The missing link in the digital hub

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I'm a long time Mac user, and I really like the digital hub idea. Since some time now I have a digital camera and DV cam. I use iphoto, itunes and imovie a lot. It's very easy to connect all kind of devices to your mac. Gsm's, camera's, DV, etc... But still two are missing: home stereo and TV.

It would be great to play your movies on your TV, mp3's on your home stereo, project jpeg's on your TV, etc.

If there was some kind of box that did all that, it would be great and so easy!

Now you have to connect your camera to your mac, upload the movie, edit the movie, upload it back to your camera, connect your camera to the TV. This can be easier.

So I propose a well designed box, airport and rendezvous enabled. With a USB, firewire, SCART and digital out port.

So if you start up your mac it sees the box over airport and rendezvous. From within iphoto, imovie and itunes, you can sent your photo's, movies and mp3's to your TV and home stereo.

Would be a great way to look and hear your mp3's, movies and photo's.

itunes and mp3's speak for themselves. But if you show your photo's and movies to friends on your TV that would be great!

The usb and firewire port are for the case you want to look at your movies or photo's immediatly after tou shot them. Would be convenient, but isn't neccessary as such.

The SCART port is for easy connection with TV and home stereo.

The digital out of course is for the digital connection with your home stereo with DTS and Dolby Digital decoders.

In short, it would be a great idea, and is in my humble opinion the missing link in the digital hub.


  • Reply 1 of 15
    Nice ideas. I haven't seen anything like it on the web, but it doesn't mean it's not out there either. I did come across something similar (but not quite as good as you describe. <a href=""; target="_blank">This company</a> makes a box that turns you mac into a vcr-like device. Unfortunately, it doesn't send the signal back to your TV and stereo.

    I'm not sure if Airport has the throughput to handle video+sound signal. The 4.8 GHz variant can though. I saw it at last years MWSF.

    BTW, welcome to AI.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    It would have to come with an Apple designed remote and use the TV for an interface. If AirPort had the bandwidth, could it just stream the inputs from the remote to the mac, update the off computer window, i.e. the TV and not require an expensive G3 or G4 processor to still have a killer interface. Ya think?
  • Reply 3 of 15
    i have a simpler idea: how about two new (reasonably cheap) bits of kit.

    1] a VHS shaped bluetooth receiver that you slot into your VCR. press play and it takes the stream that your mac is pumping out over BT and pumps the electrons onto the tape head of the VCR.

    2] an audio cassette on the same basis as above.

    the quality would be much greater that the VHS and audio cassette as we know them because of no tape degradation/stretching etc.

    i've seen a wired version of this for the car but why not BT? <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
  • Reply 4 of 15
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    i thought bluetooth has a crappy bandwidth, how would you expect to stream video/audio across this...and why would apple work with VHS, DVD is the future, VHS is now just slowly fading away...same with cassette, can't tell you the last time i used my cassette player

    ...sorry dude your liv'n in the past
  • Reply 5 of 15
    [quote]Originally posted by ast3r3x:

    <strong>i thought bluetooth has a crappy bandwidth, how would you expect to stream video/audio across this...and why would apple work with VHS, DVD is the future, VHS is now just slowly fading away...same with cassette, can't tell you the last time i used my cassette player

    ...sorry dude your liv'n in the past</strong><hr></blockquote>

    tsssk! no "dude" the POINT here is utilising easily accessible technologies that the uninformed masses can easily understand and at a price their budgets can cope with.

    i hardly have to mention how difficult it would be to fit a BT chip on a 12 inch disc now do i.

    BTW: DVD isn't the future, it's the current.

    PPS: BT's maximum symmetric transfer rate 433.9kbps plenty for music and not so bad for video.

    [ 11-27-2002: Message edited by: lungaretta ]</p>
  • Reply 6 of 15
    gargar Posts: 1,201member
    [quote]Originally posted by ast3r3x:

    <strong>same with cassette, can't tell you the last time i used my cassette player


    ... you have a cassette-player :eek:

    i have something that is almost the same as the box your talking about... a powerbook:

    i can connect it to my tv, i can connect it to my stereo, i can connect it to the network at my office, at friends (wow, that's sweet), to a beamer, to a printer, to the internet, i can even connect it to my back. so... i think that it's more like a sony thing... i mean that kind of box... the cassette-player is something from philips and very, very old. ( okay vinyl is also very,very old but it isn't as obsolate)

    [ 11-27-2002: Message edited by: gar ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 15
    Yes, I know, it's allready possible, but the options are not convenient, or user friendly. The options are a hack rather than a solution.

    Burning CD's or DVD's takes time and you can't change them after they are burned.

    A Tibook is a rather expensive hack for this to accomplish.

    Also, each time you have to connect and disconnect those things.

    I have an ibook and a G4. Sometimes I hook up my ibook to my stereo and stream my mp3's from my G4.

    So first I have to put on my G4, then I have to hook up my ibook with my stereo, connect to my G4, open itunes, and finnaly play my tunes. Then my battery runs out of juice.

    Laptops may be great, but all my jpeg's, mp3's and movies are on my G4, since I have more storage there. A dv movie takes a lot of space.

    It's a lot of hassle, and it can be easier and better. The box I propose doesn't has to have more utilities then I said above. It has to do what it should, not more, not less. A bit like an ipod.

    Think of all the families who have an imac. For them it would be a great solution!

    If Apple made this for ? 500, I bought it immediatly!

    This is what Apple does, making things we didn't knew we needed them, but if we have them, we can't miss them for the world.

    It's something that doesn't exist yet, and with itunes, imovie, iphoto, rendezvous and airport Apple has an opportunity nobody else has.

    The box should be invisible, just like an airport base station, it works, and it works great!

    How great wouldn't it be if you could just click in itunes "play on stereo" and you instantly hear your mp3's through your stereo. The same for iphoto "show on TV". And immediatly you can see all your photo's on your TV.

    The thing shouldn't have any controls, or the ability to surf the net or record. It's just a digital hub ...

    And no, no cassette or VHS convertion. I don't even have a cassette player anymore
  • Reply 8 of 15
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    all i'm saying is VHS and cassette tapes are not going anywhere, the industry is moving to DVD and CD's, until the next revolution and you can't deny that. Apple would not, and i'm sorry to rag on ur idea so much but, waste their time on stuff that wouldn't be a market hit, people don't want VHS stuff anymore, and the quality isn't as good. Apple is about future of the 'digital' lifestyle, DVD is digital that steve jobs wants to use. I think that ur whole idea is kinda bad (not that it woudn't be cool but its an extreme niche product). Apple would rather produce a whole console so they can control everything
  • Reply 9 of 15
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,757member
    This idea has been around for a while. I seem to remember that when word of the iPod was first leaked, people thought it might be something like this. Then there was talk of the next device being like this. I remember terms like iDock, iStation..etc.

    I think Intel has something like this, with 802.11 and USB (mebbe 2.0). And I think the planned MS HomeStation incorporates most of these features along with XBox capabilities.

    I definately think Apple should get one of these out, and market it at everyone, not just Macheads...mebbe with extra features for the Macs. What could make the Apple brand more recoqnised and more importantly, more ubiquitous, than getting a product like this is peoples home theater setups. This would make Apple visible in the most frequented area of peoples homes.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    Already been done for a while. It's called the Dazzle DV Hub. I have Sony's disconitinued version of it sitting right next to me. Only works with iMovie/final cut, not with iPhoto or the other two, and it is firewire rather than airport, but it works very well and allows you to import from the Tv-&gt;iMovie.

    Course then again, I'm not quite sure why it is so tough to run an RCA cable from your stero to your 1/8" minijack on your computer if you want iTunes on your home stero.

    466kb/s is definatly NOT enough for video (you need roughly 3000kb/s for uncompressed video) This also means 10 baseT ethernet (airport) won't cut it either.

    <a href=""; target="_blank">Dazzle DV hub</a>

    or if that has expired:

    <a href=""; target="_blank">DV Hub</a>

    [ 11-28-2002: Message edited by: Eupfhoria ]</p>
  • Reply 11 of 15
    It has been my impression that Apple intends for the functions that a device such as this would have to be done on the Mac with software.

    What I mean is that the computer itself would do the necessary processing and then stream audio/video/what-have-you to the intended output device. For example: Using a Rendezvous enabled TV, you could connect to your Mac and have an iPhoto slide show streamed to the computer.

    Philips has already enounced that some of its future products would be Rendezvous enabled, such as TVs. Perhaps these digital appliances such as TVs and stereos will have wireless cards that allow them to connect with your computer, where content is organized and processed for delivery.

    Basically the Mac will use next generation software (Mac OS, new/updated iApps) to deliver this content to Rendezvous equipped devices throughout the home. All that is missing is the updated software, the Rendezvous devices, and the wireless bandwidth. The software is already in the works for all we know, the Rendezvous devices are on their way from manufactures such as Philips, so that leaves wireless bandwidth. I?m not sure, but would the next generation wireless systems that are rumored to be coming out soon fit the bill?

  • Reply 12 of 15
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    [quote]Originally posted by Ciaran:

    <strong>...All that is missing is the updated software, the Rendezvous devices, and the wireless bandwidth...</strong><hr></blockquote>

    This sounds like everything is missing as of now.

    I really hope Apple gets it's act together soon.

    Basically I agree with you, but wouldn't it be less expensive to only have one single Rendezvous [which means "dating" in french] hub (maybe integrated into the next AirPort basestation) instead of adding them to each and every device?
  • Reply 13 of 15
    quickquick Posts: 227member
    Will Bluetooth be capable of providing enough bandwith for these Rendezvous services?
  • Reply 14 of 15
    8 track tapes have enough space for an embedded BT adapter.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    802.11b could provide enough bandwidth, as it provides about the same bandwidth as USB, and USB does have enough for the undecoded datastream of a conventional DVD. Remember a DVD (be that DVD-V or DVD-A) supplies about 9.6Mb/s of data. In the case of DVD-V, that's highly compressed A-V info decoded so you can enjoy it through your home theatre, in the ase of DVD-A, that's all audio info supplied to produce the highest quality audio experience possible. You could not ever, even with 802.11a/g beam the actual decoded stream to the device, but you couldd put a cheap MPEG2-4 and PCM/AC-3/DTS decoder/s into a box. These are already in your low-mid level DVD players to begin with, the data-stream itself just wouldn't originate from a laser pick-up reading a disc, it would come from a 802.11 receiver picking up a broadcast from your mac. From there it could cost as much or as little as Apple wants. Will it output NTSC, PAL, HDTV, or 2 of 3, or all of them? Progressive scan? Line doubling? 3:2 pulldown?

    Using 802.11b would leave little room for error, but it would still work. It could be made pretty small, just a slim little brick is all you really need. It could make a serious presentation device too. Walk up to it with a laptop, "Rendesvous" lets the two devices shake hands, and then you mac beams the A-V data to the device to decode. You could get a decent slide show going (at SDTV resolutions anyway), music, video, whatever.

    If you wanted it to be really interesting, it'd also "encode" TV/Radio broadcasts and beam them back to your mac, or perhaps just provide a firewire connection for that?

    However, such a device would need to be cheap to sell in big numbers, and it should rely on your mac. No PPC, no HDD, no optical, just a clean sealed box with wireless and A/V and firewire. Recording and broadcasting happens at your mac, the device itself is just a wireless encoder/decoder.

    The VHS idea, is basically ridiculous. You'd be lucky if it cost you just as much to shrink the thing into a VHS cassette size and also provide power, reception, and transfer to the VHS heads. Plus the quality would be about 1/2 to a 1/4 what you could get using standard AV I/O into your TV/stereo system. In all likelihood a cassette adaptor would cost you even more, if itcould be done it all. VHS isn't like an audio cassette, a fair bit of the tape is exposed during recording and playback, and the internals of VCR's differ in their layout. Matching up the heads would be very impractical, perhaps next to impossible without a ribbon.
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