PDA

View Full Version : MacRumors Review: Apple TV




MacRumors
Mar 25, 2007, 01:16 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

After a longer than expected period of anticipation, we have received our Apple TV and have had a number of hours to spend reviewing it.

For our review, we strive to give a scientific, thorough, and unbiased reaction to a product based on a product's ease of use, features, performance, reliability and lifespan, and value. For more detailed information on how we conduct our reviews, see the review guide page (http://guides.macrumors.com/Reviews).

Without further ado, read on to get our complete review of the Apple TV.

Read Full Review (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/03/24/macrumors-review-apple-tv/)

[ Digg This (http://www.digg.com/apple/MacRumors_Review_Apple_TV) ]



Jon'sLightBulbs
Mar 25, 2007, 01:20 AM
Probably the most unbiased review I've read yet. The lack of support for non hdmi or component compliant televisions was a horrible design choice - so few people will be able to use this device.

Can you imagine the initial marketing roundtable discussion?

"Target audience?"

"Everyone!" That is, everyone willing to convert their entire collections to a proprietary format (QT) or buy movies under the most restrictive DRM regime ever concieved.

I really wanted to love this box, but I'm afraid it has about as much mainstream appeal as the ipod HiFi (read: nil.)

zap2
Mar 25, 2007, 01:24 AM
Very good....but worth mentioning when you guys talk about the PS3 and Xbox 360 at the end, both models you talked about didn't have Wi-Fi. The Xbox needs a USB add on from MS(or 3rd party wireless bridge) and the PS3 599 Model has Wi-Fi, but not the 499 Model.

EricNau
Mar 25, 2007, 01:33 AM
Very nice review.


So the Apple TV does indeed support 1080i? That is a big deal, and if it's supported, Apple should advertise it.

...And what "tweaking" does 480i require? It seems to be one of the regular options. :confused:

MacinJosh
Mar 25, 2007, 01:35 AM
The point of the HD in ATV is not to store your TV shows and movies. The whole point for the ATV is to act as a mediator between the TV and Mac and stream content from the Mac to the TV. It acts as a cache.

Joshua.

Squareball
Mar 25, 2007, 01:36 AM
Having Tanya Donelly's album "Beauty Sleep": 10/10!!

nate13
Mar 25, 2007, 01:42 AM
i hope they will better implement the hard drive with this, and have a feeling that this product will evolve over time. hopefully they let you attach an external hd to the USB port for added network storage, AND someone opens up the OS/ w/e you call it, to make it even better!

arn
Mar 25, 2007, 01:42 AM
The point of the HD in ATV is not to store your TV shows and movies. The whole point for the ATV is to act as a mediator between the TV and Mac and stream content from the Mac to the TV. It acts as a cache.

Joshua.

I agree. I think a larger hard drive is less necessary due to the good streaming performance. At first, we didn't even know if it would come with a hard drive at all.

I got an Apple TV myself. I ordered it when it was announced, but wasn't overly excited by it. I knew what I was getting. An iTunes bridge for my TV. That being said, once I got it, I thought the sum of the parts was much better than I expected.

It was surprisingly fun to watch video content that I had, but never watched because it was on my computer. I also had a much bigger urge to buy more movies via iTunes and subscribe to some video Podcasts.

btw, I donated that photo with Tanya Donelly's album on it. I was actually very conscious of what album cover was showing when I took the photo. :)

arn

longofest
Mar 25, 2007, 01:43 AM
The point of the HD in ATV is not to store your TV shows and movies. The whole point for the ATV is to act as a mediator between the TV and Mac and stream content from the Mac to the TV. It acts as a cache.

The "cache" fills up very quickly with only a few movies and TV shows on there. plus, you HAVE to sync music and photos onto the :apple: tv in order to get slideshows to work with music backgrounds.

Additional note: the :apple: tv selects music for the slideshows at random from your library or a playlist you select. You can't select an individual song, and it doesn't transfer what you set in iPhoto.

bdkennedy1
Mar 25, 2007, 01:49 AM
I have a 4:3 Mitsubishi rear projection tv with component inputs and everything looks great using 480i, except the picture is kinda squished horizontally. The biggest thing that bugs me is that FF and RW performance is absolutely unacceptable. FF doesn't stop at the point you want it to and RW freezes the whole screen. I've sat for anywhere from 10-20 seconds with the screen frozen wondering what's going on. Try counting from 1 to 20. That's a long time. My only option was to restart the video and FF to about where I wanted.

I am streaming the content from my computer and I'm using g wireless, but ATV should be caching whatever it streams to its hard drive. This isn't really just with ATV. If you try to rewind an h.264 movie in Quicktime there's also a rediculous delay.

If this is the DVD player for the internet, or as I prefer, the Zune to the iPod, Apple needs to address this issue and others with an update.

biturbomunkie
Mar 25, 2007, 01:57 AM
awesome review. i kinda dissed the appleTV when it was announced, and now i kinda want one. maybe i'm just itching for a new toy... ... :)

lem0nayde
Mar 25, 2007, 01:58 AM
I'd be interested in hearing further how you decided on a 10/10 rating for value? It seems that, given the seemingly unecessary missing components (surround, 1080p, optical drive, normal sized hard drive) it'd warrant an 8/10 at most. I think that $300 for a minor convenience is steep and not a great value.

Apple could have easily and cheaply added an optical drive (hardly an expensive piece of equipment), a MUCH larger harddrive for mere dollars, and certainly surround sound which, as you mention, is nothing short of an absurd omission. Also, I think it is especially stingy that Apple did nothing to make connections to Youtube and other online video sites -- that is just corporate stinginess. Clearly, given that even the iPhone can surf the web, this box could have brought the internet to HDTV in some form.

levitynyc
Mar 25, 2007, 02:02 AM
Bah...no surround sound support??? Why then the optical output?

I'll pass on this one.

richdun
Mar 25, 2007, 02:10 AM
Nice review - as others have said, pretty straight on, and unbiased.

I picked up an Apple TV on Thursday (N Michigan Ave store has a rotating stock of 27 in shelves where some useless iPod accessories used to be), and have loved it. I have a 30" CRT Toshiba HD monitor with HDMI, so it looks great, even with 640x480 iTunes downloads. CRTs tend to not look as sharp as LCDs anyway, which in this case, makes the picture better looking. The lack of surround sound is a downer, but I don't have much in the way of surround sound capable files (only DVDs), so not a biggie yet.

The thing that bothers me so far, though, is that the one thing that seems most unfinished is the one thing Apple always gets right - the software. The hardware is spot on - HDMI and optical audio will be future-proof for some time, and 802.11n flies (even when streaming from my three year old PowerBook G4). Sure, the interface is great, but codec support, surround sound decoding, full 1080p, etc. are all more than possible with the hardware, just not implemented. I'm sure part of the reason is that you're supposed to use iTunes only in Apple's view of the world, so the best video you have is 640x480, which scales adequately to 720p, but not so much to 1080p. And streaming full HD would mean you'd have to have 802.11n on both sides - and few have a Core 2 Duo Mac (or PC with n) and an Apple TV at this point. Integration is a big thing for Apple, so adding features that a majority of the population would have difficulty using is not usually their thing.

The whole thing reminds me of the initial iPod, but with one huge difference. These shortfalls can be fixed, quickly, with a software update. Maybe there's some very cool features hiding in there waiting for Leopard/iPhone (Safari? iChat with a USB iSight? iCal + Apple TV + iTVGuide + IPTV? iPhone as a remote with chapters and such appearing on the iPhone while the main video plays on your TV, so you can preview which chapter you want without stopping the current video - wait, I should patent that or something).

Even without the usual "hacks" this box packs all the hardware it needs to be relevant for a number of years without a significant hardware refresh. I'm really looking forward to Leopard/iPhone/the first software update.

GregA
Mar 25, 2007, 02:12 AM
the :apple: tv selects music for the slideshows at random from your library or a playlist you select. You can't select an individual song, and it doesn't transfer what you set in iPhoto.

Why?
Let me ask it again... why!?!

My iPod also can sync a "photo-album" with its music, but can't sync a "slide show". I don't care if it can't do a fancy cross-fade, but at least allow me to make a slideshow and show it on the AppleTV. I thought maybe it was just because it was a 4G.

So... just not possible on the AppleTV eh? Does it keep anything else (eg: time per slide, transition type, etc?). This functionality is the primary reason my parents want it... they love their photos, and make iDVD slideshows all the time. What a waste.

I can hope it'll be included with iLife 07.... but ... pretty high chance of dissappointment eh?

edit:
ps. Thank you for the review BTW. Glad to see someone answer this question, I was looking forward to it.
And I agree on the surround sound too - if AppleTV is designed for people with HDTV, a large proportion of those people will want surround sound!

ipedro
Mar 25, 2007, 02:21 AM
Funny how the Netgear device is NOT Mac Compatible, but in their illustration, every computer in the house is a Mac:

http://netgear.com/upload/product/eva8000/enus_diagram_eva8000.jpg

MacBook Pro on the bottom and Mac Pro with Cinema Display and Apple keyboard at the top...

:confused:

bdkennedy1
Mar 25, 2007, 02:26 AM
How is Netgear not compatible? I've been using mine for almost a year and all I have are Macs. If you mean because the illustration says PC's, all home computers are PC's - Personal Computers.

Funny how the Netgear device is NOT Mac Compatible, but in their illustration, every computer in the house is a Mac:

http://netgear.com/upload/product/eva8000/enus_diagram_eva8000.jpg

MacBook Pro on the bottom and Mac Pro with Cinema Display and Apple keyboard at the top...

:confused:

ipedro
Mar 25, 2007, 02:43 AM
How is Netgear not compatible? I've been using mine for almost a year and all I have are Macs. If you mean because the illustration says PC's, all home computers are PC's - Personal Computers.

Not a Netgear Wi-Fi router, I'm talking about their entertainment streaming box.

That illustration is for their equivalent to the :apple: TV. It does not work with Macs although every computer in the house is a Mac.

Multimedia
Mar 25, 2007, 02:47 AM
Just downloaded the new 118MB 3 minute SpiderMan3 Trailer3 (http://spiderman3oncomcast.com/) exclusively hosted by Comcast and find a fantasticly high quality example of 24fps 1280 by 720P that exceeds AppleTV's maximum allowable bit rate by a mere 454 kbps (5453.58 kbps). Here's an example of how Apple has ignored what bit rates Hollywood is using to post their movie trailers. I don't see why the appleTV maximum bit rate couldn't have been 6Mbps instead of 5 do you?

I recommend you all download and look at this full screen. It will blow your mind. Gotta be among the worlds best movie trailers of all time. Absolutely amazing. :eek: :)

I'm able to watch it on my directly connected Samsung 40" LN-S4095 HDTV and the quality is really outstanding. Looks like HDTV. Never seen a better quality trailer encode ever.

arn
Mar 25, 2007, 02:57 AM
Just downloaded the new 118MB 3 minute SpiderMan3 Trailer3 (http://spiderman3oncomcast.com/) exclusively hosted by Comcast and find a fantasticly high quality example of 24fps 1280 by 720P that exceeds AppleTV's maximum allowable bit rate by a mere 454 kbps (5453.58 kbps). Here's an example of how Apple has ignored what bit rates Hollywood is using to post their movie trailers. I don't see why the appleTV maximum bit rate couldn't have been 6Mbps instead of 5 do you?


I just downloaded it and it's playing on my Apple TV.

arn

illegalprelude
Mar 25, 2007, 02:58 AM
for me, the deal breaker seems to be lack of 1080p. 720 just dosent do it for me and trying to rip movies all on high quality and then storing them on iTunes and playing them on the TV is just a long long process.

having said that, i still do want it

evilgEEk
Mar 25, 2007, 03:08 AM
I can not believe the AppleTV doesn't support true surround sound. That's just ridiculous.

I was going to get one of these the second I saw it in a retail store, now there's no way.

I'm okay with lower video quality, but no surround sound? That's 300 bucks Apple won't be getting from me.

MacinJosh
Mar 25, 2007, 03:31 AM
I have a 4:3 Mitsubishi rear projection tv with component inputs and everything looks great using 480i, except the picture is kinda squished horizontally.

It's a shame that the ATV does not have to option to select between 16:9 and 4:3. Right now the Apple TV is feeding an anamorphic picture to your TV and your TV is not capable of squashing the picture so you don't get black bars on top and bottom. Or maybe it can... check the manual if you can change the aspect ratio on the TV to 16:9. I know a lot of 4:3 TVs can. Then you'll get a letterboxed image but at least it's not squished.

Joshua.

Multimedia
Mar 25, 2007, 03:40 AM
I just downloaded it and it's playing on my Apple TV.Wow. I don't have one. And I didn't even try to put it in my iTunes, which I now see it will load. But the bitrate is clearly more than what the spec says on their website — maximum 5Mbps. So they must have revised the bitrate's upper limit. Wonder what that new upper limit is now? I also notice when putting it in iTunes that there is no longer a monitor icon next to movies except in the Podcast list. I think that's different isn't it? Also the new full screen interface is way better. What a pleasant surprise for those of us without AppleTV who are directly connected to a HDTV as one of our monitors. All we hav to do is drag iTunes over to the HDTV screen, hit the full screen button and our HDTVs are rolling just like from AppleTV.

On my Quad G5 a 1920x1080 40" HDTV is just one of four monitors. So AppleTV would actually be a step down from my setup unless I wanted to use an Apple TV as a 5th video connection while reducing what I could do on the HDTV from my Mac directly, having the ability to add a 30" 2560x1600 monitor without having to add another graphics card inside. The trade-off leans me toward keeping it the way it is now because I like to play a lot of stuff on teh HDTV that AppleTV can't over there - particularly native EyeTV recordings.

matticus008
Mar 25, 2007, 04:02 AM
Bah...no surround sound support??? Why then the optical output?

I'll pass on this one.
Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you? I agree that it's unfortunate that it's not included, but seeing as though it doesn't play MPEG2 (obviously a conscious choice rather than an oversight), there's no reason to support surround sound at the moment--you can't pipe DVDs to it unmodified. If you want to watch lots of DVDs without getting up, get a DVD changer.
I can not believe the AppleTV doesn't support true surround sound. That's just ridiculous.
The hardware most certainly does. How are you planning on getting that content to the :apple:TV, though? Other than DVDs, what online content has AC3 surround audio in it?

Again, framing the discussion against a DVR/DVD player is prone to problems. It is neither of those things, and doesn't claim to be.
It's a shame that the ATV does not have to option to select between 16:9 and 4:3.
It says right up front that a widescreen TV with component video is required. This is aimed squarely at the HDTV/digital market. With the analog spectrum shutting down in about 18 months, there is little point to introducing new devices which support the old TVs scattered across the US (or the world).

You'll need an ATSC tuner box in 2009 anyway, and it will definitely have component inputs. You can always get one now and use an AppleTV on your old 4:3 CRT television if you want. But why bother? Lamenting that you're not the market is like wanting a Blu-Ray player for your 4:3 CRT. It would probably put a picture on the screen, but you'd lose all of the worthwhile benefits.

Do you have a video iPod and an old TV? That's about as good as an AppleTV would be on a pre-SDTV.

unigolyn
Mar 25, 2007, 04:16 AM
It's "further ado", not "further adieu". "Adieu" means roughly "go with God" in French, "ado" means "fuss" in English. Nitpick over.

Multimedia
Mar 25, 2007, 04:26 AM
Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you? I agree that it's unfortunate that it's not included, but seeing as though it doesn't play MPEG2 (obviously a conscious choice rather than an oversight), there's no reason to support surround sound at the moment--you can't pipe DVDs to it unmodified. If you want to watch lots of DVDs without getting up, get a DVD changer.

The hardware most certainly does. How are you planning on getting that content to the :apple:TV, though? Other than DVDs, what online content has AC3 surround audio in it?

Again, framing the discussion against a DVR/DVD player is prone to problems. It is neither of those things, and doesn't claim to be.

It says right up front that a widescreen TV with component video is required. This is aimed squarely at the HDTV/digital market. With the analog spectrum shutting down in about 18 months, there is little point to introducing new devices which support the old TVs scattered across the US (or the world).

You'll need an ATSC tuner box in 2009 anyway, and it will definitely have component inputs. You can always get one now and use an AppleTV on your old 4:3 CRT television if you want. But why bother? Lamenting that you're not the market is like wanting a Blu-Ray player for your 4:3 CRT. It would probably put a picture on the screen, but you'd lose all of the worthwhile benefits.

Do you have a video iPod and an old TV? That's about as good as an AppleTV would be on a pre-SDTV.I think you mean "pre-HDTV. There's analog 5.1 Dolby Surround embedded in almost all stereo TV so achiving surround sound from any stereo source should be doable that way. What surprises me is why people who want AppleTV etc aren't already HDTV adopters. Good sets cost less than $500 now. So what's the barrier to adoption? You don't have to pay for cable. HDTV is in the air better than it is in cable anyway. So what's holding all these would-be AppleTV adopters back from adopting HDTV at the same time or first? I don't get it.

RedTomato
Mar 25, 2007, 04:42 AM
Everyone is saying it needs a TV with component or HDMI input.

In Europe, pretty much every TV has SCART and composite inputs. Component is very very rare here. Not sure about HDMI inputs.

However, HMDI to SCART converter cables are pretty common. My XBox came with a HDMI to SCART cable, which works fine on my ancient TV.

So, in Europe, people will probably just run the ATV with that cable. Still not sure why Apple thinks us europeans will buy it - there isn't much on Euro iTunes apparently for it, and also multi-lingual subtitles are pretty much a must here.

bartelby
Mar 25, 2007, 04:48 AM
So, in Europe, people will probably just run the ATV with that cable. Still not sure why Apple thinks us europeans will buy it - there isn't much on Euro iTunes apparently for it, and also multi-lingual subtitles are pretty much a must here.

Apple will have to do quite a lot to convince me I need an :apple: TV.
There's really no point having one at the moment.

Parky
Mar 25, 2007, 05:04 AM
The point of the HD in ATV is not to store your TV shows and movies. The whole point for the ATV is to act as a mediator between the TV and Mac and stream content from the Mac to the TV. It acts as a cache.

Joshua.

It does not act as a cache. It is there to sync content to the local device.
In fact you can only view photos that have been synced, as photos cannot be streamed.

The HD is there so that you can have access to content without the need to have the computer there or running, e.g what if the prime computer in the house is a laptop. When it is removed from the house the Apple TV would be useless. At least with the HD it can store and play some content without the need for the computer.

It is very clear that the HD is not just a 'cache', by looking at the options in iTunes that show how to sync content.

Ian

petvas
Mar 25, 2007, 05:19 AM
Does Apple TV resize the photos? My Photos are all taken with an 8Mpixel camera, so it would be nice if Apple TV resized the photos during sync, just like the iPod does.

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 05:47 AM
It does not act as a cache. It is there to sync content to the local device.
In fact you can only view photos that have been synced, as photos cannot be streamed.

The HD is there so that you can have access to content without the need to have the computer there or running, e.g what if the prime computer in the house is a laptop. When it is removed from the house the Apple TV would be useless. At least with the HD it can store and play some content without the need for the computer.

It is very clear that the HD is not just a 'cache', by looking at the options in iTunes that show how to sync content.

Ian

I have a fairly huge media library - on a server. No fixed amount of storage in the Apple TV would be enough. So 40GB is much better than the most popular amount of storage in a "media extender" namely nothing.

Streaming my media library through a network connection is what I want this box to do. And it does just that. Sorry, don't care about photos.

It looks like it can use reference movies too. Which means that you don't even need to be running iTunes to play streamed content from a network drive. I can fill the 40Gb with reference movies. Plenty of room!

Multimedia
Mar 25, 2007, 05:54 AM
I have a fairly huge media library - on a server. No fixed amount of storage in the Apple TV would be enough. So 40GB is much better than the most popular amount of storage in a "media extender" namely nothing.

Streaming my media library through a network connection is what I want this box to do. And it does just that. Sorry, don't care about photos.

It looks like it can use reference movies too. Which means that you don't even need to be running iTunes to play streamed content from a network drive. I can fill the 40Gb with reference movies. Plenty of room!What's a reference movie and how do you make them for what purpose? You mean an alias of a movie that's based elsewhere so the ATV's 40GB HD can store only those references to where they would play all your movies from over the network from many Ts of space — the final frontier? :D

DeSnousa
Mar 25, 2007, 06:05 AM
Great review, also great to see macrumors publishing reviews. Is MR going to buy new products to review ;) :D

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 06:24 AM
What's a reference movie and how do you make them for what purpose? You mean an alias of a movie that's based elsewhere so the ATV's 40GB HD can store only those references to where they would play all your movies from over the network from many Ts of space — the final frontier? :D

Open the movie in Quicktime (Might need quicktime(pro))
Save As
(select reference movie)
You then get a tiny file - which looks like a MOV.
This MOV can be added to iTunes etc. Looks just like a regular MOV.

surferfromuk
Mar 25, 2007, 06:28 AM
I now know why this product is such a dissapointment.

It's not that it's not mildly successful in what it does, it's simply for the FIRST time in maybe 7 years Apple has shipped a product which is not, regardless of cost, CLEARLY the best in class.

This is the shock that an entire generation of Apple users have never yet experienced - the idea that Apple could even remotely get it wrong, and I think it's what people are literally knocked out by. In no other area is Apple's unquestioned supremecy challenged - except Apple TV.

They need to fix this CRAZY QUICK even if it costs them MONEY!


Now in my mind Apple needs to do a few things to rectify this public perception immediately. This is no time to play ostrich. Apple acknowledge your greatness and concede the changes

1: Drop the price point by $100 so the 'feature set lack' becomes moot and this product becomes a 'must have - no brainer'. YES subsidise it like Sony and M$ do with the first gen of their consoles!.You will claw back the 'loss' with itunes store profit sales.! Think different!!
2: Drop a stunning OS update adding 5.1, a few 'online purchasable codecs' ie let the user pay $5 for Divx codec if they want it! Advertise this 'forthcoming feature set' NOW!Plug the holes even if it's just in a 'announcement of future updates' posting!.
3: Get some HD content on iTunes to make this product 'relevant'.

This is a crisis and Steve needs to get kicking some butt right now...

Multimedia
Mar 25, 2007, 06:30 AM
Open the movie in Quicktime (Might need quicktime(pro))
Save As
(select reference movie)
You then get a tiny file - which looks like a MOV.
This MOV can be added to iTunes etc. Looks just like a regular MOV.So it's an alias that points to the real movie you are serving from some other HD on the network right?

thedonga
Mar 25, 2007, 06:36 AM
value 10/10?

completely biased. how can a product with such obvious shortcomings be a perfect value?


dvd player?
surround sound?
svideo output?
ability to play movies not in iTunes?
all the standard codecs?
high cost?

when I am able to purchase hardware that does all this and more for a significantly lower price, there is no way the apple tv is a perfect value.

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 06:36 AM
So it's an alias that points to the real movie you are serving from some other HD on the network right?

Yep.
Obviously the movie on the network will have to be something that the AppleTV can actually play.

Some of the people hacking the device have made this even simpler by adding an alias to a network drive into the AppleTV's Movies folder - but that's not possible for non-hackers yet.

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 06:52 AM
value 10/10?

cwhen I am able to purchase hardware that does all this and more for a significantly lower price, there is no way the apple tv is a perfect value.

Not quite sure what alternative products are out there.
There's a bunch of Taiwanese no-name media extenders, which by all accounts will work ok when-the-firmware-gets-fixed .

There are products from Netgear and others, which stall, have no hard drive or no HD. Or stall.

And there's the Slingcatcher - which does not exist.

What exactly do you see as a better product? Because I'd buy one.

C.

aLoC
Mar 25, 2007, 07:00 AM
"Apple TV is like a DVD player for the Internet age"

I think of it like an iPod with a really big screen (your TV).

gctwnl
Mar 25, 2007, 07:04 AM
I am going to upgrade our TV viewing, so we will have a large panel and we want to have a bit of "home cinema" experience. 720p is good enough for our size/viewing distance and I'd like to watch newer HD material (cable, disc and maybe internet if available in the future) as well as currently owned DVD's (upscaled properly). I'd like to record stuff from cable to watch it when convenient (with small children around, you have often not the freedom to watch when stuff is aired 8-).

Given that Apple TV does not have disc-playing capabilities, nor recording, I'll need a HD/DVD recorder next to my screen for later viewing. Since I want to play HD material, I need Bluray capabilities (HD DVD is dead as far as I'm concerned). Suppose I buy the two (HD/DVD recorder or EyeTV, PS3 for (HD) discs and the additional game for the small kids - if available), what remaining use do I have for the Apple TV? Watching trailers and podcasts? For $300? Apple TV does not enter a further empty living room. Disc playing and recording are already there (because Apple TV does not have it I have to get it elsewhere) and with it the possibility to play series and stuff (available on DVD).

Here is the ideal apparatus:
- Plays Bluray and Normal DVD (with very good upscaling that can be switched off if your other apparatus does it better)
- Has DVB-C or DVB-T or DVB-S capabilities (choice of model) with HD support
- Can record HD content from DVB as HD (like Elgato's EyeTV), preferably can burn it too
- Has good audio capabilities

I would pick up one in a heartbeat and for far more than $300. After all it replaces the HD/DVD recorder ($500), the Blueray player ($600) and the HD Tv Decoder ($300) and takes up far less room and has less clutter. I would lay down in excess of $1200 for such a machine.

thedonga
Mar 25, 2007, 07:07 AM
What exactly do you see as a better product? Because I'd buy one.

There are a number of network capable dvd players on the market.

AVeL LinkPlayer
Buffalo PC-P3LWG
Zensonic's Z500
Toshiba's RC-XS54
All the KISS products
GoVideo
Panasonic DMR-E500HS
Digimate DGM200

many more...do a search on google for networked dvd player

Stella
Mar 25, 2007, 07:13 AM
82/100 seems a bit generous, given the 10/20 for features - and the features that are lacking are fairly major.

No surround sound is just unbelievable - how can Apple justify this?

randomlinh
Mar 25, 2007, 07:17 AM
I saw one in the Apple store yesterday... and was severely disappointed in the quality of all the iTS video content they had. It looked unacceptable. Hell, it looked better on my iMac in full screen.

Although, with that said, I'm just waiting for the hacking folks to streamline the process. And maybe figure out a way to support SD 4:3 sets too.

twoodcc
Mar 25, 2007, 07:29 AM
nice review. it seems that the Apple TV is nice, i just don't have a use for it right now.

russellelly
Mar 25, 2007, 07:35 AM
Everyone is saying it needs a TV with component or HDMI input.

In Europe, pretty much every TV has SCART and composite inputs. Component is very very rare here. Not sure about HDMI inputs.

However, HMDI to SCART converter cables are pretty common. My XBox came with a HDMI to SCART cable, which works fine on my ancient TV.

So, in Europe, people will probably just run the ATV with that cable. Still not sure why Apple thinks us europeans will buy it - there isn't much on Euro iTunes apparently for it, and also multi-lingual subtitles are pretty much a must here.

All HD Ready TVs must have component and HDMI or DVI (DVI can be converted to HDMI no problem). HDMI to SCART converters do not exist - HDMI is a digital connection and SCART carries analogue video (in Component, RGB, S-Video or composite form) - I assume an Xbox has some proprietary connnection that has pins with HDMI and RGB and composite outputs, and proporietary cables appear that it's converting - it can't really.

Apple is obviously pitching at the flat-screen market, the vast majority of which will be fine for it, and certainly any bearing the HD Ready logo. The Europe obstacle is content in iTunes Store.

redAPPLE
Mar 25, 2007, 07:43 AM
Probably the most unbiased review I've read yet. The lack of support for non hdmi or component compliant televisions was a horrible design choice - so few people will be able to use this device.


this was the same with the usb mouse, or no diskette drive and other apple "innovations".

you can't please everybody. it is the same thing with every consumer product.

i'd just want to know, if the :apple: tv can be used like airport express' AirTunes. but that belongs to a different thread.

redAPPLE
Mar 25, 2007, 08:02 AM
Also, I think it is especially stingy that Apple did nothing to make connections to Youtube and other online video sites -- that is just corporate stinginess. Clearly, given that even the iPhone can surf the web, this box could have brought the internet to HDTV in some form.

can't it be that apple is aware that youtube videos are not the best quality-wise? and watching those on a large screen tv would compromise the fun of watching tv.

it might bring more negative reviews from family and friends and saying, "wha? you paid 300 for that video quality?". which has nothing to do with the :apple: tv, but more with the youtube video...

jgurfein
Mar 25, 2007, 08:03 AM
First, many people have discussed that this device has '720p' which is not 'adequate'. Actually, most flat panels (save for the last 8 months worth of new models) are actually 720p max (their resolutions, in real pixels, are about 1280 x 720). When a 1080i or 1080p signal comes in, they scale it down. So true 720p looks great if that's what you're actually getting - from more than 5 feet away it's hard to distinguish from 1080p anyway. The limitation with Apple TV is none of the content on iTunes is true 720p - it's mostly 480p, which is what you get from non-Blu Ray DVD's. If iTunes actually sold 720p content, you'd be thrilled with the results. But currently it doesn't and it would take 4-5g at least for the file - an obvious current limitation. Wait until the compression codecs evolve. Then you'll see it happen.

Another limitation not discussed is the lack of flexibility in how you display photos. Unless you want a slideshow of every photo on your computer (I have 8000+) you have to create albums on iPhoto (or Adobe album) and then sync them, and even then there is no option to pick photos by filename - something even my nano can do. You are stuck with a slideshow either sequentially or randomly. I must assume this will be better implemented with future software updates. This is a no-brainer.

On balance I like the device, however, because I didn't expect for $299 that this would replace my PS3/Blu Ray player or my HDTV DVR. I bought it to do what it is supposed to do: pump content from my Mac to my TV without wires. And it does a very nice, easy, slick job of doing so. Given that Apple generally is a premium priced brand, I wouldn't have expected much more for $299. You get all the engineering and polish that is standard for Apple.

Maybe Apple did a bad job positioning the device, so people's expectations were out of line. Or maybe they released it early to get a foothold in the market before a lot of features were enabled or available. But I am quite happy with the thing and recommend it to anybody who wants to have a quick and easy bridge between their computer and the TV.

Whistleway
Mar 25, 2007, 08:04 AM
I know this is MR's first shot at the review business. So, I want to point out a few things and hope they are taken constructively.

1. There are some excellent reviews out on the web and MR has posted it as previous news discussions as well. Collating them and linking them in this review would this review that much more useful

2. Grading scale has a reference of what? What does A mean? Best of the class? Or Best of Apple's products? Does B- means there are products in the market that have a better score? If so what are they? and how do they rank?

3. Unbiased. Yeah right.. I quote ".. prevent me from giving it a glowing endorsement. .. preventing the product from shining. Despite this, one can always hope that Apple will continue to improve.." This borders fanboism. And loses a lot of credibility. I know we are all here because we all love apple. But if you say unbiased, atleast stick to it.

4. Grading scale doesn't make any sense. I presume MR is just going to review Apple products. Which Apple product is not Reliable or Sturdy? Almost all the products have the "limited" one year warranty. So every review MR is going to make on Apple's products has 25 points right off the bat??

I think MR missed a solid opportunity to provide reviews and establish itself a unbiased review of the product. If only this review called "a spade a spade" and come out with its scatching review and help MR readers rather than just another apologetic review, it would have been awesome. Oh well..

curmi
Mar 25, 2007, 08:07 AM
I now know why this product is such a dissapointment.

It's not that it's not mildly successful in what it does, it's simply for the FIRST time in maybe 7 years Apple has shipped a product which is not, regardless of cost, CLEARLY the best in class.

This is the shock that an entire generation of Apple users have never yet experienced - the idea that Apple could even remotely get it wrong, and I think it's what people are literally knocked out by. In no other area is Apple's unquestioned supremecy challenged - except Apple TV.

They need to fix this CRAZY QUICK even if it costs them MONEY!


Now in my mind Apple needs to do a few things to rectify this public perception immediately. This is no time to play ostrich. Apple acknowledge your greatness and concede the changes

1: Drop the price point by $100 so the 'feature set lack' becomes moot and this product becomes a 'must have - no brainer'. YES subsidise it like Sony and M$ do with the first gen of their consoles!.You will claw back the 'loss' with itunes store profit sales.! Think different!!
2: Drop a stunning OS update adding 5.1, a few 'online purchasable codecs' ie let the user pay $5 for Divx codec if they want it! Advertise this 'forthcoming feature set' NOW!Plug the holes even if it's just in a 'announcement of future updates' posting!.
3: Get some HD content on iTunes to make this product 'relevant'.

This is a crisis and Steve needs to get kicking some butt right now...

Finally someone puts in to words what many people have been trying to say. This is exactly it.

You are so right. When I think of Apple stuff, I think of cutting edge. Except with the Apple TV where I try and think of excuses.

Trouble is, I think Apple doesn't think they've got it wrong.

MarcelV
Mar 25, 2007, 08:22 AM
Maybe Apple did a bad job positioning the device, so people's expectations were out of line.Apple never said it did more than it does. So, not sure where the other expectations came from. I agree with you, no support for 1080p is just academic. There isn't much content except for a few HD-DVD and BluRay titles, so not sure why people think it needs it at this time. Download 1080p for sure is not realistic at this time for bandwidth reasons.
As far as I know AAC support up to 5.1. I like to know how it was determined that there is no surround sound support. If it really doesn't support that, I agree that is a flaw, but they should be able to fix that with a software update.

For me, the box is a nice thing. In stead of my kids having a TV and a cable box in their own rooms, I can give them a TV and AppleTV. Much easier for them to control. My oldest doesn't get the remote control thing yet, so this is perfect. She knows how to work her Shuffle, so that's an easy step for her to make.

petvas
Mar 25, 2007, 08:28 AM
Dolby Surround is supported. Dolby Digital and DTS arent

This is Apple TV's biggest flaw but I think this device has so many advantages that I can live without the best sound.

My Dolby Digital Receiver has profiles that emulate real Dolby Digital signals. It is almost as good as real Dolby Digital.

I find that having my whole movie library on my Mac a great plus and since now I can also have the same resolution using the main H.2645 profile, I can drop using DVDs...

The Apple TV has also many more features:

I will be able to play my home made videos
Photos
Music
Convenience

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 08:32 AM
Did some googling.

AVeL LinkPlayer
No HDMI - Stuttering playback No Wireless? $299

Buffalo PC-P3LWG
Rating 5.8 No HDMI - No 802.11n No Hard Drive - Bad Interface

Zensonic's Z500
Rating 5.4 - Lockups. Sounds better $400

Toshiba's RC-XS54
No wireless. $699! No one sellng

Any chance of finding one player which
A) Works without crashing or stuttering
B) Is cheaper
C) Has a hard drive.

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 08:41 AM
The point of the HD in ATV is not to store your TV shows and movies. The whole point for the ATV is to act as a mediator between the TV and Mac and stream content from the Mac to the TV. It acts as a cache.

Joshua.

I just bought the :apple: tv and after a few hours, I'm very impressed! I've got an older Samsung 42" Plasma which can display 1080i via component cable and the content I have looks great and my MP3 collection sounds great through my AV equipment. I use to hook up my iPod to the system to listen to music but I think over time, it had made my iPod battery worse.

As for people complaining about the lack of HD space, there's no need for a bigger HD. Example, I'm only using the :apple: tv HD to sync with photos only. The rest (vids, music, podcasts) are streamed from my iMac in another room...flawlessly! I intend to buy an external HD and hook that up to my Airport Extreme and take all the content off my iMac to it. I think this is Apple's intention and it makes perfect sense!

BritinNC
Mar 25, 2007, 08:51 AM
I posted this out on the Apple Support Forum, but this seems to be a better place for it. In general Apple TV is pretty much what I expected, no more, no less. I would not say that I am blown away by it (as I expect to be by the iPhone) and I also thnk there are some things that it needs to do better. I may be one of the few people who was looking for a music AND video solution rather than a simply a video solution, so for others like me this may be useful.

The main reasons that I bought the Apple TV were:
- Wanted to avoid iTunes going out every time I used the microwave
- Wanted to be able to watch the limited video content I buy from ITMS on the TV without having to mess about connecting my iPod 5G
- Wanted to the more standard optical digital output (Toslink) so I could get a decent cable
- Wanted to be able to view home movies that never get watched on the TV
- Wanted to be able to put the kids movies in one place to avoid them getting lost and scratched

I would say that the Apple TV has met all these needs well. The seamless integration with iTunes is everything you'd expect even down to the fact that it syncs automatically when new content is added. So you can literally click on content in the ITMS and after a while sit at the TV and it's ready and waiting. The quality is very good although the TV shows are not encoded in widescreen format which is a disappointment (as well as the lack of 5.1 sound). Setup was straightforward but it took a while before I worked out how to get the right TV resolution so that I could see the setup menus on the TV.

Here are the things Apple needs to work on:
- The music interface is a real letdown compared to iTunes. You have no idea what the next song is going to be (a la party shuffle feature in iTunes). The on-screen information is limited and somewhat boring. It would be nice to be able to scroll to the lyrics like on the iPod. I would also like see say the last 5 songs that played and the next 5-10 songs with the ability to remove one from the list if I want to. To be honest I may go back to using iTunes and the Airport Express although the microwave issue bugs me to.
- Whenever you go to the main menu it stops the music. So if you have to change settings or look at some photos it effectively stops the playlist you were on and you have to start again. Again this should work like the iPod and you should be able to navigate around the system without it stopping the song.
- I'd like to see a second digital output. When Apple eventually offer 5.1 surround sound you may want to push the music through a seperate DAC than the video. Not an issue right now but will be in the future.
- I think that Apple has overdone the graphics. There is too much whizzing about the screen when the screensaver is on so it can be a real distraction if you are having a conversation with someone. Tone it down and make it more functional (such as the party shuffle concepts above).
- I would like to be able to control the Apple TV from iTunes if I want to. Sometimes I want to have more control than a 5 button remote can provide so I'd like to be able to use iTunes to control what is being played. Ideally, I'd also like to control Apple TV with the iPhone as well! I think these different components need to be seamlessly integrated so you can use whichever is the most convenient to do something. This is especially important for music. Using the front row interface is a step backwards from the iPod clickwheel and reminds me of the crummy interfaces on all those other music players. You simply cannot have too much music as it would take too long to find a song so only the playlist feature is really useful.

In summary, if you are getting the Apple TV primarily for music I'd suggest sticking with iTunes and AE, if you are more focused on the video the quality is great and the ease of use for watching iTunes content on the big screen is equivalent to the AE for music. However, I want it to be great at both, so Apple, get your thinking caps on and improve the music interface, otherwise a great product!

thedonga
Mar 25, 2007, 08:53 AM
Did some googling.


Any chance of finding one player which
A) Works without crashing or stuttering
B) Is cheaper
C) Has a hard drive.

sure, 1st why do you need a hard drive?
I have the avellink player...
It has a usb port which allows you to play movies off any usb device.
It has a network jack so I can stream from any computer on my network
It has a dvd player if you want to drop in a DVDR

Does it crash or stutter?
I have had no issues with this...neither has a friend of mine that has the same product.

It is cheaper.
The only codec it really won't play for me is wmv


Is this the perfect solution? no. Is it a better value than the appletv? I think so. So my original statement as to the appletv cannot be a perfect value is correct in my opinion.
The other option on the avellink front is the SRDVD-100U (branded under JVC now)

amberashby
Mar 25, 2007, 09:04 AM
I too at first thought the HD was too small, but then I started just streaming everything and it works just as good as playing content off of the HD. I'm using a new Airport Extreme N. Works great. Love my Apple TV so far.

Listening to music and having my entire library of 4000 pictures flying by in the awesome screen saver is worth the price alone

roland.g
Mar 25, 2007, 09:07 AM
The Photo navigation/lack of thumbnails like on an iPod needs to be fixed.

5.1 audio of course.

Genre organization for movies, or access to Movies folder via streaming rather than needing to have it in iTunes library.

Screensaver to start immediately with music, not 2 minutes for "preview" visualizer.

$249 40GB
$299 60 or maybe 80GB

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 09:10 AM
Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you? I agree that it's unfortunate that it's not included, but seeing as though it doesn't play MPEG2 (obviously a conscious choice rather than an oversight), there's no reason to support surround sound at the moment--you can't pipe DVDs to it unmodified. If you want to watch lots of DVDs without getting up, get a DVD changer.

The hardware most certainly does. How are you planning on getting that content to the :apple:TV, though? Other than DVDs, what online content has AC3 surround audio in it?

Well, let me state a couple of things, but first know that I'm on your side of the argument...

Technically MPEG-2 playback doesn't assure AC-3 playback either. AC-3 is a separate bitstream independent of the MPEG-2 bitstream. Granted, they get muxed into a VOB stream in a professionally-encoded DVD, but strictly speaking the AC-3 is never actually contained in the MPEG-2 stream.

That being said, an MPEG-4 container *can* store AAC multichannel audio. Of course AAC is not AC-3. Solution? Dolby Digital Live.

Dolby Digital Live is apparently incorporated into some Intel HD Audio chipsets, of which the Apple Intel audio chipset may be one. Dolby Digital Live is designed to take other multichannel content, such as that found in an AAC stream, and transcode it on the fly to AC-3.

It's more than likely Apple already thought this through. They seem to have incorporated the necessary hardware and, if so, are fundamentally only a software update away from enabling Dolby Digital.

Coleco
Mar 25, 2007, 09:25 AM
My prediction: Apple will introduce an Apple TV add on with a Blu-Ray or hybrid HD-DVD drive that plugs in via the USB port. It will be ultra-slim, but the same footprint as Apple TV for easy stacking. People that want the drive can buy it, people who want to stick with iTunes and regular DVDs are all set. Plus, all the content can be funnelled through Apple TV's outputs, occupying only one TV input (ideally the drive could be powered over USB too). This will be out by fall or summer for less than $300. Apple will be able to offer a hyper competitive price because it will begin offering similar drives in its Mac line.

No. 2 prediction: Netflix-like video "rental" downloads will be available later this year. Videos expire a week after their first play (or Apple TV sets a limit of 2-3 rental downloads available at a time and allows you to que up future downloads that come in once you check a movie for "return".

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 09:36 AM
Open the movie in Quicktime (Might need quicktime(pro))
Save As
(select reference movie)
You then get a tiny file - which looks like a MOV.
This MOV can be added to iTunes etc. Looks just like a regular MOV.

I'm really interested in this reference file you're talking about. How does this work?

I use to make reference streams for windows media files on a windows media server streamed for multicast streams.

skinnylegs
Mar 25, 2007, 09:41 AM
I got an Apple TV myself. I ordered it when it was announced, but wasn't overly excited by it. I knew what I was getting. An iTunes bridge for my TV. That being said, once I got it, I thought the sum of the parts was much better than I expected.

It was surprisingly fun to watch video content that I had, but never watched because it was on my computer. I also had a much bigger urge to buy more movies via iTunes and subscribe to some video Podcasts.I couldn't have said it better myself.

it replaces the HD/DVD recorder ($500), the Blueray player ($600) and the HD Tv Decoder ($300) and takes up far less room and has less clutter. I would lay down in excess of $1200 for such a machine.So would I but I'm not so sure there is a big enough market for such a device.

What I find amazing is the amount of people making :apple: TV into something it was never intended to be. It's been said a hundred times before but I'll say it again......:apple: TV is a device that streams or syncs iTunes and iPhoto content from your host computer to your widescreen LCD. That's it....plain and simple. I pre-ordered an :apple:TV and it arrived last Wednesday. I have used it each and every day since it arrived and I forsee using it at least 3-4 days a week in the future. Not a bad value for $299. Heck, just yesterday some friends came over for a barbecue and I streamed my 80's playlist to my Bose sound system in the living room. I don't know much about codecs and stuff but it sounded damn good and everyone was duly impressed. I think I may even have "converted" a few of my friends. :D We also sat around and looked at pictures of my new grandson on my widescreen LCD. Brilliant! This is precisely why I bought an :apple:TV.

Frankly, I don't really care that much about streaming movies. If I want to watch a movie, I'll drop a DVD or HD-DVD in the player(s) that sit(s) right next to my widescreen LCD. I bought an :apple: Tv primarily for streaming/sync'ing my music, photos and home videos. As far as I see it, streaming of movies is just the icing on he cake. If, and when, the catalog of streamable (is that a word?) content matches Netlix's library then I will probably change my mind but that day isn't here yet.

Also, as long as we're talking honestly here, can we be honest? I think it's safe to say that those who are screaming about lack of file compatibility (movies and music not purchased via ITMS) are more than likely pissed off because they can't watch or listen to their pirated stuff via :apple: TV . DivX <for instance>? Are you kidding me? Who has a collection of DivX movies? I'll tell you who......people who "share" stuff via BT. :rolleyes:

Great review!

Transmogrified
Mar 25, 2007, 09:41 AM
I was just wondering how difficult it would be for apple to extend the :apple: TV into a wireless base station as well. I guess this would be a logical step for it to progress into in the future. I'd buy one.. my airport express just died :(

longofest
Mar 25, 2007, 09:50 AM
I've heard a few complaints regarding how I attributed the Apple TV's value rating.

Mainly, the Apple TV got 10/10 because it is the cheapest device on the market for what it does. You can't find another device that has the feature set of the Apple TV and has such a low price point.

Yes, I was disappointed in the features, but I already had given it a low rating for that.

1. There are some excellent reviews out on the web and MR has posted it as previous news discussions as well. Collating them and linking them in this review would this review that much more useful

2. Grading scale has a reference of what? What does A mean? Best of the class? Or Best of Apple's products? Does B- means there are products in the market that have a better score? If so what are they? and how do they rank?

3. Unbiased. Yeah right.. I quote ".. prevent me from giving it a glowing endorsement. .. preventing the product from shining. Despite this, one can always hope that Apple will continue to improve.." This borders fanboism. And loses a lot of credibility. I know we are all here because we all love apple. But if you say unbiased, atleast stick to it.

4. Grading scale doesn't make any sense. I presume MR is just going to review Apple products. Which Apple product is not Reliable or Sturdy? Almost all the products have the "limited" one year warranty. So every review MR is going to make on Apple's products has 25 points right off the bat??

Many of your questions can be answered on our guide page (http://guides.macrumors.com/Reviews). As to #3, note the preceding words made those comments make more sense (i.e. "it was good, but not great, and had some fatal flaws which prevents me from giving a glowing endorsement".). For #4, Reliability and lifespan is a very important aspect of any product, and I would be unduly biased AGAINST apple if I were to diminish its importance in the reviews. Remember, bias goes both ways (for and against).

That being said, I'm sure I wasn't perfect at killing off biased feelings, but then again, I'm human. So, I still appreciate your comments and will consider them the next time we do a review.

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 09:59 AM
I recommend you all download and look at this full screen. It will blow your mind. Gotta be among the worlds best movie trailers of all time. Absolutely amazing. :eek: :)
.

I just downloaded it and streamed it to my :apple: tv from my iMac. One word...awesome! I don't have any HD material and this is the first time my old Samsung 42" Plasma has experienced anything this sweet on its screen! It can handle 1080i. Thanks Multi!

slffl
Mar 25, 2007, 10:11 AM
Great review. For mac users like myself who have encoded everything in h.264 since day one, this is a great product. For others who for some reason have a bunch of Divx/Xvid, I guess they had better start transcoding :)

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 10:30 AM
I recommend you all download and look at this full screen. It will blow your mind. Gotta be among the worlds best movie trailers of all time. Absolutely amazing. :eek: :)

What will blow your mind is when I tell you that I streamed this 720p trailer from a 933MHz G4 Quicksilver (Apple's minimum recommendation is a 1GHz G4, as per the :apple:TV manual), over an 802.11g network in an apartment building with steel framing and 10 nearby wireless base stations interfering with the signal and aside from one initial buffering delay it played through without a single skip or jitter.

I have a Sony WEGA XBR HDTV (34" CRT) and I have to say, I'm more than impressed with the 720p playback. I had some initial concerns about proper representation of the HD color gamut, but the Spidey trailer looks identical to every other instance of it... broadcast, HD, I'll even say pretty close in perceptible clarity to theatrical projection (taking into account the difference in display size). The color, clarity and contrast are stellar.

What disappoints me is that at the Apple Stores, their demo units are loaded with low resolution files worse than the 640x480 ones. Add to that the entry-level Bravia LCD TV's they're using in which even the menus look considerably worse than on my XBR (LCD's are considerably inferior to CRT's yet)... and you have a recipe for marketing disaster. If they do not fix this problem soon, they're not going to attract nearly the numbers of users they could if they had one floor demo unit with a kickass display and 720p demo content.

As it stands, I could sell more AppleTV's from my living room than they'll sell in all 4-5 stores in the Minneapolis area. But I guess that's not surprising with regard to retail. If you walk into most retail stores carrying HDTV's, the picture on the floor units is never calibrated and the source is almost never an actual HDTV feed (usually just SD cable in stretch mode).

But I do expect more from Apple Store retail... they've done every product launch pretty well thus far. They're risking blowing it on the most significant product to be released by Apple since the iPod.

eenu
Mar 25, 2007, 10:41 AM
I disagree. All Sets here have been sold here with HDMI and component for a few years. What you should have said is i have an old TV and as such i don't have these connections!

I bought a set mid 2005 and have HDMI. That is almost 2 years old now and it was by no means the first with these connections. The bigger pain in the ass here in the UK/Europe is the lack of iTMS content.

TVs are typically replaced in a 3-5 yr cycles in an average household. These connections have been around in the UK/Europe for a good 2-3 so it shouldn't be to far off when you need to replace your set and will gain these connections.

Everyone is saying it needs a TV with component or HDMI input.

In Europe, pretty much every TV has SCART and composite inputs. Component is very very rare here. Not sure about HDMI inputs.

However, HMDI to SCART converter cables are pretty common. My XBox came with a HDMI to SCART cable, which works fine on my ancient TV.

So, in Europe, people will probably just run the ATV with that cable. Still not sure why Apple thinks us europeans will buy it - there isn't much on Euro iTunes apparently for it, and also multi-lingual subtitles are pretty much a must here.

skinnylegs
Mar 25, 2007, 10:53 AM
I ripped a DVD (that I own) with Handbrake to MPEG 4. I imported it within iTunes and it plays back well in iTunes.

However.......

The movie does not show up on my Apple TV when I choose the streaming option and it does not export to the Apple TV HD when I choose the syncing option.

Suggestions?

Hattig
Mar 25, 2007, 11:09 AM
My prediction: Apple will introduce an Apple TV add on with a Blu-Ray or hybrid HD-DVD drive that plugs in via the USB port.

The Apple TV can decode 5mbps streams (which is a conservative figure because it can handle the 5.5mbps SpiderMan III trailer). I guess with optimisation (assuming it is using nVidia PureVideo functionality on the GPU) the hardware could in the future handle a little more - say 8mbps.

BluRay can provide a stream of up to 40mbps.

The decoding hardware would have to be 8 times faster to handle BluRay. There is just no way that the Apple TV in its current incarnation could handle it. The PS3 can handle it because of the Cell CPU (+nVidia RSX GPU) which outclasses the 1GHz Dothan + GeForce 7300Go of the Apple TV. The XBox360 can handle it because of its 3 core 3.2GHz PowerPC CPU and ATI GPU.

It's a nice idea though. Let's wait for AppleTV 2 first though, that will hopefully handle 1080p media.

Cult Follower
Mar 25, 2007, 11:12 AM
I am one who was skeptical from the beginning, but now I want to go out and buy one. And in the features section...it isn't meant to do everything...its like the iPod, simple and only the features you need.

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 11:14 AM
I1: Drop the price point by $100 so the 'feature set lack' becomes moot and this product becomes a 'must have - no brainer'. YES subsidise it like Sony and M$ do with the first gen of their consoles!.You will claw back the 'loss' with itunes store profit sales.! Think different!!

Absolutely not.

Here's the difference between what Sony and Microsoft do, and what Apple does.

The iTunes store exists to sell iPods (and now Apple TVs). They are a convenience for people who buy the nice profitable hardware, but it's no skin off Apple's nose if people find other ways to fill their devices. That's why Apple hasn't cracked down on the minimal iPod modding that happens and won't (I predict) crack down on the Apple TV modding that has already started.

On the other hand, Sony's consoles and Microsoft's consoles and Zune exist to sell media. Sony and Microsoft make their money off of the media sales (directly, or through license fees/royalties/kickbacks). When mods appear to allow people to put their own items on the devices, patches come down the line to stop people from doing it.

I just upgraded my hard disk to 120 GB. Frankly, once I'd seen how good the streaming was (wirelessly over 802.11n), the need wasn't really there, but I'm a geek so I must fiddle. It was pretty easy (once you ripped off the rubberized base, trying not to rip it). Other people are hacking it to support other video formats. Not my interest, my videos are all MP4 or H.264, either from Apple Store, from Podcasts, or ripped with Handbrake, but that's cool. There's some other potential hacks being discussed that do seem interesting. I don't want Apple to feel the need to stop it.

And the Apple TV has seriously impressed me. it's nice and compact and fits into my bedroom a/v system. The streamed video was smooth and looked good. It's going to make video podcasts far more practical. And the integration on the podcasts is very nice.

Yes, I could probably finagle a Mac Mini to do the same (would have to run Cat-5 to the bedroom though, 802.11g wouldn't cut it), but with a lot more finagling and editing.

One complaint I do have that hasn't been mentioned here is that the Movie Trailers are only listed Alphabetically. In the iTunes Movie Store, I can quickly check to see what new trailers are up. Not so easy on the AppleTV

Would I like more features added through software updates and USB plugins? Absolutely. The sound interface for photos is not obvious. I didn't even realize you could pick the music playlist for a while, and my slideshow of pictures from a trip to the Great Sand Dunes was accompanied by a chapter from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

In features...movie rental, HD content interest me. I'd also love to see a Blu-Ray hardware add-on. A DVR add-on, from Apple or working with EyeTV, would be a great addition though wouldn't work well with my satellite receiver's built-in receiver.

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 11:16 AM
I ripped a DVD (that I own) with Handbrake to MPEG 4. I imported it within iTunes and it plays back well in iTunes.

However.......

The movie does not show up on my Apple TV when I choose the streaming option and it does not export to the Apple TV HD when I choose the syncing option.

Suggestions?

What settings do you use? I use the MP4 file format, MPEG-4 Video/AAC Audio codec, Framerate same as source, encoder FFmpeg, and under Picture Settings I reduce to maximum width of 640 (so it also plays on the iPod). Everything I've ripped comes across fine.

Stowaway
Mar 25, 2007, 11:29 AM
As much as I am a long-time Apple supporter, I have to say this is probably one of the most half-assed products I've seen Apple introduce in a long time.

No surround-sound support, no built-in support for older sets, a 32 GIG HARD DRIVE?!!! For movies? And TV Shows? Seriously you must be joking. Apple can do better than this. You can BUY 300GB hard drive for under $100 at a consumer rate, surely Apple get something larger than 32GB! With the exception of whatever processor they're using, I could assemble a much more marketable machine for less at a consumer price tag.

As much as I love Apple, they're going to have to come out with a new model pretty quickly to redeem me on this thing.

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 12:03 PM
As much as I am a long-time Apple supporter, I have to say this is probably one of the most half-assed products I've seen Apple introduce in a long time.

No surround-sound support, no built-in support for older sets, a 32 GIG HARD DRIVE?!!! For movies? And TV Shows? Seriously you must be joking. Apple can do better than this. You can BUY 300GB hard drive for under $100 at a consumer rate, surely Apple get something larger than 32GB! With the exception of whatever processor they're using, I could assemble a much more marketable machine for less at a consumer price tag.

As much as I love Apple, they're going to have to come out with a new model pretty quickly to redeem me on this thing.

Why do you need an onboard hard drive larger than that when it'll stream 720p over 802.11g... G! ... from any computer on your network? Hell, I did it from a G4/933MHz to AppleTV over 802.11g and it worked flawlessly with absolutely stellar quality.

Oh, as for surround sound... just switch your receiver to ProLogic II mode. It'll demux the Dolby Surround analog phase shifted channels out of the L-R AAC mix. I'm sure Dolby Digital support is coming because the hardware can support it. It's just a matter of software upgrades if they did in fact use the Intel HD Audio chipset that, with Dolby Digital Live, can transcode multichannel AAC to AC-3 on the fly.

ces1965
Mar 25, 2007, 12:20 PM
I've been playing with mine for a couple of days. Works fantastic.

B-? Let's see, this is the first well done media extender product, by far. It actually works. Even streaming over a G network. The syncing feature has never been done in a product of this type - not even on the xBox 360.

Fantastic way to listen to and browse your music collection. Photos too - awesome if you are any kind of a photographer. Podcasts - again, what else has this capability? MS still doesn't support podcasts on their platform.

And it's reasonably priced. What's not to like?

There's not HD content at the iTunes store, but it's coming I'm sure. The biggest problem I think is that the files would be too big for an iPod, so they need to figure out a way around that.

Surround - there is Dolby Pro Logic which actually sounds pretty good, if not quite as good as Dolby digital.

It's an A+ product in terms of doing what it's advertised to do. Take off a few points for current limitations (likely to be removed) and you have a solid A-.

surferfromuk
Mar 25, 2007, 12:21 PM
Absolutely not.

etc etc...



Well Don, I hope your right - I really do...

...because the real question is can they keep this product alive long enough to get it to market dominating position like the iPod where they are selling 100million units and own 75% of the market ?

Now I don't think my list has too many problems on it but bottom line is price wise it's brushing up against the backside of the Xbox 360 , and I don't mean that in a sexy way either...now knock off $100.00 and 2 million people will buy one right now and that will lead to Gen 2 when 10 million will buy one, and gen 3 when maybe 100million people will buy one and then we'll really have something amazing...I'd hate Apple TV to 'create a perceived need' only to have people in the final 'pre-purchase' analysis deceide to 'go get an Xbox or Netgear' piece of kit instead...at $200 people will 'just get one for the heck of it'...

So, I'm not saying your wrong.I really aren't..and if there are 2 million folks exactly like you out there right now I don't think Apple has a problem with the 'tech spec dissatisfaction' that were reading about....

If not, as curmi, indicated, is the 'new Apple' willing to listen? Only Time will tell.

Myself I think SJ's New Apple is a spectacular company and will make the changes to ensure this product is successful and that in time it will becomes market leader...

CoreWeb
Mar 25, 2007, 12:26 PM
I just downloaded it and it's playing on my Apple TV.

arn

Are you willing to try the 720p Eragon trailer? It's bit rate is over 6Mbps... and it's audio rate must be high as it is 5.1... (though I doubt that 5.1 will come out of the AppleTV as 5.1)

spicyapple
Mar 25, 2007, 12:30 PM
AppleTV: No cables. Less resolution than an EV8000. Lame.

MacRumours AppleTV review: Awesome.

Darkroom
Mar 25, 2007, 12:51 PM
great review!

KingYaba
Mar 25, 2007, 01:09 PM
You're better of buying a Mac Mini than an Apple TV

NaMo4184
Mar 25, 2007, 01:11 PM
I think given the target for what this product was meant to be, Apple did a good job. A lot of complaints can be over looked when placed in the context of what Apple TV is intended for.

1. 40 gb harddrive for sycing. You can stream flawlessly over a g or n network, so synching is more for photo slide shows and music, than it is for movies.

2. no 1080p support and no SD cables. Currently the vast majoirty of HD tvs out there are 720p. The vast majority. So Tv manufactures already made 720p the standard by pushing it more than 1080p. Also, in 2009 the FCC will mandate that all signals sent over airwaves will be digital. So if u don't have an HDMI or Component connector, u will soon.

3. price of 300. Last I checked companies aren't charities, they sell products to make money. xbox and PS3 don't sell their hardware to make money, they make money off of accessories like controllers and games. This is also the cheapest device for its feature set.

4. no surround sound. It has 5.1 AAC doubly pro logic. looks like surround sound to me.

5. no dvd/HD disc player. Apple never gave the impresssion that Apple TV would have this. Also, most people have a dvd player already. This device isn't meant to be the one stop media center. Thats what microsoft is trying to do for the past 10 years (and has failed until, they sold hardware at a lose and software with the functionality pre-included).

My main complaints with the Apple Tv is lack of any HD content, and no easy way to import dvds (its illegal any way).

I think the review was very fair. There are tech pundits out there who want to paint Apple Tv as dead on arrival because apple tv isn't there dream media center, but its not fair to berate apple for lack of features that aren't necesssary for the market that apple is going after.

padrino121
Mar 25, 2007, 01:31 PM
Very nice review.


So the Apple TV does indeed support 1080i? That is a big deal, and if it's supported, Apple should advertise it.

...And what "tweaking" does 480i require? It seems to be one of the regular options. :confused:

I can see there will be a lot of confusion over this one. I think Apple is right in not advertising it heavily because although it can output in 1080i it is upscaled since it can only natively process movies with a maximum vertical resolution of 720.

EricNau
Mar 25, 2007, 01:47 PM
...There are tech pundits out there who want to paint Apple Tv as dead on arrival because apple tv isn't there dream media center, but its not fair to berate apple for lack of features that aren't necesssary for the market that apple is going after.
Unfortunately, Apple is going after a very small market with the Apple TV. The only people the Apple TV is truly useful for are those who choose to purchase their movies (or TV shows) in a propriety format from the iTunes Store (locking their entire video library with iTunes).

It would be great if I could turn my Mac into the Media Hub for my entire home, but until I'm willing to purchase everything from the iTunes Store, the Apple TV doesn't make any sense.

Westside guy
Mar 25, 2007, 01:56 PM
AppleTV: No cables. Less resolution than an EV8000. Lame.

Uh... you are aware that the original commentary that you're modeling your phrasing after (Slashdot's CmdrTaco on the original iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.") is so often quoted because it's seen, in hindsight, as having been so laughably missing the mark, right? Because it doesn't seem like that's how you're using it...

NtroP
Mar 25, 2007, 01:57 PM
I received my Apple TV last Friday and have to say that I am extremely pleased with it.

First of all, I think too many people had their own expectations and hopes that are unrealistic in the context of what this product was intended to do. This product's purpose in life is to take your iTunes (read iTMS) content and make it easily available on your TV.

Let me say, first of all, that I don't have access to Cable or TV at my house. I have a 1Mb/sec DSL line and that's it. Therefore, I have a "Wall-O-DVD's" for entertainment (which, even with Delicious Library, is impossible to keep organized). I purchased a 60Gb video iPod when it first came out and have been using that to watch downloaded (from iTMS, mostly) TV shows, podcasts and movies on my TV. I've also started ripping my DVD collection to my home server in multi-pass H.264, 640x480 for easy management.

Watching TV from the iPod worked, but was a pain in the ass because I have to go across the room to select the next show and always having to sync it to get new content on it (i.e. podcasts) was bothersome.

All this is to say that, for me, Apple's intended audience, the Apple TV is everything I was hoping for, and more.

- I was concerned about the hard drive size until I discovered just how well I could stream HD movies over my 802.11g network.

- I was concerned about its ability to work with my old (circa 2001) wide-screen, "HD-capable" TV until I found out that it could "cycle through" an amazing number of resolutions and formats and found one my TV liked.

- I was concerned about giving up video quality over playing native DVDs on my TV until I streamed a movie from iTunes that I'd ripped and it looked *better* than watching the same DVD from my DVD player connected through the non-component interface (yes, I have older equipment).

When I do Bittorrent content (hey, if it's available on iTMS I buy it. If not, why not. Your loss. Make your content available on iTunes - and every other legit store - I choose iTunes. /rant) I convert it to H.264 for storage so the "DivX/codenc" issues everyone complains about aren't much of an issue for me. Besides, a vast majority of my content I either have on DVD already or I buy from iTMS.

I'm not one of the few people who buy Blue-Ray DVD's (how many titles are even available for it?) and I can't imagine the drive space needed to store it anyway. As it is, I've had to upgrade my media server to a TB of drive space (which just brought home the point that I now have no way to adequately back it up :( )

I'm not a prolific pirate who has a huge collection of videos in non-mp4, non-h.264 format. I understand that there are many out there who are, but frankly, you aren't Apple's target audience. For good or bad, Apple wants you to buy content from them or rip your own from legally purchased sources. This seems reasonable to me. Besides, I have a feeling more BT content will start becoming available in H.264 format soon - especially if Apple includes hardware-encoding in their future products :D

I also recognize the fact that I'm an early adopter and that this is a first-revision product. I'm excited by the fact that many of the short-comings I see posted can be taken care of with a software update. I suspect, but cannot prove (and am bound by NDA to not speculate too freely) that there might be an update coming along when Leopard ships.

I am also encouraged by the fact that Apple seems to have gone out of their way to make this device eminently "hackable". I don't think the fact that the username/password for it being "frontrow/frontrow" is a coincidence and I am happy to see the "useless" USB port included as well as optical audio out.

I also think that Apple's pricing the product at such a point where they are actually making a profit off it is significant. They have no compelling reason to stop people from hacking/modding/adding-to it. Like the iPod, they'd prefer if you got all your content from iTMS, but make money off you either way. I think their attitude will be much the same with this. When some enterprising person gets Linux running on it and the geek community starts buying tons of these "cheep, small, quiet" PCs, Apple will laugh all the way to the bank.

Meanwhile, people like me and my parents (Apple's target audience) will have a small, quiet, elegant, dependable way to accomplish what we want: conveniently watching our iTunes content from the comfort of our living-rooms.

I'd rate it a solid "A-" at least, if not an "A". A software upgrade is all it would need to get an unreserved "A" from me.

Yvan256
Mar 25, 2007, 02:13 PM
[...] I was concerned about giving up video quality over playing native DVDs on my TV until I streamed a movie from iTunes that I'd ripped and it looked *better* than watching the same DVD from my DVD player connected through the non-component interface [...]

Same here. I have both my old Sony DVP-C600D player and my :apple:TV connected via component, but for some reason the colors are much more vibrant through the :apple:TV. And that's going from MPEG-2 (DVD) to H.264 (rip, about 1500kbps), so less quality in the picture itself. But overall the movie looks better anyway! :confused:

Now, all I need is a hack or a firmware upgrade so I'll be able to letterbox the output of the :apple:TV. My old TV doesn't have a setting for anamorphic content. Anyway shouldn't it be the job of the output box to scale the content?

artpease
Mar 25, 2007, 02:16 PM
It looks like it can use reference movies too. Which means that you don't even need to be running iTunes to play streamed content from a network drive. I can fill the 40Gb with reference movies. Plenty of room!
Yes you can put the .mov reference movie into iTunes, but Apple TV doesn't see them so it doesn't stream them from iTunes or sync them to its HD.

Yvan256
Mar 25, 2007, 02:33 PM
Yes you can put the .mov reference movie into iTunes, but Apple TV doesn't see them so it doesn't stream them from iTunes or sync them to its HD.

I disabled the "let iTunes organize files" setting so that I could add movies to iTunes while keeping them on external drives, so I guess iTunes is already doing some reference file, but now I have to manage files manually.

Would making reference movies by myself allow me to let iTunes manage my files but yet have my real movie files on two external drives? How do I make a reference movie? Will iTunes accept file aliases? Will it organize the aliases and not the actual files?

NtroP
Mar 25, 2007, 02:49 PM
If I had one suggestion for improvements to the Apple TV it would be the ability to create categories and subcategories for my movies and TV shows (without having to create and maintain playlists). I have several hundred (soon to be close to a thousand) movies that I've bought online or ripped from my DVD collection. I would love to be able to break them down into subcategories like "Sci-Fi", "Documentaries", "Action/Adventure", "Horror", "Home Movies", "Educational", "Adult", etc. (and be able to *block* certain movies/categories from even being visible to the Apple TV when browsing my library). Perhaps some sort of tagging system so that movies can show up in multiple locations and have Apple TV ignore "unchecked" items when browsing/streaming.

NtroP
Mar 25, 2007, 03:05 PM
Unfortunately, Apple is going after a very small market with the Apple TV. The only people the Apple TV is truly useful for are those who choose to purchase their movies (or TV shows) in a propriety format from the iTunes Store (locking their entire video library with iTunes).

It would be great if I could turn my Mac into the Media Hub for my entire home, but until I'm willing to purchase everything from the iTunes Store, the Apple TV doesn't make any sense.

Small market? What about all the iPod owners. Most of whom have 99% of their content ripped or downloaded as mp3's. What about all those people who have DVD collections and have ripped them to .mp4 or H.264 like I have. I'm closing in on half a TB of video in my iTunes library. A vast majority of them are ripped from my DVD collection and are not "encumbered" or proprietary in any way?

OK, so you've pirated all your movies and have them in your precious DivX or WMV format: A) you aren't Apple's target market and B) if you're "L337" enough to steal content you should be with-it enough to figure out how to transcode it to a compatible format.

My Mac *IS* the media hub for my entire home and although I have been purchasing more of my content from iTMS recently a *vast* majority of it is from other sources. My Apple TV makes it very easy and convenient to access it all from my TV.

Don't buy an Apple TV. It's not for you. Big deal, you seem to be taking it as a personal insult. Go buy one of the many products out there that can do everything you want for much, much cheaper.

shigzeo
Mar 25, 2007, 03:11 PM
since it has toslink out, does it forgo a conclusion that it could be plugged into a surround receiver and use 5.1 or so? is it sure that it does not do surround? has anyone with a real surround setup used it? cheers

MauiMac
Mar 25, 2007, 03:15 PM
For $300, I expect more (at least 5.1 audio, ability to buy media through the unit itself...) from the Apple TV. But of course the Apple logo on the unit iteslf costs $100.00... ;)

chronart
Mar 25, 2007, 03:32 PM
I think anything that plays on my iPods should play on :apple: TV. I have purchased dozens of books for my iPod that I listen to in my car, on walks, etc. I am disappointed that Apple has chosen to only support the audiobooks purchased through them on :apple: TV. I never have used by iPods over the years for music, just 10% podcasts and 90% books.

I could certainly rip the Audible.com book files to MP3, but it is less work to just connect my iPod to the living room entertainment system cables. You purchase :apple: TV so your life is easier. Doing these things defeat the purpose of :apple: TV.

Other than that I am content.

Yvan256
Mar 25, 2007, 03:56 PM
[...] a 32 GIG HARD DRIVE?!!! For movies? And TV Shows? Seriously you must be joking. Apple can do better than this. You can BUY 300GB hard drive for under $100 at a consumer rate, surely Apple get something larger than 32GB! [...]

The :apple:TV uses 2.5" drives. Those are much more expensive than 3.5" drives, not to mention the fact that 300GB drives don't even exist in 2.5" size.

Also, keep in mind that hard drive is only a buffer, to allow you to sync content and let you turn your computer off.

GregA
Mar 25, 2007, 04:04 PM
I just downloaded it and streamed it to my :apple: tv from my iMac. One word...awesome! I don't have any HD material and this is the first time my old Samsung 42" Plasma has experienced anything this sweet on its screen! It can handle 1080i. Thanks Multi!What resolution does your old samsung plasma actually present at.

For most old plasmas (and current standard def plasmas), the actual resolution is 480. All plasmas are progressive. They might accept a 1080i signal which they downscale to 480p for their display.

If you're watching a 480p iTunes movie and a 480p TV, but you're using your 1080i input - then you may be losing some quality.
ie: AppleTV scales the 480p to 1080 lines, and then interlaces the signal. The TV receives the interlaced 1080 line signal and downscales it to 480 lines, and deinterlaces it.

Any chance of comparing the quality when you set your AppleTV to your plasma's native resolution? Can you pick a difference?
Thanks
Greg
ps. Same goes for 720p. If your TV is actually 720p maximum (as most plasmas are), then converting up to 1080i which your TV then has to undo may not give the best result!

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 04:14 PM
What resolution does your old samsung plasma actually present at.

For most old plasmas (and current standard def plasmas), the actual resolution is 480. All plasmas are progressive. They might accept a 1080i signal which they downscale to 480p for their display.

If you're watching a 480p iTunes movie and a 480p TV, but you're using your 1080i input - then you may be losing some quality.
ie: AppleTV scales the 480p to 1080 lines, and then interlaces the signal. The TV receives the interlaced 1080 line signal and downscales it to 480 lines, and deinterlaces it.

Any chance of comparing the quality when you set your AppleTV to your plasma's native resolution? Can you pick a difference?
Thanks
Greg
ps. Same goes for 720p. If your TV is actually 720p maximum (as most plasmas are), then converting up to 1080i which your TV then has to undo may not give the best result!

I just tested 720p content, streamed from a G4/933MHz over an 802.11g network, skip-free and the color, clarity and contrast are stellar on my Sony WEGA XBR HDTV CRT (1080i)... CRT's are the best test as flats are generally inferior in terms of contrast, clarity and color.

The 720p output from AppleTV looks as good as any 720p/1080i channels I pick up from my cable provider.

Oh, and I'm just using component video at the moment...

Ladybug
Mar 25, 2007, 04:16 PM
I have a Sony WEGA XBR HDTV (34" CRT) and I have to say, I'm more than impressed with the 720p playback. I had some initial concerns about proper representation of the HD color gamut, but the Spidey trailer looks identical to every other instance of it... broadcast, HD, I'll even say pretty close in perceptible clarity to theatrical projection (taking into account the difference in display size). The color, clarity and contrast are stellar.



I own the same tv as yourself, great to hear how well :apple: TV works on this unit. I have an :apple: TV on order. Thanks for the review. :)

odedia
Mar 25, 2007, 04:16 PM
Bottom line:

This thing can barely do anything that my fifth generation iPod + Universal Dock can't do. Plus, my iPod has 80GB of capacity, comes in a smaller, portable enclosure (take your iTunes library to your friends house to watch a movie!), plays nicely with standard definition TVs, AND it has an S-Video port for the folks without component inputs.

So it doesn't do 720p. So what? Anyone has 720p content from any iTunes store at the moment?

Oded S.

artpease
Mar 25, 2007, 04:18 PM
I disabled the "let iTunes organize files" setting so that I could add movies to iTunes while keeping them on external drives, so I guess iTunes is already doing some reference file, but now I have to manage files manually.

Would making reference movies by myself allow me to let iTunes manage my files but yet have my real movie files on two external drives? How do I make a reference movie? Will iTunes accept file aliases? Will it organize the aliases and not the actual files?

Apple TV behaves similar but not exactly the same as iTunes. Apple TV does NOT recognize .mov files, iTunes does.

You make a reference movie by loading the .mp4 or .m4v file into QuickTime PRO and save as reference movie which creates the .mov file. Then import the .mov into iTunes. I repeat though, Apple TV will not see that .mov file.

But you don't need to do that. You can continue to let iTunes organize files. After it copies the movie where it wants, move it to your external HD and re-point in iTunes if necessary,

gkarris
Mar 25, 2007, 04:38 PM
You need to correct the price of the PS3. It's 60 Gig in capacity and $599.

There is no more $499, 20 Gig model...

outlyer
Mar 25, 2007, 04:42 PM
The only problems I'm finding are software related, and hopefully given feedback, will be fixed in the next firmware revision.

1. Television Episodes

This should behave like it does in FrontRow and on the iPod; if there are multiple seasons, they should be ordered as such and you should be able to specify the sort-order to episode number rather than "most recent." I don't care about watching movies via the unit, but it's ideal for sitcoms,etc. Having 9 seasons of Seinfeld easily tagged and categorized would be killer.

2. Sync priority

I plan to use this for music about 95% of the time, and television/video much less. Shouldn't I be able to prioritize music->photos->television->movies rather than movies first, and so on as is the default?

Other than that, I've found it very nice to use. I've got it running with my Harmony remote and it's elegant, fast and very quiet, which is more than I can say for any other solution I've tried (MCE, XBOX360,etc.)

Yvan256
Mar 25, 2007, 04:53 PM
[...] You can continue to let iTunes organize files. After it copies the movie where it wants, move it to your external HD and re-point in iTunes if necessary,

My Mac mini has a 80GB drive. My movies are on two 250GB external drives. I can't let iTunes consolidate the files, there's not enough room. I'm guessing iTunes needs a way to store files on multiple drives while still letting iTunes manage the files.

surferfromuk
Mar 25, 2007, 04:55 PM
Bottom line:

This thing can barely do anything that my fifth generation iPod + Universal Dock can't do. Plus, my iPod has 80GB of capacity, comes in a smaller, portable enclosure (take your iTunes library to your friends house to watch a movie!), plays nicely with standard definition TVs, AND it has an S-Video port for the folks without component inputs.

So it doesn't do 720p. So what? Anyone has 720p content from any iTunes store at the moment?

Oded S.


Well here is the intro.mov from the box itself...720p!

http://www.mcwiggin.com/AppleTVHacks/movie.htm


The speed this thing is being hacked it's probably going to become the most sought after piece of apple kit ever...

outlyer
Mar 25, 2007, 05:09 PM
Apple TV behaves similar but not exactly the same as iTunes. Apple TV does NOT recognize .mov files, iTunes does.

It recognizes mov files just fine. I just added two trailers, and watched them on the Apple TV and both were mov files (not MP4). The codec is what matters I think.

balamw
Mar 25, 2007, 05:13 PM
I've already posted this elsewhere, but I think it bears repeating:

There are two key omissions from this device that make it less useful than I had hoped.

1) Parental controls. Apple has parental controls everywhere else, why not on the Apple TV? I want to be able to let my kids loose on the device, but can't keep them out of any potentially inappropriate content (Since they are 5 and 3 there's plenty of content in that category.)

2) Subtitles/Closed Captions. Apple is usually very good at providing accessibility. I often watch TV at low volumes or when the kids are making lots of noise, so I usually turn on subtitles/captions just in case. :apple:TV doesn't support captions/subtitles.

All in all, I'm still more positive on it than the MR review and would give it a solid B, and might even make it a B+ after using the thing for a while.

B

Carniphage
Mar 25, 2007, 05:21 PM
sure, 1st why do you need a hard drive?
I have the avellink player...
It has a usb port which allows you to play movies off any usb device.
It has a network jack so I can stream from any computer on my network
It has a dvd player if you want to drop in a DVDR

Does it crash or stutter?
I have had no issues with this...neither has a friend of mine that has the same product.

It is cheaper.
The only codec it really won't play for me is wmv


Is this the perfect solution? no. Is it a better value than the appletv? I think so. So my original statement as to the appletv cannot be a perfect value is correct in my opinion.
The other option on the avellink front is the SRDVD-100U (branded under JVC now)


OK - so you are saying that the Avellink is a better product that Apple TV?
I am having a hard time seeing the betterness.

It has no hard drive. Apple win.
Half of the posts on this group are complaining that a 40GB drive is not big enough - but the Avellink has NO hard drive. Perhaps Apple should have removed this feature?

It has no WiFi - While the AppleTV has 802.11n. Apple Win.

It has a DVD drive. Cool - But I can get a DVD player for $20. Avellink win.

The USB port is a good feature - but the Apple can stream from a server. No win.

The retail price is the same or less? I found it for $299. Perhaps you can find it for less.

It does not appear to support 1080p output. No Win.
Max bit rate for DIVX 1.5mbs - Isn't that 3 times slower than Apple TV? That has to be wrong.

Video output described as "soft" by several commentators. Apple's 720p is supposed to be quite crisp. Apple win.

It does seem to pass audio data straight through to the optical out. I am still confused why the Apple TV can not do this. Avellink win.

The interface seems crude. Apple Win.

All in all this seems Ok. But this is not a clear winner. I trust Apple to refine and improve the product over time. With these small Taiwanese manufacturers anything could happen. Including a revision to the hardware accompanied by abandonment of the older machine.

C.

theheadguy
Mar 25, 2007, 05:25 PM
Glad to see my feelings about even the most basic of cables excluded from the package was validated.

Enough about "passing the cost on to us"... That's such utter BS. Apple is certainly not about being cheap and passing the value to the customer. If they wanted, they could include cables W/O raising the price. Period.

sminman
Mar 25, 2007, 05:55 PM
I don't know how people can say the quality of the Apple TV looks bad.

Here is what the quality looks like on me TV and it is perfect:
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5279.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5276.jpg

Do your movies, photos, and TV shows look like this? Do you guys consider this bad quality?

Frisco
Mar 25, 2007, 06:14 PM
I don't know how people can say the quality of the Apple TV looks bad.

Here is what the quality looks like on me TV and it is perfect:
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5279.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5276.jpg

Do your movies, photos, and TV shows look like this? Do you guys consider this bad quality?

Looks good to me! I will be getting an Apple TV when I get my new TV.

I think Apple TV is going to be good for television manufactures. They must love Apple's decision to only support new TVs ;)

mangis
Mar 25, 2007, 06:35 PM
No one has mentioned the biggest problem: There is no way AT ALL to connect this to an analog TV. WTF.

The biggest waste of space on this machine is the Component connectors. This is OLD technology. Apple should have skipped the component connection in favor of either s-video or composite so those with analog connections could use the damn things. That would leave space for several other interesting connections or ports. Use your imagination.

The Hard Drive? Waste of space. You think a flash memory card would't fit in there? The Hard drive is superfluous at all.

My set-up is very up-to-date. A $4000 TV in Japan with a $1500 bose sound system attached. The TV has only one HDMI-in port, and no other digital input ports whatsoever. This leaves me with no choice. I will have to plug the apple TV into it, then watch DVD's over an analog connection. What will I choose? Not to buy Apple TV.

I want one, but the interface is inadaquate. Unless I can stream a DVD from my computer. Is this possible? NO, because I won't be able to hear the sound over my bose system. Well, I could, but it will be reduced to an analog signal.

2 HDMI ports are standard now, but they weren't when I got my flat screen. And component video? Please. Talk about yesterday. And they never were in any TVs in Asia, and I'm guessing the same fro Europe.

These boxes will not sell well in Japan as they are.

The bose has no Digital input, however it does have a composite input.

The biggest problem here is that there is no analog output on Apple TV. This would make it backward compatible with nearly all systems. Even if analog technology is even older than component connections, the need for two digital outputs is the dumb. Plus the waste of space due tot he size due to the THREE plugs required for component? Only Americans have component connectors.

digitalbiker
Mar 25, 2007, 07:00 PM
What will blow your mind is when I tell you that I streamed this 720p trailer from a 933MHz G4 Quicksilver (Apple's minimum recommendation is a 1GHz G4, as per the :apple:TV manual), over an 802.11g network in an apartment building with steel framing and 10 nearby wireless base stations interfering with the signal and aside from one initial buffering delay it played through without a single skip or jitter.

I have a Sony WEGA XBR HDTV (34" CRT) and I have to say, I'm more than impressed with the 720p playback. I had some initial concerns about proper representation of the HD color gamut, but the Spidey trailer looks identical to every other instance of it... broadcast, HD, I'll even say pretty close in perceptible clarity to theatrical projection (taking into account the difference in display size). The color, clarity and contrast are stellar.

What disappoints me is that at the Apple Stores, their demo units are loaded with low resolution files worse than the 640x480 ones. Add to that the entry-level Bravia LCD TV's they're using in which even the menus look considerably worse than on my XBR (LCD's are considerably inferior to CRT's yet)... and you have a recipe for marketing disaster. If they do not fix this problem soon, they're not going to attract nearly the numbers of users they could if they had one floor demo unit with a kickass display and 720p demo content.

As it stands, I could sell more AppleTV's from my living room than they'll sell in all 4-5 stores in the Minneapolis area. But I guess that's not surprising with regard to retail. If you walk into most retail stores carrying HDTV's, the picture on the floor units is never calibrated and the source is almost never an actual HDTV feed (usually just SD cable in stretch mode).

But I do expect more from Apple Store retail... they've done every product launch pretty well thus far. They're risking blowing it on the most significant product to be released by Apple since the iPod.

Don't you think that Apple is using less than 640x480 content because that is all that they currently have available for purchase from iTunes. Apple doesn't sell 720p content so they don't demo it.

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 07:00 PM
No one has mentioned the biggest problem: There is no way AT ALL to connect this to an analog TV. WTF.

The biggest waste of space on this machine is the Component connectors. This is OLD technology. Apple should have skipped the component connection in favor of either s-video or composite so those with analog connections could use the damn things. That would leave space for several other interesting connections or ports. Use your imagination.

The Hard Drive? Waste of space. You think a flash memory card would't fit in there? The Hard drive is superfluous at all.

My set-up is very up-to-date. A $4000 TV in Japan with a $1500 bose sound system attached. The TV has only one HDMI-in port, and no other digital input ports whatsoever. This leaves me with no choice. I will have to plug the apple TV into it, then watch DVD's over an analog connection. What will I choose? Not to buy Apple TV.

I want one, but the interface is inadaquate. Unless I can stream a DVD from my computer. Is this possible? NO, because I won't be able to hear the sound over my bose system. Well, I could, but it will be reduced to an analog signal.

2 HDMI ports are standard now, but they weren't when I got my flat screen. And component video? Please. Talk about yesterday. And they never were in any TVs in Asia, and I'm guessing the same fro Europe.

These boxes will not sell well in Japan as they are.

The bose has no Digital input, however it does have a composite input.

The biggest problem here is that there is no analog output on Apple TV. This would make it backward compatible with nearly all systems. Even if analog technology is even older than component connections, the need for two digital outputs is the dumb. Plus the waste of space due tot he size due to the THREE plugs required for component? Only Americans have component connectors.

Actually, I have two LCD TVs with Component input but not HDMI. No, they aren't $4000 TVs, they are bargain brands. So I guess I should get stuck with composite?

Also, why does Nintendo make a component input for their Wiis but not an HDMI, if Japan hates HDMI.

The value of the hard disk? If you don't want your computer to need to be on running iTunes. Yes, instead of an expensive flash drive, they went with nice standard cheap laptop drive.

BTW, component isn't digital. It's analog. Much higher quality analog, splitting the signal apart, but it's analog. That's why you'll see some CRT TVs with Component but without HDMI.

arn
Mar 25, 2007, 07:03 PM
The biggest waste of space on this machine is the Component connectors. This is OLD technology. Apple should have skipped the component connection in favor of either s-video or composite so those with analog connections could use the damn things.

S-Video and Composite can't carry a high definition signal.

Component can.

arn

digitalbiker
Mar 25, 2007, 07:06 PM
I don't know how people can say the quality of the Apple TV looks bad.

Here is what the quality looks like on me TV and it is perfect:
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5279.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5276.jpg

Do your movies, photos, and TV shows look like this? Do you guys consider this bad quality?

Quality is relative. If you are used to satellite or cable 720p or 1080i content then the content that is sold over iTunes looks like real crap.

However if you compare it to ntsc broadcast TV it looks perfect.

If you have an HD TV you will be amazed at how addictive the quality can be. I used to think my old standard definition satellite signal was as good as it gets. But now since I have been watcing HD for the past 4 years I can hardly stand to watch the standard def anymore.

sminman
Mar 25, 2007, 07:28 PM
Quality is relative. If you are used to satellite or cable 720p or 1080i content then the content that is sold over iTunes looks like real crap.

However if you compare it to ntsc broadcast TV it looks perfect.

If you have an HD TV you will be amazed at how addictive the quality can be. I used to think my old standard definition satellite signal was as good as it gets. But now since I have been watcing HD for the past 4 years I can hardly stand to watch the standard def anymore.

I completely agree with you on once you watch HD, everything else looks like crap.

The two movies (Forrest Gump & Wedding Crashers) are not movies from iTunes. I ripped these movies from HandBrake and they are superb quality.

I have my Apple TV to display at 1080i and it is crystal clear, almost hard to tell them from HD qaulity clear!

k2k koos
Mar 25, 2007, 07:35 PM
Bah...no surround sound support??? Why then the optical output?

I'll pass on this one.

That is nearly what I'm thinking, I accept the :apple: TV for what it is, and would like to have one, but HD video output, without a decent equivalent audio is plain silly, and a HUGE oversight on Apple's part. Hope they clean up their act pretty quickly, what about movies from iTunes, do they even have surround sound? (Being in the UK, we can't buy any movies from that store yet, apart from some Pixar short movies, and some music video's)

candykane
Mar 25, 2007, 07:39 PM
Apple tv is just over hiped :mad: (looks like the pizza mac)
Any way i've bin streaming my content for 4 years now:cool: so this thing is not realy opening my eye's

Internet dvd player :confused:
Come on if you dont support the formats used xvid divx ect ect what good is it?

300 dollars what if i tell you you could do all this for 50 bucks? :eek:
There is 1 thing 1 wrong with apple Tv its called XBOX (no not the 360)
It can do all the things Apple tv can yes .. and it can do a lot more 2 :)

What this revieuw forget or not tell is that a hacked X box can do all this and more for years now. + loads and loads of people do it .
Oke it has nog hdmi out so what?
moost people have a normal TV . Me I got a nice big wide screen sony tube tv. the picture is so sharp unlike the crapppy lcd screens
Any way it has scart/av like all the other tv's in europe.
It supports all the formats out there on the net . I just look and click download 24 ep 14 dont realy care in what format it is i just stream it from my mac to de box and watch it on my tellie.
Not wires Oke mine has a utp cable but you can fix that , there is stuff to make i wireless like a airport express .:D
Its cheap yep realy cheap xboxes are being dumped all the kiddy's want the new stuff like ps3 or the 360 so you can get them elcheapo :p

Did i tell you a xbox can play dvd's and games and has a 3 1/2 ' hardrive that you can upgrade way cheaper and bigger than the notebook drive in apple tv ?;)

Easy to use
Well once you have in stalled it is easy to use just like apple tv
its is a bit more work to install true there are some great guides there on the net do just have to look for them
But come on only cost 50 bucks :apple: tv cost 300 so for 250 saved think a lot of people will toy a bit

In my eye's :apple: looks great but is not that great.

k2k koos
Mar 25, 2007, 07:41 PM
2 HDMI ports are standard now, but they weren't when I got my flat screen. And component video? Please. Talk about yesterday. And they never were in any TVs in Asia, and I'm guessing the same fro Europe.

These boxes will not sell well in Japan as they are.

The bose has no Digital input, however it does have a composite input.

The biggest problem here is that there is no analog output on Apple TV. This would make it backward compatible with nearly all systems. Even if analog technology is even older than component connections, the need for two digital outputs is the dumb. Plus the waste of space due tot he size due to the THREE plugs required for component? Only Americans have component connectors.

Correct, apart from a few export models, I've not seen any component video on most TV's available in the UK, or mainland europe, having TWO HDMI connectors is more and more the norm, and doesn't cost that much either anymore. Although I still think that 2 is a low qty, considering the size of that connector, nothing stops manufacturers from adding 4. One for the satellite TV box, one for the Apple TV, one for the DVD, and one for whatever else you may have, camcorder? See? Even 4 is no luxury :-)

spicyapple
Mar 25, 2007, 07:42 PM
Uh... you are aware that the original commentary that you're modeling your phrasing after (Slashdot's CmdrTaco on the original iPod: "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.") is so often quoted because it's seen, in hindsight, as having been so laughably missing the mark, right? Because it doesn't seem like that's how you're using it...

I'm poking fun at all the individuals who say they won't buy the AppleTV because it doesn't do 1080p and would rather not even have a very capable 720P device. And those who bitch about no HDMI cable, yet by not including it, Apple was able to hit a low price point, a price they'd still bitch about no less if Apple raised it by $50 to include such a cable.

russellevance
Mar 25, 2007, 07:46 PM
The Photo navigation/lack of thumbnails like on an iPod needs to be fixed.

Why aren't more people complaining about this? If an iPod can do it, then why can't the ATV? Lack of random access to individual photos is kind of a drag.

Same goes for controlling volume with the apple remote, instead of having to switch to the receiver/tv remote.

I hope these features become available via a software update in the near future. I like the fact the Apple TV works well at what it does (for now) and am willing to wait for features to be added by updates.

ericdano
Mar 25, 2007, 07:48 PM
I like the Apple TV. It works great, even over Wireless G. I've noticed that mine runs really hot. Anyone else notice this?

Also, it would be great to see Apple support some sort of idle client to use the CPU power when you aren't using it. Something like Setiathome....

macrumors12345
Mar 25, 2007, 07:51 PM
Despite Apple's inclusion of digital audio output, Apple neglected to include support for surround sound. This is a HUGE oversight for a product wanting to be the DVD player of the Internet age.

This is totally false - Apple TV supports Dolby Pro Logic II (aka "surround sound"). What it does not support (at this time) is Dolby AC-3 (aka "discrete channel surround sound"). It looks like the "HUGE oversight" here is made by the MacRumors review.

macrumors12345
Mar 25, 2007, 07:54 PM
82/100 seems a bit generous, given the 10/20 for features - and the features that are lacking are fairly major.

No surround sound is just unbelievable - how can Apple justify this?

Please read the comments. Surround sound is supported. MacRumors messed up (and still hasn't corrected their mistake).

spicyapple
Mar 25, 2007, 08:00 PM
Please read the comments. Surround sound is supported. MacRumors messed up (and still hasn't corrected their mistake).
Macrumours didn't mess up. Surround sound is not supported on AppleTV because it doesn't have a Pro-Logic II decoder. Or does it? It plays back a stereo signal, it's up to the receiver or TV to decode the 2-channel audio.

Please, your level of technical knowledge is showing.

GregA
Mar 25, 2007, 08:01 PM
This is totally false - Apple TV supports Dolby Pro Logic II (aka "surround sound"). What it does not support (at this time) is Dolby AC-3 (aka "discrete channel surround sound"). It looks like the "HUGE oversight" here is made by the MacRumors review.

Digital surround (discrete 5.1 channels) is something pretty well ALL home theatre setups use. It sounds better than the 4 channels of Dolby Pro Logic 2 which most amplifiers can decode.

Not having digital surround is bad. However, it does have the hardware so we may be in for a surprise software upgrade in the next couple of months. That is my hope.

EricNau
Mar 25, 2007, 08:03 PM
Small market? What about all the iPod owners. Most of whom have 99% of their content ripped or downloaded as mp3's. What about all those people who have DVD collections and have ripped them to .mp4 or H.264 like I have. I'm closing in on half a TB of video in my iTunes library. A vast majority of them are ripped from my DVD collection and are not "encumbered" or proprietary in any way?
Well, considering those are illegal activities...

The main legal use for the Apple TV is to stream iTunes content to a TV, which is only meant for those who buy all of their movies or TV shows from the iTunes Store - which is still a very small market.

OK, so you've pirated all your movies and have them in your precious DivX or WMV format: A) you aren't Apple's target market and B) if you're "L337" enough to steal content you should be with-it enough to figure out how to transcode it to a compatible format.
Technically, ripping your movies to your computer from a DVD is just as illegal as pirating them.

...And for the record, I couldn't care less about either of those formats.

My Mac *IS* the media hub for my entire home and although I have been purchasing more of my content from iTMS recently a *vast* majority of it is from other sources. My Apple TV makes it very easy and convenient to access it all from my TV.

Don't buy an Apple TV. It's not for you. Big deal, you seem to be taking it as a personal insult. Go buy one of the many products out there that can do everything you want for much, much cheaper.
I'm not taking it as a personal insult, I'm being realistic. If I want to watch my movies through the Apple TV and follow the law, my only option is to purchase them from the iTunes Store (even if I already own the DVD).

I really do love the concept, but at this point in time, it's just not very practical.

xnu
Mar 25, 2007, 08:16 PM
I have had the ATV since Friday...
Pros-
1. easier to set up than the 42" Toshiba HDTV it is hooked up to.
2. interface is as simple as it should be, no one in my family had trouble using it. (myself-38, my wife-32, my son-8, my daughter 3 1/2.) I love the remote, really comcast's remote is obscene it has like a thousand buttons... Only problem is when I use the remote my wife's Macbook starts firing up front row. (I have work on that)
3. I have it hardwired to my home network so I can't testify to the wireless capabilities, but it was very fast syncing 26mb of data.
4. Has multiple options for syncing movies and TV show, like the last five downloaded, or unwatched.
5. music and photos are great. Caught my wife playing music through it today and was pleasantly suprised.
6. Playback has been flawless, even the trailers directly streamed. I have a $50 dvd player which barely plays dvds from netflicks, it gets hung about halfway through any movie. (its only 3 months old also.)
7. For the price it really makes me love my TV. I mean, I really only watched a couple of TV shows, football and an occassional movie. Now I really don't mind plunking down a few bucks for some stuff from the iTunes store, before I would just buy something to watch on a plane once in a while.
Cons-
1. Would be great if it were a dvr. But with comcast I already have one that works well, and I have an eyetv on a mac. Would love it if eyetv worked with it but I would think the quality of my eyetv would not be that great (SD)
2. It would be better if you could purchase directly through it.
3. Needs more content on iTunes, with better quality. I am sure blue-ray or HD disks would be better quality, but I am not running out to buy one either, not even with a game system. I already have an Xbox, PS2 and Wii and really need another game system like a tax audit.
4. 33mb of space is puny, but managed correctly probably isn't a problem. more storage would be a benefit.
5. As an Apple product it is solid, but not crazy brilliant as we all are accustomed.

Overall, I have to say I really love it, not just from a fanboy, it is just a solid product that I really never thought I would enjoy so much. Its usefullness is really amazing for $299 (+19.95 for a cable) it really brought all my media into another room of my house. Instead of watching dvd's and other things on my wife's Macbook or my Macbook Pro, or sitting in my office which I usually do, I finally get to use my widescreen tv.

MaximusAurelius
Mar 25, 2007, 08:20 PM
As much as I am a long-time Apple supporter, I have to say this is probably one of the most half-assed products I've seen Apple introduce in a long time.

No surround-sound support, no built-in support for older sets, a 32 GIG HARD DRIVE?!!! For movies? And TV Shows? Seriously you must be joking. Apple can do better than this. You can BUY 300GB hard drive for under $100 at a consumer rate, surely Apple get something larger than 32GB! With the exception of whatever processor they're using, I could assemble a much more marketable machine for less at a consumer price tag.

As much as I love Apple, they're going to have to come out with a new model pretty quickly to redeem me on this thing.

I totally side with Stowaway. And I am too a major Apple supporter.
To me, the Hard Drive isn't necessarily the main issue, especially because the AppleTV product is to merely hub a stream, and also because a comparable device, such as the Xbox360, sports a small 20GB Hard Drive and still is a shiner.

I strongly feel Apple TV is overpriced for its value and lacking feature (worse than a score of 10 out of 20, IMHO) in comparison to other devices. If Apple TV receives a more positive value due to some "tweakings" to get a standard 480i that does NOT come included with the product's advertised features, then the Xbox 360 downfalls will be accordingly reduced to minimum, so to speak.

If you have both a mac and an Xbox360, a software called "Connect360" will be your ultimate iLife mediator for $20 to receive full HD movies, all of your iPhoto libraries and iTunes playlists and songs (w/out iTune movies) on your full 1080p TV the way they are on your mac. You are even able to copy these media files onto your Xbox360. You can browse and play your iTunes music by song, artist, album, genre or playlist. As you add and remove content to/from your iTunes library, it keeps your Xbox360 up to date. You can even listen to your iTunes songs while playing a game on your Xbox 360. These are the following formats accepted on the 360:
Music: MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF and Apple Lossless.
Photos: JPEG, RAW, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF.
Video streaming, currently only WMV+WMA files are supported (but how many macs don't have Flip4Mac installed today? besides, AppleTV restricts video formats just as much as the 360 does, so they virtually balance each other off).

To stream from a mac to an Xbox360 is as easy as:
1) Connect your xbox360 to an airport express / its own wireless card
2) Click 'Connect' through system preferences (and boom, you're on)

While AppleTV is truly absolutely zero configuration, the Xbox360 isn't that much of a lesser friendly device.

Needless to mention how the Xbox360 is a phenomenal next-generation console with excellent gaming libraries and ground breaking exclusive titles, let alone play DVDs (or HD DVDs through a separated player) with the ability to actually download and play 720p HD movies and TV shows. I understand the goal of Apple is to keep the focus of the media center on the mac, but if we only follow through such a narrow angle, then AppleTV is possibly a decent purchase.

I think that for $100 more (ok, $120 more if you include the mac software), the Xbox360 is a far more valuable streaming device for your HD / widescreen Tv. You are able to play DVDs, there is an impressive quality and quantity of download content for games and media - all on top of your streamed iLife. The Xbox360 goes natively for ALL TV formats, regardless of their format of standard, widescreen or HD, so you do NOT have to replace your TV to a widescreen one. Additionally, you are able to view 1080p with certain TVs through PC input, which isn't rare on most TVs, although I would consider the lack of an HDMI as a negligible downfall, since new HDTVs effectively blur the analog / digital quality difference.

If you consider buying a 360 as a "switch to the dark side", then you're lost.

Apple has to either drop the price or provide double the features on AppleTV.

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 08:27 PM
I have had the ATV since Friday...
Only problem is when I use the remote my wife's Macbook starts firing up front row. (I have work on that)

If you don't want to ever use front row with the MacBook, go to System Preferences, Security. There's a checkbox to disable remote control infrared receiver.

If you want to use frontrow with the MacBook with the remote that came with the laptop, there's a way to "pair" that remote up with the computer. Search apple support for pair remote.

longofest
Mar 25, 2007, 08:31 PM
This is totally false - Apple TV supports Dolby Pro Logic II (aka "surround sound"). What it does not support (at this time) is Dolby AC-3 (aka "discrete channel surround sound"). It looks like the "HUGE oversight" here is made by the MacRumors review.

Dolby Pro Logic II (http://www.dolby.com/consumer/technology/prologic_II.html) takes a stereo signal and splits it into 5 channels. It is done in the Amplifier, not in the Apple TV. Pro Logic II is a hack job compared to discrete 5.1 surround.

In the end, Apple TV outputs a stereo signal, so the review is 100% correct. When DVD players and other media players on the market output true surround sound, the Apple TV's stereo output is still a huge omission, and I stand by my review.

MUCKYFINGERS
Mar 25, 2007, 08:32 PM
How can you call the Xbox 360 and PS3 competing products?

Those machines are gaming consoles w/the extras as a plus. Apple TV has a completely different audience.

GregA
Mar 25, 2007, 08:39 PM
Dolby Pro Logic II (http://www.dolby.com/consumer/technology/prologic_II.html) takes a stereo signal and splits it into 5 channels. It is done in the Amplifier, not in the Apple TV. While Pro Logic II is a hack job compared to discrete 5.1 surround.
Note that dolby pro logic has a single rear channel (ie same sound from back left and back right). Dolby digital not only explicitly defines what sounds go to each speaker, it has different back-left and back-right.

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 08:44 PM
What resolution does your old samsung plasma actually present at.

Any chance of comparing the quality when you set your AppleTV to your plasma's native resolution? Can you pick a difference?
Thanks
Greg
ps. Same goes for 720p. If your TV is actually 720p maximum (as most plasmas are), then converting up to 1080i which your TV then has to undo may not give the best result!

My TV can display 480p/576p/720p/1080i. Not sure if it 720p max then converting up to 1080i. I can tell you that I see no difference in terms of sharpness and picture resolution/size from 720p to 1080i. The Spiderman 3 trailer looks absolutely the same in both resolution settings set in :apple: tv

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 08:59 PM
Don't you think that Apple is using less than 640x480 content because that is all that they currently have available for purchase from iTunes. Apple doesn't sell 720p content so they don't demo it.

They could have at least used 640x480 content because that IS what they're selling on iTunes Store currently. But instead, they used content at resolutions lower than that.

My bigger problem however was the usage of inferior Bravia LCD displays. Sony may have a partnership and ate the cost while getting distribution support for their TV episodes (launched right along with the AppleTV) but instead of sending three crappy Bravia's they could have set up one SXRD XBR that wouldn't make the content being displayed look worse than it is.

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 09:16 PM
I like the Apple TV. It works great, even over Wireless G. I've noticed that mine runs really hot. Anyone else notice this?

I noticed it and I've read a few complaints about not being able to stack it because of the temperature issues but I have thought about it and here's my response...

There are numerous audiovisual components that aren't pure solid-state and do have mechanical or other parts (e.g. tubes in an analog amplifier). No sensible audiophile (and by "sensible" I don't mean the ones that read all the snake-oil magazines like Stereophile, buying $300 cables, etc.) stacks their components like that. Each heat-generating component should be shelved individually with plenty of open air space to radiate heat off the device.

So I noticed the AppleTV casing is hot... and I began to think about it. There's actually some ingenuity involved.

The exterior casing which seems to be made from aluminum gets hot. Notice that the drive, which is not a solid state device and is the primary source of heat, is harnessed to the metal casing. This isn't by accident. The unit has no fans... so it can only cool itself by bleeding off heat by passive conduction or convection. I'll get back to the fans in a second...

The drive being harnessed to the metal casing transfers the heat to the exterior casing. The exterior casing seems to be made of a good deal of thick aluminum. Aluminum is very efficient at losing heat, rather than retaining it. This makes it an excellent exterior heatsink. The result is, without an internal fan to accelerate cooling the unit loses heat to the outside of the casing very quickly through the aluminum. Apple used aluminum in the Powerbook/Macbook Pro and G5/Mac Pro for the same reason... Those devices have fans but they run slower using less power because of the efficient design.

Here you have a device that more or less runs silent, and the fact that it feels hot on the outside means that it's losing heat to the outside, rather than keeping it entirely contained (which would certainly kill the drive).

Now, why did they design it this way? Well, as it's designed to be near your home entertainment system, running silent is a huge advantage from a design standpoint... to mitigate the ambient noise of your viewing/listening area.

To me, that's just brilliant design. Also, much of the heat radiates through the top. Note that the iMac was redesigned to vent air straight up... Heat rises, and many fan schemes have been used to port the air out all kinds of illogical locations to accomodate aesthetically pleasing designs... but Apple managed to keep it aesthetically pleasing AND use the most energy efficient method of releasing heat by not trying to fight basic physics.

Pure genius.

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 09:19 PM
The biggest waste of space on this machine is the Component connectors. This is OLD technology. Apple should have skipped the component connection in favor of either s-video or composite so those with analog connections could use the damn things. That would leave space for several other interesting connections or ports. Use your imagination. LMAO! Component connector is OLD technology? What's s-video and composite then? Seems the only OLD technology is your TV. ROTFLMAO

GregA
Mar 25, 2007, 09:19 PM
My TV can display 480p/576p/720p/1080i. Not sure if it 720p max then converting up to 1080i. I can tell you that I see no difference in terms of sharpness and picture resolution/size from 720p to 1080i. The Spiderman 3 trailer looks absolutely the same in both resolution settings set in :apple: tvBeing an old plasma, a HD must have cost a bundle.

I'm still not sure you've got what you think... but you may well! My parents got a plasma with the house they bought and I thought it was 1080i... since that's what it said on the "compatible input list" (or similar). Unfortunately, in very fine print which I saw later, it said that it only displayed those at 480. I also learned that all Plasmas are progressive (they simply can't do interlaced, so they have to convert). It seems that these days, the true HD displays are more easily identified in comparison to displays that simply can accept a HD signal (but actually downconvert it).

Anyway, good to hear if you've got an old, but-still-HD, plasma. I would assume it'd be 768lines - it certainly is not 1080i which it would have to convert to either 1080p (very expensive even today), 768p (getting cheaper now), or 480p (standard def).

ps. The important thing, of course, is how good it looks to you.

aristobrat
Mar 25, 2007, 09:31 PM
Now, why did they design it this way? Well, as it's designed to be near your home entertainment system, running silent is a huge advantage from a design standpoint... to mitigate the ambient noise of your viewing/listening area.
Maybe they learned from reading the TiVo forums. The fan noise from the TiVo (which, in my opinion, is pretty low) really irritates some people, esp. those who spent a lot of money soundproofing their "media room". The AppleTV, compared to a TiVo, is dead slient. :)

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 09:31 PM
Dolby Pro Logic II (http://www.dolby.com/consumer/technology/prologic_II.html) takes a stereo signal and splits it into 5 channels. It is done in the Amplifier, not in the Apple TV. Pro Logic II is a hack job compared to discrete 5.1 surround.

In the end, Apple TV outputs a stereo signal, so the review is 100% correct. When DVD players and other media players on the market output true surround sound, the Apple TV's stereo output is still a huge omission, and I stand by my review.

I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again for clarity here...

The AppleTV does have the hardware to support AC-3. I'm guessing they'll issue software updates to enable it once they have multichannel AAC content that can be transcoded to AC-3.

The fundamental difference between Dolby Digital and Dolby Surround is not that Dolby ProLogic II decoders take a stereo signal and split it arbitrarily... I'm sorry to pick nits, but your explanation could be misconstrued to mean that there only exists a stereo signal but that isn't exactly true.

Dolby Surround is an analog quadrature. That is, the surround channel information really does exist, and it's muxed into the left and right channels just like digital AC-3 bitstreams are muxed on level. The difference is that digital encoding systems use discrete values rather than continuous values used in an analog encoding system.

Dolby Surround works like this... The surround channels are phase-shifted by 90 degrees and matrix encoded into the front left and right channels in a stereo mix. When a Dolby Digital decoder or Dolby ProLogic II decoder receives the signal, using a process similar to a fourier transform where it strips the phase-shifted signal(s) out of the left and right channels and sends the phase-shifted signal to the surround channels while the in-phase signal stays with the front left and right.

It is a true multichannel format, but encoded in an analog method using continuous values.

Other differences include the lack of metadata parameters encoded into Dolby Digital bitstreams, such as Dynamic Range Control and dialogue normalization, but when properly implemented, Dolby Surround analog has tremendous capabilities as one of the best analog perceptual coding systems ever developed and its dynamic range is just 2-3dB narrower than Dolby Digital.

If you want to hear a recording that pushes the limits of Dolby Surround, download some of Isao Tomita's works from iTunes Music Store. The analog matrix encoded surround is still there. Tomita fiddled with surround in its early days and pushes its dynamic range and channelization to limits you wouldn't imagine possible from an analog surround format.

Avatar74
Mar 25, 2007, 09:43 PM
LMAO! Component connector is OLD technology? What's s-video and composite then? Seems the only OLD technology is your TV. ROTFLMAO

He has it backwards partially because I think he may be thinking of SCART/RGB Component Video. Component Video when commonly discussed in terms of NTSC/ATSC applications is not RGB/SCART but Y/Cb/Cr Component Video. This is a newer standard for Component Video proliferating in the US, featured on some late model SDTVs and standard on most EDTVs and all HDTVs.

Actually he has a few things wrong. S-video IS a component video signal with chrominance and luminance values sent over separate wires in the cable.

With Y/Pb/Pr Component Video, the chrominance channels are subsampled often at a fraction of the rate of the luminance channel. Common color subsampling includes 4:4:4 (uncompressed HD), 4:2:2 (D9), 4:2:0 (PAL DV, and HDV consumer HD), 4:1:1 (DV25; DVCPro, DVCAM, MinDV).

Composite video doesn't separate chrominance and luminance values, and neither Composite nor S-Video can support HD.

digitalbiker
Mar 25, 2007, 10:00 PM
They could have at least used 640x480 content because that IS what they're selling on iTunes Store currently. But instead, they used content at resolutions lower than that.


This brings up an question I have with the Apple store. How do you know what quality of movie you are downloading? I don't see specs anywhere on any of the movies or tv shows.

Weren't some of these at much lower resolution for the ipod? I didn't think that they had even brought them all up to 640x480 yet but I don't see anywhere how you find out.

When they start introducing 720p movies are they going to provide multiple download choices or how is that going to work exactly?

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 10:16 PM
They could have at least used 640x480 content because that IS what they're selling on iTunes Store currently. But instead, they used content at resolutions lower than that.

They should also download some HD content from Quicktime for their demos.

polishmacuser
Mar 25, 2007, 10:24 PM
i can only say this for the apple tv is that its useless for movies. Apple better put hd content or there is really no point to apple tv. thats all i have to say:mad:

aristobrat
Mar 25, 2007, 10:37 PM
I don't know. My roommate bought The Prestige from the iTunes Store the other night and it looked just as good on the AppleTV->50" plasma as a regular DVD does on the same TV.

mangis
Mar 25, 2007, 10:48 PM
After taking al closer look at my TV in Japan, I found that it doesn't have HDMI at all.

I stand by my idea that the component connectors on apple TV take up too much space. On TVs in Japan, there is a connector they call a D1, which is component video wrapped up in a nice tight plug about the size of a firewire plug. It's the same quality as component, and the guy at the TV shop said it is component.

My Bose system has the same crappy 3 jack connector as the apple TV, but you can buy a cable with the RGB component connectors (that look like RCA jacks) on one end, but the newer (standard in Japan) smaller component connector on the other. There are several ways to make apple TV way smaller that were neglected. This is one. Having the 3 required plugs just for composite video is a complete waste of space when a smaller plug would have provided the same quality. Since you have to buy it seperately anyway, it wouldn't change the price of Apple TV. It would have made it better.

While I'm at it, might as well complain that a USB 2.0 port is on it instead ofa firewire port. Apple sold us for years on firewire before abandoning those who supported them in favor of the USB of the evil empire. My new Nano won't even let me connect to my mac with an older firewire.

imacdaddy
Mar 25, 2007, 10:49 PM
Just downloaded the new 118MB 3 minute SpiderMan3 Trailer3 (http://spiderman3oncomcast.com/) exclusively hosted by Comcast and find a fantasticly high quality example of 24fps 1280 by 720P that exceeds AppleTV's maximum allowable bit rate by a mere 454 kbps (5453.58 kbps). Here's an example of how Apple has ignored what bit rates Hollywood is using to post their movie trailers. I don't see why the appleTV maximum bit rate couldn't have been 6Mbps instead of 5 do you?

Hi Multi, what's AppleTV's maximum allowable video/audio playback settings? For kicks, I just downloaded a 720p HD clip from Quickime HD Gallery (Animusic - Resonant Chamber") but cannot be seen from the AppleTV. Total bit rate on that clip is 8793 kbps.

The Spiderman trailer had a bit rate of 5448 kbps and is viewable on AppleTV. Also the bit rate on the AppleTV's intro movie is 6024 kbps. http://www.mcwiggin.com/AppleTVHacks/Intro.mov I added this file to iTunes and AppleTV was able to play it of course.

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 11:03 PM
After taking al closer look at my TV in Japan, I found that it doesn't have HDMI at all.

I stand by my idea that the component connectors on apple TV take up too much space. On TVs in Japan, there is a connector they call a D1, which is component video wrapped up in a nice tight plug about the size of a firewire plug. It's the same quality as component, and the guy at the TV shop said it is component.

My Bose system has the same crappy 3 jack connector as the apple TV, but you can buy a cable with the RGB component connectors (that look like RCA jacks) on one end, but the newer (standard in Japan) smaller component connector on the other. There are several ways to make apple TV way smaller that were neglected. This is one. Having the 3 required plugs just for composite video is a complete waste of space when a smaller plug would have provided the same quality. Since you have to buy it seperately anyway, it wouldn't change the price of Apple TV. It would have made it better.

While I'm at it, might as well complain that a USB 2.0 port is on it instead ofa firewire port. Apple sold us for years on firewire before abandoning those who supported them in favor of the USB of the evil empire. My new Nano won't even let me connect to my mac with an older firewire.

Minor difference...at least in the US, you can find the component cables anywhere. In fact, you can use audio left/audio right/composite video cables as the component video cable.

I have no idea where I'd find that cable you describe.

The USB port is not for customer use, so why does it matter?

spicyapple
Mar 25, 2007, 11:08 PM
Minor difference...at least in the US, you can find the component cables anywhere. In fact, you can use audio left/audio right/composite video cables as the component video cable.

That's what I use as component cables. I guess other people are willing to pay a 500% premium for specially colour coded RCA jacks. Not me. :)

billyboy
Mar 25, 2007, 11:17 PM
It may not be a blockbuster, but it will improve with age. The software update option is a great bonus. I have a multi codec dvd player but wouldnt know where to start to update codecs. Presumably Apple TV updating is likely to be a doddle?

mangis
Mar 25, 2007, 11:17 PM
As I mentioned before, the real problem with Apple TV is that there is no good backward compatibility for video.

An S-video or composite port would solved the problem.

If you only have one component input connector on your TV you now have 3 items fighting for the connection: A DVD player, nintendo or other game, and Apple TV.

For me it really comes down to the DVD player vs Apple TV.

Do I want to watch my DVDs in full quality, or see my photos, etc on Apple TV?

Here, Apple doesn't give you a choice. If you buy their box, it has to use the component input port, which means connecting the DVD player via composite or S. This is going backwards.

I would like to add an Apple TV to my set-up, but not at the expense of watching DVDs in full quality. Remember that this would also mean that you'd lose the sound quality of surround sound as well.

I would like to have both. Keep my DVD and surround sound at full quality, and just add the apple TV box. Impossible unless I buy a new TV.

I should like to have the choice in which one I'd connect to the older composite port. Without the choice we see apple acting very much like that company in Redmond. What a shame.

The other choice is not to buy it. I'm sure many will elect this one.

natejohnstone@g
Mar 25, 2007, 11:24 PM
Okay, so after reading all about it I've decided NOT to get an AppleTV. Instead, I'd rather just get a new Mac as part of my media center because I can watch ALL my content (ripped dvds, Divx, etc.) easily on my TV and not just iTunes stuff. I have most of my dvds backed up on a hard drive (to whoever said earlier that ripping your own dvds on your computer is ilegal...no it's not, the US Supreme Court said so).

Here's my question:
The MacRumors review lists a Mac Mini as an alternative to AppleTV, but can a MacMini really output HD quality? How about a MacBook / MBPro? I want to download HD movies/tv (whether iTunes, Bittorrent, Netflix whatever) instead of buying a BluRay player for now, but want to be able to actualy view it in HD. It seems that AppleTV + iTunes will work for 720p (when iTunes has it...why they didn't coincide that with the AppleTV release I can't understand), but will a MacMini or other Mac output actual HD content via DVI or not?
Thanks!

GadgetDon
Mar 25, 2007, 11:24 PM
I would like to have both. Keep my DVD and surround sound at full quality, and just add the apple TV box. Impossible unless I buy a new TV.

Or, you can get a Component switcher.

natejohnstone@g
Mar 25, 2007, 11:25 PM
As I mentioned before, the real problem with Apple TV is that there is no good backward compatibility for video.

An S-video or composite port would solved the problem.

If you only have one component input connector on your TV you now have 3 items fighting for the connection: A DVD player, nintendo or other game, and Apple TV.

For me it really comes down to the DVD player vs Apple TV.

Do I want to watch my DVDs in full quality, or see my photos, etc on Apple TV?

Here, Apple doesn't give you a choice. If you buy their box, it has to use the component input port, which means connecting the DVD player via composite or S. This is going backwards.

I would like to add an Apple TV to my set-up, but not at the expense of watching DVDs in full quality. Remember that this would also mean that you'd lose the sound quality of surround sound as well.

I would like to have both. Keep my DVD and surround sound at full quality, and just add the apple TV box. Impossible unless I buy a new TV.

I should like to have the choice in which one I'd connect to the older composite port. Without the choice we see apple acting very much like that company in Redmond. What a shame.

The other choice is not to buy it. I'm sure many will elect this one.


You can buy port switchers that will imput several components and output just one, which plugs into your tv. This will allow you to plug in all your devices at the same time

balamw
Mar 25, 2007, 11:44 PM
You can buy port switchers that will imput several components and output just one, which plugs into your tv.

It should be pointed out that this is not a problem created by or unique to Apple's product.

TVs always seem to have fewer ports of a particular type than you need. IMHO, the solution is not to downgrade the signal to 480i, but to add a switcher as natejohnstone suggests, or even to use an audio receiver as a switcher, which I did in the past.

My currrent TV has 2 HDMI 1 component, 1 VGA, 3 composite/S-Video and now has devices connected to all of them. :eek:

B

Forced Perfect
Mar 26, 2007, 12:23 AM
I've read just about every thing I can find on Apple TVs (hacking and otherwise) and I'm totally sold on it. Hell, even if it ends up not working properly on my wife's SD Sony (it has component inputs but no wide screen squishing) I'll still get it.

There are a few things I really want Apple to enable (although I have no doubt they will all be hacked "on" in a few weeks). All of these can be enabled by Apple with a simple software update.

1: Surround sound. The Apple TV apparently has one of the best surround decoder chips you can get on the motherboard but it's disabled. True that most of what Apple sells isn't surround, but if they really want people to start taking advantage of other sources of getting videos (I don't mean the bad stuff like ripping DVDs... Okay, I do mean that a little) it's something that should be enabled. And promoted to sell more units.

2: Enabling the USB port for external hard drives (as a minimum) for additional storage. DVD players would be really sweet. Granted it's not the most elegent way to get a DVD player, but it doesn't hurt anything at all by giving you the option to connect a USB DVD drive into it. (Yes I am aware that storage isn't a huge deal on the Apple TV due to its ability to stream very well from 802.11g and up.)

3: A mode to output a artificially squished wide screen display to SD TVs without a 16:9 mode. Meaning show it as how you'd watch a wide screen DVD on a 4:3 TV by adding black bars so any TV with component out can use it. I'm not sure if it can be added solely in software though. This might not be possible without a different board design. But if they can do it in software why not? I mean if they tell people all you need is component input you can use it without a problem it will get a lot more people buying them instead of saying "I'm not sure because it may not work with my older TV with component and no wide screen mode" - like my TV.

4: I really hope they don't start adding protection from people altering the OS like they're doing now (installing new codecs, etc). It'll only hurt sales and cost money to implement. Who cares if someone does it? As long as they've bought it they already got their money. I couldn't buy movies/TV shows from the iTMS (Canada) in the first place anyway, so they aren't losing anything from me.

5: Possibly incorporate the Airport Express into it using software. Why not make it act just like it? It already streams music to it and most people will connect it to their home theater since more and more peoples' sound systems are simply what they're using on their TV. Sharing a printer and acting as a router (or even just a repeater for your network)? OS X can already do it so why not just enable it? Unless there's a performance problem with enabling those services on a "slow-ish" computer I don't see why they don't give you the option and tell people about it.

Feel free to correct any errors or suggest some other stuff you'd like to see on it.

PS Did you know that FrontRow on the Apple TV is named differently in the system files? It's called BackRow. :P

EricNau
Mar 26, 2007, 12:35 AM
4: I really hope they don't start adding protection from people altering the OS like they're doing now (installing new codecs, etc). It'll only hurt sales and cost money to implement. Who cares if someone does it? As long as they've bought it they already got their money.
If people started altering the OS, it will undoubtedly cause many problems and end up costing Apple far more in support costs and lost sales. ...Apple has always been about simplicity, and things that "just work."

balamw
Mar 26, 2007, 12:39 AM
If people started altering the OS, it will undoubtedly cause many problems and end up costing Apple far more in support costs and lost sales. ...Apple has always been about simplicity, and things that "just work."

In general, those who choose to hack their TiVo/Xbox/:apple:TV know what they're getting into. Support is the first thing to go.

B

Forced Perfect
Mar 26, 2007, 01:00 AM
In general, those who choose to hack their TiVo/Xbox/:apple:TV know what they're getting into. Support is the first thing to go.

B


Absolutely true. If I buy an Apple TV and alter the OS, install a second drive or whatever and screw it up. That's my own fault. I know that I've done something on it they don't intend it for. So why would I call tech support and complain? It makes no sense at all. It's like calling Dell and saying "Hey, how do I download porn and illegal movies on my computer?" or "I downloaded a pirated version of Photoshop and it had a virus". If idiots start messing with their Apple TVs and call Apple because of it... well that's just laughable. I know the first thing I do when I get mine is making a full image of the 40 GB sold with it so if I do something to it I can correct it. (Also, maybe in the future Apple could cripple it with a software update and we'll have a way to revert? Who knows. I'm happy to spare a few gigs for a backup.)

balamw
Mar 26, 2007, 01:32 AM
I know the first thing I do when I get mine is making a full image of the 40 GB sold with it so if I do something to it I can correct it.

For my TiVos, I just put the original drive on a shelf. :p

B

Forced Perfect
Mar 26, 2007, 02:18 AM
For my TiVos, I just put the original drive on a shelf. :p

B

Of course. I'll probably do both that and the disk image (so I can examine it without having my Apple TV pulled apart.) :P

Grokgod
Mar 26, 2007, 03:18 AM
I bought mine today. Set it up and then stood there trying to figure out why I bought it.

I play Blue ray movies, Hd is amazing in quality. Love the additional extras on DVD's, like Directors commentaries etc.

Why would I get the movie via iTunes? To lose the extras? To lose picture quality? That would be stupid.

Next _ Are there some Podcasts I like, maybe but stretched to this screen size, I wouldnt like them anymore.

Next- Streaming Music? yawn, i have a real stereo for that, doesnt everyone?, isnt that why Apple made the iTunes or Airtunes part of the WiFi ?

Next- Movie trailers, those were kinda cool, streamed from the internet to my huge HD screen. Wish there was more of that kind of stuff.
This should be an internet interface! More of a direct itunes style, straight to all the previews that they have on the Quicktime website.
There seems to be many more than what is listed in ATV than what exists on the Apple site.

So that doesnt really work fully.

I guess that I could Sync all my photos and watch them on the HDTV, not sure if that is worth 300 clams!

I don't see a real product here and kinda feel like there is more coming or I just got fleeced because I trust Apple and buy all their stuff with almost blind faith. Ha, does that make me a loser with too much money?

I think that the killer app of this product is what will scare the hell out of BLockBuster.

Video Rental Online! DO it! Steal millions from BlockBuster and save Gas and the earth from the green house effect by stopping all the travel to blockbuster for video rentals and returning.

I think that the quality from iTunes can be as good as a average DVD rental. This could be a fantastic idea, rent your movie right away through iTunes.

Damn , I wonder who will rent all the empty stores when BlockBuster is gone. And why hasnt it been done already? Could there be a forced deal with BB , not to do this? What the hold up?

Imagine the stock prices on Apple would skyrocket!

Carniphage
Mar 26, 2007, 05:56 AM
Yes you can put the .mov reference movie into iTunes, but Apple TV doesn't see them so it doesn't stream them from iTunes or sync them to its HD.


As I understand it.... (I have not tried this personally)
If the reference is to a network path (which the Apple TV can access)

AND

The content is a format which the Apple TV can play, then the Apple TV *will* play it.

Carniphage
Mar 26, 2007, 06:03 AM
can a MacMini really output HD quality?

Yes, but not a G4 MacMini.
G4s struggle with 720p - never mind more. The Mac Mini - outclasses the AppleTV - and at twice the price - so it should.

C.

Scarpad
Mar 26, 2007, 06:54 AM
I originally Ordered one on Street date, but then cancelled and decided to wait. I ordered one again last night and it should be here by the end of the week. I decided that it fit the niche I'm looking to fill. I'll be able to move my Mac Mini out of the Living room back into my office, it provides a simple and elegent interface for watching the TV Shows I've ripped to Itunes, and I'm hoping that Between Itunes and Other Sources I can significantly Downgrade my Cable Setup, DVR and go this route. I've seen enough progress on it in two days that I know after a few months there's gonna be all sorts of Mods and tweaks you can do. I Have a 32" Sammy LCD in the Living Room, that will be the perfect Size I think for Apple TV, I would put it on my 65" Projection in the basement HT, but for what it will be used for it should do OK.

dante@sisna.com
Mar 26, 2007, 07:47 AM
Just downloaded the new 118MB 3 minute SpiderMan3 Trailer3 (http://spiderman3oncomcast.com/) exclusively hosted by Comcast and find a fantasticly high quality example of 24fps 1280 by 720P that exceeds AppleTV's maximum allowable bit rate by a mere 454 kbps (5453.58 kbps). Here's an example of how Apple has ignored what bit rates Hollywood is using to post their movie trailers. I don't see why the appleTV maximum bit rate couldn't have been 6Mbps instead of 5 do you?

I recommend you all download and look at this full screen. It will blow your mind. Gotta be among the worlds best movie trailers of all time. Absolutely amazing. :eek: :)

I'm able to watch it on my directly connected Samsung 40" LN-S4095 HDTV and the quality is really outstanding. Looks like HDTV. Never seen a better quality trailer encode ever.


Wow that trailer is amazing. Nice recommendation.

Great way to start the work week.:D

Thanks Multimedia, yet again,

Dante

randomlinh
Mar 26, 2007, 09:09 AM
I don't know how people can say the quality of the Apple TV looks bad.

Here is what the quality looks like on me TV and it is perfect:
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5279.jpg
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j98/sminman/IMG_5276.jpg

Do your movies, photos, and TV shows look like this? Do you guys consider this bad quality?

I'm sorry, but you can't really tell anything from that...

as for me, I have no HD in my home other than what might get put on a computer. I'm used to analog stuff. The main complaint is just severe blockiness (and yes, I stood quite a ways back for normal viewing distances for a TV). I understand all we get is 480p from iTS, but it just seemed to me it could have done a better job at scaling.

and how is your wii not overheating? Mine gets pretty warm on the left (when the unit is standing). wouldn't be able to leave it flush like that

Avatar74
Mar 26, 2007, 09:10 AM
Yes, but not a G4 MacMini.
G4s struggle with 720p - never mind more. The Mac Mini - outclasses the AppleTV - and at twice the price - so it should.

C.

And here's the rub... for half the price of a Mac Mini, I stream 720p from my G4/933MHz tower to the AppleTV without skips or jitter. Since I already have about 450GB of total storage connected to the G4/933, I just spent half the cost of a Mac Mini to squeeze more usefulness out of my existing hardware.

cdninnyc
Mar 26, 2007, 09:36 AM
I've searched around and read tons of posts but can't seem to figure this out. I have a tv in my office that I loop dvds on (just for show, not for actual viewing). I'd love to be able to do this from a computer or network server rather than dvds, and have no problem setting up my videos in the format that AppleTV requires. My question is, will this device allow continuous playing of media files ? Ie. is there a repeat or shuffle of sorts for video files ? What I don't want to do is to have to play with a menu every 1 hr.

Yvan256
Mar 26, 2007, 09:44 AM
[...] If you only have one component input connector on your TV you now have 3 items fighting for the connection: A DVD player, nintendo or other game, and Apple TV. [...]

Or you could simply use a component selector:
http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=component+selector&btnG=Search

edit: I see natejohnstone@g already replied

GadgetDon
Mar 26, 2007, 09:49 AM
I've searched around and read tons of posts but can't seem to figure this out. I have a tv in my office that I loop dvds on (just for show, not for actual viewing). I'd love to be able to do this from a computer or network server rather than dvds, and have no problem setting up my videos in the format that AppleTV requires. My question is, will this device allow continuous playing of media files ? Ie. is there a repeat or shuffle of sorts for video files ? What I don't want to do is to have to play with a menu every 1 hr.

Unfortunately, no. In fact (I just tried and it doesn't work) you can't even make a playlist of videos

longofest
Mar 26, 2007, 10:06 AM
I did some more research on the surround capabilities of the Apple TV (or lack thereof).

According to this Apple document (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304277#faq26), Apple would have you believe that the Apple TV does indeed support surround sound.

Movies include audio which is encoded using Dolby Surround which delivers multichannel audio when played using Dolby Pro Logic systems.

This is pretty much along the lines of what other members of the forums have said. However, there was a reason why I put what I put in the review. The surround capabilities STINK compared to true, discrete surround sound.

The way Apple is achieving surround sound is by encoding the movies so that they sound good on a 2 speaker system (aka your computer or iPod), but can also be processed by a Dolby Pro Logic decoder and have surround sound made. This isn't nearly as good as what comes on DVD's, which is often Dolby Digital or some sort of discrete 5 channel mix.

Put simply, I tested the Apple TV using a surround-sound setup and a Dolby II compatible amplifier, and didn't get very good results.

This all being said, the fact that they are purposefully encoding movies using Dolby Surround may be grounds to gain an after-the-fact feature point, but still not on the same level as being able to process discrete surround.

skinnylegs
Mar 26, 2007, 10:20 AM
Grokgod......

I'm 'kinda curious. The Apple TV is a device that streams/syncs iTunes content from your host computer to your widescreen TV.....it doesn't claim to be anything else or do anything else.

Why would I get the movie via iTunes?
Next- Streaming Music? yawn
I guess that I could Sync all my photos and watch them on the HDTV, not sure if that is worth 300 clams

The obvious question is why you bought an :apple: TV. :rolleyes: What did you think you were buying if you didn't want any of these features?

Streaming Music? yawn, i have a real stereo for that, doesnt everyoneHuh? A stereo? I prefer to listen to music I want to hear and playlists that I create. I'm an old guy so I have no problem saying that stereo's are so 70's.....

Damn , I wonder who will rent all the empty stores when BlockBuster is gone. And why hasnt it been done already?www.netflix.com ;)

I really *didn't* wake up this morning thinking, "Gee....I think I'm 'gonna rip someone a new *%$# on the forums this morming." However, when I read posts such as yours I wonder if people take the time to check out *what* they are buying *before* they buy it.

Have a nice day? :D

k2k koos
Mar 26, 2007, 10:36 AM
Even with the info now available, I am still not excited about the audio capabilities. Dolby surround is a technology from the VCR days, this is the digital age, and from a company that is usually up front in this area, it is dissapointing to say the least. Please Apple, give us AC3, Dolby Digital Surround, and THX support please!

Maccus Aurelius
Mar 26, 2007, 10:52 AM
Lots of potential and my gf's television supports it, but I think I'll stick with my modest video iPod+S-video+Klipsch sound system hooked into my plain jane 36" CRT set. It's by no means top-flight, but it sounds great to me.

Now I do plan to upgrade sets one of these days, so the ATV will be even more appealing to me. Perhaps it's cuz I'm buying parts for a busted iPod and saving up for a new mac desktop that I don't really care to spend the $300 :o

Avatar74
Mar 26, 2007, 10:57 AM
I'm sorry, but you can't really tell anything from that...

as for me, I have no HD in my home other than what might get put on a computer. I'm used to analog stuff. The main complaint is just severe blockiness (and yes, I stood quite a ways back for normal viewing distances for a TV). I understand all we get is 480p from iTS, but it just seemed to me it could have done a better job at scaling.

Two things...

1. 480p is 720 x 480, not 640 x 480.

2. Why is the file content from iTunes the main complaint against AppleTV? Fundamentally, the device supports 1280 x 720 HD, and I've tested it and I know that the quality of the 720p streaming is excellent.

So, aside from the content availability issue, in principle this is a technically sufficient device for 720p, which definitely makes it sufficient for 480p.

Also, by any chance were you viewing the AppleTV at home or in an Apple Store? The floor demo units have shipped with demo files smaller than 640 x 480 for some ungodly reason.

I can tell you that the 720p output looks stunning. Hell, I streamed it from a G4/933 (less than the base system they recommend) over a WEP-ENCRYPTED 802.11g (yes, g) network, and no jitter or skips.

The EDTV and/or HDTV content will come... If you remember the iPod had launched two years before the iTunes Music Store was even up. Apple didn't launch this thing with 720p capability in revision one just so they could continue delivering 640x480 content. Note that the 640x480 content was introduced right around the time Apple intro'd 640x480 iPods... My guess is they're quietly working out the kinks so they can roll it out without a hitch.

Avatar74
Mar 26, 2007, 11:01 AM
Even with the info now available, I am still not excited about the audio capabilities. Dolby surround is a technology from the VCR days, this is the digital age, and from a company that is usually up front in this area, it is dissapointing to say the least. Please Apple, give us AC3, Dolby Digital Surround, and THX support please!

AC-3 is Dolby Digital. And THX is not a format, it's a set of engineering standards... and if AppleTV's were part of the THX program they would cost two to three times as much just to pay for THX's "Seal of approval" when they could easily meet the criteria and not be part of the program (like Yamaha).

The hardware is in the AppleTV to support Dolby Digital. It's just a matter of publishing content to their datacenters that contains multichannel AAC to transcode to AC-3 internally in the AppleTV. Other than that, just some software updates to the AppleTV unit and iTunes.

uNext
Mar 26, 2007, 11:03 AM
I bought mine today. Set it up and then stood there trying to figure out why I bought it.

I play Blue ray movies, Hd is amazing in quality. Love the additional extras on DVD's, like Directors commentaries etc.

Why would I get the movie via iTunes? To lose the extras? To lose picture quality? That would be stupid.

Next _ Are there some Podcasts I like, maybe but stretched to this screen size, I wouldnt like them anymore.

Next- Streaming Music? yawn, i have a real stereo for that, doesnt everyone?, isnt that why Apple made the iTunes or Airtunes part of the WiFi ?

Next- Movie trailers, those were kinda cool, streamed from the internet to my huge HD screen. Wish there was more of that kind of stuff.
This should be an internet interface! More of a direct itunes style, straight to all the previews that they have on the Quicktime website.
There seems to be many more than what is listed in ATV than what exists on the Apple site.

So that doesnt really work fully.

I guess that I could Sync all my photos and watch them on the HDTV, not sure if that is worth 300 clams!

I don't see a real product here and kinda feel like there is more coming or I just got fleeced because I trust Apple and buy all their stuff with almost blind faith. Ha, does that make me a loser with too much money?

I think that the killer app of this product is what will scare the hell out of BLockBuster.

Video Rental Online! DO it! Steal millions from BlockBuster and save Gas and the earth from the green house effect by stopping all the travel to blockbuster for video rentals and returning.

I think that the quality from iTunes can be as good as a average DVD rental. This could be a fantastic idea, rent your movie right away through iTunes.

Damn , I wonder who will rent all the empty stores when BlockBuster is gone. And why hasnt it been done already? Could there be a forced deal with BB , not to do this? What the hold up?

Imagine the stock prices on Apple would skyrocket!



I see great minds think alike.

Maccus Aurelius
Mar 26, 2007, 11:04 AM
Is it possible to rip content into AC3 encoding to take advantage of it now, or is the DVD-decrypting software just not up to snuff at the moment? I'd like to look around and see if I can actually produce this sort of stuff myself if ever I did decide to purchase an ATV. *applies noob sticker to shirt*

I checked out the ATV at the apple store this weekend. I see lots of potential in this product, and so far is one of the few items I've seen that is easy to set up and is guaranteed fully to work with my mac. I may pick it up just because the hardware itself may not need any changes whatsoever.

pagansoul
Mar 26, 2007, 11:08 AM
Now that it's been hacked and you can change the HD to 120GB from the current it seems like a better deal. I'm waiting for Apple to increase the HD themselves. I have no time to pull things apart, void their warrenty and risk screwing it up.

pilotError
Mar 26, 2007, 11:24 AM
Does anyone think this thing was rushed to market?

There have been some issues (which I assume will be corrected), such as the inability to organize the video / tv shows.

The surround sound issue is kind of a big deal to anyone who invested in a home theater setup.

Aside from all that, I haven't seen anything from Apple besides their weak in-store advertising.

Seems like their using the Mac community as guinea pigs to polish the old apple TV before doing any media blitz to the general public.

The free media advertising is nice, but I haven't seen any commercials showing off the Apple TV.

Seems to me like there's something bigger being planned, or this was just a rushed product. Have they bitten off more than they could chew? (OK, sorry for the stupid puns).

Maccus Aurelius
Mar 26, 2007, 11:38 AM
It's hard to say for me. I think Apple wanted to keep it simple but wanted to give out a more limited package for now. What I'm glad for is the fact that all of the major updates do not require a change in hardware. The ATV is pretty much ready to go on about everything since it DOES do surround (but is currently disabled) and has a fast draft n WiFi connection. I agree though, this seems somewhat like beta testing, but if you're aware of what it can do right now then this shouldn't be a problem. The bright side is that all of the changes will most likely be software, not hardware, so at least they'd still have the ATV to see all of the revisions.

The video organization is still a problem, since every video ripped off of DVD's is stuffed into the movies folder in iTunes. I can't seem to find a way to put television shows in the tv playlist, and I hate having to shuffle through my movies for television shows.

GadgetDon
Mar 26, 2007, 11:50 AM
The video organization is still a problem, since every video ripped off of DVD's is stuffed into the movies folder in iTunes. I can't seem to find a way to put television shows in the tv playlist, and I hate having to shuffle through my movies for television shows.

Do a "Get Info" on the items in question, switch to the Video tab, and change the popup to TV Show. That has it put the videos under TV show instead of movies.

Hmmm...you could hack together some organization by calling your movies "TV Shows" with the shows being "Horror" "Romance" "Drama" etc.

surferfromuk
Mar 26, 2007, 11:56 AM
Well, this shall be my final thoughts on the matter ...

The Thing is, it's very easy to stand in the sidelines and cast opinions on what is needed in an unknown market - it's a very different thing meeting those 'unknown' expectations especially when your 'creating' a new market that has hitherto been largely unsuccessfully pitched for.

Really it is often as safe to put out a good simple working product and then find out who is buying it and what else they want.

The DLink Streamers were previously and literally 'the best of a bad lot' - so much so that I wouldn't even pay £50 for one on ebay since even they have been savagely lambasted for their basic technical failings and are iccky to use.

So on that score for Apple to ship an elegant product of such tech complexity that actually WORKS as reliably and as simply as your microwave, toaster and TV set is a great accomplishment.

Secondly, it would have been very easy to over cook the pudding and make it all things to all men which often requires an awful lot of second guessing and as we've seen in the case of 'over specced mp3' players often only appeals to a niche market.

Well, seemingly hackers have got 'what they want' from it ie a way of making it deliciously uber-teky, 'ordinary TV watching folks who like a simple life' have go what they want from it...so really it's just a few silly little things that need clearing up...

I consider it an amazingly sweet piece of H/W & S/W integration - and I think if we stood back and re-appraised it most of us would do too. It is just as I've said a 'teeny tad' too expensive to make it a 'what the hell' kind of purchase. The more I think about it it is very nearly 'the iPod Formula' all over again.

It's become what is known on QVC as a 'considered' purchase'...I think it'd be far more prudent if Apple could find a way of dislodging it from that 'category' to a 'must have'...but I have the sneaking feeling that Gen 2 will be exactly that!!...all the lessons learned and applied to create another Apple world class 21st century winner!.

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 01:04 PM
We're going to see AppleTV in almost every car in 2 years.

brutus4
Mar 26, 2007, 01:05 PM
my apple tv gets unbelievably hot! so hot it could burn your hand. since there is no off switch are you just supposed to unplug it each time you are not using it? has anyone else encountered the same problems? any suggestions. it rocks though!

skinnylegs
Mar 26, 2007, 01:14 PM
my apple tv gets unbelievably hot! so hot it could burn your hand. since there is no off switch are you just supposed to unplug it each time you are not using it? has anyone else encountered the same problems? any suggestions. it rocks though!Press and hold the center button on the remote to turn it on/off.

skinnylegs
Mar 26, 2007, 01:15 PM
We're going to see AppleTV in almost every car in 2 years.Please explain.....

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 01:39 PM
my apple tv gets unbelievably hot! so hot it could burn your hand. since there is no off switch are you just supposed to unplug it each time you are not using it? has anyone else encountered the same problems? any suggestions. it rocks though!

Since the top face is a radiator, perhaps someone will make a third party "Apple TV topper" which is a yet more effective radiator with some asthetic to it.

Rocketman

aine
Mar 26, 2007, 01:45 PM
You do not list TiVo as a "competitor" to this device. Ignoring the DVR abilities of TiVo, TiVo is in fact a competitor.

With TiVo, you can:

1) purchase movies online (Amazon unbox) and watch them directly on TiVo.
2) view photos from your PC
3) stream music from your PC
4) stream MPEG videos from your PC
5) access video content from the internet (without PC)

Clearly, there is a lot of similarity between TiVo and AppleTV. The fact that TiVo is also a DVR is almost beside the point for the purposes of this comparison.

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 01:46 PM
Please explain.....

It has a very simple interface which can be operated by any person in a car. It does music, photos, podcasts and video. Drivers need the audio and passengers need the remaining capabilities. When you pull into your driveway or carport or even work lot, it synchs with your designated computer(s) and does it's thing. It is a natural. It is small, capable, and I suspect that a power brick for a 12V DC car electrical system would be sufficiently smaller it might even get an internal battery!

Almost all cars have good speakers. Most have video displays (necessary for front row). Most of those displays are at least "better than a video iPod." Wifi means it can have a non-wired connection to those displays and speakers and even your installed AM/FM-tuner/XM/Sirius/CD/DVD/cassette/8-track :)

I want one in my flying car.

Rocketman

janstett
Mar 26, 2007, 02:00 PM
Funny how the Netgear device is NOT Mac Compatible, but in their illustration, every computer in the house is a Mac:


From my viewpoint, the problem is more that the Mac (nee Apple) is not embracing the UPnP standard. In any case, we know those emo artist types of course would use a Mac in their illustrations.

In all seriousness, I do begrudge Apple just a little bit for not embracing the industry standard UPnP and instead continuing to embrace its own proprietary Bonjour/Rendesvous technology.

And by the way, there are UPnP servers for the Mac, which will allow the Netgear devices and any other UPnP client to work.

brutus4
Mar 26, 2007, 02:04 PM
Press and hold the center button on the remote to turn it on/off.

cool, thanks...

Ino
Mar 26, 2007, 02:07 PM
Press and hold the center button on the remote to turn it on/off.

Even though I've used this method to turn the :apple: TV "off" overnight, it was still hot when I checked in the morning. I've resorted to unplugging the power for now...

janstett
Mar 26, 2007, 02:14 PM
Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you? I agree that it's unfortunate that it's not included, but seeing as though it doesn't play MPEG2 (obviously a conscious choice rather than an oversight), there's no reason to support surround sound at the moment--you can't pipe DVDs to it unmodified. If you want to watch lots of DVDs without getting up, get a DVD changer.

That's a lame excuse. First, I'm fairly sure many online movie trailers are in 5.1 AC3; next, if you want to put all your DVDs into a computer-based media sever, you want MPEG-2 and AC3 support; finally, you can make your own "lower quality" rips using handbrake (which, if I recall, let's you preserve the AC3 track inside the MP4 container).

The worst part is that, if the source contains AC3, the Apple TV doesn't have to do any work, just pass the bitstream as-is over the optical output. They only have to work to downmix it to 2 channel stereo on the analog outputs.

janstett
Mar 26, 2007, 02:19 PM
Also, as long as we're talking honestly here, can we be honest? I think it's safe to say that those who are screaming about lack of file compatibility (movies and music not purchased via ITMS) are more than likely pissed off because they can't watch or listen to their pirated stuff via :apple: TV . DivX <for instance>? Are you kidding me? Who has a collection of DivX movies? I'll tell you who......people who "share" stuff via BT. :rolleyes:

Great review!

Utter and complete nonsense! I have somewhere around 300 DVDs. It has long been a dream of mine to have them all ripped in Divx format (with AC3) and sitting on a file server for my perusal. Am I a pirate?

You know, the same thing the iPod did for music (allowing you to store your own CDs, legally, on a small portable device).

Typical Apple snobbery, if something doesn't meet your needs, it must be something shady and illegal.

milo
Mar 26, 2007, 02:22 PM
"Everyone!" That is, everyone willing to convert their entire collections to a proprietary format (QT) or buy movies under the most restrictive DRM regime ever concieved.


Did you miss that people figured out how to hack support for xvid and other codecs in the first DAY it was released? And way to ignore DVD ripping. But I guess with "the most restrictive DRM regime ever concieved" I shouldn't be surprised, eh?

Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you?

Who says surround has to be AC3? Many HD quicktime trailers have AAC surround sound. Apple could definitely support that if they wanted to, and there's no reason DVD's couldn't be ripped to QT/surround AAC files, or convert other vids with surround to that format.

This is a crisis and Steve needs to get kicking some butt right now...

It's a crisis only if it doesn't sell well. People complained that the original ipod release was a "crisis" and it was inferior to other mp3 players. So when will we get an idea how this is selling?

value 10/10?

completely biased. how can a product with such obvious shortcomings be a perfect value?
...
when I am able to purchase hardware that does all this and more for a significantly lower price, there is no way the apple tv is a perfect value.

So it's not a good value because you can imagine vaporware that will ship at some point that will be a better value. I assume the reason it's a 10 right now is because you can't buy anything else with those features at that price point. Is there a $299 alternative that does everything the appleTV does?

aristobrat
Mar 26, 2007, 02:23 PM
Utter and complete nonsense! I have somewhere around 300 DVDs. It has long been a dream of mine to have them all ripped in Divx format (with AC3) and sitting on a file server for my perusal. Am I a pirate?

You know, the same thing the iPod did for music (allowing you to store your own CDs, legally, on a small portable device).

Typical Apple snobbery, if something doesn't meet your needs, it must be something shady and illegal.
isn't ripping your DVDs technically illegal since the program you'd use to unencrypt your DVDs was reverse-engineered?

digitalbiker
Mar 26, 2007, 02:39 PM
isn't ripping your DVDs technically illegal since the program you'd use to unencrypt your DVDs was reverse-engineered?

Yes, but the supreme court recently ruled that it is legal and proper for customers to make archival copies of digital video, audio, software, and data media for personal use.

Hence the problem with DRM software and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which prohibit the creation of software which would achieve a personal use copy.

There are so many issues related to Digital Copyright Laws that are going to have to be worked out in the near future that you'll need a lawyer to turn on your TV set.

As far as the industry is concerned, they are not going to be wasting money tracking down and prosecuting individuals for making individual use copies of DVD's. They will however go after those who profit at the expense of the copyright holder.

firewire2001
Mar 26, 2007, 02:41 PM
i might have actually read this except it was written extremely poorly

milo
Mar 26, 2007, 03:03 PM
sure, 1st why do you need a hard drive?
I have the avellink player...
It has a usb port which allows you to play movies off any usb device.
It has a network jack so I can stream from any computer on my network
It has a dvd player if you want to drop in a DVDR

Does it do wireless streaming?

This is totally false - Apple TV supports Dolby Pro Logic II (aka "surround sound"). What it does not support (at this time) is Dolby AC-3 (aka "discrete channel surround sound"). It looks like the "HUGE oversight" here is made by the MacRumors review.

Sure, technically it supports "surround sound" although the format it supports is years (decades?) out of date. For a box designed for HDTVs it IS a huge oversight (although I bet they can fix it with a software update).

It is a true multichannel format, but encoded in an analog method using continuous values.

True, but surround matrixed into stereo has far worse separation and imaging than discrete surround. You simply can't get the same imaging with pro logic.

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 03:10 PM
Yes, but the supreme court recently ruled that it is legal and proper for customers to make archival copies of digital video, audio, software, and data media for personal use.

Hence the problem with DRM software and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which prohibit the creation of software which would achieve a personal use copy.
Actually, breaking DRM has nothing to do with personal copying. You can happily duplicate a DVD without using deCSS--you can even store that file as an .iso and watch it on your computer. The DRM used by DVDs is not at issue, nor was ripping declared either legal or proper (ripping is neither illegal nor legal) by the decision. The majority opinion simply reiterated that personal copying still had legal uses and clarified the more difficult context that comes as a result of recent digital developments. Mostly it warns providers against creating too many hoops or trying to push too much farther.

There are so many issues related to Digital Copyright Laws that are going to have to be worked out in the near future that you'll need a lawyer to turn on your TV set.
Unsubstantiated fearmongering. Anyone who simply watches TV, uses a commercial DVR product, or buys media for its intended use will encounter no problems. The difficulty lies at the periphery, as it always has. When people go out to seek additional tools to use their content in ways not supported "out of the box" is where you run into trouble--some of those tools are legal, but many are not. It is currently difficult for most people to tell the difference.

i might have actually read this except it was written extremely poorly
Says the poster with a split verb phrase and no punctuation. It's no beautiful piece of prose, but I'd say it's as intelligible as just about anything else on the Internet.

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 03:22 PM
Who says surround has to be AC3? Many HD quicktime trailers have AAC surround sound. Apple could definitely support that if they wanted to, and there's no reason DVD's couldn't be ripped to QT/surround AAC files, or convert other vids with surround to that format.
Who says? Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, Harman/Kardon, Yamaha, Onkyo, and all the other receiver manufacturers. Quicktime surround is useless in the living room. Why should anyone support AAC surround sound? The AppleTV is for the living room. Your home theater can't just play any willy-nilly surround codec. They support AC3 (Dolby) and DTS surround modes, and that's it.
That's a lame excuse. First, I'm fairly sure many online movie trailers are in 5.1 AC3; next, if you want to put all your DVDs into a computer-based media sever, you want MPEG-2 and AC3 support;
No--I haven't seen any of the general consumption trailers online with AC3 audio (I'm not saying they don't exist, but please provide a link if you think they do). You're right that you would want MPEG2 and AC3 support if you wanted to rip your DVD collection. Apple consciously removed those from the AppleTV--they don't want to encourage DVD ripping, because to do so would involve breaking CSS, and the content providers which Apple needs to make the AppleTV a hit would not allow Apple to provide an easy path to accomplish this.
The worst part is that, if the source contains AC3, the Apple TV doesn't have to do any work, just pass the bitstream as-is over the optical output. They only have to work to downmix it to 2 channel stereo on the analog outputs.
It's not the work that's an issue. It's the fact that there is no content to use it. The AppleTV hardware does support AC3 passthrough and full surround output. But where can you get AC3 content? You can't, unless you create it yourself from DVDs, which they cannot encourage if they want to provide movie downloads from the big studios.

If Apple starts selling surround-encoded movies through iTunes, expect a software update that day enabling AC3 passthrough. Until then, it stays off.

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 03:31 PM
The difficulty lies at the periphery, as it always has. When people go out to seek additional tools to use their content in ways not supported "out of the box" is where you run into trouble--some of those tools are legal, but many are not. It is currently difficult for most people to tell the difference.


A tool "capable of violating copyright" is entirely different from a "user violating a copyright with that tool".

Either a violation occurs or it does not. A tool capable of such violation is not a violation of law. It is a violation of DRM licensing to which the tool is NOT subject.

The ONLY violation of either the license or the law occurs when someone resells or otherwise commercially misuses it (displays an image at a commercial venue).

Short of that anyhing goes. Let me cite my facts:

""
18 USC 107

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...tle=17&sec=107

Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use


Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair
use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in
copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that
section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use),
scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In
determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case
is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include -
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether
such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit
educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in
relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or
value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding
of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the
above factors.
""

Please pardon me for relying on actual cited fact.

Rocketman

janstett
Mar 26, 2007, 03:31 PM
No one has mentioned the biggest problem: There is no way AT ALL to connect this to an analog TV. WTF.

Technically component is analog. But your point is valid -- no svid, no composite.


The biggest waste of space on this machine is the Component connectors. This is OLD technology.

Not that old. People who bought HDTVs more than 3-5 years ago don't have HDMI or DVI connectors, and need component. That's your reward for being a $15,000 early adopter, I guess.

My set-up is very up-to-date. A $4000 TV in Japan with a $1500 bose sound system attached. The TV has only one HDMI-in port, and no other digital input ports whatsoever. This leaves me with no choice. I will have to plug the apple TV into it, then watch DVD's over an analog connection. What will I choose? Not to buy Apple TV.


You can buy HDMI switchers. Cheap mechanical ones go for under $50.

2 HDMI ports are standard now, but they weren't when I got my flat screen. And component video? Please. Talk about yesterday. And they never were in any TVs in Asia, and I'm guessing the same fro Europe.

In Europe they use the SCART interface (but I don't think that does HD so they use component). In Japan there was a small interface that looks similar to HDMI but can easily be adapted to component.

The bose has no Digital input, however it does have a composite input.

Talk about OLD technology, not to mention the way Bose destroys the integrity of the original signal with their DSP. You shouldn't be rallying on about quality, integrity, and cutting-edge technology if you have a Bose system.


The biggest problem here is that there is no analog output on Apple TV. This would make it backward compatible with nearly all systems.

You just got done ranting about how component is an ancient technology, and then you pine for ancient composite output? Do you want an RF modulator too?


Even if analog technology is even older than component connections, the need for two digital outputs is the dumb. Plus the waste of space due tot he size due to the THREE plugs required for component? Only Americans have component connectors.

Component is an ANALOG connection. And I'm pretty sure the Europeans use it too. But I agree, Apple could have come up with some sort of break-out box.

Maccus Aurelius
Mar 26, 2007, 03:42 PM
"Funny how the Netgear device is NOT Mac Compatible, but in their illustration, every computer in the house is a Mac:"

How is netgear not supported with Macs? My WGT624 super G works wonders. I didn't even require an installation disc (which was useless anyway since it was Windows only). All I did was go through the setup wizard on FireFox and presto.

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 03:52 PM
A tool "capable of violating copyright" is entirely different from a "user violating a copyright with that tool".
I see you're not a fan of syncope. As noted in the beginning, ("ripping is itself neither legal nor illegal"), the use of tools is the issue. For brevity's sake, that phrase was not repeated throughout. However, the software in question (to break encryption on DVDs) is both created illegally and distributed illegally within the United States. Furthermore, is illegal to use such a tool, regardless of commercial value ("(a) IN GENERAL- Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain--" - 17 USC s. 1204). 'Private financial gain' has been upheld in court to refer to the evasion of payment for services otherwise rendered--search Westlaw for satellite/cable splicing cases if you don't believe that.

Either a violation occurs or it does not. A tool capable of such violation is not a violation of law. It is a violation of DRM licensing to which the tool is NOT subject.
The tool is not subject to DRM licensing precisely because it is created in an illegal fashion--that's like saying pirated books aren't subject to the copyright notice because that page was removed. All devices and software which are legally empowered to handle the decryption of DRM are licensed to do so; anything not licensed is in violation of that license.

The existence of such a tool is (1)illegal to create and (2)illegal to distribute.

17 USC 1201
"`(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter."

" `(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--

`(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;"

The ONLY violation of either the license or the law occurs when someone resells or otherwise commercially misuses it (displays an image at a commercial venue).
No.
Please pardon me for relying on actual cited fact.
You're pardoned for building a straw man and relying on partial facts. In particular, "nonprofit educational" is a compound (note the lack of "or"), which has absolutely nothing to do with private, home use. To get into such definitions would be off-topic, but suffice it to say that academic exceptions do not cover people in their living rooms.

GregA
Mar 26, 2007, 04:30 PM
Does anyone think this thing was rushed to market?

There have been some issues (which I assume will be corrected), such as the inability to organize the video / tv shows.

The surround sound issue is kind of a big deal to anyone who invested in a home theater setup. I kind of agree.

Perhaps Apple will replace this OS with OSX-Lite soon (ie when Leopard is released).

Apple is creating a great new OS (Leopard) with CoreAnimation which will be very useful for a new type of interaction (especially the iPhone and iTV). They are also creating a lite version of this, for use on non-computers, which has no finder (or carbon) & requires less hard disk space & probably less Ram etc. It may even be more real-time focussed.

I think Apple has released the AppleTV because the market is ready for it and so is their hardware. They've created a temporary OS for the machine which will work great until June/July when the replacement OS will be ready.

I'm not sure what the new OSX-Lite will be capable of - but I'm hoping mainly for a greater focus on our needs in the living room, an interesting interface upgrade while addressing the needs you mention (including AC3 support and/or transcoding of AAC to AC3).

Just thoughts
ps. If AppleTV now uses a hybrid OSX10.4.7 (+ extra features) and is to be replaced by OSX Lite, it may be that any apps 3rd parties want to provide (eg EyeTV plugins?) would cease to work in June/July...

candykane
Mar 26, 2007, 04:49 PM
LoL read the revieuw Atv does not support any thing only the things you buy from the Istore and you mp3's thats it

mov no
divx no
xvid no
wmf no
jpeg foto's no
Apple is not going to upgrade the software to support this. Thats why Hackers are working on getting codecx suppored. they hacked it so that Divx wil work but you have to take the drive out of the systeem hook its to you mac copy the file and put it back in !

If you live outside the US like me in Europe well the Istore only sells music and short movies from pixar . :S So its basicly one hell of an expensive airport express!

Machead III
Mar 26, 2007, 04:53 PM
This is one of the first really average Apple products in a long time. They didn't have to go all out on features, but as it is, it's practically sparse. Factor in the price and you've got an extremely lousy sell there.

My 2 cents: forget the form factor, forget the current price range. Have the same features with a better remote, ability to buy from iTMS via. the box and build it around a 1 terabyte HD.

That's the set top box to replace all set top boxes.



Still, it's not like I care, Apple sgtill haven't gotten around to putting video content on any store outside the US - I hope they realise the Apple TV will sell sweet FA outside of America then. Morons.

milo
Mar 26, 2007, 05:11 PM
LoL read the revieuw Atv does not support any thing only the things you buy from the Istore and you mp3's thats it

mov no
divx no
xvid no
wmf no
jpeg foto's no
Apple is not going to upgrade the software to support this. Thats why Hackers are working on getting codecx suppored. they hacked it so that Divx wil work but you have to take the drive out of the systeem hook its to you mac copy the file and put it back in !


MOV is already supported, you just need the right codec and can convert to it if you need it (and there are batch scripts online for it already). DIVX was hacked within the first DAY, and I'll bet they have an install without removing the drive soon. You can also rip your DVDs as well, iTunes store is just the tip of the iceberg.

And JPEG is supported, it's listed in the specs: http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 05:22 PM
I see you're not a fan of syncope.

("(a) IN GENERAL- Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain--" - 17 USC s. 1204). 'Private financial gain' has been upheld in court to refer to the evasion of payment for services otherwise rendered-

All devices and software which are legally empowered to handle the decryption of DRM are licensed to do so; anything not licensed is in violation of that license.

The existence of such a tool is (1)illegal to create and (2)illegal to distribute.

17 USC 1201
"`(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter."

" `(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that--

`(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;"


No.

You're pardoned for building a straw man and relying on partial facts. In particular, "nonprofit educational" is a compound (note the lack of "or"), which has absolutely nothing to do with private, home use. To get into such definitions would be off-topic, but suffice it to say that academic exceptions do not cover people in their living rooms.

I see the "conflict within the law". So I will be radical and cite your own cite to support my case :)

"IN GENERAL- Any person who violates section 1201 or 1202 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain--"

I state and can argue successfully in court, that repurposing content which I have properly purchased (ie a CD or a DVD) to display it for my own personal use (ie myself, my family, my friends) does not constitute a "commercial purpose" or a "private financial gain". Anyhing I can legally do with a CD I should be able to do with a computer image file of a CD.

Here are some examples:

1. Show it in my residence to whomever I want.
2. Loan the artifact (the disc, the rights to use the disc, the right to use the original computer backup artifact) to another person.
3. Sell the original and/or any backup and all associated rights to another person.

What I cannot do in this way:
1. Show it at a theatre or a (bar) business.
2. Loan it to two or more people at once (ie torrant).
3. Sell the same purchased copy to 2 or more people.
4. Be China and duplicate it tens of thousands of times just "because you can".

I have this "takeaway" for you. The GENERAL paragraph colors and determines the "interpretation" of all following terms. They do not each standalone literally.

Law is subject to interpretation, hence the existance of (greedy & abusive) lawyers, and judges. And badly concluded results.

Rocketman

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 05:33 PM
17 USC 1201
"`(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
"

I omitted the portion that is against the argument in this post :)

A person can "hack" a commercial product. They can modify, destroy, disassemble. or combine it with other products. It limits or lowers the liability of the offering company. But a person has a right to privacy that superceeds the right of the commercial entity to "protect its technology" . I cannot cite a law, rule, or regulation at tis time but there is "case law" supporting this fact and theory.

Again it is related to "internal use". Once a person commercializes or distributes it, copyright, trademark, patent, and licensing all applies.

Rocketman

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 06:09 PM
A person can "hack" a commercial product. They can modify, destroy, disassemble. or combine it with other products. It limits or lowers the liability of the offering company.
Certainly. But what does that have to do with your issue? Unless you write the decryption software yourself, you're violating the law at whatever juncture breaks said encryption. That is obviously not your argument thus far. If you want to write your own software, have at it, but keep it to yourself.
But a person has a right to privacy that superceeds the right of the commercial entity to "protect its technology" . I cannot cite a law, rule, or regulation at tis time but there is "case law" supporting this fact and theory.
"Privacy" as a juridical concept does not extend to trump the commission of a crime, a breach of license, or a civil tort. The right to privacy protects you only insofar as to limit the ways in which you may be observed committing such an act, and the limits on which evidence may be collected. There is no case law which says that a content provider, having made an explicit agreement with a customer notifying them of DRM and attendant restrictions, cannot enforce those provisions. If you're arguing that DRM is an invasion of privacy, that's a different matter (and one in which, again, there is no case law supporting your conclusion).

I state and can argue successfully in court, that repurposing content which I have properly purchased (ie a CD or a DVD) to display it for my own personal use (ie myself, my family, my friends) does not constitute a "commercial purpose" or a "private financial gain".
No, you couldn't. There is no case law which supports your conclusion. Cite it if you'd like it considered. It very much constitutes a personal financial gain if you are transferring content in a way inconsistent with its license (to avoid payment for additional copies or different formats [e.g. license of the standard DVD does not mean that you may download the Blu-Ray]). If you agree that you are legally downloading a digital file to view on authorized computers, you gain financially when you break protections to enable watching it on two systems (where you normally would be required to purchase two copies). This is established in any number of cases in the category previously given. Further, if the valid stipulation exists (viz. standard form contract) that you are accepting specific limitations, you are breaching contract concomitant with any DMCA violations.

Arguing what you "should be able" to do is contrary to the controlling facts of the license. If I lease an office, I feel I "should" be able to paint it whatever damn color I want, because I have previously been able to repaint offices. But the lease agreement I signed said that I can't, and that's how the cookie crumbles, and the only way around it is to prove that the provision itself is unlawful. The license holds prima facie until overruled, and it has not been overruled. QED, your argument has not yet succeeded in any court.

Anyhing I can legally do with a CD I should be able to do with a computer image file of a CD.
Precisely. And you can, even with DVDs. You do not need to "rip" a DVD to accomplish those same uses (an .iso image, preserving CSS, works exactly the same way, except that network media players don't support the format).
3. Sell the original and/or any backup and all associated rights to another person.
No, not "or." Just "and."

odedia
Mar 26, 2007, 06:12 PM
I'd like to know something:

Do I HAVE to have a WI-FI network to use the AppleTV?

Isn't there a way to make some kind of a Computer-to-Computer connection between the AppleTV and my iMac?

In other words, do I have to buy an Airport Extreme as well? :)

Oded S.

GregA
Mar 26, 2007, 06:18 PM
Do I HAVE to have a WI-FI network to use the AppleTV?
No. You can plug a regular network cable in.

http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html

balamw
Mar 26, 2007, 06:19 PM
Do I HAVE to have a WI-FI network to use the AppleTV?
No, :apple:TV has an Ethernet port, so you should just be able to connect it directly to your iMac, or connect both to a switch.

Specific configuration will depend on the details of your network.

B

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 06:21 PM
Certainly. "Privacy" as a juridical concept does not extend to trump the commission of a crime, a breach of license, or a civil tort.

Actually that is false. It does not trump a crime but it can trump a tort (including that of a license).

It very much constitutes a personal financial gain if you are transferring content in a way inconsistent with its license (to avoid payment for additional copies or different formats [e.g. license of the standard DVD does not mean that you may download the Blu-Ray]).

The counter arguement, which is wholly valid is that it is a format not invisioned when created OR a backup for personal use, OR a repurposing of content for PERSONAL USE.

you gain financially when you break protections to enable watching it on two systems

1. You as a individual do not either gain or lose. You repurpose a license. You do not "profit" per se. You cannot buy the "licence you want" at any price because it is not offered.

2. So long as you do not watch it on two systems AT ONCE you are complying with "fair use", which superceeds the copyright for tort purposes.

Rocketman

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 07:03 PM
Actually that is false. It does not trump a crime but it can trump a tort (including that of a license).
That is not the case. Breach of contract, whether committed in private or in view of the public, is still breach of contract. There is no "privacy" enshrined in contracts and licensing. What you are attempting to refer to is simply a wrongful tort (the respondent was acting in a legal manner in his private sphere and could not have been expected to act differently to avoid the alleged tort).
The counter arguement, which is wholly valid is that it is a format not invisioned when created OR a backup for personal use, OR a repurposing of content for PERSONAL USE.
No. There is no "personal use" exemption for license violation. You are mixing your fields of law. There are "fair use" exemptions to copyright, which allow archival storage and format shifting. They are not universal: you cannot make backups of rental movies, for example. They also do not stand alone in the context of licensing and the DMCA. Fair use provisions are not themselves deterministic when you have made legal agreements to the contrary--fair use is an exception which must be demonstrated, good cause appearing. It is not carte blanche to do as you please.
1. You as a individual do not either gain or lose. You repurpose a license. You do not "profit" per se. You cannot buy the "licence you want" at any price because it is not offered.
Again, a normative argument and not a legal one. If the license you desire is not available, copyright law does not allow you to agree to an alternative license and "repurpose" that content in your desired way. You do not gain the right to do as you please because someone will not sell something under your terms. That is a complete perversion of any construction of fair use, and one which once again has zero case support.
2. So long as you do not watch it on two systems AT ONCE you are complying with "fair use", which superceeds the copyright for tort purposes.
Format shifting does not supersede all other issues involved. It is not a controlling provision precisely because the act of format shifting is not the objection of the originator. You can store a complete DVD on any format you wish; you cannot break the encryption to do so. The DMCA criminalizes that act, which becomes the controlling provision. Yes, the DMCA is ridiculous, but so are speed limits. The law is the law.

It's clear that you're not familiar with the extent of legal interaction involved in this issue, and furthermore quite clear that you lack a basic conversant status in the law and copyright (evident from your emphasis of an academic exemption from square one). You may continue to believe what you wish, but I'm not going to argue until you provide a single case where your view has been upheld by any court in the past 5.

Rocketman
Mar 26, 2007, 07:18 PM
That is not the case. Breach of contract, whether committed in private or in view of the public, is still breach of contract.

This raises the argument of if a "unilateral" license is enforceable. Obviously I say it is not.

Your other strong arguement is the one of a tool designed "primarily to break a security tool". On that one I both claim the rule is unconstitutional, and not yet ruled as such, AND also not applicable to that narrow portion of the market where personal use applies, thus making even the tool complaint for that purpose.

Let's not forget one can also offer the tool from jurisdictions where your rule does not apply and the person downloading the tool is themselves complying with the law.

"You are mixing your fields of law."

Yep.

Rocketman

igr
Mar 26, 2007, 07:41 PM
I'm sure I'm completely alone on this but I can't help but feel the new Apple TV does exactly the opposite of what I want from the 'latest' in technology. Let me try to 'splain.
I want to bring content from my TV to my Mac, since nowadays this is where I'm spending most of my time. I don't need to take my internet content to another source to view, away from the workstation. That takes me away from my work time on my computer, ie emailing, editing, surfing, etc.
When I miss a program on tv, such as LOST, Heroes, what have you, I watch the latest episode online at network sites(not through iTunes though, because I already pay for cable, why would I pay twice?!)...and the quality sucks soooooo bad. So I'm often left to download from bittorent sites. Which is glorious if only it didn't take so long to download and 'bung up' your computer system while it does so. 'So get a DVR' you might say. Love the idea of the DVR but to pay a monthly charge for using it? Can you imagine ever having to have paid anyone a monthly fee for using your VCR back when you got it in the early 80's? the DVR is just that...a VCR for the new millenium.
I would be willing to buy an Apple TV though, if someone hacked into it and was able to make it a DVR that I could then hook up to my Mac and watch all my fav shows and events in all their HD beauty on my computer. It's all about getting rid of the biggest 'eye sore' in the home it always has been...the television set.

Avatar74
Mar 26, 2007, 08:37 PM
That's a lame excuse. First, I'm fairly sure many online movie trailers are in 5.1 AC3;

Nope.

next, if you want to put all your DVDs into a computer-based media sever, you want MPEG-2 and AC3 support

You do realize that AC-3 and MPEG-2 are separate bitstreams, right? The only format in which the two currently are muxed is VOB, which is uniquely used on DVD's.

finally, you can make your own "lower quality" rips using handbrake (which, if I recall, let's you preserve the AC3 track inside the MP4 container).

Supposedly, but I haven't actually been able to find any commentaries on how exactly the pass-through works it and, more importantly, how well it works. If it's not licensed by Dolby Laboratories there's simply no guarantee that you're getting the fidelity of true AC-3.

The worst part is that, if the source contains AC3, the Apple TV doesn't have to do any work, just pass the bitstream as-is over the optical output. They only have to work to downmix it to 2 channel stereo on the analog outputs.

It's a bit more complicated than that... The better solution would be to implement Dolby Digital Live to transcode multichannel AAC on the fly to legitimate Dolby Digital AC-3. The Intel HD Audio chipset already supports this and it's a licensed Dolby Laboratories technology so there's far greater assurances over the fidelity of the output.

Avatar74
Mar 26, 2007, 08:54 PM
A tool "capable of violating copyright" is entirely different from a "user violating a copyright with that tool".

Either a violation occurs or it does not. A tool capable of such violation is not a violation of law. It is a violation of DRM licensing to which the tool is NOT subject.

The ONLY violation of either the license or the law occurs when someone resells or otherwise commercially misuses it (displays an image at a commercial venue).

Short of that anyhing goes. Let me cite my facts:

""
18 USC 107

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...tle=17&sec=107

Section 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

<snip>

Please pardon me for relying on actual cited fact.

Rocketman


Pardon me for relying on actual fact...but according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17, Chapter 12), tools designed to circumvent copy protection schema are in fact illegal:

17 USC 12 §1201 (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/usc_sec_17_00001201----000-.html)(a)(2) - Circumvention of copyright protection systems

(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that—

(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title; or

(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

(3) As used in this subsection—

(A) to “circumvent a technological measure” means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

(B) a technological measure “effectively controls access to a work” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

(b) Additional Violations.—

(1) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that—

(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof;

(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof; or

(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person’s knowledge for use in circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof.

(2) As used in this subsection—

(A) to “circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure” means avoiding, bypassing, removing, deactivating, or otherwise impairing a technological measure; and

(B) a technological measure “effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, prevents, restricts, or otherwise limits the exercise of a right of a copyright owner under this title.

stormj
Mar 26, 2007, 10:56 PM
Bah...no surround sound support??? Why then the optical output?

I'll pass on this one.

My gawd. You people claim to know what the hell you're talking about but completely drop the ball on this. (http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/147048D8-D8B7-45E7-9A97-3CD5B4C2B75A.html) It will play AC3/DTS. And send the digital data to a 5.1 receiver.

Hahahah. EEEEEEEdiots.

The Internet makes fact checking so simple, yet ironically it also seems to make ******** simpler.

evilgEEk
Mar 26, 2007, 11:18 PM
Have much AC3-encoded audio on your computer, do you? I agree that it's unfortunate that it's not included
.....
It says right up front that a widescreen TV with component video is required.
.....
You'll need an ATSC tuner box in 2009 anyway, and it will definitely have component inputs. You can always get one now and use an AppleTV on your old 4:3 CRT television if you want. But why bother? Lamenting that you're not the market is like wanting a Blu-Ray player for your 4:3 CRT. It would probably put a picture on the screen, but you'd lose all of the worthwhile benefits.

Do you have a video iPod and an old TV? That's about as good as an AppleTV would be on a pre-SDTV.

I wasn't aware that movies on the iTunes Store didn't include surround sound, which is what I would be getting the Apple TV for primarily. I wanted to start purchasing movies and watching them without using my iPod as a medium.

Obviously you don't need a widescreen TV, you just need component in, which my 32" 4:3 TV does indeed have.

What surprises me is why people who want AppleTV etc aren't already HDTV adopters. Good sets cost less than $500 now.

Why do you have to have an HDTV to want the AppleTV? I haven't seen a "good" HDTV for under $500, at least not one that's larger than 32". I paid about $250 for my current 32" set, and it's good enough for me. If I were to get an HDTV, and I will in time, I would go for a LCD flat panel that is at least 40" or larger.

I just don't care to spend that kind of cash on a TV right now, especially since I just bought my wife a new MacBook. :)

matticus008
Mar 26, 2007, 11:24 PM
Obviously you don't need a widescreen TV, you just need component in, which my 32" 4:3 TV does indeed have.
Depends where you draw the line for "need." You don't "need" an HDTV for a Blu-ray player, either, but what's the point, otherwise?

If you use component input on a 4:3 television, both the movies and the interface will be squished into the available space. If it won't drive you crazy to watch movies full of skinny faces, by all means, buy one.

Forced Perfect
Mar 26, 2007, 11:26 PM
LoL read the revieuw Atv does not support any thing only the things you buy from the Istore and you mp3's thats it

mov no
divx no
xvid no
wmf no
jpeg foto's no
Apple is not going to upgrade the software to support this. Thats why Hackers are working on getting codecx suppored. they hacked it so that Divx wil work but you have to take the drive out of the systeem hook its to you mac copy the file and put it back in !

If you live outside the US like me in Europe well the Istore only sells music and short movies from pixar . :S So its basicly one hell of an expensive airport express!

I don't mean to sound like a jerk... but what exactly is the point of this post?

People really need to read Apple's specs for the Apple TV before they complain that it's useless. Of course it supports JPEG photos. "foto's"? Mov files aren't really a format in the sense they're just containers for video. Just as an AVI file can contain DIVX or just about any other type of video stream.

I can't buy videos from the iTMS either as I live in Canada. Handbrake + DVD collection = good. I mean... I don't support doing that.

As for DIVX the only place you find the thing is illegally downloaded videos. Outside that there aren't many places you'll find it. More codecs are better than less, but if you look at it from Apple's perspective they aren't trying to support that sort of activity and are trying to push newer technologies such as H.264 (which is probably going to start overtaking DIVX in the file sharing world anyway).

milo
Mar 27, 2007, 09:37 AM
My gawd. You people claim to know what the hell you're talking about but completely drop the ball on this. (http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/147048D8-D8B7-45E7-9A97-3CD5B4C2B75A.html) It will play AC3/DTS. And send the digital data to a 5.1 receiver.

Hahahah. EEEEEEEdiots.

The Internet makes fact checking so simple, yet ironically it also seems to make ******** simpler.

Did you actually read that article? It says that it SHOULD play 5.1, but they don't say they've actually got it to work.

So if it works, where's the confirmation of someone actually trying it and it working?

skinnylegs
Mar 27, 2007, 09:51 AM
'Ya know, I just bought a car yesterday and the damn thing won't fly! I drove it off a cliff and it fell to the ground like a rock. What were they thinking? Why didn't thy put wings on it? These car things are absolutely useless! :rolleyes:

chatin
Mar 28, 2007, 09:05 PM
I've decided to pick one up because of the hackability i'm seeing. A baby mac mini waiting for us to add the features!

I wonder what the CPU is?

:apple: :D

aristobrat
Mar 28, 2007, 10:32 PM
Ack, it might be a little early in the lifecycle to figure out exactly how long it stays hackable. I'd recommend that you'd be happy even if you couldn't hack it, just in case Apple does an update that nukes all remote access...

janstett
Mar 29, 2007, 02:40 PM
I wonder what the CPU is?


I think I read it's a Pentium M (predecessor to the Core) somewhere around 1.2 GHz. I'm starting to think about using this as a sub-mini myself... People have SSH and remote desktop working, plus Divx, plus larger hard disks... Makes me think.

chatin
Apr 13, 2007, 07:14 AM
Apple TV just plain rocks! Setup took less than 30 seconds and the quality is better than expected!

I asked about a refurb but the Apple store rep said, they are sending all returns back.

I'm was happy to get a factory fresh one!

:D :apple: TV lover!