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View Full Version : New to AppleTV, home theatre setup




brayhite
Sep 3, 2010, 11:01 PM
With all the (mostly) negative and (some) positive hooplah about the new AppleTV, I'm finding myself closer and closer to preordering it. Only thing stopping me really is making sure I have a good set up and worthy equipment to take advantage of the product. With that said, I have no idea or experience with surround sound/sound bars AT ALL. While I can sit and do research all day long, after reading threads on here discussing Zone 2s, RCA/digital outputs/inputs, and receivers vs. non-receivers, I'm lost in what exactly I need to get and set up before ordering the AppleTV.

Currently, I have or can use the following media-esque/Apple things:

Samsung LCD television (with 4 HDMI inputs)
Cable box
XBox 360
2 MacBook Pros (one early 2008 version, another an early 2010)
2 iPhone 4s
Airport Extreme BS

I am really interested in getting a sound bar, as all of this is in my guestimated 12x14 concrete floor bedroom. What kind of inputs/outputs do I need to make sure come with the sound bar, and what kind of cables will I need?

Thanks to anyone who can help, and I welcome all suggestions for the sound system set up. I'm not looking to spend a lot (a lot to me is $400+).

I've found a few sound bars from Samsung and Sony for <$400 but some lack an HDMI input or no wireless subwoofer (wireless subwoofer isn't too important, but a big plus).



brayhite
Sep 8, 2010, 10:25 PM
Just figured I'd update this:

I ultimately bought this (http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/tv-video/home-theater/home-theater-systems/HW-C450/XAA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail). It's sleek looking with the setup in my room, and definitely does it's job of providing quality sound. The wireless speaker is also a plus, with it sitting across from the TV and next to the bed (this is all in the bedroom), and a deep, vibrating bass that booms from it when the volume is up.

I'm still heavily considering buying the Apple TV but the more I read the threads about how useless it is or other viable options for streaming from your laptop (which is all I'm interested in, really), the more I'm tempted to keep the $100 and spend it on something else.

gmpirate
Sep 9, 2010, 01:03 AM
I think you are over thinking this. All you need is a tv to use the AppleTV. If you have a stereo or home theatre setup -- great, it will sound better than tv speakers.

Sure, you can use a Mac mini or any other computer to accomplish mostly the same thing. AppleTV just makes the whole process very simple and uncomplicated.

brayhite
Sep 9, 2010, 07:06 AM
AppleTV just makes the whole process very simple and uncomplicated.

Right, I have just never used Plex or Boxee before and am curious if those two or better overall suited for what I want than Apple TV. Right now I'm using a program called Rivet to stream media from my MBP to my XBox 360, but it's flaky at best as I have to keep my firmware at 7.3 rather than 7.4 on my AEBS for it to work (I don't know why, they just say they can't work around the upgraded firmware) which causes my AEBS to shutdown randomly and need to be unplugged and plugged back in, usually once a day. So a new media streaming product is in my future, I just don't know what's better for streaming media from my MBP to my TV- Apple TV, Plex, or Boxee.

tbayrgs
Sep 9, 2010, 08:35 AM
What are you hoping to be able to watch via streaming? What file format? Resolution? Any internet content? A bit more background/information may result in a bit more targeted advice for you.

If you hope to do any of the following, stay away from the :apple:TV:

- watch 1080p content
- any file formats other than .m4v, .mp4, .mov
- online streaming other than Netflix
- not interact with iTunes

Otherwise, if you just want to be able to stream iTunes friendly format 720p or less, :apple:TV should be just fine.

Also, PLEX and Boxee are media center software, not hardware. You can install either/both on your MBP but you would need to connect the computer directly to your television. If you don't mind waiting awhile, some version of PLEX should starting showing up on LG blu-ray players next year and Boxee is releasing media hardware (Boxee Box, not sure when it's out).

brayhite
Sep 10, 2010, 12:26 PM
What are you hoping to be able to watch via streaming? What file format? Resolution? Any internet content? A bit more background/information may result in a bit more targeted advice for you.

If you hope to do any of the following, stay away from the :apple:TV:

- watch 1080p content
- any file formats other than .m4v, .mp4, .mov
- online streaming other than Netflix
- not interact with iTunes

Otherwise, if you just want to be able to stream iTunes friendly format 720p or less, :apple:TV should be just fine.

Also, PLEX and Boxee are media center software, not hardware. You can install either/both on your MBP but you would need to connect the computer directly to your television. If you don't mind waiting awhile, some version of PLEX should starting showing up on LG blu-ray players next year and Boxee is releasing media hardware (Boxee Box, not sure when it's out).

Well I'm also interested in what all it will achieve with the iPhone as well, streaming wise. Is is strictly going to stream music, movies, and pictures from the iPhone, or will it also stream from the YouTube app or share the screen? As far as what I want to stream from my MBP, it's mostly the music and movies. I don't plan on showing off photos in my bedroom any time soon, but lately I've been using Handbrake Nightly to convert all of my dl'd .avi files into .mp4s, then watching them via the XBox 360 using a program called Rivet that makes the MPB appear as a Windows-based computer to the XBox, but as I said, it's really flaky as it requires a firmware downgrade on the AEBS.

So in reality, I'd really just be paying $99 for convenience, unless there are more things, either upon release or potentially, that the Apple TV can be used for, whether it's streaming from other devices, screen sharing from devices, accessing other online/cloud content, etc.

I don't have a real interest in .mkv files or 1080p viewing. Just a reliable and consistent connection from my iDevices and MBP to the TV, wirelessly, while watching my .mp4 movies and listening to music from iTunes.

Also, if I want to watch movies, must they all be in iTunes? Or can I plug in, say, my external HD to a USB port (if there is one) to watch movies saved onto that through the Apple TV? I've read that the USB port would be used for diagnostics and repairs only, but it could be hacked potentially for HD reading?

quicksilver77
Sep 10, 2010, 12:32 PM
Read the threads on here and through google for hacking the 1st generation Apple TV. From your media needs it sounds like the exact product you need. If you are converting your avi's to mp4 then you may not even need to hack the old apple tv.