PDA

View Full Version : ATV Gen1 Software VS Gen2/3




MagnusVonMagnum
Mar 31, 2012, 08:43 PM
I've got two AppleTV Generation 1 units in my house and one AppleTV 2nd generation unit which I've had for over a year, but just now plugged in for the first time in a new room setup. I didn't use it right away due to the need for tethered jailbreaks at the time I got it to use XBMC, etc. I still need to get a micro-usb cable, but I decided to try it out now anyway.

I tried the default software (not sure what firmware it was offhand, but clearly the old style interface) and then upgraded to the new 5.0 software.

Obviously, some things are much better (Netflix, ability to decode most HD content with total aplomb where I had to keep it at 3.x with relatively low bit-rates with Gen1), but other things I think are definitely a step down. Some of this is due to the lack of on-board storage, but other things are just bad changes, IMO.

I won't comment about the differences between V5 and earlier main interfaces since most of my issues that really bug me aren't with the main screen, although I do wish they used a brighter outline color for which icon is selected. At a glance, it's hard to spot the relatively dark blue outline. Why not use a BRIGHT halo effect or something? :confused:

Gen2/3 ATV Cons:

* Hardware-wise, the lack of an analog output for audio sucks. One of my rooms (currently using a Gen1 ATV) has a very nice analog audio rig and I'd have to get an outboard Digital To Analog decoder box to use it there. Why they couldn't include a little mini-jack is beyond me. It would have raised the cost 50 cents.

* I cannot get AppleTV Gen2 to pass a DTS Audio CD Signal, even in forced 16-bit output mode. This worked automatically in Gen1 ATV. I don't know offhand if XBMC can do it or not. The last time I looked into there was some question about the hardware driver's ability to pass a signal unmodified.

* I have to go to the Computers sub-menu in Gen2 to get to my collection which is then in another set of menus. It is in the main movies menu on Gen1, which saves me a couple of clicks. Similarly, I preferred the "device" setup in iTunes over forced home-sharing (which you have to register and you have to wonder if they're monitoring everything you do since it requires an iTunes login to use it).

* Photo Albums take FOREVER to load up by comparison (I have over 6000 photos organized by folder/name). This is largely due to the lack of local storage (Gen1 stores all the photos on the local hard drive so they come up almost instantly). I have to wait like a full minute just to see my folders/albums and THEN it still is loading the previews up much slower than Gen1 AppleTV. XBMC on Gen1 streams photos, but I think it must store a large buffer locally on the hard drive as well since although it's not as fast as the AppleTV interface on Gen1, it's still about 10x faster than Gen2 AppleTV.

* Movies are no longer 'stacked' by SHOW into sub-folders. For example, all my Star Wars movies appear under "Star Wars" in Gen1 whereas as in Gen2 it just lists them all one at a time, making the movie list a LOT longer than it needs to be. Because movies don't stack in sub-folders, the nice round-robin 3D effect is no longer present for series like Star Wars and so it just doesn't look as cool there.

Similarly, TVShows list all seasons as separate entries instead of putting them in a sub-folder list, making the list "by show" NEEDLESSLY LONG (some shows can have over 10 seasons!) The iCloud ones could just press left/right for season changes. WTF don't they do that for the iTunes served ones??? Similarly, the NetFlix interface makes you change season through a menu and it's just bad ergonomics, IMO. They clearly saw a better way to do it in both Gen1 and especially the iCloud TVShow listing for Gen2/3, so why is it so inconsistent (and annoying)?

* iCloud is nice for movies that were purchased from iTunes since you don't need a server on to watch them. The down side is that if you only bought or could only buy an SD version, you can't even get a RENT option for the HD version if you're willing to pay to watch it in HD. It simply isn't available and forces you to watch the SD version.

Pros for Gen2/3 Interface:

* Movies have more information like rotten tomatoes and user reviews you can read from within the interface (something they never bothered to add to Gen1).

* Menu response time to change subtitles or audio (holding in the select button) is much better.

* I like the dedicated play/pause button on the new remote. It really helps when you're outside the 'now playing' screen (although you could pair a secondary remote with Gen1 that had extra buttons).

* Netflix player is nice if you have Netflix (their HD content looked pretty decent, but too few movies have DD 5.1 sound which is horrific in 2012 considering I had DTS/DD clear back before DVDs even existed! (On Laserdisc!)

* The ability to get more apps is nice, but they need some more (Hulu would be nice, for example and for goodness sake WTF don't they have a Weather App built-in to this thing or a clock even? Apparently 'genius' at Apple means "lacking common sense". :rolleyes:


Overall, many differences in the interface aren't that huge a deal, but a few things are definitely a step back in the wrong direction (like lack of show or season stacking). And there's no excuse for the lack of an analog output on this thing for older stereos. Bluetooth for wireless headsets wouldn't be a bad idea either. Maybe AirPlay should work in BOTH DIRECTIONS? Stream the audio to your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch in your pocket that has a nice set of headphones attached to it so you can listen to your movie in privacy (don't disturb someone sleeping, etc.)?



HobeSoundDarryl
Apr 1, 2012, 08:39 AM
That's quite a good summary. I liked the final incarnation of the first gen :apple:TVs UI myself. I think it was the best one to date. To me, it makes much more sense for our own media to be inserted as "My Movies" under movies, etc, rather than put all of our stuff in "Computers". While I love the new 1080p capabilities in the hardware of gen 3, it would be great (IMO) if that last incarnation of the gen 1 UI could be installed on this new hardware.

A few things for your list consideration:

before some apologist jumps on your "old analog stereos" references, another BIG reason for mini stereo (analog) out is all of the "zone 2" receivers that need analog stereo for their zone 2 to work. Thus, it's not just old stereos but also latest & greatest receivers that need an analog signal for certain functionality.
I can see great benefit to offering some kind of app icon manager either on the device or via iTunes. This would make it so you could put the app icons in whatever order you want and/or hide/delete those you don't want to show.
I still think Apple should normalize the USB port so that those wanting the local storage option could hook up whatever size local storage they desire. That way those completely happy to stream (or fully bought into "iCloud everything") wouldn't have anything forced on them while giving those of us that desire gen1-like local storage a way to resurrect that nice feature.
Alternatively, Apple could embrace local cloud storage such as storing :apple:TV media on a hard drive attached to AEBS or Time Capsule, etc.
I think Apple needs to get on with embracing the newer (higher quality) video audio standards commonplace on BD. Dolby Digital was "new" in about 1991. Audio has significantly evolved since then.
Apple should embrace 24fps and 60fps playback options to go along with 30fps. 24p is native for most films (need I say more?). 1080p 60fps is already commonly available on better (but still consumer-priced) HD camcorders and it does yield "buttery smooth" playback on devices that can play it. Apple offers the tools to import, edit and render 60fps, iTunes stores and plays it just fine, many modern HDTVs can display it just fine, so it's just this one link in the chain that needs yet another upgrade.
Dedicated app store (so that third parties can make this little box do all the wonderful things we can imagine, but can't get prioritized for this "hobby"). I'd love to see that third party innovation unleashed without having to go down a jailbreaking route.


Personally, I hopped straight from gen1 to gen3 and love the much more robust hardware- especially the 1080p capabilities. But there are many ways to make this little box even better and the above + original list seems to hit on those I notice.

marzer
Apr 1, 2012, 11:38 AM
What i miss most from the ATV1 was the ability to select one or more airtune devices (4 ATV's & 1 AE) right from the menu. It permitted me to route music to one or more "zones" throughout the house without going to the computer. That's one feature I wish they'd bring back.

MagnusVonMagnum
Apr 1, 2012, 03:41 PM
before some apologist jumps on your "old analog stereos" references, another BIG reason for mini stereo (analog) out is all of the "zone 2" receivers that need analog stereo for their zone 2 to work. Thus, it's not just old stereos but also latest & greatest receivers that need an analog signal for certain functionality.


For that matter, more esoteric high-end equipment is still analog for the purist qualities along with things like tube amps. For example, I bought a separates system with a Carver Sonic Holography pre-amp (doesn't even have a radio on it, but does have dual-zone) with a custom active crossover for my Carver ribbons speakers driving two power amps (350 watts for the bass driver and 150 in a sliding class A/AB for the ribbons) in a bi-amp configuration. I got this back in the mid '90s. It still sounds phenomenal (Genesis used the same ribbons licensed from Carver in their Genesis II speakers for $50k a pair so I figured the drivers must be ok in those circles). But you don't just slap a center channel speaker and surrounds into this system and expect them to match. So I use them in my upstairs living room (heck most guests think they're some kind of totem artwork; they have no idea they are speakers since they are 6 foot tall oak "wings" and while they're tall, they only take up 14 sq inches of space (small footprint). The 10" sub drivers go 25Hz-200Hz and the ribbons do 200Hz-20kHz. The thin but tall drivers mean the length of the driver cancels out ceiling floor reflections, but the thin width ensures pin-point stereo imaging. They're also dipoles (radiate out the back as well as the front) so they sit 3.5 ft from the wall. This makes the stereo image truly sound 3-dimensional (i.e. if I close my eyes, a good vocal will sound like they're really there in front of me, not just an image of someone).

Downstairs I have a home theater setup with 6.1 surround (matching 3 front speakers and rear speaker with bipolar wired off-axis surrounds that have matching drivers) to the sides of the main couch. I use a Panasonic LCD Projector and a 93" screen with the main couch at 9 feet and secondary recliners behind that. But even here it's nice, like you say, to be able to control the sound around the house if I'm using whole house mode since I'm on a different floor. Unfortunately, my receiver is component switching only (the HDMI version was $400 more at the time and that was the ONLY different feature and it only supported 3 inputs) and so ATV1 works fine here since it has component output. I use the optical audio out for the receiver. To use the ATV2 or ATV3, I'd have to either run a single HDMI cable to the projector for just that device or buy a new receiver (or a 3rd option would be just an HDMI switch), so I haven't been in a hurry to switch over. Slow photo loading and lack of DTS CD audio pass-through is also a negative here since I show a lot of slide shows to guests and who wants to load DTS CDs when I have everything on the server upstairs?

I still think Apple should normalize the USB port so that those wanting the local storage option could hook up whatever size local storage they desire. That way those completely happy to stream (or fully bought into "iCloud everything") wouldn't have anything forced on them while giving those of us that desire gen1-like local storage a way to resurrect that nice feature.


I agree, but I also think they should let people download Plex and XBMC as Apps. I think even if/when they do have an App store for AppleTV, they might not allow them since they'll say they "compete" with AppleTV's own interface (same reason they didn't want Firefox on the iPad). That kind of crap irks me. It's my device and I should be able to set it up the way that most benefits me. Otherwise, what's the point?


Alternatively, Apple could embrace local cloud storage such as storing :apple:TV media on a hard drive attached to AEBS or Time Capsule, etc.


I remember reading some comment by the guy who made the "Remote" app for the iOS devices saying he agreed they should have SMB and NAS support, but he couldn't see Apple allowing it any time soon. Well that was how many years ago? Like you say, they don't even have a Time Capsule option and it's a NATURAL for it. I honestly think some people at Apple are completely clueless about how to best utilize this device because it could be SO much better.


I think Apple needs to get on with embracing the newer (higher quality) video audio standards commonplace on BD. Dolby Digital was "new" in about 1991. Audio has significantly evolved since then.

Apple should embrace 24fps and 60fps playback options to go along with 30fps. 24p is native for most films (need I say more?). 1080p 60fps is already commonly available on better (but still consumer-priced) HD camcorders and it does yield "buttery smooth" playback on devices that can play it. Apple offers the tools to import, edit and render 60fps, iTunes stores and plays it just fine, many modern HDTVs can display it just fine, so it's just this one link in the chain that needs yet another upgrade.


I wasn't even aware ATV3 couldn't handle 24fps. What is it doing with such material? Adding filler frames to pad it to 30?

I'm not entirely sold on the idea of BD audio formats on a streaming device (sucks up a heck of a lot of bandwidth for little benefit, IMO), BUT why haven't they added support for DTS and DTS-ES? Those don't take up much space and the ES version is true 6.1 discrete surround. They DO work on my hacked AppleTV Gen1 with XBMC so it's obviously something that would have been easy for them to add. I think they don't add it because they don't want to increase their file sizes for "alternative" audio and they don't really want you adding your own encoded movies to iTunes/AppleTV. They want you to BUY them from iTunes so their motives are pretty darn obvious, IMO. But it sucks for the consumer.

HobeSoundDarryl
Apr 1, 2012, 04:21 PM
I wasn't even aware ATV3 couldn't handle 24fps. What is it doing with such material? Adding filler frames to pad it to 30?

Yes. It's 30fps no matter what you feed it. And I've tested 60fps home movies just in case but it couldn't deal with them (I was hoping for a nice surprise or at least a dynamic downgrade from 60fps to 30fps so I could store just one master). So now I save them (60fps) as masters and re-render them down to 30fps (for now).

And (before someone posts that "no one can see the difference") yes, we can see the difference on our HDTV when comparing the two. (Relatively cheap) Consumer camcorders can shoot 1080p 60fps. Apple software can process it at 60fps. iTunes can store it and play it back at 60fps. HDTVs can handle 60fps. Once again, this little box is the weak link in the almost entirely Apple chain. Maybe the next upgrade will go fully toe-to-toe with other consumer hardware. I hear the next Avatar movies will be shot in 60fps.

kiranmk2
Apr 1, 2012, 05:31 PM
It does seem a bit strange that they haven't implemented a 3.5 mm dual analogue/optical jack as on the Macs/AE One of my friends has an ATV plugged into their house-wide sound system and has to maintain an old Minidisc deck just to act as a D-to-A converter!

The menus don't make a lot of sense - I can see why Apple have moved 'my media" away from the the main menus, but it's still a bit annoying. The TV season nesting would be nice, but my main wish would be for DTS support. I've got all my DVDs ripped into m4v format with AAC, AC3, DTS and commentary tracks. The files play fine, but of course nothing Apple-based recognises the DTS tracks (in fact, the only thing I found that does play it is mPlayer). As far as I know it just requires a playback engine upgrade as even DTS-MA is in the mp4 spec.

NightStorm
Apr 1, 2012, 05:43 PM
Biggest feature (IMO) missing in the iOS-based AppleTV OS is iTunes Extras support. While I wouldn't call the experience anywhere close to perfect on the v1, it gave us the ability to mimic the DVD experience and could have led to a new online community of people creating content "shells" for their favorite movies and music. While this feature is still highlighted by Apple in the iTunes Store, I've heard nothing about it making its way to iOS in the near future.

MagnusVonMagnum
Apr 3, 2012, 12:12 PM
The menus don't make a lot of sense - I can see why Apple have moved 'my media" away from the the main menus, but it's still a bit annoying. The TV season nesting would be nice, but my main wish would be for DTS support. I've got all my DVDs ripped into m4v format with AAC, AC3, DTS and commentary tracks. The files play fine, but of course nothing Apple-based recognises the DTS tracks (in fact, the only thing I found that does play it is mPlayer). As far as I know it just requires a playback engine upgrade as even DTS-MA is in the mp4 spec.

I wasn't aware there was a way to encode DTS into MP4. I thought Apple controlled this specification and thus far hadn't added a way to encapsulate it. Is this unofficial or is MP4 containers separate from ID-tagged M4V version Apple is using?

I'd love to have DTS at least encoded into the same files as versions of Jurassic Park, Men In Black, etc. but had to make MKV versions to do that and they only play in XBMC on AppleTV. Does your MP4 versions DTS tracks work in XBMC?

Biggest feature (IMO) missing in the iOS-based AppleTV OS is iTunes Extras support. While I wouldn't call the experience anywhere close to perfect on the v1, it gave us the ability to mimic the DVD experience and could have led to a new online community of people creating content "shells" for their favorite movies and music. While this feature is still highlighted by Apple in the iTunes Store, I've heard nothing about it making its way to iOS in the near future.

Yeah, I thought Apple had said that support was forthcoming? I don't see what would hold them up from adding it, really. But then I never understood why my iPod Touch can display lyrics embedded into the file inside iTunes but AppleTV doesn't support displaying them. They could easily show them on the screen over top of or instead of the "flipping artwork" thing. But then they never offered any better visualizations either. Even ATV2/3 doesn't support the visualizations that iTunes itself offers. How many photos can you stand to watch while listening to music? Sometimes, I want a light show and that means having to load XBMC to do it. And yes, they work fine even on ATV Gen1.

dynaflash
Apr 3, 2012, 12:24 PM
I am sure they will never do it, but since running linux / xbmc on my atv1's I have used the usb port more. Works great for storage as well will run a usb optical drive, so you can have a dvd player for instance hooked right up through your atv and xbmc works great at controlling it. Nice if you are limited on hdmi ports on your tv as you don't need to eat up two of them for both an atv and a dvd. Plus one interface controls both. Its pretty slick.

NightStorm
Apr 3, 2012, 12:25 PM
Yeah, I thought Apple had said that support was forthcoming? I don't see what would hold them up from adding it, really. But then I never understood why my iPod Touch can display lyrics embedded into the file inside iTunes but AppleTV doesn't support displaying them. They could easily show them on the screen over top of or instead of the "flipping artwork" thing. But then they never offered any better visualizations either. Even ATV2/3 doesn't support the visualizations that iTunes itself offers. How many photos can you stand to watch while listening to music? Sometimes, I want a light show and that means having to load XBMC to do it. And yes, they work fine even on ATV Gen1.
I think there was an email reportedly from Tim Cook saying something along the lines that iTunes Extras support would be coming, but I really don't give those emails replies much weight.

dynaflash
Apr 3, 2012, 12:28 PM
I wasn't aware there was a way to encode DTS into MP4.

HandBrake 0.9.6 will passthru dts into a mp4.
https://trac.handbrake.fr/milestone/HandBrake%200.9.6
Under "Audio Passhthru".

steve-p
Apr 3, 2012, 12:43 PM
The inbuilt DAC on ATV1 was distinctly average though, not much better than the low budget one in the portable devices. I always used an external DAC with mine anyway. I accept that for some people the low fi analogue output was better than nothing, but if you were intending to drive any half decent audio system from it with lossless audio, it wasn't really up to scratch. What's more annoying for me with ATV2/3 is that all audio including lossless gets transcoded from 44.1KHz to 48KHz in real time when you play it, because the audio output is fixed at 48KHz. Therefore bit perfect into the DAC is no longer possible.

dynaflash
Apr 3, 2012, 12:55 PM
Does your MP4 versions DTS tracks work in XBMC?

No, I just tested a sample on both my mac and linux xbmc atv running Eden. No sound comes forth.

As far as official, apple doesn't control the mp4 spec. anything can be added to an mp4 via "private tracks" (this is in fact how apple shoehorned AC3 into an mp4 before it was officially made part of the spec). However whether or not there is a playback device to support a non spec private track is another question. Back when they did it for AC3 in mp4 they had already enabled it via the take 2 software update to the atv 1. So while it wasn't officially part of the spec, it didn't matter as there was a device / platform that could play it. At the time the only device was the atv 1 .

MagnusVonMagnum
Apr 3, 2012, 10:33 PM
The inbuilt DAC on ATV1 was distinctly average though, not much better than the low budget one in the portable devices. I always used an external DAC with mine anyway. I accept that for some people the low fi analogue output was better than nothing, but if you were intending to drive any half decent audio system from it with lossless audio, it wasn't really up to scratch.

Sorry, I never bought into that sort of thing. As an electronic engineer, I'm skeptical to begin with about such things and I've never ONCE seen ANYONE and I mean ANYONE prove with a DBX box they could hear the difference between a $5 DAC and a $3000 one. I've seen lots of claims (particularly from those hacks at Stereophile that would sell their soul to make a buck from the advertisers that drive that BS), but never any proof. I myself have conducted numerous tests with various D/A converters over the years and I could never tell any difference at all. Besides, even the 'average' DACs in 2012 have (inaudible) numbers better than the expensive ones from the '90s.

The reason is simple. The biggest difference between the worst and best D/A converters out there more or less amounts to around 0.1dB. The human ear can barely tell a 1dB difference across much of the spectrum, let alone 1/10 that and even if it could, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans in terms of frequency response. Your typical speakers, meanwhile (even many of the high-end ones) have frequency response aberrations on the order of +/-3dB with some managing +/-2dB and a very few +/-1dB. Those numbers SWAMP the DAC numbers by an order of magnitude or more and thus render them irrelevant. I have PSB monitors that are rated +/-1dB in my home theater, but even that doesn't account for room response variations (which can make a +/- 1dB anechoic response into +/- 6dB REAL QUICK. Short of digital room correction, getting anything better than +/-3 3dB in a real room is pretty difficult. I get perhaps +/- 5dB upstairs and +/- 3dB downstairs. Frequency response isn't all there is to the signal, but in all cases, the speaker and room swamp the figures once you have enough clean power to achieve the levels you want.

In short, money is MUCH better spent on good quality speakers and room treatments than DACs. Even so, Stereophile actually gave the lowly Airport Express a pretty good review for its output quality, especially in terms of low jitter.

And yes, I did try an outboard DAC (courtesy of an outboard DD/DTS decoder I bought for the Carver ribbons speaker system for home theater before I bought the dedicated room) with AppleTV and an Airport Express. The difference was inaudible. Worse yet, the outboard DAC had trouble locking-on to the signal fast enough (neither device provides a constant output signal; they turn off when there's nothing playing and so the DAC loses its lock). Thus, I would typically miss the first second or two of audio for songs and that was unacceptable.

It's true that cheap (underpowered) op-amps in many pieces of equipment can screw up headphone response and playback ability, but line-level output doesn't generally have that problem since it needs a fraction of the output.

Of course, many people out there disagree with me and are perfectly happy to spend thousands on an outboard DAC to get 0.05dB differences in response. I see it as a placebo, but whatever makes people happy. ;)


What's more annoying for me with ATV2/3 is that all audio including lossless gets transcoded from 44.1KHz to 48KHz in real time when you play it, because the audio output is fixed at 48KHz. Therefore bit perfect into the DAC is no longer possible.

Upsampling shouldn't hurt most music (heck, oversampling is based on a similar process to prevent the need for brick-wall filtering), but it does kill encoded signals like DTS. I keep trying to find out whether the upsampling used in the newer Apple TVs is hardware limitation or a software or driver one and whether XBMC could overcome it. I've never gotten a response on the XBMC forums from anyone about it yet. It only really creates a problem with DTS Music CDs since they are at 44.1kHz. Movies are already at 48kHz so they pass through just fine. I suppose one could extract the channels from a DTS Music CD to analog 5.1 and then re-encode the analog signals to DTS 48kHz or even Dolby Digital.

It'd be nice if Handbrake could set up a slideshow or something to display with an imported audio track like that and you could then be guaranteed it'd play back properly and more importantly without the audible gaps you get between tracks with DTS Music CDs even on Apple TV 1. This makes playing back something like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon irritating as all heck when it switches tracks as you get a moment of silence where it should be seamless. I still have to insert actual discs to play DVD-Audio or SACD regardless for that reason. Frankly, as good as they sound, they're unnecessary overkill. You can't hear higher sampling frequencies and there's very little musical content above 20kHz anyway. Anything above 18-bits is inaudible and most recordings don't have 16-bits of dynamic range, let alone 24-bit and even if they did, you'd kill your hearing playing them back loud enough to hear those differences. I mean the only things making 120dB of noise are things like aircraft engines and Ted Nugent concerts. :D

But that doesn't stop people from THINKING that more bits and higher sampling frequencies will make everything sound better. It's just so much marketing BS. On the recording end, 24-bits is very useful for headroom during live recordings so you don't clip. (i.e. I write songs and do my own recording with Logic Pro in my home studio).

steve-p
Apr 4, 2012, 05:14 AM
I don't want to fuel that debate and I agree with much of what you say. There is an awful lot of snobbery and self justification in the audiophile world. I'm going to rephrase my comment. The analogue output of ATV1 was not very good. I would describe it as bright and somewhat harsh at higher frequencies. Using an inexpensive third hand external DAC with it made a difference to how natural music sounded which even my girlfriend who couldn't really care less was able to spot on a blind test. In fact, it returned the sound quality to what the original CDs sounded like on my 17 year old mid-range CD player. Using the same external DAC with the CD player made no discernible difference.

I certainly don't believe you need to spend much at all to improve on the analogue output of ATV1, and nowadays nothing at all because even the onboard DAC built into the cheapest AVR would likely give better results compared to the analogue output. That justifies the exclusion of analogue outputs in my opinion. The majority of Apple TV buyers will either be connecting directly to the TV with HDMI, or using an AVR. Most will not be using zone 2 on their AVRs. Perhaps it won't be too long before AVRs which can cope with a digital zone 2 signal emerge in any case.

There's a difference between upsampling and oversampling as I'm sure you know. My concern is that while there may be little discernible difference in upsampling to 48KHz even though every sample is interpolated and not original, it seems counterintuitive to provide Apple Lossless audio at 44.1KHz and then not provide any way of playing it in original form on ATV. I'm fairly certain it's a software decision, not a hardware one, but who knows.

MagnusVonMagnum
Apr 4, 2012, 06:22 PM
I'll just say that when I did try an external DAC, I compared my old CD player with its own output, the DAC and AppleTV's own analogue output and I couldn't tell the difference here. It's what convinced me I didn't need to bother to look for a DAC that could lock onto the signal faster.

In fact, I even compared Apple Lossless to 256kbps AAC and couldn't hear the difference and due to the fact that iTunes will not let you organize by device, I ended up relegating the Lossless rips to their own library and moved the primary one all to AAC (save DTS which needs lossless and MP3 which I leave alone). This enables me to use one library for home and mobile. I know I could never convince Apple to accommodate high-end desires anyway. Thankfully, 256kbps seems transparent to my ears.

But hell, who knows. I'm a few years from 40 now. My ears aren't what they used to be when I first got into high-end audio at around age 20. Man, I feel old all the sudden. :eek:

Regardless, most outboard DACs are either cheap and dirty these days ($48 specials) or priced well out of the range I want to pay just to be able to get sound on my older system. I've probably got a solution, though. To use the newer ATV3 and/or a typical BD/PS3 kind of thing, I really need HDMI switching (otherwise I'm stuck with just one source) and I'm thinking of replacing my 720p projector with a 3D 1080p one in the near future, which means I'm going to want 3D Blu-Ray for some of my material.

I'm thinking of getting a newer receiver (with all the BD formats built-in, etc. as well) and putting the old one upstairs to replace the 120 watt Yamaha Amp that powers my ribbons on the bi-amp setup. The built-in power is similar and the unit takes up about the same amount of rack space as that big honking amp. I could then use its digital inputs for the newer ATV upstairs while simultaneously getting support for Blu-Ray audio and 3D video switching downstairs. The upstairs plasma is only 720p as well since it's too far away to see 1080p resolution from the listening chairs so the older ATV2 would work well there.

I may just get a CrystalHD card (and put in a larger hard drive while I'm at it) for the downstairs AppleTV rather than get the ATV3 due to the DTS and bit-perfect issues it has that will probably never go away. The only thing on that model I wouldn't mind having is the Netflix support for tv show access, but then most BD players have Netflix on them these days anyway.

MagnusVonMagnum
Apr 4, 2012, 10:58 PM
I finally got my 4th Gen iPod Touch upgraded to iOS 5.1 from 4.x. and other than the disappointing missing WiFi sync due to me still using my iTunes server on a Leopard powered PPC PowerMac, the AirPlay feature is pretty darn slick indeed. I can play audio to my Airport Express units while video plays on the iPod Touch or I can play the whole thing to my AppleTV Gen2 box. But while Airport Express has Airplay support, my two Gen1 AppleTV boxes were missing from the list. What a load of crap. They could have at least offered streaming audio like the Airport Express. Similarly, you cannot control the newer AppleTV 2/3 from AppleTV 1's streaming speaker list.

However, I found an app solution called RemoteHD whereby a plugin is installed on the hacked AppleTV Gen1 boxes and then activated via an iOS App of the same name. It wasn't cheap as far as iOS apps go at $8, but I think it was worth it to get AirPlay working on the older AppleTVs. I can verify it worked for audio only, audio/video and photos on both of my boxes. The RemoteHD app even works on my old Gen1 iPod Touch (albeit as control only since iOS 3.x doesn't support AirPlay of any kind).

I saw a lot of complaints that the RemoteHD app itself sucked with bugs and unsmooth trackpad action, etc., but my testing so far has been pretty positive. The app not only can control AppleTV, but it can display the video screen output (at a slower rate, but it's enough to control it without being near the screen) right on the iOS device. It also works with XBMC on AppleTV (Apple's own Remote is useless for that) and the trackpad can even act like a mouse on it and seemed smooth to me in that mode. You have keyboard input for both XBMC and AppleTV. It's pretty slick, IMO. I haven't installed the remote helper back-end on my Mac yet, but that will supposedly allow remote control and display from there as well and possibly over the Internet as well (one review customer complained about it missing that feature, but that was perhaps for a much older version as it clearly says "internet computers" under the connection settings.

Overall, at least this brings the 1st Gen AppleTV one step closer to the AppleTV2/3 while retaining the positive ones that were lost as discussed above. :)

dynaflash
Apr 5, 2012, 09:46 AM
xbmc 11.0 eden has airplay and airtunes on the atv 1 even running linux. works great from my iPod 2 G as well as my mbp via itunes. stream video and audio just like a current atv. No mirroring as it were but the rest works fine. Use it all of the time to two atv 1's running linux xbmc with chd cards.

dynaflash
Apr 5, 2012, 10:01 AM
Does your MP4 versions DTS tracks work in XBMC?

Waddya know, as of this XBMC commit https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/commit/28b186fd4621c0485608657892b7a3abcfe566ff XBMC does playback DTS in a MP4 :)

Sent them a sample and a dev tested it and it works. Once the Master repo stabilizes and the nightlies commence. DTS in mp4 goodness for xbmc for anyone that wants it.