Apple iTV availability to escape Macworld Expo

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  • Reply 101 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    No SCART connector is more of a concern for us Europeans. Everything comes with SCART here - it's the law. They'll have to ship it with a cludgy 'SCART to whatever connector is common in the USA' convertor or ship a different version here.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCART



    It's dead meat. It's an obsolete standard, and has been for a while.



    Even the article says as much.



    HDMI and the other newer standards should begin to replace it soon, even in Europe.



    That's the trouble with some government imposed standards. It becomes difficult to replace them with something better, because it requires a change in the law to do so.



    And we know how easy that is, and how short a time it can take.



    Thank heavens governments are never influenced by industry, especially in Europe.
  • Reply 102 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spottypaws View Post


    Sorry, I did mean the iTV.



    Would it not need that kind of CPU/GPU power to playback a Quicktime file in 720p / 1080p such as the movie trailers I download? I'm assuming that they're goign to make it support HD at least to future proof it - it does have HDMI after all?



    No one here knows what the iTv actually is exactly, despite our pretending that we do.



    This isn't a full fledged computer. We do know that.



    It won't, and can't have, a juiced cpu or gpu, we know that as well.



    Why?



    Because of the price!



    Look at the Mini. The price doesn't even include a gpu, and comes with a HD. It costs twice what the iTv will cost.



    This device will use the computer do do all of that work. It will pass the signal along. It is a signal converter and router, with other features. But we don't know what they will be!



    If it does store a video on an internal Hd, it will already have been rendered by the computer the file resides on. That means the movie will be huge.



    It could pass HD-DVD and Blu-Ray signals across it to the HDMI output easily, because they too will have already been rendered. I'm assuming that it will work with those, because if not, it limits the usefulness of the device.
  • Reply 103 of 188
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Ok, so I'm going to state what I think is pretty obvious, but may not be to others... a $$$ CPU is not necessarily the fastest beast for media codec work. The Cell processors (just as an example, not claiming they'll be what's used) are kicking *ASS* on multimedia processing (and no, I don't mean the PS3 - check out some of the recent journal pubs on this), and are cheap, cheap, cheap. Doesn't anyone remember the chip company that Apple bought up a couple years ago that had an embedded 'QuickTime on a chip' solution?



    Just because it doesn't have a 17GHz Core 3 Quad in it doesn't mean it won't be able to handle H.264 HD easily. Dedicated solutions are minimalist solutions. Minimalist chips are cheap chips.



    If it's not intended as a general purpose computer, it has the opportunity to specialize, and shed dollars at the same time it sheds abilities.



    mel... what you're stating sounds an AWFUL lot like an AirPort Express for video - it will use the main computer as the codec engine, and simply pass the video along. But golly... isn't that almost like hardware? *blink blink*
  • Reply 104 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    Ok, so I'm going to state what I think is pretty obvious, but may not be to others... a $$$ CPU is not necessarily the fastest beast for media codec work. The Cell processors (just as an example, not claiming they'll be what's used) are kicking *ASS* on multimedia processing (and no, I don't mean the PS3 - check out some of the recent journal pubs on this), and are cheap, cheap, cheap. Doesn't anyone remember the chip company that Apple bought up a couple years ago that had an embedded 'QuickTime on a chip' solution?



    Just because it doesn't have a 17GHz Core 3 Quad in it doesn't mean it won't be able to handle H.264 HD easily. Dedicated solutions are minimalist solutions. Minimalist chips are cheap chips.



    If it's not intended as a general purpose computer, it has the opportunity to specialize, and shed dollars at the same time it sheds abilities.



    mel... what you're stating sounds an AWFUL lot like an AirPort Express for video - it will use the main computer as the codec engine, and simply pass the video along. But golly... isn't that almost like hardware? *blink blink*



    I don't think the Cell is a viable choice for many reasons.



    This machine could use an ARM cpu. It doesn't have to be highly powered to be able to control the machine, allow for programs to enable on screen functions, etc, all in an upgradable form.



    The assumption that this machine will do rendering is way off the mark, as far as I can tell.



    But, no, it doesn't have to be *hardware* as you seem to like to think.



    It could be upgradeable, and even have the ability to have third party programs installed to add to the feature mix.



    Not that I think Apple is in a rush for that to happen.



    I do think that this machine can actually be used to control the computer itself.



    More than a simple router and pass-through. Local control of the computer would be an advantage. The computer could then be used as a media server.



    Control it from the living room, rather than the other way around.



    It makes the most sense.
  • Reply 105 of 188
    Will a new version of QT be released as (the yet-to-be-rebranded) iTV is released?



    Will iTV rely on WiMax or some other new wireless standard?



    We don't know, naturally, but technically speaking---is the current QT and wireless robust enough to support streaming HD content?
  • Reply 106 of 188
    The following was my prediction before the announcement of iTV on September 12, 2006. [Modified for MWSF 2007]



    Some of what has been commented here makes sense regarding the speculation of a "smaller hard drive", a unified database and the possibility of of another small box - as a large volume external hard drive. But I still contend that a TiVO like function will be a part of this product announcement as well as the "server" concept to multiple [yet to be announced consumer] devices around the home (unified database feature).



    I think observations made on this thread will pretty much hit the mark.



    I too anticipate MWSF more than Christmas!








    ________ [quoted from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jumpflip/337835162/ _____________________



    There will be more to Apple's iTV (project name) than just an interface for streaming media and a box with a/v-hd connections. What's missing from the announcement is the implication of a hard drive.



    What will a hard drive allow you to do? Here are some thoughts:



    HOME SERVER

    First and foremost, this box would be the much awaited home server; a media vault to wirelessly serve your content to multiple - current as well as yet to be defined - devices. Two issues have finally converged to make this possible. Fist, the downward cost of hard drive technology coupled with increased capacity and miniaturization (Thanks George Gilder http://www.gildertech.com/). Secondly, the latest in high bandwidth wireless LAN technology (802.11n) solves the "Last 100 Feet" connectivity issue. (Even if temporarily using a non-standards based implementation).



    Compare this execution with Microsoft's Media Center and you have quite a contrast. It's more server (that serves multiple devices) than computer. More TiVO (media storage-server/optimized user interface) and less PC as a media player



    Wouldn't it be nice to a have one place to store and manage all of your music, photos, video and other media to be shared wirelessly to multiple devices around the home? Stay tuned for more Apple consumer electronic products in 2007-2008.



    DVR (PVR)

    Time-shifting television anyone? Complete with an Apple version of the TiVo interface/guide.





    BACK-UP

    Hey, where do you think you are going to back-up your Mac's data when you use Time Machine anyway? After all, Apple is in the hardware business. Think about it. In an emergency, just unplug and run with the diminutive iTV box with all your media and data.



    I know, what about backing-up iTV? Well, Apple has to leave some things for third-party manufacturers.
  • Reply 107 of 188
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I don't think the Cell is a viable choice for many reasons. This machine could use an ARM cpu. It doesn't have to be highly powered to be able to control the machine, allow for programs to enable on screen functions, etc, all in an upgradable form.



    mel, that's why I said it was just an example. Cell, ARM, doesn't matter, the point is that it is likely to be a special-purpose chip, not a general purpose CPU, if the price is going to be kept down.



    Quote:

    The assumption that this machine will do rendering is way off the mark, as far as I can tell. But, no, it doesn't have to be *hardware* as you seem to like to think.



    *sigh* Are we really going to go through this again? It's a device. You plug it in. We are assuming it is not a general purpose computer, that instead it is a special purpose device. It can be upgraded through a number of means. It has more in common with a router, a game console, a WiFi access point or a printer than a main computer. It is closer to an AirPort Express in functionality than a Mac mini. It is a peripheral, not a general purpose computer. It is not a software-only solution. It is a physical device. Physical devices are called 'hardware'. Can you just let this go? You've got some blind spot here that I'm not willing to try and work around at this point. Forgive the attempt at humor, it won't happen again.



    Quote:

    It could be upgradeable, and even have the ability to have third party programs installed to add to the feature mix. Not that I think Apple is in a rush for that to happen.



    You're right, it could. An iPod fits that description, after all.



    Quote:

    I do think that this machine can actually be used to control the computer itself. More than a simple router and pass-through. Local control of the computer would be an advantage. The computer could then be used as a media server. Control it from the living room, rather than the other way around. It makes the most sense.



    A remote VNC client would be slick, I agree. I'd love to see it.
  • Reply 108 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Will a new version of QT be released as (the yet-to-be-rebranded) iTV is released?



    Will iTV rely on WiMax or some other new wireless standard?



    We don't know, naturally, but technically speaking---is the current QT and wireless robust enough to support streaming HD content?



    Quicktime does it now. But wireless hasn't been fast enough to do it seamlessly.



    We might see a new version of Quicktime for this purpose.
  • Reply 109 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jumpflip View Post


    The following was my prediction before the announcement of iTV on September 12, 2006. [Modified for MWSF 2007]



    Some of what has been commented here makes sense regarding the speculation of a "smaller hard drive", a unified database and the possibility of of another small box - as a large volume external hard drive. But I still contend that a TiVO like function will be a part of this product announcement as well as the "server" concept to multiple [yet to be announced consumer] devices around the home (unified database feature).



    I think observations made on this thread will pretty much hit the mark.



    I too anticipate MWSF more than Christmas!








    ________ [quoted from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jumpflip/337835162/ _____________________



    There will be more to Apple's iTV (project name) than just an interface for streaming media and a box with a/v-hd connections. What's missing from the announcement is the implication of a hard drive.



    What will a hard drive allow you to do? Here are some thoughts:



    HOME SERVER

    First and foremost, this box would be the much awaited home server; a media vault to wirelessly serve your content to multiple - current as well as yet to be defined - devices. Two issues have finally converged to make this possible. Fist, the downward cost of hard drive technology coupled with increased capacity and miniaturization (Thanks George Gilder http://www.gildertech.com/). Secondly, the latest in high bandwidth wireless LAN technology (802.11n) solves the "Last 100 Feet" connectivity issue. (Even if temporarily using a non-standards based implementation).



    Compare this execution with Microsoft's Media Center and you have quite a contrast. It's more server (that serves multiple devices) than computer. More TiVO (media storage-server/optimized user interface) and less PC as a media player



    Wouldn't it be nice to a have one place to store and manage all of your music, photos, video and other media to be shared wirelessly to multiple devices around the home? Stay tuned for more Apple consumer electronic products in 2007-2008.



    DVR (PVR)

    Time-shifting television anyone? Complete with an Apple version of the TiVo interface/guide.





    BACK-UP

    Hey, where do you think you are going to back-up your Mac's data when you use Time Machine anyway? After all, Apple is in the hardware business. Think about it. In an emergency, just unplug and run with the diminutive iTV box with all your media and data.



    I know, what about backing-up iTV? Well, Apple has to leave some things for third-party manufacturers.



    I don't see this a a server. I see it as possibly a front end to the computer itself being used as a server.



    Remember that this is a $299 device!



    Some of the things being called for it to do by some are well out of its price range.
  • Reply 110 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    mel, that's why I said it was just an example. Cell, ARM, doesn't matter, the point is that it is likely to be a special-purpose chip, not a general purpose CPU, if the price is going to be kept down.



    I know it was an example, but you mention it specifically. There is so much hype about the Cell that I wanted to address it.



    The ARM is a general purpose cpu. But some of them only cost $15. That could serve nicely, and allow all of the basic computing functions needed. Programming is always cheaper in the long run than specialized hardware.



    Quote:

    *sigh* Are we really going to go through this again? It's a device. You plug it in. We are assuming it is not a general purpose computer, that instead it is a special purpose device. It can be upgraded through a number of means. It has more in common with a router, a game console, a WiFi access point or a printer than a main computer. It is closer to an AirPort Express in functionality than a Mac mini. It is a peripheral, not a general purpose computer. It is not a software-only solution. It is a physical device. Physical devices are called 'hardware'. Can you just let this go? You've got some blind spot here that I'm not willing to try and work around at this point. Forgive the attempt at humor, it won't happen again.



    Every time you keep bringing it up again we will keep discussing it.



    This could be a router with a cpu inside with programmability, and control functions that routers don't currently have.



    That is what could make it unique, and not just another me-too device.



    Quote:

    You're right, it could. An iPod fits that description, after all.







    A remote VNC client would be slick, I agree. I'd love to see it.



    Good, we agree on something then.
  • Reply 111 of 188
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Every time you keep bringing it up again we will keep discussing it.



    This could be a router with a cpu inside with programmability, and control functions that routers don't currently have.



    You mean like the el cheapo Linksys WRT54GL router with a 215Mhz MIPS processor the runs Linux? Or the Peplink Manga with a 166Mhz ARM9 that folks run Debian on? You mean like nearly every modern router that has a built in web server and generally runs VxWorks?



    iTV itself is as hardware centric as most routers. That it lives within the iTunes ecostructure allows it to be potentially as simple as the iPod. Given rather meager CPU capability I suspect that you'll see a Sigma chip inside as Riot Nrrd hopes.



    Vinea
  • Reply 112 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    You mean like the el cheapo Linksys WRT54GL router with a 215Mhz MIPS processor the runs Linux? Or the Peplink Manga with a 166Mhz ARM9 that folks run Debian on? You mean like nearly every modern router that has a built in web server and generally runs VxWorks?



    iTV itself is as hardware centric as most routers. That it lives within the iTunes ecostructure allows it to be potentially as simple as the iPod. Given rather meager CPU capability I suspect that you'll see a Sigma chip inside as Riot Nrrd hopes.



    Vinea



    None of those routers do what I've said.
  • Reply 113 of 188
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It's dead meat. It's an obsolete standard, and has been for a while.



    Even the article says as much.



    The wikipedia article is somewhat biased shall we say.



    SCART sockets still ship on pretty much every bit of AV kit here in Europe because by law they have to have it and it just makes sense anyway to have one connector standard instead of the gazillion different ones you have in the USA.



    It also does more than simple s-video or component video cables so in all it's been a good thing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    HDMI and the other newer standards should begin to replace it soon, even in Europe.



    HDMI however is digital only so it doesn't directly replace SCART. "Supersedes" is perhaps what you meant.



    HD is pretty rare in Europe too so it's not like we've a pressing need for HDMI. Most of the digital TV boxes come with analogue SCART sockets still and of course out analoque signal is still a better resolution than SD digital anyway.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    That's the trouble with some government imposed standards. It becomes difficult to replace them with something better, because it requires a change in the law to do so.



    There's nothing particularly wrong with SCART though. Oddly it's a French idea that was a good one, to put up there with topless bathing and the bicycle.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    And we know how easy that is, and how short a time it can take.



    Thank heavens governments are never influenced by industry, especially in Europe.



    Which is probably why the EU made the HDMI the digital interface spec in 2005 mandating that all products saying they were 'Digital Ready' were HDMI and HDCP compliant.



    HDMI is obviously where the world is heading but just as Apple are putting analogue outputs on the iTV for the USA, they'll need to do the same for Europe, and that means SCART.
  • Reply 114 of 188
    aegisdesignaegisdesign Posts: 2,914member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    mel, that's why I said it was just an example. Cell, ARM, doesn't matter, the point is that it is likely to be a special-purpose chip, not a general purpose CPU, if the price is going to be kept down.



    Cell might be a possibility and I did read a while back that Apple's claims that it wouldn't be an easy fit for MacOSX were overblown, but I'd also bet on it being a simple cheap CPU ($15 ARM even or low cost Intel) coupled to a dedicated processor for handling an H.264 stream from the host computer.



    Something like Broadcom's BCM7411 for instance



    http://www.broadcom.com/products/Con...essors/BCM7411



    Apple would be mad to stream decompressed video across the network. Streaming Apple Lossless Audio to an Airport Express is patchy enough never mind uncompressed HD DV streams, even with 802.11n.
  • Reply 115 of 188
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    None of those routers do what I've said.



    That's perhaps because they are routers and not media center extenders which, with the notable exception of the XBox/XBox 360 are pretty much described as "hardware MCXs".



    iTV is, IMHO, a Linksys Media Center Extender that actually works as advertised. Not a 60% solution. As such, Draft-N is almost a given.



    I also have no clue what you mean when you say iTV "doesn't render" but merely "passes the signal along".



    It sure as heck isn't "passing along" uncompressed HDMI streams so it's taking the Fairplay encrypted H.264 iTunes sends and renders the resulting image with the Simga chip (or equivalent). The Sigma SMP8634 can take in H.264 AVC, VC1, MPE2, MPEG-4 (part 2), render and output over HDMI/HDCP, SVideo, Component. It also handles Dolby Digital, WMA, AAC, MP3, etc. The only spec missing that the iTV has is that the SMP8634 only has 10/100 ethernet. It has dual USB 2.0, IDE and general purpose I/O.



    Or did Steve say Gigabit Ethernet? I don't recall and the iTV pictures simply label the port "Ethernet". So potentially the only thing that the software portion of iTV has to do is be able to do Front Row and decrypt the Fairplay DRM encryption and pass along H.264 to the Sigma chip (or perhaps the STMicro SoC) that does the heavy lifting. In a SOC.



    Which is pretty much hardware. For $29 in volume (at least for the STMicro STi7200).



    Vinea
  • Reply 116 of 188
    Do you think it'll require iLife '07 to be running on your Mac? Maybe they'll bundle it with the "iTV".
  • Reply 117 of 188
    cubitcubit Posts: 846member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Hopefully, all will be answered on the 9th. I look forward to MWSF more than XMas and NYE. I need a life!



  • Reply 118 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    The wikipedia article is somewhat biased shall we say.



    Like most things.





    Quote:

    SCART sockets still ship on pretty much every bit of AV kit here in Europe because by law they have to have it and it just makes sense anyway to have one connector standard instead of the gazillion different ones you have in the USA.



    But you do have more than one standard. The DIN plugs, for example are also used.



    SCART is just analog anyway.



    Quote:

    It also does more than simple s-video or component video cables so in all it's been a good thing.



    Yes, it allows for two way info to flow, and allows control.



    Quote:

    HDMI however is digital only so it doesn't directly replace SCART. "Supersedes" is perhaps what you meant.



    Supersede, yes. But that also means replace in the long run.



    Quote:

    HD is pretty rare in Europe too so it's not like we've a pressing need for HDMI. Most of the digital TV boxes come with analogue SCART sockets still and of course out analoque signal is still a better resolution than SD digital anyway.



    It's not a majority here either. But at some point it will be. Like color in the '60's.



    I'd rather buy new equipment with the latest standards though. At some point in the life of the equipment they will be needed. SCART won't be useful then, though it still is now.



    Most people still expect their Tv's to last 10 years (or more). By then SCART will be gone (effectively). Without HDMI, people won't be able to use those models they bought earlier, and will have to buy new ones. The long term cost to the consumer will be higher.



    We now have a date in 2009 when analog will be gone officially.



    Is there a date for that in Europe as well, or are they still dithering?



    Quote:

    There's nothing particularly wrong with SCART though. Oddly it's a French idea that was a good one, to put up there with topless bathing and the bicycle.



    There was nothing wrong with it, true. But it came about earlier, and was an advanced idea for its day. It's just now that is is becoming obsolete. I realise that it will hang on for a while yet, but it will have to give way at some point in time.



    Quote:

    Which is probably why the EU made the HDMI the digital interface spec in 2005 mandating that all products saying they were 'Digital Ready' were HDMI and HDCP compliant.



    HDMI is obviously where the world is heading but just as Apple are putting analogue outputs on the iTV for the USA, they'll need to do the same for Europe, and that means SCART.



    I guess it goes back to when Europe will drop its analog programming as we will be doing here.
  • Reply 119 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    Cell might be a possibility and I did read a while back that Apple's claims that it wouldn't be an easy fit for MacOSX were overblown, but I'd also bet on it being a simple cheap CPU ($15 ARM even or low cost Intel) coupled to a dedicated processor for handling an H.264 stream from the host computer.



    Something like Broadcom's BCM7411 for instance



    http://www.broadcom.com/products/Con...essors/BCM7411



    Apple would be mad to stream decompressed video across the network. Streaming Apple Lossless Audio to an Airport Express is patchy enough never mind uncompressed HD DV streams, even with 802.11n.



    Right. That's what I'm saying as well.
  • Reply 120 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinea View Post


    That's perhaps because they are routers and not media center extenders which, with the notable exception of the XBox/XBox 360 are pretty much described as "hardware MCXs".



    iTV is, IMHO, a Linksys Media Center Extender that actually works as advertised. Not a 60% solution. As such, Draft-N is almost a given.



    I also have no clue what you mean when you say iTV "doesn't render" but merely "passes the signal along".



    It sure as heck isn't "passing along" uncompressed HDMI streams so it's taking the Fairplay encrypted H.264 iTunes sends and renders the resulting image with the Simga chip (or equivalent). The Sigma SMP8634 can take in H.264 AVC, VC1, MPE2, MPEG-4 (part 2), render and output over HDMI/HDCP, SVideo, Component. It also handles Dolby Digital, WMA, AAC, MP3, etc. The only spec missing that the iTV has is that the SMP8634 only has 10/100 ethernet. It has dual USB 2.0, IDE and general purpose I/O.



    Or did Steve say Gigabit Ethernet? I don't recall and the iTV pictures simply label the port "Ethernet". So potentially the only thing that the software portion of iTV has to do is be able to do Front Row and decrypt the Fairplay DRM encryption and pass along H.264 to the Sigma chip (or perhaps the STMicro SoC) that does the heavy lifting. In a SOC.



    Which is pretty much hardware. For $29 in volume (at least for the STMicro STi7200).



    Vinea



    You can't say that it isn't passing decoded streams across.



    We really don't know just what is inside. This is all guessing on our part.



    Based somewhat on what we would like to see it do.



    We all have ideas on that, and so far, they are all valid. Even if Apple comes out with something we don't expect, our ideas will still be valid, just not Apple's product.



    I don't recall what he said either, though I would like it to be 1GB.
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