AppleTV & codecs

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I have a whole lot of video on my computer and very little of it is h.264.



Apple's AppleTV page has this to say:

Quote:

Video formats supported: H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): 640 by 480, 30 fps, LC version of Baseline Profile; 320 by 240, 30 fps, Baseline profile up to Level 1.3; 1280 by 720, 24 fps, Progressive Main Profile. MPEG-4: 640 by 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile



I'm going to be needing some XviD, DivX, and all those other wacky moon codecs before I even consider this thing, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people are in the same boat as me.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    I'm going to be needing some XviD, DivX, and all those other wacky moon codecs



    Never going to happen. You'll have to either transcode your files or get a different device. There are plenty of competitors out there, most of them cheaper.



    One interesting point is that according to those specs, the Apple TV (dumb, dumb name: it's not a TV damnit!) plays back Main Profile H.264, which QuickTime currently can neither play nor create. I guess Main Profile must be coming (at last) in a soon-to-be-released QT update.



    Edit: Oops. Actually, it's "High Profile" H.264 that QuickTime doesn't do, not "Main Profile". Will Apple ever do "High"?
  • Reply 2 of 54
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    Technically speaking there is no obstacle -- Apple says this thing has an Intel processor in it. Mostly likely a low power CD or C2D. This gives it enough horsepower to decode almost any existing format in real-time. If the iPhone is running MacOS X in some form, you can bet that the appletv is as well.



    As for the name, I don't think its that bad. There are plenty of TV-source devices that aren't displays themselves. WebTV comes to mind right off.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Programmer View Post


    Technically speaking there is no obstacle -- Apple says this thing has an Intel processor in it. Mostly likely a low power CD or C2D.



    The processor is pretty irrelevant. If the AppleTV is running some form of OS X on x86, then yes, it makes it much easier for apple to implement codecs if they wanted to.



    The iPod is also technically capable of playing back DivX, Xvid, WMV etc etc., but Apple have shown no desire to support any of these. In addition, on OS X, their support is provided by third parties, not Apple themselves.



    I can only see the AppleTV playing-back non MPEG-4 in the following ways:



    1.) Server computer transcodes non-MPEG-4 videos to H.264 on-the-fly, using third-party software.



    2.) Apple opens AppleTV to third-party developers, who provide additional codecs



    3.) AppleTV is "hacked", and you can either install additional codecs, or install linux and do whatever you want.
  • Reply 4 of 54
    octaneoctane Posts: 157member
    So it seems AppleTV isn't going to act like iTunes but rather more like an iPod. Disappointing. I was happy that iTunes plays just about anything quicktime will play. Expecting it to be more computer than iPod was probably a little short-sighted, guess I'll just have to wait until iTVpod hits the stores. I was hoping to not have to buy a Mac Mini.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Apple must realize that the iPod's tremendous success is due, in a very large way, to music piracy.



    Without acceptance of this same reality, the AppleTV will never take off. It should be assumed that it can play any type of media you throw at it, and artificial restrictions are completely asinine.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    Apple must realize that the iPod's tremendous success is due, in a very large way, to music piracy.



    Bullshit. Studies have shown that the majority of the content on the majority of iPods has been legally purchased.



    Just because you are a prolific pirate, doesn't mean the rest of us are equally dishonest.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by octane View Post


    So it seems AppleTV isn't going to act like iTunes but rather more like an iPod. Disappointing. I was happy that iTunes plays just about anything quicktime will play. Expecting it to be more computer than iPod was probably a little short-sighted, guess I'll just have to wait until iTVpod hits the stores. I was hoping to not have to buy a Mac Mini.



    AppleTV will play anything streamed from iTunes as well. That means you can install a transcodec into QT that will do the transcoding for you on the stream. No need to jack with the set-top box at all.



    We now have much stronger motivation for some of those other codecs to be implemented as QT plug-ins rather than just work in their own viewer.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    AppleTV will play anything streamed from iTunes as well. That means you can install a transcodec into QT that will do the transcoding for you on the stream.



    I have seen no evidence at all that this is the case. Can you provide any?
  • Reply 9 of 54
    octaneoctane Posts: 157member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro


    AppleTV will play anything streamed from iTunes as well. That means you can install a transcodec into QT that will do the transcoding for you on the stream. No need to jack with the set-top box at all.



    We now have much stronger motivation for some of those other codecs to be implemented as QT plug-ins rather than just work in their own viewer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    I have seen no evidence at all that this is the case. Can you provide any?





    I second that; do you have hands-on knowledge that it will?



    The AppleTV spec page sure reminds me of the iPod video page, AppleTV looking more iPod than iTunes+Front Row (which I was hoping for). My fingers are crossed that it will play anything in my iTunes library, but the current business model in place at Apple leads me to believe other wise. We may just have see in Feb.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    It's time-consuming, but it's easy enough to change formats to mp4. I've been doing that with most videos I download lately.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Mr. H:



    Quote:

    Bullshit. Studies have shown that the majority of the content on the majority of iPods has been legally purchased.



    What “studies” are you discussing?



    Also, the “majority” of the “majority” is not all. If the iPod only played DRM or otherwise-certified (i.e. - certified as ripped on a specific registered computer) it would have lost very badly to competitors. The ability to put any mp3 at all on it, however, made it attractive.



    I can tell you that I do not much like the idea of paying $100/month for digital cable and Internet only to pay $5 for the exact same TV shows I am already paying for.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    What ?studies? are you discussing?



    The ones that were cited when various recording studio executives tried to claim that iPods were used predominantly to store pirated content, and that they were therefore due some money from the iPod. I know they are out there because I've read about them, but I can't really be bothered to find them, sorry.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    The ability to put any mp3 at all on it, however, made it attractive.



    mp3 isn't only for piracy, you know. In fact, when the iPod first came out, it was the only compressed format the the iPod would play. Most people filled most of their iPods with mp3s ripped from their own CD collections.



    I'm simply saying that your contention that the iPod was/is successful because of piracy is rubbish. If no-one pirated anything, the iPod would still be successful. Whether the AppleTV needs to support more codecs to be successful is another question. Only supporting MPEG-4 parts 2 and 10 doesn't seem to have harmed up-take of the iPod with video, for example.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    The iPod is also technically capable of playing back DivX, Xvid, WMV etc etc., but Apple have shown no desire to support any of these. In addition, on OS X, their support is provided by third parties, not Apple themselves.



    I can only see the AppleTV playing-back non MPEG-4 in the following ways:



    DIVX, XVID, and the latest WMV are all MPEG-4 formats just like H.264.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    The ones that were cited when various recording studio executives tried to claim that iPods were used predominantly to store pirated content, and that they were therefore due some money from the iPod. I know they are out there because I've read about them, but I can't really be bothered to find them, sorry.



    I can’t be bothered to buy the argument. The content of an iPod is so fluid I cannot even conceive of any measure as to how much content is circulating, much less whether or not its copyright is valid.



    Quote:

    mp3 isn't only for piracy, you know. In fact, when the iPod first came out, it was the only compressed format the the iPod would play. Most people filled most of their iPods with mp3s ripped from their own CD collections.



    How do I put my DVDs into iTunes?

    I cannot even use this device to enjoy my legally-acquired content.



    Quote:

    I'm simply saying that your contention that the iPod was/is successful because of piracy is rubbish. If no-one pirated anything, the iPod would still be successful.



    Neither of us has any hard evidence to back us, but the rise of digital music is eerily correlated with piracy. There is a pink elephant in the room and I am acknowledging the existence of that elephant. You can choose not to and that is your business.



    Quote:

    Whether the AppleTV needs to support more codecs to be successful is another question. Only supporting MPEG-4 parts 2 and 10 doesn't seem to have harmed up-take of the iPod with video, for example.



    Supporting other codecs is specifically tied to piracy. Why else would a product support XviD or DivX?
  • Reply 15 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skatman View Post


    DIVX, XVID, and the latest WMV are all MPEG-4 formats just like H.264.



    No.



    They are all based on similar ideas to one another (much like vorbis, mp3, AAC, ac3, WMA are all based on similar ideas to one another), but they most certainly are not MPEG-4.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    There is a pink elephant in the room and I am acknowledging the existence of that elephant. You can choose not to and that is your business.



    I'm not ignoring the existence of piracy. I'm saying that plenty of people have plenty of legally acquired content to make owning an iPod worthwhile even if their pirated content (if there is any) were to disappear.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by groverat View Post


    How do I put my DVDs into iTunes?

    I cannot even use this device to enjoy my legally-acquired content.



    What? There are plenty of ways to rip a DVD to MPEG-4 part 2 or 10. Whether or not the private use of the software required breaks the DMCA in America has not been established in court. I believe that there are clauses in the DMCA to allow for the making of personal copies of legally acquired content.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    here you go Groverat:



    Article 1.



    Article 2.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    you can play all avi divx movies in iTunes by using this droplet to make itunes .mov reference files from your avi's: http://dettmer.maclab.org/movie2itunes.html



    just drag & drop your files on the droplet and the script will make a reference .mov file and will automatically ad the movies to iTunes… it takes a few seconds per avi (it doesn't convert them, it just creates reference files that will play in itunes)



    so hopefully these files will work with apple tv
  • Reply 20 of 54
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by funk you crew View Post


    you can play all avi divx movies in iTunes by using this droplet to make itunes .mov reference files from your avi's: http://dettmer.maclab.org/movie2itunes.html



    just drag & drop your files on the droplet and the script will make a reference .mov file and will automatically ad the movies to iTunes? it takes a few seconds per avi (it doesn't convert them, it just creates reference files that will play in itunes)



    so hopefully these files will work with apple tv



    But that doesn't magically change the codecs that the video and audio uses. It just points to the tracks with a quicktime wrapper so that iTunes can use the QuickTime frameworks and third-party codecs to decode the file. If you want to play them on the AppleTV, you still need either iTunes to transcode on-the-fly (which it does not currently do), or you need the right codecs on the AppleTV itself (which clearly Apple is not providing and there's no indication as of yet whether the AppleTV will be opened up to third parties)
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