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View Full Version : Thinking about the new apple tv but first I have a few questions




thetruth1985
Sep 17, 2010, 10:14 AM
I have been thinking about getting the new apple tv but I have a couple questions about it. First, I wanted to know if the apple tv can stream audio with dolby 5.1 sound. I have recently started ripping my dvds via handbrake and I rip them with 5.1 and stereo sound. I keep the stereo sound so I can play them on the ipad and I keep the 5.1 for the ps3. Right now, these play in itunes and on the ps3 but I need to know if it will play in 5.1 if I stream with the new apple tv.

I also would like to know how the interface compares with that of the ps3. The ps3 interface gets the job done but it only shows a thumbnail and the video title. I was hoping that the apple tv would show info that I put in the video such as a description and cover art.

Lastly, I would like to know if the apple tv is wife/company friendly where they can just pick up the remote and easily start streaming a video. I know this sounds kind of stupid but I hate having to explain how to use the ps3 remote and where to go to see a video. Thanks to anyone who can help!



DJinTX
Sep 17, 2010, 10:31 AM
Audio formats supported

* HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through

As for company/family friendly...

Since your cable and other video sources will be on a seperate HDMI port, then to go from regular TV to viewing AppleTV content, someone will have to switch the A/V sources. If you have a universal remote then you can likely program it do switch to the correct inputs.

Once the A/V sources are set to view AppleTV on screen, then you can go two routes. Someone can immediately be surfing through the iTunes store and not need any real help with this. Or, if they want to start streaming from one of your Macs, then any computer you want them to be able to access will already have to be awake and running iTunes for it to be able to access it.

So the ease of this situation would really depend on you. If a computer is already up and running iTunes, then it will be seamless. If it is not, then someone will have to wake it and launch iTunes.

As for the interface questions...

From my limited experience using my friend's ATV, when a movie is playing, the info screen can be brought up to show the title info. And when navigating through various movies the title info should also appear. On the old interface, when the title is too long to fit on screen, it will abbreviate it, and then will start to scroll through the entire title. Music is pretty much the same but for music you would see the song, album, artist, and cover art.

That is my understanding of the current (old) ATV. Anything is subject to change with the new one. We'll just have to wait and see.

Cliff3
Sep 17, 2010, 11:07 AM
I have been thinking about getting the new apple tv but I have a couple questions about it. First, I wanted to know if the apple tv can stream audio with dolby 5.1 sound. I have recently started ripping my dvds via handbrake and I rip them with 5.1 and stereo sound. I keep the stereo sound so I can play them on the ipad and I keep the 5.1 for the ps3. Right now, these play in itunes and on the ps3 but I need to know if it will play in 5.1 if I stream with the new apple tv.

I also would like to know how the interface compares with that of the ps3. The ps3 interface gets the job done but it only shows a thumbnail and the video title. I was hoping that the apple tv would show info that I put in the video such as a description and cover art.

Lastly, I would like to know if the apple tv is wife/company friendly where they can just pick up the remote and easily start streaming a video. I know this sounds kind of stupid but I hate having to explain how to use the ps3 remote and where to go to see a video. Thanks to anyone who can help!

It plays 5.1 sound.

Buy a Harmony remote. Your wife will love you. You will love you. Heck, your dog will love you even more. Harmony remotes rock. Activity based functionality - press the button you programmed to watch your Apple TV and it will turn on whatever you need, change the necessary settings, and you're watching your Apple TV. I have two of them and they're absolutely brilliant.

DJinTX
Sep 17, 2010, 11:25 AM
Buy a Harmony remote. Your wife will love you. You will love you. Heck, your dog will love you even more. Harmony remotes rock. Activity based functionality - press the button you programmed to watch your Apple TV and it will turn on whatever you need, change the necessary settings, and you're watching your Apple TV. I have two of them and they're absolutely brilliant.


Hey Cliff,

I am curious about your harmony. We bought my father-in-law the harmony 550 about a year ago ($50 model) and it is nice. I love how you connect it to the computer to program it. Very slick. The only issue is that about 40% of the time when he presses an activitiy, it will not power on or switch settings to at least one of his components, but not the same one each time. he has a receiver, DVD player, and TiVo hooked to his panasonic plasma. In any case, if you then press "help" on the remote, it will make everything right and ask "Did that just fix the issue?" or something like that. And yes it does fix the issue, but he is having to press help alot.

I have used it as well, and same thing, so it's not a user error. I make a conscious effort to hold the remote pointed correctly and that no IR sensors are blocked, but it still happens alot. Is this normal with harmony, or do you think he either has a bad remote, or the less expensive models aren't as reliable?

Cliff3
Sep 17, 2010, 11:40 AM
Hey Cliff,

I am curious about your harmony. We bought my father-in-law the harmony 550 about a year ago ($50 model) and it is nice. I love how you connect it to the computer to program it. Very slick. The only issue is that about 40% of the time when he presses an activitiy, it will not power on or switch settings to at least one of his components, but not the same one each time. he has a receiver, DVD player, and TiVo hooked to his panasonic plasma. In any case, if you then press "help" on the remote, it will make everything right and ask "Did that just fix the issue?" or something like that. And yes it does fix the issue, but he is having to press help alot.

I have used it as well, and same thing, so it's not a user error. I make a conscious effort to hold the remote pointed correctly and that no IR sensors are blocked, but it still happens alot. Is this normal with harmony, or do you think he either has a bad remote, or the less expensive models aren't as reliable?

I would double check the programming. It can take some tweaking to make it work right. Sometimes they are sensitive to the order in which tasks are performed. I don't recall if that was a problem limited to my older 880 device or if the Harmony One I bought to replace it (dead battery and common with the older devices) displayed similar problems. I think the problem was limited to the older remote. I recently bought a 650 when I acquired a used Apple TV for my MBR and it is working fine.

thetruth1985
Sep 17, 2010, 02:46 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I actually bought a harmony 360 remote a few years ago but some of the buttons on it have stopped working. While it did work, it was annoying to use sometimes since it would not always turn on all the sources and I also hated how the buttons felt on it. I wonder if the new harmony remotes are any different.

Right now, I have cancelled cable and use my 60gb ps3 as my sole source of living room entertainment. The main reason I was thinking about getting the new Atv is for the ease of use and hopefully a friendly user interface. Right now, I can stream movies and stream netflix on the ps3. It just sucks on the ps3 that I need to have the netflix disk in there every time to stream though. I will wait until the ATV arrives in stores so I can watch some videos on youtube of the interface. If it's as good as the netflix interface on the xbox 360, they I should be sold!

OptyCT
Sep 17, 2010, 03:03 PM
My recommendation would be to watch the Keynote on Apple.com (if you haven't already). My experience with the new AppleTV is limited to the Steve Jobs demo, but I can assure you that the Netflix UI will be much better on the new ATV than it is currently on the Xbox 360. I have around 100 movies in my Netflix "Instant" queue. The thing that bothers me about Netflix on my 360 is the need to scroll through dozens of movies if I want to watch one toward the end of my queue. I know I can rearrange my queue online, but sometimes I forget to do it. The AppleTV UI looks like it gives you the option to sort multiple ways, kind of like album sorting on iTunes. You can view dozens of titles on one screen at the same time or scroll through one at a time (similar to CoverFlow).

DJinTX
Sep 17, 2010, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I actually bought a harmony 360 remote a few years ago but some of the buttons on it have stopped working. While it did work, it was annoying to use sometimes since it would not always turn on all the sources and I also hated how the buttons felt on it. I wonder if the new harmony remotes are any different.

Right now, I have cancelled cable and use my 60gb ps3 as my sole source of living room entertainment. The main reason I was thinking about getting the new Atv is for the ease of use and hopefully a friendly user interface. Right now, I can stream movies and stream netflix on the ps3. It just sucks on the ps3 that I need to have the netflix disk in there every time to stream though. I will wait until the ATV arrives in stores so I can watch some videos on youtube of the interface. If it's as good as the netflix interface on the xbox 360, they I should be sold!

The Xbox 360 version is pretty good, but needs some polish. It definitely doesn't blow me away or anything. I do anticipate Apple kicking it up a notch though. :)