Apple TV Take 2: an in-depth review (part 1): what's new

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  • Reply 61 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    I understand that. I just wish I could manipulate the ATV's aspect ratio direct on the ATV like I can on my cable remote and DVD remote. I prefer to leave the TV at 16:9. Long 4:3 programs I like to stretch out on occasion. I prefer to set the TV once with 16:9 as the default and not change it again (don't like to have to use yet another remote).



    And you called yourself a videophile.
  • Reply 62 of 90
    LeRyman wrote "I just think the overall look of the UI is amazingly "square" and not elegant like every other Apple product. This thing does not scream QUALITY like everything else they do. Add some color ... anything would help.



    I totally agree, I was shocked when I first saw it come up, like a fragment of an Excel table that had somehow sleepwalked over from Office 2004. I was hoping it was just some sort of intial configuration page that would go away.
  • Reply 63 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    So, I'm guessing this is still using 10.4 at its base.



    I've read that it's 10.4.7.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    "Analog broadcast TV has long used a nearly square aspect ratio that is stretched out by non-square pixels that results in everyone on TV looking ten pounds heavier."



    That's not true. Analog TV doesn't even use pixels (just a continuous color "stream" on each line), and digital systems creating content for analog use square or NARROW (8:9) pixels, not wide. And regardless, the result is perfectly proportioned--broadcast TV has not "long used" a system that makes the image wider.



    I thought that section was odd too. The notion of the camera adding ten pounds applies to film as well as video (and I'm sure HD as well). Blaming it on pixel shape is misinformation, please correct it in the article.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    The review can't even get the facts straight. Blu-Ray is NOT Sony's format. And HD DVD certainly isn't Microsoft's format at this article states.



    While neither format is exclusively that of those two companies, there's no question that they both are heavily devoted to the respective formats.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaddyF View Post


    Totally agree, unless Apple move to a (or compete with a) subscription model they will fall the way of practically every cable VOD service, interesting at first but ultimately not worth the cost.



    Digital subscription models will never be able to compete with mailing out CDs, not unless the studios radically change the way they license content.



    Netflix doesn't have to pay a royalty every time they mail a disk out, that's how they can have their "unlimited" plans at those prices. For downloads, the studios require a royalty payment for each download, which means that a subscription model would either have a fairly low cap or would be substantially more expensive. It would be great to see a subscription model, but I don't think it's necessary for Apple to do well, and I don't think it's even possible given current studio constraints.
  • Reply 64 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    "None of this is too difficult to figure out, but it does seems to result in a complex system of navigation menus, particularly for an Apple product."



    No kidding. The Apple TV is just a grab bag of features, with a nasty hierarchical menu system to match. Apple products usually have a central unifying theme and a nice simply GUI that flows from that. I swear they outsourced the design of this thing.



    I kind of feel the same when looking at the A-TV's U/I: nice but just "good enough". Maybe it's because a few days ago I got "spoiled" seeing a demo of the Kaleidascape system at a local Magnolia A/V store. (http://kaleidascape.com/ )

    Here is a company that spent years in court fighting the RIAA while they perfected their system. They won and now their system legally copies your DVD movies onto the system's HDD. And then their UI kicks in. Looks like - well - "what you would expect from Apple...". It's quite a bit pricey (12K and up) but so where big-screen LCD TVs 5 years ago. The A-TV product train is in no way going fast enough for many of us. Running faster costs money. There is some great IP out there I wouldn't mind Apple spending some of their 15 billion it has in cash on.
  • Reply 65 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robre View Post


    I kind of feel the same when looking at the A-TV's U/I: nice but just "good enough". Maybe it's because a few days ago I got "spoiled" seeing a demo of the Kaleidascape system at a local Magnolia A/V store. (http://kaleidascape.com/ )

    Here is a company that spent years in court fighting the RIAA while they perfected their system. They won and now their system legally copies your DVD movies onto the system's HDD. And then their UI kicks in. Looks like - well - "what you would expect from Apple...". It's quite a bit pricey (12K and up) but so where big-screen LCD TVs 5 years ago. The A-TV product train is in no way going fast enough for many of us. Running faster costs money. There is some great IP out there I wouldn't mind Apple spending some of their 15 billion it has in cash on.



    That is visual neat, but I don't think it's as usual at the AppleTV's system. I would prefer a hybrid of the two in a more Delicous Library type interface. Apple has stolen enough of their staff as it is!.



    For the same reason that people wanted a list view in Stacks I wouldn't use this view for my content in the AppleTV. I don't even use CoverFlow in Finder or iTunes. I see it a novelty and not something to increase my productivity or usability. However, I don't see any reason why that can't be an toggle option for those users who do wish to use it.
  • Reply 66 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LeRyman View Post


    I just think the overall look of the UI is amazingly "square" and not elegant like every other Apple product. This thing does not scream QUALITY like everything else they do. Add some color ... anything would help.



    Are there any options to change this?



    I have TiVo and there UI is very smooth, easy to understand and professional looking.



    Looks sell!



    I happen to think that the overall look of the UI is very elegant and Apple-like. So your view is purely subjective.
  • Reply 67 of 90
    I applaud Apple for offering such a huge upgrade for an existing device (not to mention being able to) and offering it for free. I know all the Apple-bashers on these forums will never give them credit for it, but very few other companies would (or could) do the same.



    BUT...



    With true 1080p TVs being available now at a reasonable and ever-descending price, and with Blu-Ray finally winning the format war despite the frenzied efforts of Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) to poison the well, I think anything that would hinder the complete and rapid shift to that maximal picture quality is a Bad Thing™. I think also that downloading HD video (as opposed to 320x240 video or excruciating 128,000 bps audio) over the internet is, and will remain for a long time a very small niche market. At least until they finally deliver the "optical fiber into your home" they've been promising for 20 years. I won't be buying an Apple TV until it's 1080p and I can download a 1080p movie in lossless compression in significantly less than real time. I'm not holding my breath!
  • Reply 68 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post


    I won't be buying an Apple TV until it's 1080p and I can download a 1080p movie in lossless compression in significantly less than real time. I'm not holding my breath!



    You'll never see releases losslessly compressed. At least not unless there's a major breakthrough and someone invents lossless compression at ratios of 10+ to one (and way beyond).



    With lossless compression, a movie in 1080p (or any HD format) would be hundreds of gigs. And compared to a lossy compression with a good codec and a high bitrate, you could probably get a version indistinguishable from the original by most if not all people at a fraction of the size.



    While I think it would benefit the aTV to handle 1080p content, and at fairly high bitrates, I don't think rentals at 780 will slow adoption much.



    And why is "significantly less than real time" important, considering you can't watch the content faster than real time? I have a hard time imagining a situation where more than 5-10% faster than real time provides an advantage.
  • Reply 69 of 90
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    And you called yourself a videophile.



    And want do you call yourself? Idiot?

    You obviously have never heard of "burn-in"? That's what happens when you leave a non-moving image on for a period of time. That's why the Apple TV GUI is constantly moving and that why we have what are called screen-savers. Trust me you do not want to burn in side black bars on a 50 inch plasma. Do you even own a widescreen HD TV?
  • Reply 70 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    And want do you call yourself? Idiot?

    You obviously have never heard of "burn-in"? That's what happens when you leave a non-moving image on for a period of time. That's why the Apple TV GUI is constantly moving and that why we have what are called screen-savers. Trust me you do not want to burn in side black bars on a 50 inch plasma. Do you even own a widescreen HD TV?



    Yes, but I didn't buy a plasma for that reason.
  • Reply 71 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    And want do you call yourself? Idiot?



    Here's a hint...if you want to call someone an idiot, it's probably best to do it using words that are spelled right...
  • Reply 72 of 90
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    Here's a hint...if you want to call someone an idiot, it's probably best to do it using words that are spelled right...







    .... as if being an excellent proofreader or speller means your not one as well?
  • Reply 73 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post


    You'll never see releases losslessly compressed. At least not unless there's a major breakthrough and someone invents lossless compression at ratios of 10+ to one (and way beyond).



    We already have lossless compression at about 50 to one. On every DVD. For 1080x1920 we need about 6 times the capacity. That's why we had to have Blu-Ray instead of the miserable HD-DVD halfway-house format. If you want to see 1080i video with lossless compression, just pull it off the air. That's why it's better than HD on cable. A 2-hour movie in 1080p is about 25 GB. By some fantastic coincidence, that's one layer of a Blu-Ray disc. Of course, even with cable internet, that would take almost 10 hours to download. Which was my point.



    I want to download a movie in significantly less than real time because I refuse to try to watch something while it's still downloading. I know there are going to be constant glitches if it's downloading in the background. Even the positive reviews of the aTV say as much, and that's just with SD content.
  • Reply 74 of 90
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Yes, but I didn't buy a plasma for that reason.





    And that's just proves that you're also not a videophile.
  • Reply 75 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post


    We already have lossless compression at about 50 to one. On every DVD.



    No, DVD-Video is lossy, I don't understand why you think otherwise. The only lossless part of DVD-Video is PCM stereo audio, and most DVDs don't use that.
  • Reply 76 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    No, DVD-Video is lossy, I don't understand why you think otherwise. The only lossless part of DVD-Video is PCM stereo audio, and most DVDs don't use that.



    The video signal on a DVD can be compressed to about 2% of its original size (losslessly,) better than the about 3% of a JPEG still photo, because there's a great deal of redundancy from frame to frame. Digital cable is compressed further (at best about another 2x) because they want to fit as many channels in as possible. That's why no one uses that lossless one-hour mode on their DVD recorders. The 2 hr. mode is about equal to the quality you're getting over cable. Of course some of the channels they consider less important (which I watch all the time) are really severely compressed (worse than the 8-hour mode on my recorder. (Curse Comcast!)



    The audio on a DVD is of course, extremely lossy: 5-channel CD-quality audio would be 3,528,000 bps. Almost as much as the video.
  • Reply 77 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post


    The video signal on a DVD can be compressed to about 2% of its original size (losslessly,) better than the about 3% of a JPEG still photo, because there's a great deal of redundancy from frame to frame.



    Yes there is a great deal of redundancy that is removed, but MPEG-2 is still lossy. It may appear that no information is lost, but it is. The use of lossless is to describe a computational property, not a perceptual one. The data out of a decoder must be exactly the same as the data into the encoder to be lossless. There is no mode in MPEG-2 that is lossless. A lot of DVDs do have significant artifacts due to this lossy compression. You might not see this due to the quality or calibration of the TV, or many other factors.
  • Reply 78 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    And that's just proves that you're also not a videophile.



    I don't think it's limited to one display technology.



    I decided I wanted a bigger screen than is realistic for plasma.
  • Reply 79 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatesbasher View Post


    The video signal on a DVD can be compressed to about 2% of its original size (losslessly,) better than the about 3% of a JPEG still photo, because there's a great deal of redundancy from frame to frame. Digital cable is compressed further (at best about another 2x) because they want to fit as many channels in as possible. That's why no one uses that lossless one-hour mode on their DVD recorders. The 2 hr. mode is about equal to the quality you're getting over cable. Of course some of the channels they consider less important (which I watch all the time) are really severely compressed (worse than the 8-hour mode on my recorder. (Curse Comcast!)



    The audio on a DVD is of course, extremely lossy: 5-channel CD-quality audio would be 3,528,000 bps. Almost as much as the video.



    There is a tremendous amount of lossy compression going on with DVD video. It uses the MPEG-2 which I believe was approved in 1995. The masters are magnitudes larger than the 720x480 @ ~10Mb/sec bitrate that DVD maxes out at.



    Even HD-DVD and Blu-ray use lossy compression with MPEG-2, VC-1 and MPEG-4 PART10 (H.264). The size is just too great to keep it uncompressed.
  • Reply 80 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    It uses the MPEG-2 which I believe was approved in 1995. The masters are magnitudes larger than the 720x480 @ ~10Mb/sec bitrate that DVD maxes out at.



    Yes, the error-free compression algorithms that make this possible are a triumph of modern mathematics. Digital broadcasting (or DVDs or Photo CDs) would be impossible without them. I know most people think they can't be error-free since they compress the signal so much more than audio compression can, but that's because pictures are two-dimensional and one line is usually much like the ones above and below it. Motion pictures could be compressed a lot more than they are if DVD players could be counted on to have a lot more memory and computational power than they do, because then they could compare a lot more frames at a time, but we work with what we have.



    The lossy compression formats that have been added on are fairly robust ("robust" meaning small errors result in small differences,) but they still cause visible artifacts even at just another 2x. Try watching a broadcast HDTV program--you'll be amazed.



    (If you think DVD-video at ~50x is lossy, that means you think JPEG photo CDs at ~33x are lossy as well, and I think we can both agree they're not.)
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