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Apple delays Apple TV "Take 2" software by a week or two

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Apple said Wednesday that it has started to ship the first batch of its new ultra-thin MacBook Air notebooks, but added that it will need a bit more time before rolling out its much-anticipate Apple TV "Take 2" software update.

"The new Apple TV software update, which allows users to rent high definition movies directly from their widescreen TVs, is not quite finished," the company said in a statement. "Apple now plans to make the free software download available to existing Apple TV customers in another week or two."

With iTunes Movie Rentals and the new Apple TV software update (AppleInsider's First Look), users will be able to just click a button on their remote to rent movies from a catalog of over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, with no computer required.

DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Once complete, the Apple TV software update will be made available as a free automatic download to all existing Apple TV customers, and will subsequently appear on all newly manufactured versions of the wireless set-top-box.

Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available for a suggested retail price of $229 for the 40GB model and $329 for the 160GB model (US and Canada). The device requires an 802.11g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV.

Separately, Apple said Wednesday that MacBook Air (AppleInsider's First Look) -- the world's thinnest notebook -- is now shipping from the Apple online store and will soon be available from Apple retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $1,799 under its base configuration.
post #2 of 91
Any news on 10.5.2?
post #3 of 91
there's currently less than 756 movie titles on itunes - they need to get more content out there to get this to be a win. even if they have 1000 titles upon the new release - that's still anemic.
post #4 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple said Wednesday that it has started to ship the first batch of its new ultra-thin MacBook Air notebooks, but added that it will need a bit more time before rolling out its much-anticipate Apple TV "Take 2" software update.

"The new Apple TV software update, which allows users to rent high definition movies directly from their widescreen TVs, is not quite finished," the company said in a statement. "Apple now plans to make the free software download available to existing Apple TV customers in another week or two."

With iTunes Movie Rentals and the new Apple TV software update, users will be able to just click a button on their remote to rent movies from a catalog of over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, with no computer required.

DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Once complete, the Apple TV software update will be made available as a free automatic download to all existing Apple TV customers, and will subsequently appear on all newly manufactured versions of the wireless set-top-box

Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available for a suggested retail price of $229 for the 40GB model and $329 for the 160GB model (US and Canada). The device requires an 802.11g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV.

Separately, Apple said that MacBook Air -- the world's thinnest notebook -- is now shipping and will soon be available from the Apple online store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $1,799 under the base configuration.


This is just crap.
post #5 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnhood View Post

Any news on 10.5.2?

No, more is the pity.
post #6 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnhood View Post

Any news on 10.5.2?

The new Mac OS Rumors is saying the same thing for 10.5.2. The AppleTV must need something in the new update. http://macosrumors.com/2008/01/30/ap...-drawing-near/

Though Mac OS Rumors posted this today, Mac Rumors announced the seeding of 9C23 last Thursday. I'm watching Mac OS Rumors to see how the new group is performing. So far they appear to be OK, but they are slow.
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post #7 of 91
According to all the announcements, it won't be "HD" movies, so I wish sites would stop parroting that line. Yes, it will use the HD standards, but the compression will render it worse definition than a standard DVD. And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.
post #8 of 91
So, to re-cap on the Keynote speech:

No AppleTV Take Two
No 10.5.2
No Time Capsule

Remind me, why exactly did we have a Keynote?
post #9 of 91
Typical MW announcements!
I'm disappointed but not surprised.
post #10 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBookBoy View Post

So, to re-cap on the Keynote speech:

No AppleTV Take Two
No 10.5.2
No Time Capsule

Remind me, why exactly did we have a Keynote?

It wasn't much different in 2007 =P

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post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

Why not? That's the definition of HD. My "HD TV" is 720p. The "HD" channels that I get through my cable company are compressed more than iTunes' specs. If they get to call that HD, then Apple gets to call it HD.

And standard DVDs are not 720p, either, by the way. So your quip about "almost-DVD quality for a dollar more" is also completely inaccurate.

Standard iTunes movies and TV shows are a lot better than YouTube quality.

Let's back off on the hyperbole here and get our facts straight.
post #12 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlfranks@comcast.net View Post

This is just crap. I was at the expo and the new software sure worked fine there!!!!!!

Really? How many movies did you download in testing it that day?
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlfranks@comcast.net View Post

This is just crap. I was at the expo and the new software sure worked fine there!!!!!!

Most things look 'just fine' in a demo.
In the wild is another thing altogether.
I'd prefer they release it when its solid.
post #14 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by wlfranks@comcast.net View Post

This is just crap. I was at the expo and the new software sure worked fine there!!!!!!

Apple is great at showing you just what they want to show you at Macworld. Remember, the iPhone software sure looked complete at Steve's keynote last year, but several of the programs, including the Calendar and the Notepad, were just placeholder icons. I'm sure they ran into some last-minute bugs that they have to iron out. Unfortunate, but better than releasing incomplete or crash-prone updates, if you ask me.
post #15 of 91
Guess I better return my movies to Netflix so I have something to watch tonight. I was sooo looking forward to renting on aTV
post #16 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

According to all the announcements, it won't be "HD" movies, so I wish sites would stop parroting that line. Yes, it will use the HD standards, but the compression will render it worse definition than a standard DVD. And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

Inaccurate at best.

DVD quality is much lower than 720p. And 720p is HD (not full HD).

A film encoded nicely rock in 720p even if fulHD is better... but most TV here are only 720p anyway, don't know in USA.
post #17 of 91
OK, guidance solicited...

I've now re-wired my HT for HDMI and the AppleTV seems to be at a useful point for me.
About to make the plunge.

I'm pretty confident that the DVD's I've ripped, the home video I've done in iMovie, and probably HD downloads from ATS will look good.

But when I go to the Apple Store and look at the content they have on their demo machines, the quality looks worse than VHS.
Is that what the standard ATS downloads look like? If so, then that's far from 'near-dvd' quality. If not, then they're doing a grave disservice to the product by even showing that crap as a demo.

In any event, I'll still be going with the ATV for music, pictures and the above mentioned 'other' content', but I'm curious what the story is on the Apple Store demo content.
post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by aresee View Post

The new Mac OS Rumors is saying the same thing for 10.5.2. The AppleTV must need something in the new update. http://macosrumors.com/2008/01/30/ap...-drawing-near/

Though Mac OS Rumors posted this today, Mac Rumors announced the seeding of 9C23 last Thursday. I'm watching Mac OS Rumors to see how the new group is performing. So far they appear to be OK, but they are slow.

That would be...
http://www.macrumors.com/2008/01/30/ap...-drawing-near/
post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

Quotes like these are hilarious. Have you USED an Apple TV? Go to their TV show or movie trailer menu and tell me those are "youtube quality". The quality of the images is 99% as good as my digital cable signal.

Overall, I'm really impressed with aTV and look forward to HD res content.
post #20 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ikir View Post

Inaccurate at best.

DVD quality is much lower than 720p. And 720p is HD (not full HD).

A film encoded nicely rock in 720p even if fulHD is better... but most TV here are only 720p anyway, don't know in USA.

720p is just the output resolution, not a measure of quality. That's like saying that YouTube is displaying "better than HD resolution" if you maximize it on a 1600x1200 screen. It's the compression settings that determine quality, not the output screen's resolution.

If you upconvert a DVD to 720p or 1080i, you're getting about the same quality output (plus significantly better sound) than what you'll get from Apple TV's HD. You simply can't compress movies down to a couple of gigs and expect them to be HD. That's why Blu-Ray movies take up 10x more space and deliver bit rates 10x higher than an "HD" movie from iTMS.

Quote:
Why not? That's the definition of HD. My "HD TV" is 720p. The "HD" channels that I get through my cable company are compressed more than iTunes' specs. If they get to call that HD, then Apple gets to call it HD.

Actually, no, Apple TV's compression will, according to all currently available information, be significantly more compressed than your HD cable feeds.
post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ikir View Post

Inaccurate at best.

DVD quality is much lower than 720p. And 720p is HD (not full HD).

A film encoded nicely rock in 720p even if fulHD is better... but most TV here are only 720p anyway, don't know in USA.

I think his point is about the bitrate.

AppleTV can handle maybe 6mbps H.264. However maybe this Take 2 update has optimised it more.

The iPods can handle 1.5mbps H.264. Are the SD movie downloads transferrable to iPods - if they are, then this is their bitrate. I would call this near-DVD-quality, given the quality of Divx movies I've downloaded that use bitrates of around 1mbps. DVD video can be around 8mbps - but the MPEG2 codec is weaker. Broadcast SD digital TV? That's probably around 2-4mbps MPEG2 on average (Freeview Digital TV bandwidths: http://dtt.me.uk/), depending on how many channels they have scrunched into the available bandwidth. I'd be willing to put money down that 1.5mbps SD H.264 will look better than 3mbps MPEG2.

The HD downloads are probably between 4 and 5 mbps and whilst they won't be as good as 30mbps HD-DVD or 40mbps BluRay they will still be significantly better than DVD, and probably as good as OTA HD in the states, but I don't know the figures for that.
post #22 of 91
Maybe in those next two weeks they'll add Safari to the list of things you can do on your giant computer monitor now called a TV.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnhood View Post

Any news on 10.5.2?

It's presumed that it will need to come on or before the MacBook Air start showing up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wlfranks@comcast.net View Post

This is just crap.

Why exactly is that crap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

According to all the announcements, it won't be "HD" movies, so I wish sites would stop parroting that line. Yes, it will use the HD standards, but the compression will render it worse definition than a standard DVD. And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

Which announcements are these? The only one I know of is by some guy names Steve who said they will offer HD rentals on the AppleTV for $4.99.

You really need to stop spreading the FUD. iTS rentals that are 853x405 @ 1.57Mbps is the same as YouTube? Come on! No one here is gonna buy that.
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post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

According to all the announcements, it won't be "HD" movies, so I wish sites would stop parroting that line. Yes, it will use the HD standards, but the compression will render it worse definition than a standard DVD. And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

errr. no, youtube is 320x240, iTunes Movies are 640 widescreen and It doesn't render worse than a standard dvd the apple TV is very good at upscaling.

Maybe it was the TV you tried it on, I for one watched iPod quality movies on Apple TV Through a Beovision 7 and it looked amazing.
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post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

I think his point is about the bitrate.

AppleTV can handle maybe 6mbps H.264. However maybe this Take 2 update has optimised it more.

The iPods can handle 1.5mbps H.264. Are the SD movie downloads transferrable to iPods - if they are, then this is their bitrate. I would call this near-DVD-quality, given the quality of Divx movies I've downloaded that use bitrates of around 1mbps. DVD video can be around 8mbps - but the MPEG2 codec is weaker. Broadcast SD digital TV? That's probably around 2-4mbps MPEG2 on average (Freeview Digital TV bandwidths: http://dtt.me.uk/), depending on how many channels they have scrunched into the available bandwidth. I'd be willing to put money down that 1.5mbps SD H.264 will look better than 3mbps MPEG2.

The HD downloads are probably between 4 and 5 mbps and whilst they won't be as good as 30mbps HD-DVD or 40mbps BluRay they will still be significantly better than DVD, and probably as good as OTA HD in the states, but I don't know the figures for that.

The iDevices that can handle iTS rentals can handle higher bitrates and resolutions than what is stated on the spec sheet. I've tested this with two movies rented from iTS.
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post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Why not? That's the definition of HD. My "HD TV" is 720p. The "HD" channels that I get through my cable company are compressed more than iTunes' specs. If they get to call that HD, then Apple gets to call it HD.

And standard DVDs are not 720p, either, by the way. So your quip about "almost-DVD quality for a dollar more" is also completely inaccurate.

Standard iTunes movies and TV shows are a lot better than YouTube quality.

Let's back off on the hyperbole here and get our facts straight.

720P IS HD. Sorry, but the incremental of 1080P over 720P is invisible to most except in a side-by-side comparisons on a very large monitor. The ultimate in diminishing returns.

But the compression used to pump 720P over the kind of pipe most consumers still have is another issue entirely. It'll be interesting to see how good that turns out to be.
post #27 of 91
Any word on if Frontrow is going to get the interface refresh too? Maybe not the rental part (that would be nice, though), but at least the newer menus and interface style.
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by agentlion View Post

Any word on if Frontrow is going to get the interface refresh too? Maybe not the rental part (that would be nice, though), but at least the newer menus and interface style.

Except for the Rentals, it didn't look different.

As an aside, I do hope that they will be replacing the Tiger-based OS X with a Leopard-based implementation.
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post #29 of 91
OTA in the states reserves 6 MHz of spectrum per channel. MPEG2 rarely needs better than 3MHz to fully encode an image stream, meaning if you put 2 HD feeds on each "channel" you'll rarely get macroblocking, and generally get the full HD resolution. If you encode it with MP4/AAC it's probably even better. I'm not sure how that translates into Mbps, though, as the OTA folks and the digital delivery folks don't seem to talk to each other a lot .

Okay, I may have been exaggerating with the YouTube comparison. But realize that the "HD" image you're getting via iTMS is about 10x less information that what Blu-Ray delivers, and similar to what an upconverted DVD delivers in image quality, and probably less than what most cable/FiOS delivers.

Just because something outputs at 720p or 1080i or 1080p or 2160p doesn't mean it has met ANY quality standard whatsoever. So call it "HD" if that makes the marketeer side of you happy, but it's an order of magnitude worse than the "HD" you rent or buy on a disc.
post #30 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

But when I go to the Apple Store and look at the content they have on their demo machines, the quality looks worse than VHS.
Is that what the standard ATS downloads look like? If so, then that's far from 'near-dvd' quality. If not, then they're doing a grave disservice to the product by even showing that crap as a demo.

GQB... the exact same thing happened to me. When I first considered the AppleTV, I went into the Apple store and browsed through the demo content and found nothing but chunky, 1990s quicktime looking content. I was so horrified, I couldn't believe people were buying the thing (it seriously looked worse than what you would get, hooking up your old standard definition computer to your TV yourself and saving (at that time) $300. Has anyone suggested to Apple that they might want to make the demo material actually look appealing?
post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

OK, guidance solicited...

I've now re-wired my HT for HDMI and the AppleTV seems to be at a useful point for me.
About to make the plunge.

I'm pretty confident that the DVD's I've ripped, the home video I've done in iMovie, and probably HD downloads from ATS will look good.

But when I go to the Apple Store and look at the content they have on their demo machines, the quality looks worse than VHS.
Is that what the standard ATS downloads look like? If so, then that's far from 'near-dvd' quality. If not, then they're doing a grave disservice to the product by even showing that crap as a demo.

In any event, I'll still be going with the ATV for music, pictures and the above mentioned 'other' content', but I'm curious what the story is on the Apple Store demo content.

The actual quality of movies I purchased for my ATV was considerably better than the ones shown at the Apple Store. Depending on how picky you are, I personally could not easily distinguish them from DVD. The quality is good.
post #32 of 91
Oh People, grow up! A software is delayed because it isn't ready.. so what? Does your life depend on it? You rather install a software full of bugs?
post #33 of 91
I find it hard to tell what movies have been added to the iTunes store for rental recently, and also the total number available. Anybody have any good shortcuts for this?

Thanks...
post #34 of 91
i don't
post #35 of 91
The AppleTV demos at the stores were all encoded with an iPod-compatible setting so they naturally don't look very good on large screen TVs. Which is why you are going to want to encode separately for the AppleTV and your iPod.

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post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

OTA in the states reserves 6 MHz of spectrum per channel. MPEG2 rarely needs better than 3MHz to fully encode an image stream, meaning if you put 2 HD feeds on each "channel" you'll rarely get macroblocking, and generally get the full HD resolution. If you encode it with MP4/AAC it's probably even better. I'm not sure how that translates into Mbps, though, as the OTA folks and the digital delivery folks don't seem to talk to each other a lot .

Okay, I may have been exaggerating with the YouTube comparison. But realize that the "HD" image you're getting via iTMS is about 10x less information that what Blu-Ray delivers, and similar to what an upconverted DVD delivers in image quality, and probably less than what most cable/FiOS delivers.

Just because something outputs at 720p or 1080i or 1080p or 2160p doesn't mean it has met ANY quality standard whatsoever. So call it "HD" if that makes the marketeer side of you happy, but it's an order of magnitude worse than the "HD" you rent or buy on a disc.

That's not really true.

iTMS HD video is encoded at 720p (or higher). That's different than just some random res upscaled, as in your earlier "You Tube played back at full screen" idea.

Right? It's not just an "output resolution", is the actual encode resolution, and, as such, offers an actual metric of PQ. Not the only metric, but not meaningless.

From what we know, Apple's choice of encode res plus bit rate plus codec is likely to be about as good as cable or satellite HD, and, as you say, not as good as an HD optical disc format.

That's a long way from being some kind of market speak fake HD.
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post #37 of 91
Anyone know if this update will also update front row on macs? Maybe this is a sily question since i can rent movies in iTunes but I like using the remote instead of the track pad on my MacBook some times... also would be nice if I could browse podcasts with this interface... oh well.
post #38 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

But realize that the "HD" image you're getting via iTMS is about 10x less information that what Blu-Ray delivers, and similar to what an upconverted DVD delivers in image quality, and probably less than what most cable/FiOS delivers.

Well most HD media has a bitrate around 30mbps at the moment. You're saying that HD iTS content is 3mbps? I could believe that to be fair ...

Also it's not like 1/10th the bitrate will translate to 1/10th the image quality (if you can somehow have a fractional measure of image quality). 720P is half the pixels to encode, so that's less information to have to encode straight up. In addition doubling the bitrate might only add a fractional amount of information into the visual quality past a certain point.

If the HD movies are 5mbps, then the quality, per pixel, could be fairly close. Encoding at 720P is far far far better than upscaling 480i as well, however good the upscaler.

All in all I reckon that you might notice a difference in action sequences, but in most content there won't be that much difference, on your average HD TV, at average viewing distances.
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

According to all the announcements, it won't be "HD" movies, so I wish sites would stop parroting that line. Yes, it will use the HD standards, but the compression will render it worse definition than a standard DVD. And just using HD standards like MP4/AAC and 720p doesn't make something HD.

You have 2 options with Apple TV: YouTube quality, or almost-DVD quality for $1 more.

That's all pretty off base. The HD looks to be as good as much broadcast and cable HD. Since nobody has really seen the HD content, can we even really make a comparison or judgement on it yet? Sure, it's unfortunate that the HD standard includes stuff that looks bad because of inadequate bitrate, but that doesn't mean the aTV content isn't HD. And the SD content already on iTunes is already pretty close to DVD standard visually. Hyperbole like "youtube quality" just hurts your argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

720p is just the output resolution, not a measure of quality. That's like saying that YouTube is displaying "better than HD resolution" if you maximize it on a 1600x1200 screen. It's the compression settings that determine quality, not the output screen's resolution.

It sounds like you don't understand HD at all. 720p is the resolution (specifically the picture dimension in pixels) the content is encoded in. Just playing content on a 720p screen doesn't make it HD. The aTV content IS HD in that it is encoded at 720p dimensions. While 720p isn't the only determination of quality level, it is one - content encoded well at 480p simply can't look as good as content encoded well at 720p.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

If you upconvert a DVD to 720p or 1080i, you're getting about the same quality output (plus significantly better sound) than what you'll get from Apple TV's HD.

Source? And why would the sound be significantly better, is that also bitrate? Is the bitrate of HD iTunes movies known at this point?
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicnac View Post

GQB... the exact same thing happened to me. When I first considered the AppleTV, I went into the Apple store and browsed through the demo content and found nothing but chunky, 1990s quicktime looking content. I was so horrified, I couldn't believe people were buying the thing (it seriously looked worse than what you would get, hooking up your old standard definition computer to your TV yourself and saving (at that time) $300. Has anyone suggested to Apple that they might want to make the demo material actually look appealing?

Yeah it's terrible. Hopefully they'll change the demos into showing high-def rental content once the new upgrades are out. I'm sure all the BestBuys will change them by 2010.
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