iTV, how will this work?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I have been thinking about iTV after I've seen Steve demoing it.

How will this work with video codecs?

Because I can imagine the possibility that iTV will not support DivX.

I can install the divX codec for Quicktime though.

When I request a movie on iTV, will the data from my Mac be converted

on the fly, to some standard signal/codec, and then streamed through wireless

connection? Because else, I will be stuck with generic codecs.



For example:



1. I request a movie on iTV

2. iTV sends a signal to my Mac: "go and stream the movie to me"

3. The movie appears to be DivX

4. Through Quicktime (perhaps) the DivX is converted, on the fly, to "iTV stream"

5. this "iTV stream" is send to the iTV and shown



or will it be like this:



1. I request a movie on iTV

2. iTV sends a signal to my Mac: "go and stream the movie to me"

3. The movie appears to be a codec that the iTV internally can decode, so it can be played

4. the "iTV stream" is send to the iTV and shown



Ofcourse no one here knows how it works, but how do other iTV-like solutions solve these problems?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    iTV it what is known as a media center extender. It extends the media center interface (aka Front Row) from the computer to the TV using 802.11 technology. I'm assuming because of the high price it does have some kind of decoding hardware.
  • Reply 2 of 56
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I don't know, but however it works, remember that if you have a video in an unsupported format, it will be easy enough to convert it to one that is supported, using ffmpeg or the like.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    hmmm okay. The problem, for the avarage Joe, is that he/she will not know about codecs...for them it will be 'just' a video.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    ybotybot Posts: 329member
    I'm still praying that iTV will let me play native DivX files as an unadvertised feature. I don't want to have to re-encode all 150 movies I have on my HD into mpeg4, but my 42" plasma is BEGGING my all my computer media to be on it.



    Thanks to BitTorrent and the plethora of media available on the Internet I am planning on buying a $300 iTV, cancelling my $100/month IPTV, selling my TiVo I bought for $800 and just downloading my content and viewing it on iTV. However, if it can't play DivX natively I might reconsider killing my IPTV service as I am not too keen on re-encoding *everything* I download to watch. That might be a bit of a hassle.



    Please Apple, give us DivX! Not because it's better but because the masses use it!
  • Reply 5 of 56
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Isn't the problem with that the fact that Divx is associated with pirating? I don't think there's any chance in the world that Apple will explicitly support it. It may be that any format that works with QuickTime will be stream-able with iTV, in which case all these formats could work if they have QuickTime plug-ins (like how FrontRow works now). But I doubt even that.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    I can bet anyone on this board Apple will only support a format beneficial to Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 56
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    I can bet anyone on this board Apple will only support a format beneficial to Apple.



    Oh, you mean like iPods support Audible? Or AIFF? Or MP3?



    Yeah, quite beneficial to Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Oh, you mean like iPods support Audible? Or AIFF? Or MP3?



    Yeah, quite beneficial to Apple.



    That was just a leetle joke, Chucker.
  • Reply 9 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell


    Isn't the problem with that the fact that Divx is associated with pirating? I don't think there's any chance in the world that Apple will explicitly support it. It may be that any format that works with QuickTime will be stream-able with iTV, in which case all these formats could work if they have QuickTime plug-ins (like how FrontRow works now). But I doubt even that.



    Divix is also a legal format that is used for onlin rental and purchase today. I would hope that Apple "extends" the iTV format options with the QuickTime plugins on the "Host" computer as well as hardware support for the formats comonly available on DVD players today, which would include Divix. WMP could be done through Flip4Mac software.
  • Reply 10 of 56
    dcqdcq Posts: 349member
    iTV will play anything Quicktime can. If you have the Divx plug-in for QT, then iTV will play it.



    (Hopefully, Apple will re-engineer the QTinstaller to automatically update iTV's software when QT on a host computer is updated. That would cause the least number of headaches.)
  • Reply 11 of 56
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCQ


    iTV will play anything Quicktime can.



    Do you actually have hard information on this? Because I seriously doubt that. The iTV is an "embedded" system like the iPod and I would not expect QT codecs to work on the iTV.



    I am not expecting iTV to play back anything other than MPEG-4, just like the iPod. Also, don't forget that transcoding from one low-bit-rate lossy codec (like DivX) to another (e.g. H.264) will result in serious quality issues.



    There are options out there already that will work perfectly well (probably better than the iTV as they support more codecs) if you are not interested in iTunes downloads. See post #18 from this thread
  • Reply 12 of 56
    I agree with Mr. H that it will probably use a codec on a chip like iPod (makes it WAY cheaper) and will only support a few codecs.



    But that's not that big a deal. Just rip to that format or convert. And as iPods with video (and then iTVs) get more popular, more and more video content will be in that format in the first place.



    Most of the stuff linked in the other thread doesn't do what the iTV does, at least not all of it. Bits and pieces are already available, but I don't think anybody has released something that has everything the iTV has. I'm really looking forward to it.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder


    Most of the stuff linked in the other thread doesn't do what the iTV does, at least not all of it.



    Could you elaborate? Maybe I've missed something about the iTV, but the only thing it's got over the Pixel Magic box and UPnP AV media players is that it will play back iTunes downloads. You've got to weigh that up against the high probability that it will support fewer codecs.
  • Reply 14 of 56
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCQ


    iTV will play anything Quicktime can.



    I'd love for Apple to port QuickTime to the iTV, but I don't see it happening.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    Could you elaborate? Maybe I've missed something about the iTV, but the only thing it's got over the Pixel Magic box and UPnP AV media players is that it will play back iTunes downloads. You've got to weigh that up against the high probability that it will support fewer codecs.



    The pixel magic doesn't look like it has wireless networking. It's also significantly more expensive than iTV.



    I coudln't really find specifics on a UPnP media box, seems like a DUY solution instead of something like iTV. If there's a specific unit you can just buy and plug in, point me to it so I can take a look.
  • Reply 16 of 56
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    I am not expecting iTV to play back anything other than MPEG-4, just like the iPod.



    That would be a big mistake. iTV should be open to play any codec Quicktime can play.



    iTV is not an iPod and does not serve the same functionality of the iPod. It makes more sense for the iPod to be limited. I'm sure the iPod is working under some pretty strict miniaturization costs. Cost and hardware complications are reduced dealing with only one codec.



    It doesn't seem iTV would need to work under the exact same restrictions. iTunes and Front Row are not limited to only playing MPEG-4.People will want to be free to play any popular media format they want on their television. It makes less sense for it to be limited to one codec.
  • Reply 17 of 56
    There's a good reason to go with one or two codecs instead of any codec QT supports: cost.



    You can play back a codec using one chip that is fairly inexpensive. To have the full playback capability of QT, you'd likely need to have processing power comparable to a computer. It would be a cool feature, but not if it doubles the price of the box.



    Unless money is no object, codec on a chip is the only way to go. If people want to play other formats, they will convert them, and as things like iTV and video ipods get more popular, the formats they support will become the popular ones anyway.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Quote:

    To have the full playback capability of QT, you'd likely need to have processing power comparable to a computer.



    There is the forthcoming Conroe-L.



    edit: just also saw Merom Low Voltage and Ultra Low Voltage.



    Quote:

    It would be a cool feature, but not if it doubles the price of the box.



    Very true but at the same time. iTV streams movies directly from your hard drive. iTunes and Front Row are already capable of playing anything Quicktime can play. People will expect the same functionality to extend to iTV. It would be pretty frustrating to have a video collection and only one codec can be played on your television.



    Quote:

    If people want to play other formats, they will convert them, and as things like iTV and video ipods get more popular, the formats they support will become the popular ones anyway.



    With all of the codecs floating around the web its a pretty big risk to hope or assume MPEG4 will become dominant enough to support iTV as market leading product.



    iPod would not have become a market leading product if it only played m4p audio files.
  • Reply 19 of 56
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    There is the forthcoming Conroe-L.



    And how much will it cost? The broadcom video chip in the ipod costs ten dollars.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    Very true but at the same time. iTV streams movies directly from your hard drive. iTunes and Front Row are already capable of playing anything Quicktime can play. People will expect the same functionality to extend to iTV. It would be pretty frustrating to have a video collection and only one codec can be played on your television.



    Will they? The same functionality doesn't extend to iPod, right? If you have a video collection, just convert it (one right click in iTunes), if you have an iPod you're going to be doing that anyway. I think people will realize that the iTV is a budget video device (like the iPod), not a tiny computer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    With all of the codecs floating around the web its a pretty big risk to hope or assume MPEG4 will become dominant enough to support iTV as market leading product.



    iPod would not have become a market leading product if it only played m4p audio files.



    iPod plays mp3 files, which completely dominated the audio side. There isn't a single video format that is that dominant. But the aac format still has managed to become more popular because of the iPod. And on the video side, what format are most video podcasts in?



    Mpeg4 is an industry standard format, it will be used in everything from computers to media players to cell phones (doesn't PSP support h.264?). Who knows if it will ever become the dominant format, but as video ipods get more and more popular, it will become more popular as well.
  • Reply 20 of 56
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,797member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder


    The pixel magic doesn't look like it has wireless networking.



    Doh! Forgot about that one. But it remains to be seen how well wireless works with high-bit-rate (read: decent enough quality to want to watch it on a big screen) video will work over wireless.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    There is the forthcoming Conroe-L.



    What, you mean the one that costs about 1/2 the retail cost of the iTV? And that's just the processor. Those component costings that you've probably seen of iPods should tell you something: for consumer electronics products around the price of the iTV, the component cost usually comes to 50 - 60% of the retail cost of the unit. There is no way that the iTV is going to have Conroe or Merom and the necessary supporting hardware.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    Very true but at the same time. iTV streams movies directly from your hard drive. iTunes and Front Row are already capable of playing anything Quicktime can play.



    That's because they use the QuickTime framework to play back media. The only way that iTV could use standard QuickTime codecs is if it runs a version of OS X, and that's not possible given the price of the unit.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell


    People will expect the same functionality to extend to iTV. It would be pretty frustrating to have a video collection and only one codec can be played on your television.



    As others have mooted, Apple could implement a real-time trans-coder to convert videos that the iTV cannot decode natively to H.264. But that will require a powerful CPU on the server side and will adversely effect quality.
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