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MacBytes
Oct 18, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Category: Apple Hardware
Link: Apple's Media Center PC End Around (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20051018110431)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

G5Unit
Oct 18, 2005, 10:17 AM
Won't open but I hope they integrate it into older PM's.

nagromme
Oct 18, 2005, 10:48 AM
I agree that the iMac is NOT a Media Center Mac. Not meant to be.

I disagree that the remote and Front Row are all about video downloads. That's an experiment that will probably take off, but I see the remote and Front Row just being a "nice little extra" and a foot in the door of home entertainment. Much like video is a "nice little extra" on the new iPods.

I bet most people will be using it just to control their iTunes music. I know I would.

By being as simple as it is, it's easy to use and doesn't ask anyone to learn anything new (PVR and computer-based TV tuners are something I can see a lot of people never bothering to learn to use). More importantly, omitting the tuner and PVR makes Front Row cheap. So it can be on EVERY iMac. (And every Mac eventually?)

Adding a PVR and tuner (HD please) would be great as an OPTION someday, while the rest stays standard. Maybe ElGato will integrate with Front Row, or at least use the remote.

And they're right that many people do seem to be OK with the 320x240 quality (many I'm sure don't even research those specs), even though I myself much prefer the idea (but not the download time/storage space) of 640x480 (or HD). Look at at this way... a VCR tape isn't great quality either, compared to an original crisp cable broadcast, but we've all accepted that as watchable. 320x240--but digital--probably looks better than VCR in some ways, even if fine detail is missing.

I'm not sure why thet say you need an iPod to get full use of the system. You can output to TV right from the iMac with an adapter, and playing ON the iPod isn't what most people are after (just another "nice little extra").

PS, I think free video podcasts--more so than music videos or TV--is the big deal that will catch on the fastest from all this (Front Row and iPod with video).

p0intblank
Oct 18, 2005, 11:32 AM
I do consider the new iMac a Media Center PC, but only to a certain extent. Maybe it's more of an Entertainmant PC? You have the new Front Row, which I really want to have by the way, and PhotoBooth, which will be great for parties and guests to take advantage of. I don't know about anyone else, but I would really like to have Front Row for in my room. Being able to control all my media from a distance like that is pretty kick ass. It's the perfect lazy man's computer! :D

cwtnospam
Oct 18, 2005, 11:58 AM
I object to calling the Windows Media Center PC an innovation. I remember watching (I had a high end graphics card) CNN on my Mac IIci during the first Gulf War (1991) and I know there were no PCs capable of doing that back then. Later, the Quadras had video capabilities and shortly after that a few PC graphics cards could do it. The point is that if Microsoft was so far from being the first to market, how could their version be an innovation?
;)

SiliconAddict
Oct 18, 2005, 12:03 PM
Honestly I don't know WHAT Apple was thinking with Front Row. It seems to be the bastard love child of the Media Center and an iMac. Honestly with a 20" screen max who needs a remote with a basic interface. I don't know about you but I'm not going to sit 10'-20' away and use Front Row from a distance. Which makes the remote pretty much pointless. So if you aren't going to sit at a distance then Front Row itself becomes less of a necessity. The point of a VERY basic UI is so you CAN use a remote easily.
And the point of Front Row seems to be the point of video in the iPod. That being an add-on feature that doesn't bring the system to another level of usefulness.

Honestly I couldn't give less of a crap about Front Row. I own a 46" widescreen HDTV. Why would I be remotely interested in showing off anything on a 20" display? Answer: I wouldn't.

But most people donít have high definition televisions

The quote above is a joke. Seriously. At 320X320 the content offered by Apple isn't even standard def resolution. Apple isn't shooting for the fences. They aren't even trying to get it out of the infield. They bunted and laid a turd AFAIC.

most people arenít video quality obsessed

At 320X320 you don't have to be. People are use to at least DVD quality now a days for rental content or purchase content. If you think people are going to flock to video content that is LOWER then content broadcasted over the airwaves you are going to learn fast that this isn't going to be the case.

To look at a similar example note that the iTunes music store sells songs in what is regarded by audiophiles

Bad example. Itís easier to visually see artifacts on content you are watching then to hear missing content in a song. Audiophiles are audiophiles because they want the best. The average consumer is going to want at least broadcast quality. (about = to iTunes 128kb/s tracks.) 320X320 IMHO is about the same as radio quality, maybe a bit higher, which only a handful of people care for.

The entire article smacks of someone making an excuse for a so so product. The video iPod is the main reason for video content for sale on iTMS. The reason is pretty obvious: It simply looks better on the iPod screen then on any other device.

Project
Oct 18, 2005, 12:16 PM
^^ wtf? Front Row is PERFECT for iTunes. If your iMac is hooked up to some nice speakers and you want to listen to your collection, do you REALLY want to sit down at your desk and ponder through iTunes to pick a track. Hell no. I can be chillin in bed, remote in hand, flicking through my music, podcasts, movies etc.

And when it becomes compatible with your TV via Airport Express, thats when it realises its real potential.

dontmatter
Oct 18, 2005, 12:39 PM
Honestly I don't know WHAT Apple was thinking with Front Row. It seems to be the bastard love child of the Media Center and an iMac. Honestly with a 20" screen max who needs a remote with a basic interface. I don't know about you but I'm not going to sit 10'-20' away and use Front Row from a distance. Which makes the remote pretty much pointless. So if you aren't going to sit at a distance then Front Row itself becomes less of a necessity. The point of a VERY basic UI is so you CAN use a remote easily.
And the point of Front Row seems to be the point of video in the iPod. That being an add-on feature that doesn't bring the system to another level of usefulness.

Honestly I couldn't give less of a crap about Front Row. I own a 46" widescreen HDTV. Why would I be remotely interested in showing off anything on a 20" display? Answer: I wouldn't.



The quote above is a joke. Seriously. At 320X320 the content offered by Apple isn't even standard def resolution. Apple isn't shooting for the fences. They aren't even trying to get it out of the infield. They bunted and laid a turd AFAIC.



At 320X320 you don't have to be. People are use to at least DVD quality now a days for rental content or purchase content. If you think people are going to flock to video content that is LOWER then content broadcasted over the airwaves you are going to learn fast that this isn't going to be the case.



Bad example. Itís easier to visually see artifacts on content you are watching then to hear missing content in a song. Audiophiles are audiophiles because they want the best. The average consumer is going to want at least broadcast quality. (about = to iTunes 128kb/s tracks.) 320X320 IMHO is about the same as radio quality, maybe a bit higher, which only a handful of people care for.

The entire article smacks of someone making an excuse for a so so product. The video iPod is the main reason for video content for sale on iTMS. The reason is pretty obvious: It simply looks better on the iPod screen then on any other device.

You make some good points, but I think you take them a bit too far.

True, this isn't going to replace the living room TV, no doubt about it. But I live in a dorm room, and here that would be awesome. If I'm doing homework anywhere but on my computer (and these days, we still read books in paper, and math is impossible to do on a computer), I use my wireless keyboard as an itunes remote. Which, by the way, makes a terrible remote, as it's big, I need it by my computer and find it siting next to the couch, and the buttons aren't meant for use without computer feedback.

Also, my 17 inch powerbook screen and attached speakers are about the best movie viewing we have around here, and it often gets used for that purpose.

Yes, I can't imagine anything with a native resolution that fits on an ipod screen would look that great on a large screen, but because you say you have a huge HDTV, I can assure you, you pay far more attention to it than most.

I think the reason for such a low resolution is that really, the technology is not ready for portable video. video makes more sense stationary, on a large screen, so portable video has to derive from the sources you have for larger video, too, otherwise it's not worth doing. But to store large videos on a hard drive takes too much space given current prices, to download it takes way too much time, and most of all, to do the necessary conversion of resolution on the fly to make one source work for both your computer, your HDTV, nad your ipod, takes way too much processing power.

The video is a mediocre device, because it has to be.

A remote for a computer, though.... I'm just waiting till they put that on a laptop. awesome.

nagromme
Oct 18, 2005, 01:47 PM
Honestly with a 20" screen max who needs a remote with a basic interface. I don't know about you but I'm not going to sit 10'-20' away and use Front Row from a distance.
I do that with my media all the time--iTunes especially, but also photos--and if I had a remote it would save me some walking :p Front Row isn't the product YOU wanted, but it's a nice feature to add to the iMac, and takes nothing away.

And if you're saying that a 20" screen is too small to need an large interface, I don't understand that. The smaller the screen the MORE the need for an enlarged interface. Heck, with a 40" TV I could see iTunes just fine :)

solvs
Oct 18, 2005, 04:27 PM
Who needs to sit 20' away? I have 2 19" monitors that I sit about 3 or 4 feet away from when I'm leaning back on the couch. My TV is back a little farther, and I output stuff from my computer to it all the time. You have no idea how lazy I am, because I would totally use this. :p

shamino
Oct 18, 2005, 06:07 PM
I disagree that the remote and Front Row are all about video downloads. That's an experiment that will probably take off, but I see the remote and Front Row just being a "nice little extra" and a foot in the door of home entertainment.
Agreed. A remote control is a recognition of the fact that lots of people put their computers in the living room - for playing their music collections, for showing slide-shows, and for showing home movies. Some (although not many, IMO) will also use it in lieu of a DVD player.

What will be most interesting (and I'm sure we'll soon find out) will be whether Front Row provides an API so developers can write plug-ins for it. Imagine if you could buy a TV tuner device and have it appear as a new icon (or new top-level menu) on Front Row. That would be really nice.

I'm also hoping that Front Row will eventually be made available for download or bundled with future releases of Mac OS, so those of us with other kinds of Macs can use it. In particular, I think a lot of Mac mini users would appreciate this functionality, since the computer already includes TV output. It would also come in handy for use with laptops. It's common among my friends to use laptops for playing movies in hotel rooms.

shamino
Oct 18, 2005, 06:13 PM
Honestly with a 20" screen max who needs a remote with a basic interface.
I used a 20" television in my living room for over 10 years before I bought my wide-screen HDTV receiver. And I still use a 20" set in my bedroom. Maybe you wouldn't be caught dead with such a set in your home, but lots of people have no problem with the size, and we don't sit inches away from the screen when watching our shows.
I don't know about you but I'm not going to sit 10'-20' away and use Front Row from a distance. Which makes the remote pretty much pointless. So if you aren't going to sit at a distance then Front Row itself becomes less of a necessity. The point of a VERY basic UI is so you CAN use a remote easily.
First off, you can attach an iMac to an external display - like your 46" widescreen HDTV. (Which, BTW, most people do not own. Don't assume that the average consumer is willing to spend thousands of dollars for watching TV shows.)

Second, screen size is irrelevant when you're controlling audio playback, like iTunes.

spice weasel
Oct 18, 2005, 09:07 PM
You know, I was going to buy an iMac a few weeks ago, before the release of the new ones. For whatever reason, I waited. But now they came out with the new iMacs with Front Row, PhotoBooth, a built-in iSight, bumped up speed, a slightly better graphics card, a remote control, and a mighty mouse. But they didn't include a TV tuner card, so its not the perfect media PC. So, I think that I'll just locate a third-party vendor selling one of the old ones for the same price and go with that.

Come on folks, get real. Even if you never use the remote, Front Row, or the iSight, it is still a better computer than the last revision.