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pkrekelb
Jan 31, 2008, 12:21 PM
Brief description to set the stage for my question:

We have a pretty simple home theatre. At least for now, we don't use it for live television whatsoever. Denon receiver, upconverting DVD, Wii, Airport Express for music, that's about it. I have really tried to make it as clean an installation as possible with all equipment in my bar cabinet off to the side and all speakers behind an acoustically transparent screen or otherwise hidden.

Adjacent to the theatre room is my office, where I have an iMac. The house is wireless, going to n as soon as the Time Capsule is out.

We like to watch movies, and have tested out the iTunes rental by plugging my powerbook into the system. Of course, since it is a pretty clean install it is less than optimal to have cables running out of the cabinet to a laptop sitting on the countertop.

Enter the AppleTV... It would answer our desire to play further with the rentals, display photos [I am a photographer], and display purchases from iTunes. HOWEVER...

One of the things we really enjoy is viewing divx content using various video on demand websites. The content displays full screen on the powerbook using the divx player. I am not referring to viewing illegal movie rips but rather television programs and documentaries folks have recorded and put online which we cannot get here. What is fun about it is we can decide we want to view something, hook up the computer, select, and view with no delay. With the AppleTV, we would of course lose this capability (although I realize we could hack the device to display divx, but I'd still have to wait for the download).

This seems to suggest a refurb Mini would be a better solution, but then we lose access to the HD rentals I was kind of excited to have access to.

I wish there were a way to enable access to video on demand websites with the AppleTV, it would make it the perfect solution for us. Without it, I'm afraid I'd still be laboriously pulling cables out of the cabinet to connect my powerbook. I would end up asking myself "why did I get the AppleTV, again??"

Thoughts? Anyone else have a similar line of thinking? Aside from losing access to HD rentals and the obvious price difference, is there anything else we would lose by getting a Mini instead [I hate to even think about it because the AppleTV is such a clean solution]?



Avatar74
Jan 31, 2008, 12:26 PM
I am not referring to viewing illegal movie rips but rather television programs and documentaries folks have recorded and put online which we cannot get here.

So, in other words... illegal television program streams.

You are aware that there are tons of podcasts in SD and HD on iTunes that will be also accessible directly from iTunes, right?

roland.g
Jan 31, 2008, 12:29 PM
My only suggestion, though somewhat intensive would be to use the laptop to download rather than stream the content. Then either you have to hack the AppleTV to get it to play divX or you have to use a converter to make it iTunes friendly. Once it is added to your library you don't even need to sync it, as you can stream from your laptop too. Though that is quite the involved process for something you have instant access to that requires you to pull out the admittedly annoying cables. I would get the AppleTV as I think you will like it for the photos and everything else. We had/have and Express as well that we originally used for streaming music, and still do, put plug it in elsewhere like the backyard for parties or upstairs, etc with just a pair of portable speakers. When the AppleTV plays music you can see a mesmorizing moving slideshow of your photos on your tv. My wife absolutely loves it and it is great background for parties.

pkrekelb
Jan 31, 2008, 12:31 PM
So, in other words... illegal television program streams.

You are aware that there are tons of podcasts in SD and HD on iTunes that will be also accessible directly from iTunes, right?

Legality is indeed a subjective term eh? We have a soft spot for "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" and PBS documentaries. Guilty as charged!

Either way, I just didn't want half of the replies to be questioning my intentions rather than responding with substantive information.

pkrekelb
Jan 31, 2008, 12:34 PM
Though that is quite the involved process for something you have instant access to that requires you to pull out the admittedly annoying cables.

Thanks Roland. If I have to download the content anyway, I could use the iMac and just stream from it.

Now I just need to decide if I have a need for a drive bigger than 40GB... $199 for a refurb is a hell of a deal.

Avatar74
Jan 31, 2008, 12:36 PM
Legality is indeed a subjective term eh? We have a soft spot for "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" and PBS documentaries. Guilty as charged!

Either way, I just didn't want half of the replies to be questioning my intentions rather than responding with substantive information.

You did see that the other half of my reply was substantive info?

The point here is... why watch pirated third-rate streams when there's plenty of HD podcast programming you can get from iTunes?

The other thing I'd note is that you have zero fan noise from AppleTV to interfere with your viewing experience and it costs less than half the price of a Mac Mini.

I can see pros and cons either way, but I think AppleTV is a good way to centralize various types of content from multiple sources both within your network and over the internet right within the UI. With the mini you'd have to manage the content outside Front Row.

pkrekelb
Jan 31, 2008, 12:37 PM
You are aware that there are tons of podcasts in SD and HD on iTunes that will be also accessible directly from iTunes, right?

I'm admittedly unaware of what is available as far as available podcasts, but I had assumed those were not a substitute for the episodes themselves. I know National Geographic, Discovery, etc. have video shorts and things like that. Maybe I'm missing something.

pkrekelb
Jan 31, 2008, 12:38 PM
You did see that the other half of my reply was substantive info?

I did, thank you. I didn't mean that as a dig but figured you'd take it as one anyway :)

pondie84
Jan 31, 2008, 12:40 PM
The other thing I'd note is that you have zero fan noise from AppleTV to interfere with your viewing experience and it costs less than half the price of a Mac Mini.

I would just like to note I have a Mac Mini and get zero fan noise either. It's quite startling just how quiet it is when it's the only thing on. I'm used to the constant whirring of my PC!

Granted the Apple TV is a lot cheaper than the Mac Mini...