First Look: Apple TV 2.0 and iTunes Movie Rentals (photos, video)

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  • Reply 121 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Sorry if this has already been addressed in the thread and I missed it:



    Has the res (or compression encoding) been changed? I don't own an Apple TV, but my first impression at the Apple Store, looking at SD movies, was that the PQ was pretty terrible.



    Now that our little ATv is growing up and becoming something more than a "hobby", is it possible that the SD stuff is being encoded with a little more finesse? Or maybe the SD rentals?



    Not sure about the quality of encoding, but in terms of resolution, the SD movies rented via AppleTV are being called "DVD quality" now rather than "near-DVD quality." Presumably that means slightly higher than 640X480.



    My guess is that they're still trying to keep purchased video compatible with the iPod, but if you rent via AppleTV, you can't move them, so it doesn't matter that they're not playable on iPod. On the other hand, if you rent via iTunes on your computer, you can sync to your iPod, and so they're keeping those at 640X480.



    Seems odd at first, but they had to deal with the problem of compatibilty with the iPod. They could have embedded a smaller, ipod-compatible file with the larger file, or asked which one you wanted. At some point they're going to have to deal with that, but I suppose keeping AppleTV rentals separated from iPods is one solution for now.
  • Reply 122 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    Not sure about the quality of encoding, but in terms of resolution, the SD movies rented via AppleTV are being called "DVD quality" now rather than "near-DVD quality." Presumably that means slightly higher than 640X480.



    My guess is that they're still trying to keep purchased video compatible with the iPod, but if you rent via AppleTV, you can't move them, so it doesn't matter that they're not playable on iPod. On the other hand, if you rent via iTunes on your computer, you can sync to your iPod, and so they're keeping those at 640X480.



    Seems odd at first, but they had to deal with the problem of compatibilty with the iPod. They could have embedded a smaller, ipod-compatible file with the larger file, or asked which one you wanted. At some point they're going to have to deal with that, but I suppose keeping AppleTV rentals separated from iPods is one solution for now.



    DVD quality is the US is only slightly higher anyway at 720x480. To be DVD quality [in resolution] the SD rentals would have to be at this resolution.



    You can move your SD AppleTV rentals back to your iTUnes account and iDevices. You just can't move the HD rental. These can only be rented from the AppleTV and viewed from a TV attached tot eh AppleTV because of the limitations to the iDevices that you mentioned.
  • Reply 123 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You can move your SD AppleTV rentals back to your iTUnes account and iDevices. You just can't move the HD rental. These can only be rented from the AppleTV and viewed from a TV attached tot eh AppleTV because of the limitations to the iDevices that you mentioned.



    I don't think so. But if you can prove me wrong, please do.
  • Reply 124 of 232
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Hmmm..... from Apple's iTunes rental page:



    Quote:

    Movie rentals from iTunes transfer to your iPod or iPhone to watch on the go. Either device remembers where you stopped watching on your computer and picks up where you left off.



    Doesn't say specifically that "rentals from iTunes" includes Apple TV as well as computer, but it seems pretty likely.



    However,



    Quote:

    When you download movies from iTunes, you get a 640-by-480-pixel image that’s great for watching on your computer and positively brilliant on your iPod or iPhone.



    which as far as I know is the same as before, including the cropped wide screen stuff that is far lower actual res. If Apple has started referring to their SD downloads in more glowing terms, it's either marketing BS or they've improved the bit rate.
  • Reply 125 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Hmmm..... from Apple's iTunes rental page:







    Doesn't say specifically that "rentals from iTunes" includes Apple TV as well as computer, but it seems pretty likely.



    No, I don't think so. From iTunes means from a computer, and then to iPods if you want to. From AppleTV they don't sync back to your computer, they stay on AppleTV, they're higher definition (DVD quality or HD), and they don't play on iPods.
    Quote:

    However,



    which as far as I know is the same as before, including the cropped wide screen stuff that is far lower actual res. If Apple has started referring to their SD downloads in more glowing terms, it's either marketing BS or they've improved the bit rate.



    The only SD movies they're referring to in more glowing terms are the ones you get from AppleTV, which are DVD quality now, rather than near-DVD quality, or HD.



    It sounds screwy if you analyze it, but it makes sense, I think, if you assume they're trying to make sure anything that could go get onto an iPod will be playable on the iPod.



    I'm not sure what the solution is. Perhaps embedding multiple files together - an iPod-sized file and a larger one. What do you think the solution is?
  • Reply 126 of 232
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    I don't think so. But if you can prove me wrong, please do.



    It's correct, you can.



    You can also begin to watch an SD rental on the ATv, or computer, and finish watching it on your iPod/iPhone during that 24 hour period.
  • Reply 127 of 232
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    No, I don't think so. From iTunes means from a computer, and then to iPods if you want to. From AppleTV they don't sync back to your computer, they stay on AppleTV, they're higher definition (DVD quality or HD), and they don't play on iPods. The only SD movies they're referring to in more glowing terms are the ones you get from AppleTV, which are DVD quality now, rather than near-DVD quality, or HD.



    It sounds screwy if you analyze it, but it makes sense, I think, if you assume they're trying to make sure anything that could go get onto an iPod will be playable on the iPod.



    I'm not sure what the solution is. Perhaps embedding multiple files together - an iPod-sized file and a larger one. What do you think the solution is?



    I just took the time to watch Ice Age before I responded to your post. On my Sony 24" CRT monitor which runs at 2048 by 1280, it looked great. I had it at full screen width, so the computer was rezzing up considerably, but it did look more like 720 than 640.
  • Reply 128 of 232
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I just took the time to watch Ice Age before I responded to your post. On my Sony 24" CRT monitor which runs at 2048 by 1280, it looked great. I had it at full screen width, so the computer was rezzing up considerably, but it did look more like 720 than 640.



    That's good to hear, but I'd like to also hear from someone with, say, a 40" LCD, since that's what Apple was using to demo Apple TV in the stores, and what has looked so mediocre in the past.



    I say that since CRTs are going to be more forgiving of the scaling and 24" is relatively small by today's standards.
  • Reply 129 of 232
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    That's good to hear, but I'd like to also hear from someone with, say, a 40" LCD, since that's what Apple was using to demo Apple TV in the stores, and what has looked so mediocre in the past.



    I say that since CRTs are going to be more forgiving of the scaling and 24" is relatively small by today's standards.



    My monitor is far more telling than a 40" LCD Tv. I'm also sitting 28 inches away while I'm watching. To get the same view on a 40", you have to sit about 3.5 feet away. This is also a professional monitor that cost $5,000. The LCD isn't going tobe nearly as good.



    By the way, I'm not, at this time, questioning whether these films are 720 or 640. Just that it looks as good as 720. I've checked a few trailers, and they look pretty good as well.



    Sometimes I think that people get a bit irrational about this. The first reason is that very few people sit close enough to even appreciate 480 much less 720 or any other resolution.



    The second is that only some HD Tv's can properly scale up an SD video without its getting noisy, or showing digititus, or other artifacting. Then they attribute it to the video itself. Of course, it's tough to admit to oneself that the Tv purchased is the cause of the problems, but too often, it is.



    I'm considered to be very picky about these things, but I'm willing to make allowances. Since Apple went to 640 x 480, things have looked fine, and that's also on my Hp 65" 1080p DLP (which I'll be replacing in a few weeks).
  • Reply 130 of 232
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    My monitor is far more telling than a 40" LCD Tv. I'm also sitting 28 inches away while I'm watching. To get the same view on a 40", you have to sit about 3.5 feet away. This is also a professional monitor that cost $5,000. The LCD isn't going tobe nearly as good.



    By the way, I'm not, at this time, questioning whether these films are 720 or 640. Just that it looks as good as 720. I've checked a few trailers, and they look pretty good as well.



    Sometimes I think that people get a bit irrational about this. The first reason is that very few people sit close enough to even appreciate 480 much less 720 or any other resolution.



    The second is that only some HD Tv's can properly scale up an SD video without its getting noisy, or showing digititus, or other artifacting. Then they attribute it to the video itself. Of course, it's tough to admit to oneself that the Tv purchased is the cause of the problems, but too often, it is.



    I'm considered to be very picky about these things, but I'm willing to make allowances. Since Apple went to 640 x 480, things have looked fine, and that's also on my Hp 65" 1080p DLP (which I'll be replacing in a few weeks).



    I'm sure your monitor is splendid, but my point is that CRTs do a better job of handling scaling than, say, an LCD. So something that looks good on your screen might not look so good on a fixed pixel array display.



    Since that's what I originally saw iTunes video downloads on (at which time I found the PQ unacceptable), I'd be interested in hearing from someone viewing the current offerings on same.



    Actually, it would be really interesting to hear about the same movie, on an LCD (or plasma), in both its rental and purchase iterations-- curious if Apple is using the same encoding for both.
  • Reply 131 of 232
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    I'm sure your monitor is splendid, but my point is that CRTs do a better job of handling scaling than, say, an LCD. So something that looks good on your screen might not look so good on a fixed pixel array display.



    Since that's what I originally saw iTunes video downloads on (at which time I found the PQ unacceptable), I'd be interested in hearing from someone viewing the current offerings on same.



    Actually, it would be really interesting to hear about the same movie, on an LCD (or plasma), in both its rental and purchase iterations-- curious if Apple is using the same encoding for both.



    It read as though you wre saying that a crt isn't critical enough.



    The problems with HD Tv scaling is well known as I brought up in my last post. It's not the fault of the LCD, as it's being used at the highest resolution at all times. The fault lies in the processor chip, algorithms, and associated circuitry used.



    In the computer, far more powerful, and refined, circuits and math is on hand to do the work. Most of the dedicated chips on the market for Tv's are not very good. If you get stuck with one of the bad ones, too bad.



    You can't blame the video for that.
  • Reply 132 of 232
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It read as though you wre saying that a crt isn't critical enough.



    The problems with HD Tv scaling is well known as I brought up in my last post. It's not the fault of the LCD, as it's being used at the highest resolution at all times. The fault lies in the processor chip, algorithms, and associated circuitry used.



    In the computer, far more powerful, and refined, circuits and math is on hand to do the work. Most of the dedicated chips on the market for Tv's are not very good. If you get stuck with one of the bad ones, too bad.



    You can't blame the video for that.



    Sure, but the problem with the sub-DVD res, heavily compressed material Apple has been selling is that it looks particularly dreadful on exactly the kind of biggish, fixed resolution displays that consumers of their movie offerings are most likely to be viewing them on-- whereas the same stuff probably looks OK on smaller CRTs.



    When the compression artifacts on SD material are already vexing, the scaling on the average LCD really makes it eye watering.



    Which is why I why I wonder if the current state of the SD movies for sale, or rent, or both, have seen any improvement. Somehow it seems like, if Apple TV is going to come out of the shadows and put its best foot forward, Apple has to provide better quality SD stuff-- if for no other reason that the contrast is going to be particularly glaring next to HD material from the same store.



    The stuff I saw when the Atv was introduced looked like a trial run-- just good enough to convey the concept. I don't think Apple can get away with that, now, if they're serious about making their movie business a winner (unless they figure SD video is going the same way as optical discs and ports, so they see no reason to put much effort into their SD encoding).
  • Reply 133 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It's correct, you can.



    You can also begin to watch an SD rental on the ATv, or computer, and finish watching it on your iPod/iPhone during that 24 hour period.



    So then you do have proof of this? Because it sounds like you know for certain - like you've done it yourself, or you've seen the screen on the AppleTV that shows a rental being moved to iTunes. (I know you can do it from iTunes to iPod, but I'm saying you can't do it from AppleTV to iTunes, because that would be the higher, DVD-resolution rental which is not playable on the iPod.)



    I'm sorry, I don't have absolute proof, but it's only thing that's consistent with all of what Apple has said, and all the information and screenshots that are out there, and I'm willing to bet on it. Are you? A friendly wager? You seem absolutely 100% certain, and I'm not, so it should be a good bet for you, right?



    My belief is that Apple recognizes the exact problem that addabox is outlining, and so has upped the resolution for the ATv rentals, and put up a firewall between the ATv and iTunes so people don't try to put those videos on their ipods. But the problem still remains for purchased movies and TV shows, which are all at the lower resolution.
  • Reply 134 of 232
    areseearesee Posts: 776member
    I think that what will happen is that Apple will be renting three different resolutions.



    1) Sub-DVD SD on iTunes. This file can be watched from the Mac, iPod, iPhone and AppleTV. (I wonder if this is the file included with the Fox DVDs?)

    2) DVD SD on the AppleTV. This file will only be viewable on the AppleTV. - DVD resolution videos will not currently transfer to the iPod so Apple could make the argument that no functionality is lost. Accept, that is, not being able to play on the Mac.

    3) HD on the AppleTV. Same as #2.



    I'll just have to wait with the rest of us for the week or two it takes Apple to release the AppleTV updates.
  • Reply 135 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    My belief is that Apple recognizes the exact problem that addabox is outlining, and so has upped the resolution for the ATv rentals, and put up a firewall between the ATv and iTunes so people don't try to put those videos on their ipods. But the problem still remains for purchased movies and TV shows, which are all at the lower resolution.



    You are saying that no iPod can't use rentals? The keynote stated teh opposite.

    You are saying that SD movie rentals on iTunes are worse quality than SD rentals on AppleTV? The keynote stated they were "DVD quality."
  • Reply 136 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    You are saying that no iPod can't use rentals? The keynote stated teh opposite.



    I'm saying that I don't think iPods can play movies rented via AppleTV, but they can play movies rented via iTunes. There is no "Move" function from AppleTV -> iTunes when you rent, so there's no way to get the movies to an ipod.



    Quote:

    You are saying that SD movie rentals on iTunes are worse quality than SD rentals on AppleTV?



    Yes, that's what I'm saying. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but it's the only thing consistent with everything I've read, and I'd be willing to bet on it.
    Quote:

    The keynote stated they were "DVD quality."



    That was only stated for AppleTV rentals, not iTunes rentals. Watch carefully - he apparently left the impression for most people that you can move around anywhere and that "nearly-DVD" has become "DVD-quality." But watch where he says those things, and look at the web pages. They're very careful to refer to "DVD-quality" only when talking about AppleTV. They're very careful to refer to moving to iPods only when talking about iTunes rentals from your computer or purchases via AppleTV.
  • Reply 137 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aresee View Post


    I think that what will happen is that Apple will be renting three different resolutions.



    1) Sub-DVD SD on iTunes. This file can be watched from the Mac, iPod, iPhone and AppleTV. (I wonder if this is the file included with the Fox DVDs?)

    2) DVD SD on the AppleTV. This file will only be viewable on the AppleTV. - DVD resolution videos will not currently transfer to the iPod so Apple could make the argument that no functionality is lost. Accept, that is, not being able to play on the Mac.

    3) HD on the AppleTV. Same as #2.



    I'll just have to wait with the rest of us for the week or two it takes Apple to release the AppleTV updates.



    Yup, that's exactly what I think.
  • Reply 138 of 232
    Greetings all!

    Does any one know if there are ANY parental controls on this new Apple TV? I have a house full of teenagers and very young children. Though I would love to purchase a new Apple TV, I am concerned that, left to their own devices, my kids would rent all kinds of inappropriate things and cost me a fortune in rental costs.



    My dream Apple TV would at first require a password to purchase and rent all programing AND have a check box that allows you to remember that password OR NOT. (Like they have on iTunes) That would allowing me the kind of control that makes me very comfortable with the Apple TV.



    Does it have this kind of interface, does anyone know?



    Thanks for the input.

  • Reply 139 of 232
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    It looks like there are extensive parental controls, but I don't see many details. See here.
  • Reply 140 of 232
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lydilove View Post


    Greetings all!

    Does any one know if there are ANY parental controls on this new Apple TV? I have a house full of teenagers and very young children. Though I would love to purchase a new Apple TV, I am concerned that, left to their own devices, my kids would rent all kinds of inappropriate things and cost me a fortune in rental costs.



    My dream Apple TV would at first require a password to purchase and rent all programing AND have a check box that allows you to remember that password OR NOT. (Like they have on iTunes) That would allowing me the kind of control that makes me very comfortable with the Apple TV.



    Does it have this kind of interface, does anyone know?



    Thanks for the input.





    Excellent question. In surprised that hasn't been adressed. I expect there to be something similar to a cable box for familiarity sake.



    Welcome to AI.
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