playing it -- then starting it all over again, all day long. With no return on investment.

Plus, doing all of that encoding, running the program (elgato, etc) to get it, and the storage needed to store it, at least initially -- is all on my desktop Mac that I'm using all day long for other tasks.
post #97 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

You could maybe sell this to Apple although I doubt they'd pay a lot for it. ~250-2000 maybe.

As far as Leopard Vision though, that has nothing to do with a potential product name so it wouldn't work. Apple TV did have a potential product name when you bought it.

I just thought LeopardVision had a nice ring to it. I received about 20 email enquires for it. It would make sense to put up the price thing, but we'll see, I might bother later in the month. As for Apple buying that other domain, would never happen. If they want it they can email me, I'm not going to ask them.
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post #98 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Best reference that I know of, i.e., that it supports surround sound and more is right on the Apple site.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.h...m=304277#faq26

That's a FAQ for iTunes Movie downloads, not the AppleTV. And the surround sound to which they refer is Dolby Pro-Logic, which as I already said is embedded into a stereo signal. It is based on a technique originally developed by Dolby in 1976.

AC3 and DTS have 5 discrete full-bandwidth channels and one dedicated bass channel, and as such are a significant improvement over Pro-Logic.

More info about Pro Logic, AC3 and DTS.
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post #99 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

I agree totally.

Anyone have any reputable quotes/links that say Apple TV won't do 5.1??

Well, when Jobs announced the AppleTV, he explicitly said that it would support stereo, and by extension, Dolby Pro-Logic. I remember it well because I was so shocked that it seemed it wouldn't do proper surround-sound.

In addition, the AppleTV specs do not list either AC3 or DTS as supported audio, and make no specific mention of multi-channel AAC (which you would have thought would be explicitly stated if it did it).
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post #100 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribulation View Post

There's the catch!
Are movie trailers really that all important? But sure, leave them be - I'm not saying cut it from iTV, just add it to the main subset of the device [which should be a DVR].

**IF** the content is already encoded on an other machine you're saying, the internal HD can be used. Does anyone even know exactly what the internal HD is actually going to be utilized for at this point? Even if it does transfer over shows captured from my elgato-enabled Mac, there're still all of the other issues I mentioned before. It's turning a relatively easy processes into a multistep, perpetually unneeded copying process. It'd be like recording a show to VHS, then dubbing it to another VHS tape (tying up both VHS players) and then finally playing it -- then starting it all over again, all day long. With no return on investment.

Plus, doing all of that encoding, running the program (elgato, etc) to get it, and the storage needed to store it, at least initially -- is all on my desktop Mac that I'm using all day long for other tasks.

The fact that Apple is, as I understand it from the keynote, streaming to trailers Apple TV directly from the internet and not the host PC means that they can deliver content to the device in that manner. It also means that it is decoding the video onboard and not on the host PC.

Apple has said that the formats that Apple TV will recognize is H.264, so if it is not encoded in that format Apple TV will not recognize. If it is in that format then Apple TV will recognize it and will not need the host PC to decode the video.

According to Apple the internal HD is for storage of audio, video, and pictures. It will sync with one computer and be able to receive streams from other computers on the network.

Now while I agree that DVR would be great, it is not in the cards from what we know. Apple is setting up the workings of a decentralized home network from what I can tell. Apple would like you to buy a computer, hopefully an Apple but if there are PC's in the network that is OK, an Apple TV, and iPod, and an AirPort extreme with a USB printer hooked up to it as well as as many USB HD's as you need for "cheap" (compared to a typical NAS) storage. They will probably add more to that and and might give us things that we think that they won't, like a DVR or a TV.
post #101 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Best reference that I know of, i.e., that it supports surround sound and more is right on the Apple site.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.h...m=304277#faq26

Thanks for the link

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Well, when Jobs announced the AppleTV, he explicitly said that it would support stereo, and by extension, Dolby Pro-Logic. I remember it well because I was so shocked that it seemed it wouldn't do proper surround-sound.

In addition, the AppleTV specs do not list either AC3 or DTS as supported audio, and make no specific mention of multi-channel AAC (which you would have thought would be explicitly stated if it did it).

Interesting. Again, supporting AC3 (Dolby Digital) just means passing it through, and not doing ANYTHING with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (in the AppleTV FAQ above)

Movies include audio which is encoded using Dolby Surround which delivers multichannel audio when played using Dolby Pro Logic systems.

This quote is a worry... it "includes audio which is encoded using dolby surround". Doesn't sound like a description of digital.

Hmmm!?!
post #102 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

That's a FAQ for iTunes Movie downloads, not the AppleTV. And the surround sound to which they refer is Dolby Pro-Logic, which as I already said is embedded into a stereo signal. It is based on a technique originally developed by Dolby in 1976.

AC3 and DTS have 5 discrete full-bandwidth channels and one dedicated bass channel, and as such are a significant improvement over Pro-Logic.

More info about Pro Logic, AC3 and DTS.

Excuse my ignorance, but don't you want to pass through the audio to the surround sound processor on your AV amp or TV? You do this for a digital source through the HDMI connection or the digital audio out, Apple TV itself doesn't need to do anything to the audio right?
post #103 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

Excuse my ignorance, but don't you want to pass through the audio to the surround sound processor on your AV amp or TV? You do this for a digital source through the HDMI connection or the digital audio out, Apple TV itself doesn't need to do anything to the audio right?

From what I can tell, the H.264 standard basically uses AAC for audio. I don't know about newer sound systems, but mine do not directly accept AAC. It would have to be decoded into PCM stereo (or heaven forbid, reencoded to DD/DTS) for my recievers to understand the digital audio signal. I don't think it's a big problem, even if the video decoder chip doesn't handle the audio, it's not that tough for the CPU in Apple TV to decode it. AppleTV doesn't really accept a non MPEG-4/H.264 video stream, so for a lot of people, I think it's going to need to do that decoding.
post #104 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

From what I can tell, the H.264 standard basically uses AAC for audio.

BluRay & HD-DVD both have h264 as one of their standards.

Anyone know if they don't use DolbyDigital anymore when doing that? That would surprise me.
post #105 of 176
Here's the deal on surround sound...

Dolby Surround is an analog stereo matrixed format. It is incorporated in iTunes movies because the Dolby Surround encoding is in the left and right stereo channels. It's inaudible because the signal is phase shifted by 90 degrees, but a Dolby ProLogic decoder pulls out the phase shifted signal and sends it to the surrounds.

Dolby Digital is entirely different. AC-3 is a discrete multichannel encoding schema, as is DTS.

iTunes movies do not presently carry an AC-3 multichannel stream. However, that being said, H.264 AAC encapsulated can, in principle, support multichannel audio.

The problem lies in decoding, though... Say you transcode AC-3 as AAC. A Dolby Digital decoder cannot parse AAC. Then what?

An intermediary is needed to transcode AAC back to AC-3 on the fly. This is where something like Dolby Digital live comes in.

The AppleTV firmware would have to incorporate such software to transcode AAC to AC-3 on the fly and then send as AC-3 to the receiver. This isn't impossible... but there are many considerations including licensing of the technology, quality assurance, etc.

But the long and short of it is...

1. No, currently iTunes H.264 files do not carry discrete multichannel audio of any kind.

2. Yes, the stereo AAC files on iTunes movies DO carry Dolby Surround analog, which any Dolby ProLogic or Dolby Digital decoder can read.

3. Existing models of AppleTV can be software/firmware upgraded to handle AC-3 (or DTS) playback.

4. However, existing stereo AAC iTunes movies would have to be replaced with multichannel AAC files.

There's really no way to embed AC-3 or DTS natively into an H.264 stream, but there's no need. In principle, AAC is actually higher fidelity than AC-3 at every bitrate... and AC-3 at 448kbps is perceptually transparent (DTS at 768kbps is not)... and Dolby Digital Live is Dolby Labs' own answer to the problem which therefore meets their fidelity criteria and therefore indistinguishable from direct AC-3 bistreams.

DTS is arguably inferior to AC-3 despite what the morons at Stereophile say. They don't understand perceptual coding, they don't understand DTS is a different algorithm and they insist that the higher bitrate alone is evidence of better fidelity. This is nonsense because DTS lacks the filtering and metadata parameters that reduce the minimum bitrate required to achieve perceptual transparency in AC-3. So, if it doesn't support DTS... I wouldn't worry one bit.

That hasn't stopped DVD from proliferating despite an insignificant appearance of titles mastered to DTS.
post #106 of 176
I just came across this article at MacDaily news. It's interesting. we may be seeing something soon, I hope.

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/new...port-mode/9658

This one as well:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/a...-tv-245101.php
post #107 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribulation View Post

The iTV should be at least able to be a self-sustaining device. When I want it to connect to my Mac(s), great! When I just want to watch/record TV, let me do it with it. They're trying to tie together 2 completely separate devices, unsuccessfully by making the iTV so codependent.

What I proposed right before the AppleTV was officially announced, was that it should be a self sustaining device (though it doesn't necessarily need recording per se). At a minimum, the AppleTV should have had the following capabilities:
  • Access/purchase content directly from the iTunes Store (Apple already knows what you've bought, why do you need a Mac to access it?)
  • Sync directly and/or playback content from an iPod (it has a USB 2.0 port, what do you need the Mac for?)
  • Support for external storage (once again, it has a USB 2.0 port, what do you need the Mac for?)
  • Act as an AirPort wireless networking hub (it has a hardwired Ethernet port and draft N wireless)
The AppleTV's hardware is already capable of these things. That Apple chose not to include them in software is extremely shortsighted.

The other very practical thing Apple could have included is streaming support for live news and maybe some sports (though the licensing for sports would be more difficult).

All those things Apple could have easily done, in the existing hardware ... don't even get me started on the horrible video specs for the device, lack of codec support, etc. All in all, the Apple TV gets an "F" from me grade-wise. Bascially zero difference from media hubs that were available 1-2 years ago.
post #108 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Munster estimated that there are at least 110 million users of the digital jukebox software which will combine to represent the preliminary addressable market for Apple TV.

By comparison, the analyst said the closest Windows-based product is Windows Media Center with an estimated 23 million Media Center-enabled PCs in the market. However, he said there appear to be only about 12 million actual Media Center users.

"In other words, Apple has a 10x headstart in the digital living room," he wrote.

110 million apples, 12 million oranges ... that's a hell of a lot of fruit!
Quote:
PiperJaffray believes the digital living room could emerge into $4.7 billion business by 2008 if Apple is able to maintain its 70 percent share of the digital music market and one in ten iTunes users buys an Apple TV that year. One of the device's strongest selling points is expected to be the simplicity it offers consumers looking to view their iTunes content on a living room television set.

Because 1 in 10 iTunes users want to watch their music on their TV.

PiperJaffray could probably hire chimpanzees who could do a better job of throwing together unrelated facts.
post #109 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

  • Access/purchase content directly from the iTunes Store (Apple already knows what you've bought, why do you need a Mac to access it?)

Apple allows you to download the content, the point is then that it is on your local system to use not eating up their bandwidth to download on demand. Apple TV is not designed for maintaining a media library, just accessing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

  • Sync directly and/or playback content from an iPod (it has a USB 2.0 port, what do you need the Mac for?)

Why do you need this if the content is stored on your networked computers which maintain your media library?
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

  • Support for external storage (once again, it has a USB 2.0 port, what do you need the Mac for?)

It may have this, and in essence it does via the networked computers running iTunes. Let's not forget AirPort Expresse's Air Disk storage solution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

  • Act as an AirPort wireless networking hub (it has a hardwired Ethernet port and draft N wireless)

I agree this would be nice, but may not have been possible given the pricing that Apple was going for. If it added another $50-100 to the price then I'm not so sure it would have been a good idea

The whole point of this is that it is a networked device and works in conjunction with your home network, not in isolation of it. I think that the main thing that it is missing from your points is the ability to brows and purchase audio and video content from iTMS through the main account on your computer and have it download and sync with Apple TV. The main question here though is how long it would take for you to begin viewing that download? If it takes 10 minutes to get enough downloaded to begin playing the movie then there isn't much point in it. However if it only takes 2-3 minutes then I imagine that it would boost iTMS sales if you could purchase movies from the couch. Another down side is navigating the iTMS site with the remote, not the best device for doing so.

I think that the two most needed things for Apple TV are a rental/subscription service and access to some form of InterNet TV solution.
post #110 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

From what I can tell, the H.264 standard basically uses AAC for audio.

That's not accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowdog74 View Post

There's really no way to embed AC-3 or DTS natively into an H.264 stream, but there's no need.

And neither is that.

What you both seem a bit confused about is what MPEG-4 and H.264 mean.

MPEG-4 is a set of standards encompassing (amongst other things) the following:

Video codecs
Audio codecs
File formats

H.264 is one of the MPEG-4 video codecs, AAC is one of the MPEG-4 audio codecs, and the file format is usually referred to as MPEG4 or .mp4

.mp4 is heavily based on .mov.

It is true to say that there is no MPEG-4 compliant way of using AC-3 and H.264 together, because the .mp4 standard does not support using non-MPEG-4 streams within its file format.

However, that doesn't mean that you can't use H.264 and AC-3 together. You just don't use a .mp4 wrapper. You use a .mov (or other) wrapper. There's nothing stopping a .mov containing an H.264 video track and an AC-3 audio track.
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post #111 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I just came across this article at MacDaily news. It's interesting. we may be seeing something soon, I hope.

http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/new...port-mode/9658

This one as well:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/a...-tv-245101.php

Why on earth would this news "support the theory that they [Apple] will begin offering HD content soon" (Gizmodo)?

iTunes has supported the import of high-bit-rate AAC (up to 320 kbps) and Apple Lossless for a long time, and this has not heralded high-bit-rate music downloads from iTunes. I don't really know why this news has come as any sort of surprise to anyone, we knew from the day of announcement that the AppleTV would support resolutions up to 720p. It stood to reason that if QTpro included an "export to iPod" preset, that they'd probably intro an "export to AppleTV" preset. What would have been odd is if the preset didn't do 720p given the hardware is capable of playing it back.
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post #112 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

[*]Access/purchase content directly from the iTunes Store (Apple already knows what you've bought, why do you need a Mac to access it?)[*]Sync directly and/or playback content from an iPod (it has a USB 2.0 port, what do you need the Mac for?)

I agree with most of that for sure. I think that most people, including Apple are looking at this thing completely backwards. Instead of targeting Mac users, or in rare cases, people that are inclined to buy a new Mac ONLY because of the iTV, in order to access and use the iTV.....

They should have targeted anyone with a TV (which is basically everyone). That would have let those people without a Mac see the coolness of Apple products, while subtly letting them know the features they can't use without a Mac (mainly syncing). If the iTV is powerful and useful, then people would see Apple's strengths -- thus when they went to buy a new PC (within a month, year, or even 2) they'd be much more inclined to purchase a Mac.

Which is going to make them more profit, targeting the small Mac userbase (with a few PC using stragglers, because lets face it, I doubt many people will purchase this thing that own a PC with the iTV in its current state); or targeting just about every household in the developed world? The comparison is like night/day.....they just picked night for some odd reason.
post #113 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

I think that the two most needed things for Apple TV are a rental/subscription service and access to some form of InterNet TV solution.

That's the tipping point for me. As it stands now, the iTV has no chance of seeing my living room. Without some major sources of live content, or heck, even a sign that they're trying -- with a few channels of streaming live FOXnews/CNN/whatever, and ESPN. Yes the licensing deals would be an issue, but, it's usually not the Apple way to provide a half-as* device like this. They are masters of striking the goldmine of deals (iTMS for starters). I'm sure they could have easily brokered a very nice deal to get some great ***LIVE*** <BOLD x 100>LIVE</BOLD x 100>.

The other problem I have with it is that what was mentioned before. It's too reliant on another Mac. It's almost like they're just pushing to make your Mac (the one you use for....you know.....work, and stuff) 2nd class server. I can't stress enough, how much I don't want to have my Mac being stressed itself with having to delegate out all of this content. When I'm editing a movie, playing a game, or doing anything on my Mac -- while my kids are downstairs on an iTV pulling tons of content from my same Mac; and also having my wife on her iTV in our bedroom pulling even more data/bandwidth/CPU/RAM resources away from my Mac -- I don't want all of those resources bogging down my computer.

If anything, the iTV should have been equipped with a massive hard drive(s) (or at least an iTV+ model) to act as THE server/file repository. This option would have made much more sense to me......

Then if I have some movies to watch, they're all on my **expandable** iTV's system (we should just refer to it as the mainframe/hub of the house in this case). Then in the more-rare case that I want a movie on my Mac instead of the iTV, it'll stream it back to me, or any Mac in my house. This workflow seems much more logical to me, as my iTV device would be always-on (unlike my power hungry G5 and older CTR iMac). In its current incarnation (incantation?) it works just the opposite of what I'd like, my Macs have to stay on all the time (otherwise I have to run in the other room to boot up my G5 if I want 'movie A', or go in the basement to boot up my hot-CRT-iMac (which heats up the house, works nicely as a space heater as well) to get 'movie B'. All of that time spent running around, I could have just burned a DVD and brought downstairs -- you get my point

Too long of a story short.......how many of you think they should have flipped the entire conception around 180°?

Without going on too much more, they really should have sold an XServer-like device (stripped down, just storage, doesn't need a ton of RAM or CPU speed) for the home media hub. In fact, this is what the Airport Extreme should have been. Like said above, the AirportServerExtreme should have been a router, usb network printer hub (as it is now), AND include a networked storage volume(s) -- at least on par with what the iTV's puny drive is at 40gb -- that would have not added much price at all, and the attractiveness of the product would have gone sky-high....

Then you can buy iTV "hubs" that use that main central storage repository. In practice, the total price the consumer pays wouldn't be all that much more since the iTV is dumbed down (even more) so it costs less, and the AirportServerExtreme would be a bit more to produce, but make up the price. All in all, they could have upped the price on the package (sold together of course) to even $500 and they'd make an absolute killing. Now THAT would make a captivating product that wouldn't stand a chance at failing. And fills a much-needed gap, intelligently.
post #114 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribulation View Post

That's the tipping point for me. As it stands now, the iTV has no chance of seeing my living room. Without some major sources of live content, or heck, even a sign that they're trying -- with a few channels of streaming live FOXnews/CNN/whatever, and ESPN. Yes the licensing deals would be an issue, but, it's usually not the Apple way to provide a half-as* device like this. They are masters of striking the goldmine of deals (iTMS for starters). I'm sure they could have easily brokered a very nice deal to get some great ***LIVE*** <BOLD x 100>LIVE</BOLD x 100>.

The other problem I have with it is that what was mentioned before. It's too reliant on another Mac. It's almost like they're just pushing to make your Mac (the one you use for....you know.....work, and stuff) 2nd class server. I can't stress enough, how much I don't want to have my Mac being stressed itself with having to delegate out all of this content. When I'm editing a movie, playing a game, or doing anything on my Mac -- while my kids are downstairs on an iTV pulling tons of content from my same Mac; and also having my wife on her iTV in our bedroom pulling even more data/bandwidth/CPU/RAM resources away from my Mac -- I don't want all of those resources bogging down my computer.

If anything, the iTV should have been equipped with a massive hard drive(s) (or at least an iTV+ model) to act as THE server/file repository. This option would have made much more sense to me......

Then if I have some movies to watch, they're all on my **expandable** iTV's system (we should just refer to it as the mainframe/hub of the house in this case). Then in the more-rare case that I want a movie on my Mac instead of the iTV, it'll stream it back to me, or any Mac in my house. This workflow seems much more logical to me, as my iTV device would be always-on (unlike my power hungry G5 and older CTR iMac). In its current incarnation (incantation?) it works just the opposite of what I'd like, my Macs have to stay on all the time (otherwise I have to run in the other room to boot up my G5 if I want 'movie A', or go in the basement to boot up my hot-CRT-iMac (which heats up the house, works nicely as a space heater as well) to get 'movie B'. All of that time spent running around, I could have just burned a DVD and brought downstairs -- you get my point

Too long of a story short.......how many of you think they should have flipped the entire conception around 180°?

Without going on too much more, they really should have sold an XServer-like device (stripped down, just storage, doesn't need a ton of RAM or CPU speed) for the home media hub. In fact, this is what the Airport Extreme should have been. Like said above, the AirportServerExtreme should have been a router, usb network printer hub (as it is now), AND include a networked storage volume(s) -- at least on par with what the iTV's puny drive is at 40gb -- that would have not added much price at all, and the attractiveness of the product would have gone sky-high....

Then you can buy iTV "hubs" that use that main central storage repository. In practice, the total price the consumer pays wouldn't be all that much more since the iTV is dumbed down (even more) so it costs less, and the AirportServerExtreme would be a bit more to produce, but make up the price. All in all, they could have upped the price on the package (sold together of course) to even $500 and they'd make an absolute killing. Now THAT would make a captivating product that wouldn't stand a chance at failing. And fills a much-needed gap, intelligently.

whew, all that...good stuff, but don't forget, Apple TV is a 'sync' device. its just a funny iPod with wireless. Very doubtful its going to put much load on your 'server' because it'll be synced up with the content you need on it. That was one of the first things my wife asked....do I have to have my computer on to play music? no. Its already there.
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post #115 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Why on earth would this news "support the theory that they [Apple] will begin offering HD content soon" (Gizmodo)?

iTunes has supported the import of high-bit-rate AAC (up to 320 kbps) and Apple Lossless for a long time, and this has not heralded high-bit-rate music downloads from iTunes. I don't really know why this news has come as any sort of surprise to anyone, we knew from the day of announcement that the AppleTV would support resolutions up to 720p. It stood to reason that if QTpro included an "export to iPod" preset, that they'd probably intro an "export to AppleTV" preset. What would have been odd is if the preset didn't do 720p given the hardware is capable of playing it back.

I'm not saying it will.

But these guys are fairly familliar with the business. They seem to think it has importance.
post #116 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribulation View Post

I agree with most of that for sure. I think that most people, including Apple are looking at this thing completely backwards. Instead of targeting Mac users, or in rare cases, people that are inclined to buy a new Mac ONLY because of the iTV, in order to access and use the iTV.....

They should have targeted anyone with a TV (which is basically everyone). That would have let those people without a Mac see the coolness of Apple products, while subtly letting them know the features they can't use without a Mac (mainly syncing). If the iTV is powerful and useful, then people would see Apple's strengths -- thus when they went to buy a new PC (within a month, year, or even 2) they'd be much more inclined to purchase a Mac.

Exactly! And, just as much so, even in the 3 pages of comments here, we've had numerous people speak about how they don't want to have to leave their Mac on all the time, run between rooms to do stuff on the Mac and the AppleTV, etc. Those people have Macs and don't get why this thing can't behave as more of a standalone device.

And as far as acting as an AirPort wireless router goes. It just couldn't get any more trivial. The hardware is all there, and if this thing runs a variant of OS X as most imply, the software exists too. Where's your cable modem easiest to hook up? Well, right by your TV of course, and right where the AppleTV is supposed to go.

Like I said, the hardware is there. I'm not 100% happy with the specs but, it's sufficient to do what I proposed. The software just needs a major reconstruction, and add an iTunes Store interface. AppleTV 2.0! As with the AirPort stuff, if this thing is running an OS X variant, much of this would be pretty trivial. Maybe add an API for plug-in codecs while we're at it. Steve Jobs, call me up and I'll whip your AppleTV development group into shape.

As you put it, by making the device more standalone, it targets the general TV owning population. Or at a minimum, target the iPod owning population by supporting syncing and playing directly from an iPod docked to the AppleTV. Then the iPod folks say, hey, maybe I need to have this.

So far, Apple has just done nothing to distinguish this device from every other media hub that's come out in the past 1-2 years. I just don't think "buy it because you bought an iPod from us" is going to be enough to sell it.
post #117 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by @homenow View Post

All they have to do is offer the pilot episode for free to get you "hooked" as well as rely on how people currently "discover" new series such as word of mouth.

The fastest and most efficient means of "discovery" is to channel surf. Guides and the like can't compare.

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GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #118 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Exactly! And, just as much so, even in the 3 pages of comments here, we've had numerous people speak about how they don't want to have to leave their Mac on all the time, run between rooms to do stuff on the Mac and the AppleTV, etc. Those people have Macs and don't get why this thing can't behave as more of a standalone device.

Woohoo someone agrees! Thought it was just me for a moment.
Like you said, someone on the iTV team should surely be fired as this thing is almost a joke. Definitely looks to be a .5beta version or something of the sort -- Vista comes to mind. Is this Apple's Vista flop maybe? It's obvious that this thing was just shoved out the door without much thought because if there was any real thinking behind it, this wouldn't be the result. Apple-branded or not, if a product has no real-world benefit, it's just not going to sell. period. The only thing to do now is wait until the next quarter's profits come in and see what this pathetic thing sold like. I still stand behind my prediction that after the first wave of loyalists buy this thing for the sheer point of getting it because it's Apple's, sales will not pick up whatsoever unless there are some major changes made to its usage strategy. As you also said, some might be able to be upgraded with a massive UI rewrite -- but for everyone that falls for this 1.0 version [.5 I mean], they'll either be sorry because a) the product is an utter flop and dies out; or b) the upgrades needed go way beyond the hardware [like additional storage and some type of AV input] and you'll have to buy a new one once they figure out they made an enormous mistake. We'll see \
post #119 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Exactly! And, just as much so, even in the 3 pages of comments here, we've had numerous people speak about how they don't want to have to leave their Mac on all the time, run between rooms to do stuff on the Mac and the AppleTV, etc. Those people have Macs and don't get why this thing can't behave as more of a standalone device.

And as far as acting as an AirPort wireless router goes. It just couldn't get any more trivial. The hardware is all there, and if this thing runs a variant of OS X as most imply, the software exists too. Where's your cable modem easiest to hook up? Well, right by your TV of course, and right where the AppleTV is supposed to go.

Like I said, the hardware is there. I'm not 100% happy with the specs but, it's sufficient to do what I proposed. The software just needs a major reconstruction, and add an iTunes Store interface. AppleTV 2.0! As with the AirPort stuff, if this thing is running an OS X variant, much of this would be pretty trivial. Maybe add an API for plug-in codecs while we're at it. Steve Jobs, call me up and I'll whip your AppleTV development group into shape.

As you put it, by making the device more standalone, it targets the general TV owning population. Or at a minimum, target the iPod owning population by supporting syncing and playing directly from an iPod docked to the AppleTV. Then the iPod folks say, hey, maybe I need to have this.

So far, Apple has just done nothing to distinguish this device from every other media hub that's come out in the past 1-2 years. I just don't think "buy it because you bought an iPod from us" is going to be enough to sell it.

They AREN'T targeting Mac users, or those who are about to buy a Mac. How can this be so twisted around?

Apple CLEARLY stated that this product is for anyone who has a computer, whether Mac OR PC, which just about includes everyone these days.
post #120 of 176
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The fastest and most efficient means of "discovery" is to channel surf. Guides and the like can't compare.

Right! A subscription would work, if it allowed easy access to all the shows.
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