or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Apple TV hacks, reviews, and trivia roundup
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple TV hacks, reviews, and trivia roundup - Page 2

post #41 of 110
Quote:
My point was that AppleTV video output quality when playing Apple-supported codecs (MPEG-4 part 2 and part 10) is much higher than a Mac Mini playing those same files.

How does that account for the fact that the mini will be the very device sending said video to AppleTV?

Quote:
Mac Mini has a GMA950 with utterly shitty video handling features.

Good thing it has those two processors to do the video decoding.

Actually thinking about this further this is intended for PC's also. And most of the PC world is rife with integrated video with even less capability than GMA 950. Apple does not list a limit for computers capable of working with AppleTV. Outside of having the minimal ability to run XP.
post #42 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

How does that account for the fact that the mini will be the very device sending said video to AppleTV?



Good thing it has those two processors to do the video decoding.

Actually thing about this further this is intended for PC's also. And the PC world is rife with integrated video with even less capability than GMA 950. Apple does not list a limit for computers capable of working with AppleTV.

Both these statements indicate that you don't really understand what you're talking about.

For the first comment: How does a Mac Mini's video output quality affect the data that it will send to the AppleTV? How does it affect the quality of output from the AppleTV? The answer to both these questions is that it doesn't. The Mini sends compressed video data (a raw H.264 data stream, for example), and the AppleTV decompresses this data and displays it on a screen. The GMA950 in the Mac Mini is not involved in this process in any way.

For the second: Yes, there is the possibility of Apple implementing in software (on a Mac Mini) all those features that would provide for decent video quality (output direct from a Mac Mini). Shame they don't do that, isn't it?
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #43 of 110
Quote:
Both these statements indicate that you don't really understand what you're talking about.

If you were change that statement to I don't don't understand what you (Mr. H) are talking about. Then I would agree.
post #44 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

If you were change that statement to I don't don't understand what you (Mr. H) are talking about. Then I would agree.

If you don't understand the basics of video decompression, which factors will - and which factors won't - affect picture quality, why did you start this debate with me?
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #45 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"To say that Apple TV is the world's best media streaming device could be considered faint praise, the tech equivalent of calling someone the world's tallest midget," Albro said. "After all, most previous versions of these devices, which take music, video, and photos from your PC and play them on your TV and stereo, have been unreliable, hard to use and generally shunned by the buying public."

taking away praise because the competitors are hopeless ??

you could draw the same comparison to the ipod and its competitors, and look how it changed the way we buy and use music/movies/tv shows/games etc, and both use itunes,
post #46 of 110
That may be true but it seems to me you keep changing the coversation.

Your first statement was responding to someone complaining that people should just buy a Mac mini. You said quality should be paramount. My resopnce was that there needs to be compromise in quality for convenience.

Then you go on talk about AppleTV output being higher than the Mac mini because of the GPU. Exactly what content is available that AppleTV will play that the Mac mini won't?

Then you go on to say Mac mini only needs to stream content to AppleTV and that the GPU does not matter. As though there will be no option for people to watch the content they will be streaming. My question is what content is this?

So yes I am lost. It seems you are saying I don't know enough to even have this discussion. That may be true. But I think you are making it more complicated than it really is.
post #47 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

and have significantly worse picture quality. I'd suggest that picture quality on a video-playing device should be a priority.

Can you explain what the issue with picture quality would be with a Mac Mini.... (I am asking this as a novice, not being argumentative).
post #48 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

That may be true but it seems to me you keep changing the coversation.

Your first statement was responding to someone complaining that people should just buy a Mac mini. You said quality should be paramount. My resopnce was that there needs to be compromise in quality for convenience.

Then you go on talk about AppleTV output being higher than the Mac mini because of the GPU. Exactly what content is available that AppleTV will play that the Mac mini won't?

Then you go on to say Mac mini only needs to stream content to AppleTV and that the GPU does not matter. As though there will be no option for people to watch the content they will be streaming. My question is what content is this?

So yes I am lost. It seems you are saying I don't know enough to even have this discussion. That may be true. But I think you are making it more complicated than it really is.

I may be wrong about how the AppleTV works, but I believe the Mac Mini or PC or whatever computer doesn't do anything with the video file you want to play on the AppleTV. It's just acting as a file server, sending the original .m4v file to the AppleTV. The Mac Mini doesn't decode the video or do any sort of processing (except perhaps validating that you are authorized to view it before it allows the transfer). This is why the only specs required for the computer is the ability to run iTunes 7.1.

All the decoding happens on the AppleTV. Since the AppleTV has a better GPU than the Mini it can apply advanced video processing to the decoded video and thus provide a better picture than the Mac Mini could.

I hope this clears things up.
post #49 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmardian View Post

I was suggesting to *really* mod the Mac Mini and route the wire outside.

For the mac mini that's been done I've seen that a few times. I thought you were talking about appleTV
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinsider vBulletin Message

You have been banned for the following reason:
Three personal attacks in one post. Congratulations.
Date the ban will be lifted:...
Reply
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinsider vBulletin Message

You have been banned for the following reason:
Three personal attacks in one post. Congratulations.
Date the ban will be lifted:...
Reply
post #50 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

If you take an Apple TV with an upgraded HD into a store, will they refuse to fix it?

Why you wouldnt want to do that can be summed up in three words

Whole unit replacement
post #51 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

We went through this with the HD also. When Disney CEO Iger first said there was a HD. Because Apple had not publicly stated that AppleTV would have an HD many people assumed it was speculation at best and he did not know what he was talking about at worst.

What's likely the truth is that Apple told Iger it had an HD and Apple told Mossberg that it runs OS X, they both publicly stated what Apple had told them, only Apple had not yet publicly confirmed either.

Ayup, agreed, and neither said "I have it on good authority..." or "According to my sources...", either of which would have pretty much stated clearly what was going on, and in a way that still left the details appropriately vague. Iger I understand, his was on off the cuff comment, but Mossberg surprised me on this one.

OTOH, while he offered no evidence, and just threw it out there, it always amazes me that people will polarize over such a silly thing. "See!? Confirmed!" vs. "He's wild-assed guessing, and is wrong, I just know it." Without supporting evidence, even the vague kind, people read what they want to, unfortunately. All it means is that it's an unsubstantiated assertion, and needs further evidence from somewhere to confirm or deny. It means nothing about the author's sources or lack thereof, because they don't give any hints about that. Flipping a coin, if lucky, gives the same result as confirmed documents countersigned by Jobs himself. It also means nothing about whether they are accurate or not, they may be dead-on, but who knows without evidence?

In any case, it's all pretty silly to get one's panties in a bunch over. I mean hell, a couple days later we had confirmation, and Mossberg's vagueness is completely irrelevant.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
post #52 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

If you don't understand the basics of video decompression, which factors will - and which factors won't - affect picture quality, why did you start this debate with me?

Mr. H, just speaking for myself, I do find you a tad incomprhensible, and full of yourself!

Either answer a simple question (if someone wants to know when you choose to post a view), or please shut up.

Your knowledge is no good unless shared, and your seemingly thin skin does not help.



PS: Your reponse was not to my post.... I am just p-o'ed at your arrogance, that's all.
post #53 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I may be wrong about how the AppleTV works, but I believe the Mac Mini or PC or whatever computer doesn't do anything with the video file you want to play on the AppleTV. It's just acting as a file server, sending the original .m4v file to the AppleTV. The Mac Mini doesn't decode the video or do any sort of processing (except perhaps validating that you are authorized to view it before it allows the transfer). This is why the only specs required for the computer is the ability to run iTunes 7.1.

All the decoding happens on the AppleTV. Since the AppleTV has a better GPU than the Mini it can apply advanced video processing to the decoded video and thus provide a better picture than the Mac Mini could.

I hope this clears things up.

I realize that you are trying to be helpful, but it does not "clear things up" (sic).

For starters, what's 'GPU'? What does "Mac Mini doesn't decode the video or do any sort of processing" mean (and why is that different from what other Macs do or do not do)? And, what does "perhaps validating that you are authorized to view it before it allows the transfer" mean?

I could go on....

I think there's the beginnings of a problem with Apple when its apologists (I mean, aficionados) start to sound like a bunch of Windows fanatics who have way too much involvement with the technology to care about what it all actually means to users!
post #54 of 110
Wait... do you want us to share knowledge, or not? I'm confused. If we don't, it's no good, but if we do, we're out of touch with what users want. Eh?

Translation: the computer that has your files can be a low-powered one, and the AppleTV will work. The speed of the network is the most important part. The Mac mini will be fine as a host for the AppleTV. Better?
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
post #55 of 110
Oh crap. Look at this massive can of worms I opened! I hope I can explain it better for the likes of Tenobell and anantksundaram. Unfortunately, I fear that this is unlikely, since the issues are highly complex and to explain it all from the basics upwards requires a book, not a forum post.

First let me try and give a simple overview of the video playback process, and then I'll review the exchanges I had with Tenobell.

Video tracks have several parameters, four important ones are:
  • Resolution
  • Frame rate
  • Bit rate
  • Codec

I'm going to have to assume that you understand the basics of the first three, as I don't have time to go over them in depth. Let's talk about codecs.

Codecs are all about reducing the amount of space-required-to-store/bandwidth-required-to-transmit a video. Uncompressed video can be quite huge. Take a 24 bits per pixel (that's 8 bits each for red, green and blue) 1280 x 720 resolution video at 24 frames per second as an example. How many bits per second are required to represent this?

Each frame has 1280 x 720 = 921,600 pixels.

Each pixel has 24 bits of colour information = 22,118,400 bits per frame

There are 24 frames per second = 530,841,600 bits per second, i.e. approximately 531 Mbps or over 13 times the maximum data rate allowed on a blu-ray disc, to put it into some sort of context. 100 minutes (a common length for a movie) of such uncompressed data would require 371 GiB of data storage!

So, for practical purposes, we really need to radically reduce the amount of space required to store this file. Using lossless compression - whereby redundant data is removed for storage, but this data can be re-calculated from what's left such that the original file can be re-created perfectly, bit for bit - we can halve the amount of data required. This isn't nearly enough. We need a radical reduction. And that's what lossy codecs such as MPEG-2 and H.264 are for. The AppleTV will support H.264 at a maximum of 5 Mbps. Hopefully you can appreciate that achieving a compression ratio of over 100:1 and still maintaining a high-quality picture is not at all trivial. The codec specifies how the information should be removed from the original file, giving us a resultant H.264 stream. The codec also specifies how this data should then be decompressed to give us our picture information as displayed on screen.

Now, here's an important bit: since both compression and decompression are extremely complex, despite the fact that codec standards specify how a stream should be structured, the methods that should be used to generate such compressed streams from uncompressed streams, and the methods to decode the compressed streams, there is a lot of "wiggle-room" in implementations - especially on the de-code side there's a whole host of post-decompression filtering that you can perform, but don't have to, in order to try and improve the final picture quality. In other words, not all H.264 implementations are identical. Whilst on the encode side they'll all give you H.264 compliant-streams, and on the de-code side will all decode H.264 compliant streams, they won't all give you the same picture quality.

Next up is interlacing: interlacing is the process of dividing the picture up into odd and even lines. If the camera is an interlacing camera, even lines are captured, then odd lines are captured. The discussion of why you might want to do this is not important. Years ago, cameras were interlacing and TV sets were interlacing. Capture and playback methods matched up to one another.

Most modern forms of capturing and playing-back content don't use interlacing.

If you've got some interlaced content and need to display it on an LCD, plasma or DLP projector, you need to de-interlace it first. Simple you say: just take the one set of even lines, and the immediate next set of odd lines, and display them at the same time. Yes, you can do that, but it'll look rubbish. Why? Because the even and odd lines weren't captured at the same time, so if the subject and camera where moving relative to one another, there will be motion-related problems. Now, you can use loads of wicked-clever maths to overcome this problem (motion-compensated de-interlacing) and deliver a pretty damn good picture.

Next up, scaling: Imagine you've got a 640 x 360 pixel iTunes movie file, and your TV has 1360 x 768 pixels (a very common resolution for LCD tvs). How do you get your video to fill the screen completely, without having to crop it? On the horizontal scale, you've got 2.125 pixels on screen for each 1 pixel in the file, and on the vertical scale, you've got 2.133 pixels on screen for each 1 pixel in the file. Let's consider a single pixel in the very top left of the source file. Let's say it's coloured red. Which pixels on the screen should be coloured red? What's .125 of a pixel? .133 of a pixel? Again - here is where some clever maths is required to achieve optimal picture quality.

Now, let's review the process of playing back a file that contains an H.264 compressed video track - a stream of bits in an H.264-complaint structure that represents moving pictures:
  • Decode H.264
  • De-interlace (if the source is interlaced)
  • Scale (if source resolution and display resolution don't match)
  • Send data to screen

The AppleTV can do all these things. Each stage can contribute to the final picture quality achieved. The GeForce 7300 go can do all of these things in hardware, and it does it very well.

With the Mac Mini, the GMA950 can do the de-interlacing and scaling in hardware, but it does it very poorly. You can do de-interlacing and scaling in software running on the Core2Duo processors, but the QuickTime de-interlacing and scaling isn't that good.

So, both AppleTV and Mac Mini have the potential to deliver top-notch picture quality, but it's much easier to achieve with the AppleTV since the hardware has all the functionality built-in already, it just needs relatively simple software (relative to the complex software-implementation of high-quality motion-compensated de-interlacing and scaling) to support those features.

For MPEG-4 content played on the AppleTV, the Geforce Go features are used, delivering superior picture quality relative to a Mac Mini. Using QuickTime plugins on the AppleTV however, all decoding, de-interlacing and scaling is performed on the CPU so will deliver equal performance to a Mac Mini. However, there is the potential there for Apple to deliver MPEG-2 and other codec support using some or all (depending on the codec in question) of the GeForce Go advanced features.

It is worth noting that most content won't be interlaced so the interlace performance might not matter all that much. I'm sure iTunes store files aren't interlaced, for example. It is also worth noting that interlaced content can be de-interlaced before being encoded. For example, a cable TV transmission may be interlaced. If you record this with a cable box, assuming the cable box doesn't do anything clever, you'll have an interlaced file. If you want to convert this file to H.264, you can as part of the process de-interlace the file before it's compressed. The quality of the algorithm used to de-interlace will affect the final picture quality of the file when it's played back; any de-interlacer in the playback hardware won't be needed and will therefore have no bearing on the final picture quality (but the H.264 decoder and scaling (if required) implementation will).

Having said all that Tenobell, here is the sequence of events in this thread from my point of view, with further expansion of each of the points I made:

Kip Kap Sol said people hacking the AppleTV might as well use a Mac Mini instead (i.e. - connect a Mac Mini to their TV, not an AppleTV to their TV)

I suggested that the AppleTV has superior video quality output than the Mac Mini. Whilst the Mac Mini has many advantages over an AppleTV in terms of range of capabilities, the AppleTV has superior video-playback hardware and therefore the potential for higher video output quality compared to a Mac Mini.

Then you said something along the lines of decent streaming performance and decent video output quality being mutually exclusive. I replied with a post pointing out that this is nonsense. Whether something is being streamed or read from HDD has no bearing on the quality of codec decoder, de-interlacer and scaler being used.

As long as the average bit-rate of the video being streamed is below the average throughput of the network over which it is being streamed, and the receiving device has a big enough buffer, there is no problem. Since the AppleTV will only go up to 720p and has 802.11n, and a 40 GB HDD (i.e. easily enough room for a, say, 20 second buffer), video bit-rate is not a problem in the context of streaming.

Then you made a post suggesting that if a Mac Mini is streaming to an AppleTV, the limiting factor will be the Mac Mini. In addition, you suggested that since the Mac Mini has a powerful Core2Duo processor, it doesn't matter that it has a GMA950 with rubbish video features.

I replied that your first point makes no sense (video output quality of a Mac Mini doesn't affect the video output quality of an AppleTV - the Mac Mini is sending a compressed video stream to the AppleTV, the Mac Mini is not modifying this stream in any way - it is the AppleTV that decodes the stream and displays the video) and that the second point could make sense but unfortunately Apple don't do all the things they'd need to do in software that the GMA doesn't do in hardware (and the Geforce 7300 does do in harware) to deliver maximum-quality pictures.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #56 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Wait... do you want us to share knowledge, or not? I'm confused.

You sound pretty smart, so I am surprised you are confused. Getting to the point, the answer is, yes, if you can manage to lose the snarkiness. O/w, I'll humbly repeat, shut up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

If we don't, it's no good, but if we do, we're out of touch with what users want. Eh?

And, if you don't, it's not necessarily "no good." We heathens will survive. (Btw, Canadian, eh?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Translation: the computer that has your files can be a low-powered one, and the AppleTV will work. The speed of the network is the most important part. The Mac mini will be fine as a host for the AppleTV. Better?

No. (But thanks for the attempt at translation, despite it seeming to contradict other responses to the Mac Mini question).

Now, get back to your soldering.
post #57 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

You sound pretty smart, so I am surprised you are confused. Getting to the point, the answer is, yes, if you can manage to lose the snarkiness. O/w, I'll humbly repeat, shut up.

And, if you don't, it's not necessarily "no good." We heathens will survive. (Btw, Canadian, eh?)

No. (But thanks for the attempt at translation, despite it seeming to contradict other responses to the Mac Mini question).

Now, get back to your soldering.

anantksundaram, it is you that is being rude here, not me or Kickaha.

FYI, Kickaha is a programmer, not a hardware engineer. As far as I can tell, he really knows what he's doing. Most programmers of that capability that I know don't really like dealing with hardware so I imagine he doesn't play with a soldering iron all that much

The point remains that it seems odd to dispute a comment that someone makes if you don't really understand what's going on. You will note that Tenobell exchanged a few posts with me before he said he didn't understand what I was saying. Would it not have been a better idea for him to have said straight from the off he didn't get what I was saying, and to seek clarification? Instead he argued with me and proved in the process he doesn't understand the basics of video encoding, decoding and playback.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #58 of 110
well put Mr. H

there are so many variable involed in video playback - you explained the process very very well

thanks
post #59 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Oh crap. Look at this massive can of worms I opened! ...... to deliver maximum-quality pictures. (With a million or so words in-between I snipped)

Wow. Thanks. That was quite **phenomenal** by way of an explanation.

Yet, it does intrigue me that your say "So, both AppleTV and Mac Mini have the potential to deliver top-notch picture quality, but it's much easier to achieve with the AppleTV ....", a somewhat more hedged statement than the one prior. (In fairness, you do go on to explain the statement).

Truly, thanks again.
post #60 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

anantksundaram, it is you that is being rude here, not me or Kickaha.

FYI, Kickaha is a programmer, not a hardware engineer. As far as I can tell, he really knows what he's doing. Most programmers of that capability that I know don't really like dealing with hardware so I imagine he doesn't play with a soldering iron all that much

The point remains that it seems odd to dispute a comment that someone makes if you don't really understand what's going on. You will note that Tenobell exchanged a few posts with me before he said he did understand what I was saying. Would it not have been a better idea for him to have said straight from the off he didn't get what I was saying, and to seek clarification? Instead he argued with me and proved in the process he doesn't understand the basics of video encoding, decoding and playback.

Look, I honestly did not mean to be rude. (See above, which I replied to before your response to my response to Kickaha). I apologize for sounding ticked off.

My point is simple, and by now, should perhaps be obvious: Forums like these have as members that float in and out, that are young and old (posts-wise), are novices and pros (on a given issue). The fact that someone is "in," "old" and "pro" (or any other combination) has zero bearing.

No one is required to respond to anything.

There are a million forums like this, but I signed on to (and bother to stay involved with) AI only because I saw that AI seemed a little different, and actually, a bit more mature than the rest.

I have no problem at all being called on something. I expect that most people who post here -- regardless of vintage, knowledge, etc -- would feel the same way. (If that's not the case, I realize that one can simply pack up and leave).
post #61 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Look, I honestly did not mean to be rude. (See above, which I replied to before your response to my response to Kickaha). I apologize for sounding ticked off.

My point is simple, and by now, should perhaps be obvious: Forums like these have as members that float in and out, that are young and old (posts-wise), are novices and pros (on a given issue). The fact that someone is "in," "old" and "pro" (or any other combination) has zero bearing.

No one is required to respond to anything.

There are a million forums like this, but I signed on to (and bother to stay involved with) AI only because I saw that AI seemed a little different, and actually, a bit more mature than the rest.

I have no problem at all being called on something. I expect that most people who post here -- regardless of vintage, knowledge, etc -- would feel the same way. (If that's not the case, I realize that one can simply pack up and leave).

Thank you for your post. I in turn apologise for rubbing you up the wrong way. It's 04:35 AM here so I really should have gone to bed hours ago! I would agree with you that on the whole, AI forums tend to be more balanced and mature with fewer flame-fests than other boards.

Glad you liked my mammoth post
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #62 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Mr. H, just speaking for myself, I do find you a tad incomprhensible, and full of yourself!

Either answer a simple question (if someone wants to know when you choose to post a view), or please shut up.

Your knowledge is no good unless shared, and your seemingly thin skin does not help.



PS: Your reponse was not to my post.... I am just p-o'ed at your arrogance, that's all.

{{edits: Crap, see what happens when you leave the computer for a bit to get some tea before submitting a reply! No need to read my post but I'll leave it up in case anyone feels like life is not boring enough }}

I'm sorry but I have to question your interpretation of Mr. H's response(s). I actually thought he was being quite helpful in the discussion and that there was just some confusion between he and TenoBell. I didn't see the rudeness you mention, quite the opposite actually I. (I don't have anything against either one, I enjoy reading both of their responses on these forums)

This reminds me of a quote by Stephen Covy "Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective- but this is not the case. We see the world not as it is but as we are conditioned to see it."
I know I do.

Here is a stab at your questions:

1) GPU: A GPU is a graphics processing unit and is used to help the CPU (the computer chip such as the G3,G4,G5, Intel etc.) display graphics on your computer screen or other display connected to it. The mini has an integrated intel graphics chip (gpu) which shares memory (RAM) with the computer and the Apple TV has a dedicated graphics chip (no shared memory) and some better feature sets which should allow enhanced video quality. Note: Just because a feature is on a chip does not mean that a computer company is supporting it.

To answer your second question on the decoding of video and processing I will need to give some background.
When you watch video on a computer it is normally sent from your hard drive (downloaded or ripped movies, television etc.), the internet (youtube) or a DVD to your CPU and/or your GPU. These videos are encoded in a certain format that the computer will need to decode in order to allow you to see anything on the screen. Encoding is needed because non encoded video files are too large for the average user (this may be a poor way to think of it but if you can imagine that you have a bunch of papers that need to fit in your small shirt pocket. When you put them in you need to shrink them to fit. You can do this in many ways, such as different folding techniques or just straight scrunching. This would be your encoding process. Now, in order for you to view the content on the papers again you will need to straighten them out as neat as possible. This would be your decoding) The decoding is done by the CPU and/or the GPU. Not all ways to encode are equal in quality (folding might be easier to straighten out clearly than scrunching) and typically, the more you shrink a video (the more folds or scrunches the paper has) the less the quality will be when you decode it and put it on a display.

2a) Answer: The mini does actually do video decoding when used as a normal computer. What caliminius was saying is that if your main computer was a mini (this will work for any computer also, not just a mini but whatever you are using as long as it meets the requirements to connect to an AppleTV) it will not need to decode the video because the display (your tv) is not connected to it but rather it is connected to your AppleTV. So your computer (mini or what-have-you) will only transmit (stream) the movie to your AppleTV and the AppleTV will do the grunt work of decoding (unfolding) the video and putting it on your display.
2b) The only difference (without going into too much detail) from what the computer connected to an AppleTV and one connected to a regular computer display is that for the computer to AppleTV -the video is sent to the AppleTV and then decoded on the AppleTV and not decoded in the computer and then sent. For the regular computer and display - the video is decoded within itself and then sent to the screen connected to it.

3) The AppleTV will receive video from any qualified computer running iTunes. I believe that caliminius was referring to the possibility that there might be a situation in which a computer won't allow material to transfer to the AppleTV without validating that the AppleTV is allowed to view the content. The future of digital rights management is not set in stone that is for sure but I think we are safe from that for now.

I hope I answered clearly ha, it has been a long day.


My reference for the Apple TV video card is here
If you want to check out the specs of the Nvidia card they are here
The intel integrated graphics chip in the current minis is here
post #63 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by shroud View Post

I'm sorry but I have to question your interpretation of Mr. H's response(s). I actually thought he was being quite helpful in the discussion and that there was just some confusion between he and TenoBell. I didn't see the rudeness you mention, quite the opposite actually I. (I don't have anything against either one, I enjoy reading both of their responses on these forums)

Thank you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shroud View Post

Here is a stab at your questions:

<snip>

Another mammoth post! Thanks for all that, I think it complements my mammoth post rather well.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #64 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

there is the possibility of Apple implementing in software (on a Mac Mini) all those features that would provide for decent video quality (output direct from a Mac Mini). Shame they don't do that, isn't it?

I wonder if we'll see that in the next Mini upgrade.

Makes sense to me... but that's just me.
post #65 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

I wonder if we'll see that in the next Mini upgrade.

Makes sense to me... but that's just me.

Don't hold your breath

Having said that Santa Rosa is bringing with it the X3000 integrated graphics chip with improved video-handling capabilities, so hopefully Apple will enable those hardware features. Although that hasn't really happened in the past for the QuickTime framework - e.g. the QuickTime MPEG-2 component doesn't use GPU hardware MPEG-2 decoding, it does the decoding on the CPU (unlike the DVD player, which does use GPU hardware decoding).

I've got my fingers crossed that Leopard will bring with it much improved support for video features in modern GPUs. Did you know, for example, that many of the latest GPUs feature H.264 encoding with much, much higher performance than the CPU-based QuickTime encoder.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #66 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

FYI, Kickaha is a programmer, not a hardware engineer. As far as I can tell, he really knows what he's doing. Most programmers of that capability that I know don't really like dealing with hardware so I imagine he doesn't play with a soldering iron all that much

Naw, I'm too busy pounding rocks together, and my lack of opposable thumbs makes holding the soldering iron difficult.
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
My brain is hung like a HORSE!
Reply
post #67 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Don't hold your breath

Having said that Santa Rosa is bringing with it the X3000 integrated graphics chip with improved video-handling capabilities, so hopefully Apple will enable those hardware features.

Yep... holding your breath is not a good idea with some Apple products.

I do think it makes sense for an expansion to MacMini so that it has all the functionality of the previous MacMini + all AppleTV functionality... but that may not be their plan.

Does anyone remember an article that had Apple saying it was going to compete in 4 spaces...?
I think they said
1) computers
2) iPods
3) iPhone devices
4)... AppleTV???
...but I can't find the source. I can't remember what #4 was.

The iPhone vs iPod distinction interested me... defining the iPhone as an entire segment implied a full range of devices. Iirc, they were responding to a question on an "iTablet"

BTW: I did know that GPU encoding/decoding of h264 was being handled more and more by the graphics cards. It'd be great to see Apple doing that - IMO the CPU of an AppleTV seems far less important than the graphics card.
BTW2: I'd like to see some merging of DVD player functionality into Quicktime (or iTunes?) for things like GPU acceleration as well as MPEG2 support & AC3 pass through.
post #68 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by palex9 View Post

this is apples big chance to again achieve cult status or blow it big time. should jobs decide to plug all the holes and make hacking this machine impossible or really hard, it will be like shooting yourself in the foot. if, on the other hand, they will allow the chip to fall where they may, this could be the start of a fantastic machine-running all codecs, using it as a ultra mini mac, whatever! let;s see what happens...

I think the point of this machine is that it's for the general sort of public. And I don't think the general sort of public want to have to "hack" a machine that they buy just so they can use it to it's full potential...

It's time for Jobs to get his head out of his ass and start supporting more video and audio codecs in his iTunes/iTV/iPod model, because eventually, (hopefully), someone will release a good system that supports things like DivX and FLAC right out of the box (as well as AIFF, WMV, WAV, MP3, etc. etc.). That universality is really the only thing that could take a piece out of iTunes/iPod/iTV - a setup that everyone can use without losing content they already have from Windows Media Player, iTunes, RealPlayer, BitTorrent, YouTube, etc. etc.
post #69 of 110
Sorry if this is doesn't belong here, but if I ran a line from my computer via some sort of TV out card under the carpet from my computer to my TV, wouldn't i be able to watch all the content on my computer in the same way, for less than 300 bucks? I know I wouldn't be able to use the remote while sitting on the couch, but at the same time, with Apple TV i need to go to the computer to get it to sync content, etc. anyways... Also, this way I could watch any content I want (not just iTunes low-res and lossy), and I wouldn't need an extra box sitting next to the tv that's also running at 85 degrees....
post #70 of 110
You get points for being thorough but you didn't really tell me much I didn't already know.


Quote:
I suggested that the AppleTV has superior video quality output than the Mac Mini. Whilst the Mac Mini has many advantages over an AppleTV in terms of range of capabilities, the AppleTV has superior video-playback hardware and therefore the potential for higher video output quality compared to a Mac Mini.

Ok that wasn't completely clear, but I did not disagree with you on this point.

Quote:
Then you said something along the lines of decent streaming performance and decent video output quality being mutually exclusive. I replied with a post pointing out that this is nonsense. Whether something is being streamed or read from HDD has no bearing on the quality of codec decoder, de-interlacer and scaler being used.

I wasn't talking about the quality of the codec decoder, de-interlacer or scaler. I was talking about the actual resolution of the video.

Quote:
Then you made a post suggesting that if a Mac Mini is streaming to an AppleTV, the limiting factor will be the Mac Mini. In addition, you suggested that since the Mac Mini has a powerful Core2Duo processor, it doesn't matter that it has a GMA950 with rubbish video features.

Well yes I was saying the GPU isn't up to snuff the CPU has to do more of the work.

Quote:
You will note that Tenobell exchanged a few posts with me before he said he did understand what I was saying. Would it not have been a better idea for him to have said straight from the off he didn't get what I was saying, and to seek clarification? Instead he argued with me and proved in the process he doesn't understand the basics of video encoding, decoding and playback.

Alright braniac. There is a difference between not understand what you are talking about and not having knowledge of the subject. You were not completely clear and in some regards still not being completely clear.

I asked you earlier exactly what video content is available that the mini cannot play but AppleTV can. Are you speaking in theory because of the current hardware, or is there an actual video file we can test this with?
post #71 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Sorry if this is doesn't belong here, but if I ran a line from my computer via some sort of TV out card under the carpet from my computer to my TV, wouldn't i be able to watch all the content on my computer in the same way, for less than 300 bucks? I know I wouldn't be able to use the remote while sitting on the couch, but at the same time, with Apple TV i need to go to the computer to get it to sync content, etc. anyways... Also, this way I could watch any content I want (not just iTunes low-res and lossy), and I wouldn't need an extra box sitting next to the tv that's also running at 85 degrees....

Of course. But the purpose of these WiFi capable, media extenders are to allow you the convenience of using a remote from your couch to access media content on your computer(s) using a simple interface.

There are many ways to save a buck when it comes to computing, but usually means a difficult hardware and saoftware setup, constant tweaking and a les than ideal experience for the user. In other words, not for the average person.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #72 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

and have significantly worse picture quality. I'd suggest that picture quality on a video-playing device should be a priority.

funny that.. i have my mini hooked up to the TV via HDMI and it still manages to display a picture... which is more than you imply it is capable of
post #73 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Here's an idea - how long until the media extension software in the ATV is yoinked out and placeable on a mini or other Mac? ie, buy a mini, plop the ATV software on it, and have the same network-wide media access, but with a full machine?

one of the smartest comments on this thread goes unnoticed!.. (hardly surprises me )

"now id buy that for a dollar"

i could see this offered in the next year?? or included as part of iLife XX (which i supose will now have to be 08 by the time its released - har har)

or included for free in Leopard?

but would the "Apple faithful" buy it in huge numbers for $19.95 a pop? or would it just "remain" front row 2.0 ??

having as i do, my mini hooked up to the TV (and thats where it will stay) then i would be interested in this "Front Row 2.0" very definitely
post #74 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Alright braniac. There is a difference between not understand what you are talking about and not having knowledge of the subject.

Yes, I agree. However, as I said, your responses to me indicated that you both did not understand what I was talking about (because I wasn't being clear enough for you), and that you do not have much knowledge about this subject (it seems that you think you know/understand more than you actually do).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

You were not completely clear and in some regards still not being completely clear.

Sorry. I'm trying my best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I asked you earlier exactly what video content is available that the mini cannot play but AppleTV can. Are you speaking in theory because of the current hardware, or is there an actual video file we can test this with?

Here's a fundamental misunderstanding of what I'm getting at. I'm not saying that there's anything that the AppleTV can play that the Mini cannot (what is it specifically that I've written that makes you think that that's what I'm trying to say?). What I am saying is that the mechanisms used to play-back files on the AppleTV and the Mac Mini are different from one another in implementation. There's a "playback pathway", if you will, that has the four stages I outlined in my mammoth post. Whether it's a Mac Mini or an AppleTV doing the playback, both have to do the following:
  • Decode compressed data
  • De-interlace
  • Scale
  • Display result on screen

Not all content will need de-interlacing, not all content will need scaling. On the Mac Mini, all of this is done in software running on the Core2Duo, on the AppleTV all this is done in hardware on the GeForce Go 7300 (for H.264 content). The hardware implementations in the GeForce Go chip of each of these stages are superior, quality-wise, to the algorithms used on the Mac Mini when playing back the same files. Therefore AppleTV has higher picture quality. And this will be more noticeable for content that requires de-interlacing and scaling.

Differences in picture quality between the two devices for other QuickTime codecs (such as Xvid) will be smaller/non-existent because both would be using the on-board CPUs to do all the work, therefore the algorithms that determine picture quality would be exactly the same. However, there is the potential there for Apple to implement more codecs on the AppleTV using the GeForce Go's advanced features. I really hope that they at least add MPEG-2 support sometime down the road.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #75 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

On the Mac Mini, all of this is done in software running on the Core2Duo, on the AppleTV all this is done in hardware on the GeForce Go 7300 (for H.264 content). The hardware implementations in the GeForce Go chip of each of these stages are superior, quality-wise, to the algorithms used on the Mac Mini when playing back the same files.

You've made this assertion numerous times and have failed to back it up. Since you presumably aren't privy to nVidia or Apple internals, I have the feeling you can't.
post #76 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker View Post

You've made this assertion numerous times and have failed to back it up. Since you presumably aren't privy to nVidia or Apple internals, I have the feeling you can't.

Oops, just realised I didn't properly read what you wrote.

Yes, I do very much deserve to be called on this. It is an opinion of mine that I suspect is the case, rather than have quantifiable evidence of. My opinion is based on the fact that Apple have repeatedly implemented things poorly in QuickTime (both their MPEG-4 part 2 and part 10 (H.264) codecs suck relative to others in the industry*), but Nvidia on the other hand really know what they are doing. I am confident that the decoding, de-interlacing and scaling are better implemented by Nvidia than by Apple.

*Their MPEG-4 part 2 codec only goes up to simple profile, not advanced simple profile. Whilst the encoder is fast, it compares terribly picture-quality wise to other MPEG-4 part 2 implementations such as Xvid and 3ivx. See for example here.

Their MPEG-4 part 10 codec only goes up to Baseline profile + 1 B-frame (which Apple erroneously claim as being Main Profile). The quality achieved given this limitation is good, but the codec is woefully slow. See for example here (yes, an old thread I know, but Apple haven't made any significant improvements since. They have made it faster, but not by much .)

Doom9 in general has loads of good info on video issues. Well worth perusing for those who are interested.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
Reply
post #77 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha

Here's an idea - how long until the media extension software in the ATV is yoinked out and placeable on a mini or other Mac? ie, buy a mini, plop the ATV software on it, and have the same network-wide media access, but with a full machine?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trendannoyer View Post

one of the smartest comments on this thread goes unnoticed!.. (hardly surprises me )

"now id buy that for a dollar"

i could see this offered in the next year?? or included as part of iLife XX (which i supose will now have to be 08 by the time its released - har har)

or included for free in Leopard?

but would the "Apple faithful" buy it in huge numbers for $19.95 a pop? or would it just "remain" front row 2.0 ??

having as i do, my mini hooked up to the TV (and thats where it will stay) then i would be interested in this "Front Row 2.0" very definitely

On the flipside, I'd like to see AppleTV be able to access content without using iTunes. The way that rontRow accesses media and optical drives. I know that requires a geat deal of software retooling in pretty much every part of the AppleTV's OS X but it would certainly go a long way for many people if AppleTV was not dependent on iTunes to access media. After all, this is how many of the other media extenders operate, however poorly they do it.

PS: I think such a hack will appar within 2 months, and given the speed in which DivX/XviD was added, maybe just a ew weeks. Of course, this will not come from Apple.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #78 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Let it go.

Before you jump off a bridge, you better check to see how deep the water is.

For your information, I used the exact quote from Mossberg in my original comment. My point was simply this, 'you may question what he said, but you needn't call him or imply that he's an frigg'n liar (my interpretation*) because he didn't include any supportive references.'

Later this month, colleagues of mine are reviewing Collaborating Evidence on HIV/AIDs. They are going to make statements that I know I will question. However, I wouldn't call them 'talking out of their asses' no matter how much evidence I may have to the contrary. Publically or privately.

*You tell me in private: . Call me out in public,
post #79 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Let it go.

Before you jump off a bridge, you better check to see how deep the water is.

For your information, I used the exact quote from Mossberg in my original comment. My point was simply this, 'you may question what he said, but you needn't call him or imply that he's an frigg'n liar (my interpretation*) because he didn't include any supportive references.'

Later this month, colleagues of mine are reviewing Collaborating Evidence on HIV/AIDs. They are going to make statements that I know I will question. However, I wouldn't call them 'talking out of their asses' no matter how much evidence I may have to the contrary. Publically or privately.

*You tell me in private: Call me out in public,
post #80 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Later this month, colleagues of mine are reviewing Collaborating Evidence on HIV/AIDs. They are going to make statements that I know I will question. However, I wouldn't call them 'talking out of their asses' no matter how much evidence I may have to the contrary. Publically or privately.

THough I agree with your points made in previous posts, there is a clear difference between colleagues and an internet forum. We may have public scrennames with ceratin viewpoints and character traits known to others by previous postings but we are still fairly anonymous here. Also, if the drama was done privately i'd have little to entertain myself.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Apple TV hacks, reviews, and trivia roundup