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rthngl
Feb 7, 2008, 01:04 AM
Currently I have a variety of content (dvd, dvix, xvid, mkv) and they're spread all over the place (various PCs, burned cds/dvds). I'm looking for a solution to put all the media at one place, have it be automatically backed up and watch it anywhere.

I have an iMac, PS3 and 52" 1080p lcd right now. In the near future I want to replace the iMac with a Macbook Pro. I'll also be getting a 1 TB external usb drive, Time Capsule and Apple TV. I wish the MBP had a 1 TB drive so i dont have to carry the usb drive everywhere. From reading the threads here it seems like most of the ppl convert and put all media on external drive and let iTunes reference it. Have a few questions regarding this:

1. If iTunes is referencing media on an external drive then will time machine also follow that reference and back it up as well?

2. Is it worth it to convert media to be both Apple TV and iPhone compatible? How would iPhone compatible look on a 52" lcd?

3. Some of my divx/xvids have ac3. Is there any way to perserve/convert ac3 so that when played on Apple TV my receiver gets a surround sound signal (DD 5.1/DTS, no Dolby Prologic II) ?

4. Can I just take the MBP, usb drive, apple tv to my friend's place and connect it to another tv and have it all work? Will it work even if there is no wireless network? Can the MBP and apple tv wirelessly connect with each other?

5. How do I share my media? Can I just burn the mp4/m4v files on a dvd and others can watch them on iTunes?

6. Should I start the conversion process now or wait for a bit till the apple tv's get updated with the new version?

7. I'm thinking of using the PS3 for blu-ray. Is apple tv hackable for 1080p?
Or it's a hardware limitation? Are there any solutions for blu-ray media on apple tv?

8. If I use Visual Hub to convert divx/xvid will I end up with files larger than the original? How about the quality?

9. Is this a good solution? Having photos + music on MBP and videos on external. Is there any way to remove the external drive to simplify it so that with just the MBP and apple tv i can watch all my media on MBP or on a regular tv thru apple tv?



MikieMikie
Feb 7, 2008, 06:34 AM
1. If iTunes is referencing media on an external drive then will time machine also follow that reference and back it up as well?

It depends. You can tell TM to exclude a folder or a HDD. It's up to you as to whether or not TM backs it up.

2. Is it worth it to convert media to be both Apple TV and iPhone compatible? How would iPhone compatible look on a 52" lcd?

I do. I figure it this way: Apple TV encode = DVD quality. iPhone encode < DVD quality. Your choice. I chose to re-encode when necessary. I rarely have a movie on my iPhone, so it doesn't make sense to me to pick a least-common-denominator approach.

3. Some of my divx/xvids have ac3. Is there any way to perserve/convert ac3 so that when played on Apple TV my receiver gets a surround sound signal (DD 5.1/DTS, no Dolby Prologic II) ?

Not until Take 2, and a little while after. Right now, no one outside of Apple knows how Apple is going to handle 5.1

4. Can I just take the MBP, usb drive, apple tv to my friend's place and connect it to another tv and have it all work? Will it work even if there is no wireless network? Can the MBP and apple tv wirelessly connect with each other?

You can take just the Apple TV. Movies that you have synced to it move with it. You could load it up with a bunch of movies (at around 2Gb ea., you're looking at at least 15). Lots of people do this. It's like sticking a video iPod into someone's tv. As long as you sync the content to the Apple TV before you leave, all will be well.

The Apple TV can connect via Ethernet cable. I believe someone posted that it can connect to an airport-enabled Mac.

Remember that the Apple TV works like an iPod in regards syncing, so if you were planning of sharing your wealth, the Apple TV is a bad way of spreading it out.

5. How do I share my media? Can I just burn the mp4/m4v files on a dvd and others can watch them on iTunes?

Sure. MP4/M4V files are very portable.

6. Should I start the conversion process now or wait for a bit till the apple tv's get updated with the new version?

It depends on whether or not 5.1 is important to you. I got a trash sound system, I wouldn't notice.

7. I'm thinking of using the PS3 for blu-ray. Is apple tv hackable for 1080p?
Or it's a hardware limitation? Are there any solutions for blu-ray media on apple tv?

You'll get mixed answers to this one. Currently, my understanding is that the bandwidth limitations say 720p, but hardware-wise, 1080p is possible. You might want to check out awkwardtv.org

8. If I use Visual Hub to convert divx/xvid will I end up with files larger than the original? How about the quality?

Dunno. I can't believe that an encode of an encode would not diminish quality. There are threads about this, and how to "pass through" and not re-encode.

9. Is this a good solution? Having photos + music on MBP and videos on external. Is there any way to remove the external drive to simplify it so that with just the MBP and apple tv i can watch all my media on MBP or on a regular tv thru apple tv?

With a MBP, I would get a 160 version, move all music and photos to the Apple TV (sync), and keep all film/TV Shows on an external drive for streaming. This will probably still leave you with plenty of room for syncing a few movies and taking the Apple TV to someone else's house. Just don't forget the remote. ;)

rthngl
Feb 7, 2008, 10:35 AM
Thank you for you response. Surround sound is important to me. I will wait till the take 2 is released and find out what the options are.

Avatar74
Feb 7, 2008, 11:04 AM
Thank you for you response. Surround sound is important to me. I will wait till the take 2 is released and find out what the options are.

Also note that while the AAC bitstream portion of AppleTV movies is 160Kbps (2ch stereo), an AC-3 bitstream with 5 full range channels and 1 LFE is typically encoded at 448 Kbps for home use (320 Kbps on 35mm perf margins for theatrical). This may be one reason Apple has not proposed 1080p despite that the hardware seems capable (if we assume 2 channel stereo audio).

This may also have yet untested effects on the video bitstream performance (from a layer-demuxing standpoint) that might alter what the optimal bitstream size will be (currently around 2250-2500 Kbps).