View Full Version : Thinking about aTV purchase.
Nov 20, 2007, 10:51 AM
I was thinking about buying an aTV but I have a few questions about it.
I notice people talking about having their DVD collection and stuff on it. How are you accomplishing this? What software are you using to rip your DVD's onto it? I have a 24" iMac and I love music and movies on it but on my 42" plasma it would be even better.
Also if I was to get one since I think I would stream most of the media from my PC anyhow would the 40GB suffice? And with ripping DVD's to my PC how much more HD space would I need? I have like 200+ DVD's in my collection.
Thanks in advance and sorry if this has already been asked multiple times.
Nov 21, 2007, 05:21 AM
Let me first say I "like" my Apple TV a lot but I'd "love" it if it has surround sound. I was disappointed when I got mine to find that I couldn't listen to my DVDs in surround sound. Keep that in mind and if it's not an issue then go for it.
Now that's out of the way. I use a combination of Handbrake http://handbrake.m0k.org/ & Visual Hub to get media on my Apple TV. These both supoort H.264 which is the best codec around. Try handbrake frist as it's open source and free. Keep in mind that the trade-off for the super high quality of using the H.264 codec is long rip times. I do mine in the background so it's not an issue for me but it may annoy you at first because you'll be keen to get them on the Apple TV ASAP.
As far as the size goes. The average size for DVDs in my iTunes, ripped from Handbrake is 2GB. I use the default Apple TV setting in Hand Brake but I tick "2-pass encoding" and "turbo first pass". I'm lead to believe that these options keep the quality high but reduce the file size. I'm no expert but I'm always happy with these settings on ALL my ripped DVDs.
As far as the size of the Hard Drive goes. I'd save your money and go for the smaller drive. The only reason I can see for getting the larger drive is if you need to sync your files to the Apple TV in order to take them off site. (taking movies or photos to Grandma's house etc). I actually got the 160 GB version and I don't sync it at all. (money well spent...NOT) I just stream the content directly from my Mac. As long as you have a decent network, with good signal and speed, you'll be OK. I think you'll be quite impressed with how easily and quickly the Apple TV streams from your Mac
Hope this helps.
Nov 21, 2007, 02:06 PM
I'm in the same boat: I don't have an AppleTV yet but plan to get one in the near future. In preparation, I've been busily ripping and encoding my DVD collection.
I second the choice of Handbrake. It is a great piece of software, and is very easy to use. It also produces excellent quality video. As the poster above stated, the trade-off for using h.264 is the much slower encode times. For movies that I want to keep as high-quality as possible (like Lord of the Rings, The Matrix trilogy, etc.), I use AppleTV preset in Handbrake and just let it run overnight. For other movies, however, I sometimes use regular MPEG4 encoding. The results are still excellent, but the encoding time is greatly reduced. I especially do this on old B&W films where I'm much more interested in the content than in the special effects, etc.
I recently bought an Elgato Turbo 264 USB device that greatly increases h.264 encode times. I've had mixed results with it, and am still experimenting. But I'm using a 2.1 GHz iMac G5. Your machine is new enough not to need the extra boost.
Nov 21, 2007, 04:57 PM
I was looking into an apple TV for streaming purposes while back but then I thought of the obvious. My video card has an extra DVI-D. Why not just run a DVI-D to HDMI cable to the TV. If your using your imac just get the DVI out adapter. Run the stereo mini or optical audio into your receiver or TV. I get perfect 1920x1080 dot for dot resolution on my 47 westy. Bluray 1080p encodes look so amazing. Also your not held back by aTV hardware. Depends on your system how much of an advantage this is but with my Mac Pro I've played up to 6 different 1080p encodes at once and it never slowed or skipped one frame. Excessive yes, but any PC built after 2000 will pretty much run circles around aTV from a hardware standpoint. Also no need to convert anything to a specific format. VLC supports everything.
You can also use it as a total 2nd monitor, shows up in OSX and can be configured as a second display. Only cost me $64.00 (needed a long cable) Already had a bluetooth mouse/keyboard. Personally I see no advantages at all to an aTV besides the fact you could bring it places. w00t........