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Some time spent with Apple TV -- an in-depth review - Page 2

post #41 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

False! As Dwight Schrute would say! I credit the excellent sound that I get from my AppleTV to my rather nice and certainly not cheap NAD/Kef AV setup. My amps digital audio processing is fantastic and the argument that I was raising is that AppleTV is capable of outputting "high quality audio". I never tried to imply that its matrixed output is as good as Dolby DTS or THX, I was mealy stating that with a good setup, the audio experience is very pleasing and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

I don't need to come over as I have a pretty good home theater system as well (Parasound/Mirage). I also have Mac mini hooked up to my system (via Toslink), so I know how Dolby Pro Logic II and other matrix algorithms work to simulate 7.1-channel audio from 2-channel source. Switching back and forth between original DVD and 2-channel Handbrake rip, I can hear DRAMATIC differences. Perhaps getting 7.1-channel from 2.0-channel qualifies as "high quality audio" to someone like you, but to me, it's very 80's. What are you going to argue next? That 6-bit LCD is capable of rendering high quality audio suitable for photographers?

FYI, THX is not an audio format so I am not sure why you are bringing it up as a comparison.
post #42 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

I don't need to come over as I have a pretty good home theater system as well (Parasound/Mirage). I also have Mac mini hooked up to my system (via Toslink), so I know how Dolby Pro Logic II and other matrix algorithms work to simulate 7.1-channel audio from 2-channel source. Switching back and forth between original DVD and 2-channel Handbrake rip, I can hear DRAMATIC differences. Perhaps getting 7.1-channel from 2.0-channel qualifies as "high quality audio" to someone like you, but to me, it's very 80's.

I don't know why you are trying to be so obstinate about this. From the sounds of things you don't even own an AppleTV, so how can you speak with authority on this?

You might have a movie file with a Dolby Pro Logic soundtrack. DPL I supports the matrix-encoding / decoding of 4.0 channels of audio into a stereo source. Note that this isnt a four-channel soundtrack, but a stereo soundtrack, with a set of 4.0 audio information matrix-encoded into the stereo track. The four channels you get are Left, Center, Right and Rear (where Rear is a mono surround channel for a rear speaker).

Play a DPL I track through a 2-channel device, and youll hear the audio, just in 2-channels only. Play it through a DPL I-savvy amp, and the 4 tracks will be un-matrix-encoded into their four separate channels.

This is what you get from iTunes movies.

But if you have a movie file with a Dolby Pro Logic II soundtrack. Note that similar to DPL I above, this isnt a six-channel soundtrack. Rather, it is a stereo (2.0) soundtrack, with a set of 5.1 audio information matrix-encoded into the stereo track. The six matrix-encoded channels are made up of five normal channels (Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround), and one LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel.

Play it through a DPL II-savvy amp, and the 6 tracks will be un-matrix-encoded into their six separate channels.

All my Handbraked movie files have all 6 channels encoded.

[QUOTE]What are you going to argue next? That 6-bit LCD is capable of rendering high quality audio suitable for photographers?QUOTE]

Now that's just petty. (Now I assume your reference to audio in that statement should actually refer to video).

Quote:
FYI, THX is not an audio format so I am not sure why you are bringing it up as a comparison.

Yes I know that. I was however referring to the THX certification. I accept that that is not clear from my statement.
post #43 of 78
My quibbles...

1) Dolby Digital surround should be passed through, when it's available.
2) Apple should sell HD shows (and rent HD shows)

BTW: As others have noted, slideshows do play with the proper music and transitions. They do not "fit to music" correctly though (so they may finish too early or late), which is a pity - the advantage is that you can scroll back or forwards in the slideshow while the music continues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba451 View Post

I had been considering an AppleTV until I actually tried one at the Apple Store. You're being generous about the video quality, which I found to be downright embarrassing. I put up with SD DVDs on my HD set. The quality of iTunes video content when viewed on an HD set is way below that bar.

HD material, such as some of the free downloads on the net, look great.
The iTunes store sucks in this regard.

Pity there's no "HD sampler" podcast subscription which finds HD material from wherever on the net
post #44 of 78
I love my Apple TV and use it all the time to watch :-

EyeTV recorded programmes
Ripped rented DVD's (deleted after being watched)
My iPhoto collection (which the reviewer got toally wrong and seems to have missed the slideshow settings menu option completley)
Playing music
Podcats

Ian
post #45 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

My quibbles...

1) Dolby Digital surround should be passed through, when it's available.

Quite right sir!

Fortunately the AppleTV modification community has also made progress in this area.
The plugin AppleTVFiles working with the Perian 1.0 codec has an option to pass through the Dolby Digital soundtrack to the optical out.

C.
post #46 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

A 5-page review and not a single mention of Apple TV missing multi-channel audio, subtitle support, chapter menu out-of-the-box? A device destined for home theater not having multi-channel audio does not deserve "Pros: HD ready, with support for high quality digital audio."

It's my understanding that Apple TV does support multi-channel audio. HandBrake offers several options when ripping (including Dolby Surround and Pro Logic II). It's as much about what Apple TV supports as what your receiver supports. Apple TV also supports AAC 5.1, but most receivers don't (yet) support it - and that's not really Apple TV's fault.
post #47 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx View Post

It's my understanding that Apple TV does support multi-channel audio. HandBrake offers several options when ripping (including Dolby Surround and Pro Logic II). It's as much about what Apple TV supports as what your receiver supports. Apple TV also supports AAC 5.1, but most receivers don't (yet) support it - and that's not really Apple TV's fault.

Nope. As standard, the AppleTV will only output two channels. That means the only surround you can get is pro-logic.

By the way, Pro-logic II is not, as someone suggested earlier, 5.1 matrixed into two channels. The encoding is still the same as Pro-logic, the difference is in the decoding. It just uses clever maths to derive 5.1 channels out of 4.0 channels. However, there still is much less information in the stream than a dolby digital stream.

The AppleTV "supports" AAC 5.1 in as much as you can transfer/stream files with AAC 5.1 audio tracks, but what you get out of the AppleTV is still only stereo.
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post #48 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx View Post

It's my understanding that Apple TV does support multi-channel audio. HandBrake offers several options when ripping (including Dolby Surround and Pro Logic II).

That is just fancy stereo with fancy decoders to fake surround.

Quote:
Apple TV also supports AAC 5.1

Has this been confirmed anywhere? Apple doesn't specify it.

Quote:
but most receivers don't (yet) support it - and that's not really Apple TV's fault.

I think it would be Apple's fault for trying to push a format that no one else has even considered using in any way that I remember. There is no transmission or media format that I'm aware of that uses AAC5.1, which is why receivers don't decode it.
post #49 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

By the way, Pro-logic II is not, as someone suggested earlier, 5.1 matrixed into two channels. The encoding is still the same as Pro-logic, the difference is in the decoding. It just uses clever maths to derive 5.1 channels out of 4.0 channels.

DPL2 does not derive 5.1 channels out of 4.0, it tries to derive 5.1 from stereo (or 2.0).

http://www.dolby.com/consumer/techno...ologic_II.html
post #50 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

DPL2 does not derive 5.1 channels out of 4.0, it tries to derive 5.1 from stereo (or 2.0).

http://www.dolby.com/consumer/techno...ologic_II.html

Hmmm, yes, well, I was just looking this up and it looks like I was wrong.

Pro-logic II decoders can "up-mix" stereo or original pro-logic to 5.1. Obviously, in this case, the resulting 5.1 cannot possibly compare to true 5.1.

However, Pro-logic II did also introduce a new encoding method that can matrix 5.1 into a stereo signal. However, again, there must be limits on the dynamic range of the signals involved. Full dolby digital is still superior.

In addition, to get the full 5.1 out of Pro-Logic II, the source must have been encoded using a pro-logic II encoder. Apple claim that the movies on iTunes use Pro-logic. Presumably, that means I not II.
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post #51 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

I don't know why you are trying to be so obstinate about this. From the sounds of things you don't even own an AppleTV, so how can you speak with authority on this?

Digital audio is digital audio. Whether I use Mac mini or Apple TV, they will sound IDENTICAL. Are you trying to imply that Apple TV somehow delivers SUPERIOR audio for same digital audio file than Mac mini (Toslink)?

And yes, as I said earlier, I used Handbrake to rip DPL II audio from DD 5.1 (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest). And yes, my Parasound preamp has DPL II among many other audio decoders.

Please don't lecture me on how DPL II works. One of my college thesis was multi-channel audio codecs. DPL II is not a discrete audio codec format. It merely attempts to derive multi-channel audio through 2-channel source -- it does much better job than DPL, but it is dramatically different from DD 5.1, which IMO, is only a so so multi-channel digital audio codec to begin with. No audio enthusiast would call DD a high quality digital audio codec, let alone DPL II.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx View Post

It's my understanding that Apple TV does support multi-channel audio. HandBrake offers several options when ripping (including Dolby Surround and Pro Logic II). It's as much about what Apple TV supports as what your receiver supports. Apple TV also supports AAC 5.1, but most receivers don't (yet) support it - and that's not really Apple TV's fault.

Apple TV supports AAC 5.1 but folds 5.1-channel into 2.0 (for DPL/DPL II style decoding). It is possible that through firmware update, it will output AAC 5.1 or multi-channel LPCM through HDMI. Until then, Apple TV is a poor choice for home theater audio enthusiasts.
post #52 of 78
Interesting thread. I'm learning a lot. :-)

So, if Apple TV's audio options are so weak, what's a better box? I've tried several other network media players and they're all pretty dreadful. I've got a JVC Kuro-Obio box, but I've never really taken to it. The UI is horrendous. But, it offers a lot more than Apple TV...

Curious as to what other people are using, like, don't like?
post #53 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx View Post

Interesting thread. I'm learning a lot. :-)

So, if Apple TV's audio options are so weak, what's a better box? I've tried several other network media players and they're all pretty dreadful. I've got a JVC Kuro-Obio box, but I've never really taken to it. The UI is horrendous. But, it offers a lot more than Apple TV...

Curious as to what other people are using, like, don't like?

I haven't got one, but I think the best thing out there at the moment is the Pixel Magic HD mediabox. No wireless though, and it's pretty expensive :-(.
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post #54 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by robbyx View Post

Interesting thread. I'm learning a lot. :-)

So, if Apple TV's audio options are so weak, what's a better box? I've tried several other network media players and they're all pretty dreadful. I've got a JVC Kuro-Obio box, but I've never really taken to it. The UI is horrendous. But, it offers a lot more than Apple TV...

Curious as to what other people are using, like, don't like?

The AppleTV hardware is not weak. It will happily output a 5.1 digital stream down its optical output directly to a AC3 or DTS amp.

Out of the box the AppleTV only plays MP4 video. An MP4 container, as I understand it, cannot have a AC3 or DTS audio stream.

However mods are appearing for the AppleTV on a daily basis. The active modding community is one of the real killer features of the AppleTV.

Here's a thread which might interest you.
http://forum.awkwardtv.org/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=127
post #55 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by syklee26 View Post

this is NOT competitively priced. 40gb is too small.

If it had router functions then it would be competitive. Not right now.

Depends on how you define "competitive" if you're comparing ATV to some mythical box you've dreamed up in your head then of cours it's not going to be competitive. However if you compare ATV with the other client/server solutions out there you see that it's very competitive with devices like the Netgear 8000 and Slimdevices Slimbox.

Routing functios would just compete with the Airport Extreme. Why would Apple want to tread on other product line? Plus it would have made the cost of ATV higher. 40GB is too small if you have the need to store everything locally. However. the ATV is meant to stream content which means the 40GB is for local cached content and room to buffer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apple should dump AppleTV instead of the Mac mini. It's a turkey now, and it'll remain a turkey for years to come.

Instead, Apple should put those billions to work and buy out TiVo, or simply license the FrontRow interface to the cable companies for their boxes. That would be a hell of a better way to reach millions of consumers with Apple's "core" competency.

I disagree. The ATV does exactly what it's supposed to do. It plays your iTunes audio and video content. It plays back your photos. Blame the movie studios for lack of HD content because you know Apple is working on it. I'm going to move to an ATV system and I've never met one dectractor that had a good argument against the ATV. Since it runs OS X I think it improves greatly with a Leopard based core next year.

I expect that Apple will soon upgrade their "n" capable wireless gear to Draft 2.0 and performance and reliability will improve. If someone can find me something better that plays back my iTunes content and photographs better for $300 then please let me know. My future setup is going to be an Airport Extreme with a USB HDD attached and an ATV.

My hope for the future is that the ATV vers 2.0 supports 1080p video and higher bitrates (we need at least 10Mbps).


I'm not sure many of you fully realize the potential of ATV. I see a bunch of people quibbling about the lack of HD content or Composite inputs and other stuff that is fairly trivial IMO. That ATV is going to become more and more powerful with each new OS incarnation. I've already seen Apple demos that leverage Spotlight and Bonjour to find and playback pieces of content.

There's nothing really stopping Apple from being able to create a mesh network of sorts with multiple ATV connected to audio devices and using software to split areas of your home into Zones. There have already been patent lingo that suggests that an iPhone could function as a controller of sort. Multitouch could be huge in designing a system.

Apple's goal is going to be to sell multiple ATV into homes. The inaugural launch is simple and the need is only to seed some players into homes. Come'on folks..it's a mini computer. Eventually you'll be accessing the internet and iTunes directly from an ATV. You'll have parental controls (there will probably be a Master ATV that can be designated) and a bunch of other goodies coming.

The ATV is brimming with potential ...yet many cannot see the forrest through the trees.
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post #56 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

Apple TV supports AAC 5.1 but folds 5.1-channel into 2.0 (for DPL/DPL II style decoding). It is possible that through firmware update, it will output AAC 5.1 or multi-channel LPCM through HDMI. Until then, Apple TV is a poor choice for home theater audio enthusiasts.

Its hard to seem authoritative when you can't even click a link and try a step by step HOWTO to prove or disprove that you can get discrete 5.1 out of an AppleTV...so who cares what your school paper was about?

Why is this still even a discussion? It may be annoying at the moment to get AC3 5.1 out but it certainly shouldn't be hard to download the sample AC3 THX leader to prove to yourself it can be done.

Link

Vinea
post #57 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

The ATV is brimming with potential ...yet many cannot see the forrest through the trees.

I think that's fine, but I take that as an argument to not buy the current iteration, but to wait until they make their alleged vision a reality and see how that works. The product has potential, but there is no guarantee that any Apple-approved updates will be made available to the existing units in the field. I know it can be done, but the tech landscape is practically littered with products that had built-in firmware/software upgrade potential that was not exploited by its maker.
post #58 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by aresee View Post

You know the one thing that makes me think that Apple has a hit on their hands is the large number of shills that come out whenever the ATV is mentioned. These people must really be afraid of something -

Hmmmm.... I've got a $300 Apple gift certificate sitting around desperately looking for a purchase! But @TV is not on my my list.

Why? Read all of the above (and other similar posts elsewhere in this forum). You pay $300, and then, in order to get some decent functionality, you have to fuss around with Handbake, Perian, mods, Patchstick, opening it up (or maybe not), EyeTV, VisualHub, and on and on......

I hate to say this, but except for the external design, this crippled product looks like something that MSFT might have designed. As was pointed out earlier, they should junk it, and resurrect the Mini as @TV with all of this functionality built-in.

post #59 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

I love my Apple TV and use it all the time to watch :-

EyeTV recorded programmes
Ripped rented DVD's (deleted after being watched)
My iPhoto collection (which the reviewer got toally wrong and seems to have missed the slideshow settings menu option completley)
Playing music
Podcats

Ian

You sound like you're using the ?tv like I will. If you like to consume a variety of media it's IMO a solid start to delivering easy playback as a STB device.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think that's fine, but I take that as an argument to not buy the current iteration, but to wait until they make their alleged vision a reality and see how that works. The product has potential, but there is no guarantee that any Apple-approved updates will be made available to the existing units in the field. I know it can be done, but the tech landscape is practically littered with products that had built-in firmware/software upgrade potential that was not exploited by its maker.

Naturally...you buy when the value equation meets your own particular needs. My needs dictate that I want a device that will playback my purchased and ripped iTunes music first and foremost. Video is second though I have an HD DVD player so I don't pine for 720p bitrate starved video like others are. Then I'd like to view my photographs on my TV as well. The extra stuff will be cream on the top if it ever comes to fruition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


I hate to say this, but except for the external design, this crippled product looks like something that MSFT might have designed. As was pointed out earlier, they should junk it, and resurrect the Mini as @TV with all of this functionality built-in.

I don't follow your logic. Because a product doesn't offer you all the codec support that your particular needs require doesn't make a product "crippled" a "crippled" product generally denoted as one that has intrinsinc support for a feature yet that feature is turned off by the vendor. What Perian and other hacks do is extend the ?tv's quicktime frameworks to support other 3rd party codecs that don't come native to Quicktime anyways for the most part thus Apple has crippled nothing here. I'd have to add Perian or some other codec to my QT framework stack if I wanted full support. Since the ?tv is a CE device meant to simply plug and play this isn't offered yet but what "is" offered is the ability to playback ALL iTunes content.

If you cannot see the difference between a computer (Mac mini) and a CE playback device (ATV) then the imperfection is within your logic and not the product. ?tv is not aimed at being a geeks tool. It's aimed at being the type of device that is uncomputerlike and easy enough for my grandmammy to setup and use. Calling the ?tv "crippled" is a vacuous and specious as an argument. Claiming that it's something that Microsoft would have designed (knowing that Apple doesn't actively prohibit hacks) smacks of the act of desperation in actually finding a valid talking point in your argument.

The ?tv is a consumer device that can be hacked by those inclinded at their own risk. Apple has never promoted it as anything more.
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post #60 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Its hard to seem authoritative when you can't even click a link and try a step by step HOWTO to prove or disprove that you can get discrete 5.1 out of an AppleTV...so who cares what your school paper was about?

Why is this still even a discussion? It may be annoying at the moment to get AC3 5.1 out but it certainly shouldn't be hard to download the sample AC3 THX leader to prove to yourself it can be done.

Link

Vinea

Vinea, you misunderstand. We are talking about the default, out-of-the-box behaviour of the AppleTV.

Personally, I can see incredible potential in the AppleTV, the frustrating thing is that everything bar the software is there, and Apple could easily implement everything, right now, that would make the AppleTV perfect.
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post #61 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Vinea, you misunderstand. We are talking about the default, out-of-the-box behaviour of the AppleTV.

Personally, I can see incredible potential in the AppleTV, the frustrating thing is that everything bar the software is there, and Apple could easily implement everything, right now, that would make the AppleTV perfect.

Given that we're talking about handbrake ripped DVD's there's nothing out of box about this discussion. Within those parameters if you want discrete 5.1 audio it is possible with aTV.

Within the out of box solution you get...iTunes...with all the current limitations. That the hardware is spec'd above the current "out of box" offerings either means Apple screwed up or that iTunes will at some point go 720p + 5.1 discrete surround.

aTV isn't compelling to me until iTunes offers 720/24p movies with 5.1 or better audio AND apple offers a media center Mac or iNAS with ZFS. That won't happen till Leopard...so right now aTV is gen 1 and IMHO great for the folks that have an immediate use and desire but not likely to change home media. But really...its a software change.

Although if my kid ruins another one of my DVDs I may change my mind about when I should start ripping DVDs and getting some kind of MCE whether XBox, PS3 or aTV.

Vinea
post #62 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

... Apple has crippled nothing here. ...IClaiming that it's something that Microsoft would have designed (knowing that Apple doesn't actively prohibit hacks) smacks of the act of desperation in actually finding a valid talking point in your argument.

Oh, calm down and catch a breath. And stop being such an apologist for, yes, a crippled product. @TV is an embarrassment. Apple will either change it significantly, or drop it. (Of course, we'll only know that in the future.)

In the meantime, stop making attributions to me such as "act(s) of desperation" -- it makes your apologia for @TV fit your attribution.

Btw, I must be missing some sublety here, but what is an "active" prohibition of hacks? And who does that, with what consequences? Can you provide some examples?
post #63 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Btw, I must be missing some sublety here, but what is an "active" prohibition of hacks? And who does that, with what consequences? Can you provide some examples?

TiVO. GPL3.

But certainly Apple isn't making hacking the aTV all that tough. The only sticky point right now is the boot.efi and that's a legal more than technical issue if I read that right.

There are quite a few things they could do to make hacking the aTV harder. They might do so yet given how paranoid the studios are...but it will be pretty hard given that the current hardware doesn't seem to check all that closely what's really running on the box.

Vinea
post #64 of 78
Politically, Apple have placed themselves in an interesting position with this box, especially when you compare it with the iPod.

The iPod is both a device to listen to fair-use musical content liberated from CDs / Pirated Downloads / and of course legally purchased music from iTunes. We can calculate that on the average iPod, there may be tens of paid-for tracks.

The Apple TV is piece of hardware which is easily capable of doing exactly the same for video content. But out of the box, the software is not set up to facilitate fair-use or piracy. You would have to transcode almost every downloaded internet movie. And acquire a DVD ripper to watch your own films.

Why the difference? I suspect the perception of making a "piracy box "would weaken Apple's hand as a player in the digital media world. Sony took similar steps with their first digital music players. But forcing consumers to transcode into Atrac was one of the things which caused Sony to fail in that market.

So the question is... Is Apple trying to robustly prevent fair-use and illegal downloads or is it simply doing just-enough to not damage its reputation?

The answer, I think is to look to the UK. Apple have launched the Apple TV in the UK. It's there in the stores with all the fanfare and using up precious shop space with large displays. And it is there without any downloadable TV shows or movie content through iTunes.
post #65 of 78
What a discussion :-)

Let me provide my 2 cents...


I actually own an Apple TV. As it stands now I am happy with it, to some extent at least.

My use:
- watch picutres stored in my "aperture" library (yes, it works wonderfully with aperture as well
- listen to my entire music collection (works wonderfully)
- watch my HIGH DEF videos shot with Sony High Def camcorder (again, works wonderfully)
This last point need to be elaborated. It was the main reason why I purchased the AppleTV! I bought a Sony High definition Handycam. I can edit my videos in High Def thanks to iMovie HD and have wonderful "movies". But then? As it stood prior to purchase I had to save them on SD DVDs loosign the main point of my purchase (high definition). Or else I would have to buy a HD-DVD ripper or Blu-Ray ripper PLUS a reader for my TV.
As you can see, the MacBook and the AppleTV allow me to have high def movies I shot in a fraction of the costs of a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray setup.

It is great to watch high def movies I made on my high def TV without having to spend huge amounts of money in hardware (both for Mac/PC (ripper) as well as for TV (reader)). Today the combination MacBook and AppleTV is the only way I have to edit and watch movies in High Definition.

As for the AppleTV. What I miss most is the second part of it's name...

APPLE TV. Isn't the "TV" part supposed to mean I can watch some TV content? They could have called it AppleMediaWHATEVER... But they called it "TV"!!!!!!!!!!!

The only iTunes store in which you can actually purchase "TV" content is the US. How lame is that?
BEFORE discussing the codec, HD content, rental issues, I'd like to have SOME content to purchase. Of course, "handbraking" movies works... But hey?! I own a DVD player and why should I be "reconding" everything just in order to watch it from my AppleTV???

I want to be able to legally buy stuff from the iTunes store. Maybe I'll also start complanining about the quality of videos, but at least I'll have something to complain ABOUT. Now I can only say "I've no idea how movies and videos purchased online look on the AppleTV".

As I said, I'm happy with the AppleTV in many aspects, but I really miss the "TV" part. I am not willing to spend a "rent" every month just to watch High Def content through cable, without me being able to choose what to watch. I love the idea of "pay per view" as my use of TV would make it much more cost effective.

Why Apple didn't release ANY content at all outside the US escapes me. Movies, TV Shows they all involve some sort of rights management. But you can already buy the "Pixar shorts" (three of them), why not ALL of them?

I really would like Apple to come out with some "TV" on their AppleTV in Europe.....

'nuff said...
post #66 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

TiVO. GPL3.

But certainly Apple isn't making hacking the aTV all that tough. The only sticky point right now is the boot.efi and that's a legal more than technical issue if I read that right.

There are quite a few things they could do to make hacking the aTV harder. They might do so yet given how paranoid the studios are...but it will be pretty hard given that the current hardware doesn't seem to check all that closely what's really running on the box.

Vinea

And what would happen to one's Apple product warranty/protection plan if the product is hacked (e.g., opened)? Would it still be valid?

More importantly, I was wondering about a company such as MSFT and "active prohibition of hacking" (since that was the basis for my original comparison) -- what type of active prohibition, for example, do they have with the Xbox? Similar to Apple? Better? Worse? (I am not trying to be argumentative here, it's just an honest question!).
post #67 of 78
I own one, and love it.

But I think I love it partly because it has required me to invest quite a bit of time in modding it.
I have had to learn a bit about the Unix command line. I had to risk bricking the box. Had to hand install the plug-ins and the codecs.

So now every time I use it - I get a small buzz of accomplishment.

It's sad, I know.

C.
post #68 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Although if my kid ruins another one of my DVDs I may change my mind about when I should start ripping DVDs and getting some kind of MCE whether XBox, PS3 or aTV.

That sounds like the wrong solution to the problem. I've heard of parents that manage to train their children not to destroy optical media.
post #69 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Given that we're talking about handbrake ripped DVD's there's nothing out of box about this discussion. Within those parameters if you want discrete 5.1 audio it is possible with aTV.

Within the out of box solution you get...iTunes...with all the current limitations. That the hardware is spec'd above the current "out of box" offerings either means Apple screwed up or that iTunes will at some point go 720p + 5.1 discrete surround.

To average users, using Handbrake is far easier than hacking Apple TV for various codecs. And if you recall, I only brought up Handbrake because SpinDrift compared DPL II to DD/DTS as a substitute. In addition, although the point is arguable, hacking Apple TV isn't easy for average users... at least, it's not something they would readily do.

If you trace it back, I was questioning why the reviewer praised Apple TV for "high quality audio output" when Apple TV cannot output multi-channel audio out-of-the-box. Yes, I suppose on technicality, having a digital audio output may qualify as having "high quality audio output". Then again, just about every single home theater devices have digital audio output and I don't see reviewers praising these devices having such ubiquitous connector. Because Apple TV lacks such important home theater feature out-of-the-box, Apple is positioning it as a weak home theater solution (missing subtitle, real 720p contents, and 1080p capability are not helping, either). Worse, many will now export the virtues of yesterday standards such as DPL II when Apple should be moving forward with more modern standards.
post #70 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Oh, calm down and catch a breath. And stop being such an apologist for, yes, a crippled product. @TV is an embarrassment. Apple will either change it significantly, or drop it. (Of course, we'll only know that in the future.)

In the meantime, stop making attributions to me such as "act(s) of desperation" -- it makes your apologia for @TV fit your attribution.

Btw, I must be missing some sublety here, but what is an "active" prohibition of hacks? And who does that, with what consequences? Can you provide some examples?

Apple's letting hackers have their way with the ATV unfettered.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/05/a...pple-tv-hacks/

This is a good thing for those unafraid to void the warranty to get some functionality. My tone was a bit too stern regarding your post. I don't think Apple's trying to screw anyone but the launch of ATV was conservative by almost any measure.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pinolo View Post

What a discussion :-)

Let me provide my 2 cents...


..

Excellent first post Pinolo. Welcome to the boards. You mirror what I want to do with my ATV once I've made the plunge (still looking at getting a HDTV and DSLR first). I'm looking at a Canon HV20 for a HD cam but that won't be until next year. I think many are expecting ATV to be some sort of hardware personification of VLC. That ain't happening without hacking.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
post #71 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That sounds like the wrong solution to the problem. I've heard of parents that manage to train their children not to destroy optical media.

Mkay. Write me of your experiences on how you trained your kids not to destroy optical media.

In any case, it wasn't a matter of malicious destruction but that 3 year olds aren't always coordinated but DO want to learn to do things themselves. I find that to be behavior that should be encouraged even though there's going to be breakage in the process.

Vinea
post #72 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

To average users, using Handbrake is far easier than hacking Apple TV for various codecs.

You still haven't clicked that link have you? Big letters up top: 5.1 without hacking. Just a bunch of steps at the moment.

Quote:
If you trace it back, I was questioning why the reviewer praised Apple TV for "high quality audio output" when Apple TV cannot output multi-channel audio out-of-the-box.

Maybe he downloaded that THX trailer with discrete 5.1 surround?

Quote:
Yes, I suppose on technicality, having a digital audio output may qualify as having "high quality audio output". Then again, just about every single home theater devices have digital audio output and I don't see reviewers praising these devices having such ubiquitous connector.

Having only RCA stereo out would be worse. And it's high quality in comparison to say the iPod or the original mini. Given that Apple left digital out off the originial mini it's worth a mention but perhaps not the glowing praise.

Quote:
Because Apple TV lacks such important home theater feature out-of-the-box, Apple is positioning it as a weak home theater solution (missing subtitle, real 720p contents, and 1080p capability are not helping, either). Worse, many will now export the virtues of yesterday standards such as DPL II when Apple should be moving forward with more modern standards.

AppleTV has the hardware components for home theater: HDMI, Toslink, 720p/24, etc.

iTunes is lacking the software component at the moment and that makes it a less compelling product at the moment.

It's not so much "crippled" or positioned poorly as much as all the pieces aren't in place yet. Unless you guys really think Apple went out of their way to increase their hardware costs when all they wanted to support in 2007 was DPL II and 640x480 movies.

It IS crippled in one sense...the support of 720p/24 vs 1080p/60. There are a myriad of potential reasons for this but yes, it seems like tacit acceptance by Apple not to compete directly with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray this go around. My suspicion is that Apple is trying to convince the studios that iTunes at 720p/24 does not need the heavy DRM required of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and Fairplay is good enough. Plus its a lot less bits to push across the wire.

Vinea
post #73 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

You still haven't clicked that link have you? Big letters up top: 5.1 without hacking. Just a bunch of steps at the moment.

I am well aware of the article, and read similar article awhile back. I didn't bother to comment on it because (1) steps are quite involved and (2) not at all elegant since it will playback with garbles/static on a Mac. The case is analogous to DTS audio track laid over PCM track (like it did on laserdiscs). I don't see even a small minority encoding their video libraries this way. If I had Apple TV right now, I would probably encode everything (using Handbrake) in AAC (not AC-3) 5.1-channel and pray for "AAC 5.1 to LPCM 5.1 over HDMI" firmware update.

Speaking of which, even Handbrake is rather tedious for average users. Majority will choose to purchase and download contents from iTunes Store. The remaining pie will be split between DVD rippers and illegal torrent users.

Had Apple include multi-channel audio and encoded iTunes Store contents as such, Apple would've set the correct precedence. Instead, we are arguing how legacy DPL II can provide "high quality" theatric experience or not. We should all be enjoying proper discrete multi-channel soundtrack instead of apologizing for Apple for such oversight.

And as for the AwkwardTV hacks, yes, it's doable, I even helped one of my friends with it. If I have my own Apple TV (instead of Mac mini), I would most definitely be hacking it. But one should not have to go through such steps to obtain multi-channel audio on 2007.
post #74 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

Had Apple include multi-channel audio and encoded iTunes Store contents as such, Apple would've set the correct precedence. Instead, we are arguing how legacy DPL II can provide "high quality" theatric experience or not. We should all be enjoying proper discrete multi-channel soundtrack instead of apologizing for Apple for such oversight.

That movies and TV on iTunes is a work in progress is evidenced by the lack of extras, low resolution, lack of 5.1 audio and spotty availablitiy outside the US.

That AppleTV hardware can support extras, higher resolutions and 5.1 audio is without question. Given that it is only a matter of time that the 3rd party software remedies the lack of source material for those areas that Apple cannot address (ie DVD ripping).

That you're arguing about DPLII is or is not "high quality" is semantics about a temporary state of affairs. While it is true that if the current state of affairs isn't remedied then AppleTV will likely be a failure but do you REALLY think that Apple has no intention of offering discrete 5.1 (or better) surround, 720p movies and subtitles on iTunes/AppleTV in the future?

Vinea

PS I could give a rat's patootie if iTunes had full 6.1 discrete DTS-ES support while they are stuck at 640x480 resolution and bit starved to boot.
post #75 of 78
Well, I'm hoping Leapord + AppleTV2.0 brings a few upgrades. Compatibility with a Miglio dual HD Tuner and the ability to expand the hard drive.

The more I think about this (and, yeah, I am slow) the more I like my Core Duo MacBook only working as a fancy remote for an AppleTV with its more capable graphics processor. That kind of setup gets me some extra life out of my laptop.

If Miglio compatibility and hard drive expansion come I'll give up cableTV and just download the cable shows I miss. Live sports on ESPN will be hell, but its not worth a 1k+.
post #76 of 78
Don't forget Apple have stated that they fully intend on updating the Apple TV and expanding its functionality as development continues. The software version on Apple TV is still only at 1.0, so I imaging that there's going to be plenty to look forward to.
post #77 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

Don't forget Apple have stated that they fully intend on updating the Apple TV and expanding its functionality as development continues. The software version on Apple TV is still only at 1.0, so I imaging that there's going to be plenty to look forward to.

How many times have you picked up a piece of computer hardware that had some line on the packaging about it being future-proof because it was firmware upgradeable? How many of those devices actually ever got firmware updates that gave it more features (as opposed to fixing bugs)?

I'm not saying Apple won't release updates, but one of the problems I have is with Apple's level of secrecy is that you'll never know if an update is coming or what features it will contain. Chances are you'll only know an AppleTV update is coming when it's sitting on a server waiting to be downloaded.

The AppleTV has been compared to both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Both of those devices recently got updates which expanded their abilities as media extenders along with other features. Both of those updates were announced long before they were released. MS and Sony have an incentive to update their products since they are both still losing money. Adding features makes them more attractive to potential buyers.

I doubt the AppleTV is being sold at a loss so there is much less incentive for Apple to update the product with any regularity. For comparison, how many iPod updates have ever been released that added features? And of those, how many didn't involve buying more stuff from Apple to benefit from them (the radio remote, the Nike+ sports kit, games)? Most updates to the iPod are made with new hardware releases. I can't really see the AppleTV being much different in that regard.
post #78 of 78
That's funny,
I seem be getting new updates and plugins for the Apple TV every week.
The modding community are making the AppleTV a more valuable product.
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