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View Full Version : A bit tired of waiting for an AppleTv upgrade - thinking about alternatives




eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 08:20 AM
I have been waiting for a few months for an update to :apple:Tv, one that will allow me to view 1080p content.
However, i got a bit tired of waiting, and no one really knows whether there will be an update in September along with the iPod, or in January, or whenever that is going to happen.
So i am thinking if it would be wise to stop waiting, and buy something else instead.
I am thinking about the popcornhour c-200 (http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=productspec&item_id=12).

An updated :apple:Tv would definitely be my choice, but this new popcornhour, has got me thinking.

First of all, i live in Greece which means that i don't have access to iTunes movies and tv shows episodes.
Therefore, i would use the :apple:Tv only to watch videos from my pc, or a hard drive connected to my airport extreme, where i have many ripped dvd's, all my cd's in mp3 format,and other stuff as well.

So far,for that purpose i use a ps3. I have never used it for gaming, just to watch videos, and some blu-rays.
However the supported formats are very limited.
(The :apple:Tv doesn't either support every format around, but that can easily be fixed.That's not the case with the ps3)

So, what i was thinking was, instead of endlessly waiting for the new :apple:Tv, to get the c-200, plug a bd-rom in it as well, and maybe sell the ps3, as it won't be of any use to me anymore.

This could even be a good chance for me to replace the 160gb hard drive in my macbook, as i could replace it with a 500gb one, and use the 160 with the popcornhour.

What do you think?



Boise Jim
Jul 24, 2009, 09:03 AM
I, too, have been waiting on buying the Apple TV, but for other reasons. I wish they would enable the USB port for an external HD, plus I want to find a unit that I can (easily) access Netflix with. Or, if Apple was smart, they would have a rental service via iTunes. I've looked at the Popcorn Hour, but it has some features that are lacking (mostly in the music playback area). Also, I've just started looking at the HDX 1000 player. It looks very promising.

As cheap as HD's are getting, I like your idea about changing out the MB's HD for a larger one and using the original in the Popcorn Hour. You've got my mind wandering, now!

nando2323
Jul 24, 2009, 09:03 AM
You know what's going to happen right. You will buy something else then boom new ATV comes out with every bell and whistle that you ever wanted. At least that happens to me. :)

eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 09:31 AM
In general, that's the case.
So far i have managed to avoid that, as everything apple i have was bought just after a refresh (last october for my macbook, and this march for my iMac and airport extreme).
In fact, i had placed an order for a 40Gb :apple:Tv along with the iMac, but the local reseller said that there was no 40Gb :apple:Tv availability at the time after all, and said that it was probably being refreshed soon, so that part of the order was canceled.
So, since then, i have been waiting for the new one to make its way to the stores, and in the meantime bought a ps3.
At the moment, i am seriously thinking about the popcornhour, even with the risk of seeing a new :apple:tv out just days after i gave up on it.
A big plus is that if i get a bd-rom, i can use it as a blu-ray player as well, sell the ps3, and use that money for the popcornhour.
Also, i'd rather not have a 100 different devices in my sitting room.
The popcornhour can replace both the :apple:Tv, and the ps3 (since i don't do any gaming).
Of cource a new, upgraded :apple:Tv would be brilliant, but since i am a bit tired of waiting, and tired as well from having to convert videos with handbrake before watching them with the ps3, i am having some doubts about waiting any further...

zedsdead
Jul 24, 2009, 09:54 AM
I would wait until after the annual iPod event in September.

Chris Rogers
Jul 24, 2009, 10:52 AM
How about a Mac Mini?

Tallest Skil
Jul 24, 2009, 10:53 AM
I would wait until the annual iPod event in September.

Fixed... I think...

It makes sense that Apple would group together their iTunes-related presentation into one.

sammich
Jul 24, 2009, 10:58 AM
How about a Mac Mini?

Exactly. A bit more for a whole lot more. More customisable, more storage, more resolution. I'm completely sick of having of converting mkv's to mp4's.

geoffreak
Jul 24, 2009, 12:02 PM
Mac Mini + Plex > AppleTV x 1000000000000...

nutmac
Jul 24, 2009, 12:44 PM
Popcorn Hour C-200
Unit Price : USD299.00
Sign Up for availability notification.

So you are tired of waiting for Apple TV update but willing to wait indefinitely for something else?

BORIStheBLADE
Jul 24, 2009, 01:17 PM
So you are tired of waiting for Apple TV update but willing to wait indefinitely for something else?

The C-200 actually has a release date. A new Atv isn't for sure at all.

http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=aboutus&type=news&id=20090617

eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 04:12 PM
Mac Mini + Plex > AppleTV x 1000000000000...

Well, that IS true, but i already have an iMac, and a macbook. I really don't think i need another computer as well.
The Mac Mini is actually more than i need, which is just a media center that can play most file formats (even if this is not out-of-the-box and i have to use something like boxee), and is able to play network streams or files from my home network shares.
And Mac Mini price = 1,5 - 2 x :apple:Tv price (and pretty much popcornhour price).
I had thought of the Mac Mini option, but i ruled it out for the above reasons.


So you are tired of waiting for Apple TV update but willing to wait indefinitely for something else?

Actually, it's not quite the same.
The new popcornhour is something that exists, has a release date, and known specs.
The new :apple:Tv is something rumored (for several months at least),has no release date, and no one knows if/when it comes out what it will be like.
There are various threads in this forum, where several people just speculate on what the upgrade will be, while others just project their wishes onto a new :apple:Tv.

If i knew that a new :apple:Tv was definitely going to come out, that it will support 1080p whose lack is the main reason i don't buy the current one, and that this would happen in a finite time period, things would be much simpler for me.
But this isn't the case here.

September is not far away. I could wait until then.
But if apple don't update the :apple:Tv, i don't think there's any chance of me waiting till January, then June, then again September, an so on...

reactions
Jul 24, 2009, 04:27 PM
I'm in the same market.

The pch c200 is enticing but at $299 it's pricey compared to ghe older siblings.

I like how it can play bluray with an added drive but how isn't an old pch device ($180) plus a bluray player ($100) not the same thing and cheaper?

Plus it's RF so it's not compatible with the harmony remote for my home theater.

Btw a mac mini.... U can use a remote? Plays mkv hi def files?

Well, that IS true, but i already have an iMac, and a macbook. I really don't think i need another computer as well.
The Mac Mini is actually more than i need, which is just a media center that can play most file formats (even if this is not out-of-the-box and i have to use something like boxee), and is able to play network streams or files from my home network shares.
And Mac Mini price = 1,5 - 2 x :apple:Tv price (and pretty much popcornhour price).
I had thought of the Mac Mini option, but i ruled it out for the above reasons.




Actually, it's not quite the same.
The new popcornhour is something that exists, has a release date, and known specs.
The new :apple:Tv is something rumored (for several months at least),has no release date, and no one knows if/when it comes out what it will be like.
There are various threads in this forum, where several people just speculate on what the upgrade will be, while others just project their wishes onto a new :apple:Tv.

If i knew that a new :apple:Tv was definitely going to come out, that it will support 1080p whose lack is the main reason i don't buy the current one, and that this would happen in a finite time period, things would be much simpler for me.
But this isn't the case here.

September is not far away. I could wait until then.
But if apple don't update the :apple:Tv, i don't think there's any chance of me waiting till January, then June, then again September, an so on...

geoffreak
Jul 24, 2009, 04:30 PM
Just wait until September before ruling out the AppleTV. If there is no update then, it is unlikely we will see one for at least another 6-8 months, if at all.

eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 04:37 PM
I'm in the same market.

The pch c200 is enticing but at $299 it's pricey compared to ghe older siblings.

I like how it can play bluray with an added drive but how isn't an old pch device ($180) plus a bluray player ($100) not the same thing and cheaper?

Plus it's RF so it's not compatible with the harmony remote for my home theater.

Btw a mac mini.... U can use a remote? Plays mkv hi def files?

I think that the c-200 has better video playback than its predecessors, and can play these mkv files you mention without any problems (at least i am under that impression).
The mini has the same graphics chip as my macbook, which is capable of playing the 1080p mkv files (i use the miro player, but mplayer will do as well).
So, i think it will get the job done.

geoffreak
Jul 24, 2009, 04:41 PM
The mini has the same graphics chip as my macbook, which is capable of playing the 1080p mkv files (i use the miro player, but mplayer will do as well).
So, i think it will get the job done.
Processor is used in video decoding and playing in the programs you listed. Video card is irrelevant.
I believe Plex is beginning to offer some form of h.264 playback acceleration though.

eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 04:43 PM
Just wait until September before ruling out the AppleTV. If there is no update then, it is unlikely we will see one for at least another 6-8 months, if at all.

I think that's what i'll probably do.
I will be away in August anyway, so i could live without a proper media player for one more month.
However, if there's no update with the ipods in September,I'm getting the pch the very same day...

geoffreak
Jul 24, 2009, 04:48 PM
Have you taken a look at WD's offering?

eidimon
Jul 24, 2009, 05:06 PM
I have seen WD TV, which is actually much cheaper than the rest.
The problem with that is (provided i didn't misunderstand anything) that it cannot be connected to a network, and you have to use a usb drive every time you want to transfer something to it.

I have 2x1,5TB drives connected to my airport extreme, which makes their content available to anyone connected to my home network.

AppleTv or pch make it possible for me to go through my files, and stream/copy the ones i want to play without having to go to my computer, find the files i want, copy them to a usb drive and then return to copy the contents of the drive to the player in order to be able to play the file.
With WD (at least the model i am aware of) i would have to go through that procedure every time.

Being able to do that without all the extra trouble really helps, especially when more people are involved in the decision-making of what is going to be viewed...

randy98mtu
Jul 24, 2009, 06:19 PM
Just wait until September before ruling out the AppleTV. If there is no update then, it is unlikely we will see one for at least another 6-8 months, if at all.

I'm waiting until September for my second ATV. If one doesn't come, I'll likely get a Mini for the living room and move the ATV upstairs permanently. That reminds me, I should download Plex and play with it on my iMac for a bit.

Donar
Jul 25, 2009, 03:17 PM
A big plus is that if i get a bd-rom, i can use it as a blu-ray player as well, sell the ps3, and use that money for the popcornhour.
How will you get around BD's AACS encryption, or do you only want to watch BD films you burned yourself with FinalCut Studio? Don't get me wrong i have a NMT-A110 for playing back .mkv and stuff but i do not think they will get a proper license to do AACS decryption which is used on BD.

Maybe stream (and convert on the fly) "things" from your Mac to your PS3 with ps3mediaserver (http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/)?

eidimon
Jul 25, 2009, 08:19 PM
How will you get around BD's AACS encryption, or do you only want to watch BD films you burned yourself with FinalCut Studio? Don't get me wrong i have a NMT-A110 for playing back .mkv and stuff but i do not think they will get a proper license to do AACS decryption which is used on BD.

Maybe stream (and convert on the fly) "things" from your Mac to your PS3 with ps3mediaserver (http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/)?

About the BD thing, my thought was that since they say that this slot is for BDrom, the device will be able to play the commercial BD.

Ps3 media server is something that i already use,successfully when it comes to avi's, but yet unable to watch even a 720p video (1080 is out of the question).
I don't know whether the problem is the conversion, the bandwidth, or something else, but i am looking for something that won't make me convert formats (even on the fly).
Just copy them as they are to the devices hard drive, and play them...

gugy
Jul 25, 2009, 08:35 PM
Mac Mini + Plex > AppleTV x 1000000000000...

it's true, but the only issue I have is how easy would be to have my family accessing the media they want.
I have not completely explored the MacMini as HTPC but it feels that for people who is not computer savvy (wife & kids ;)) it would be too complicate and they would just give up using it.
One of the things I like on :apple:TV is how easy is to navigate. Not sure if Plex is as easy to use.

I do hope :apple:TV will be upgrade this year and add 1080p and most important for me the ability to add external drives to it's USB port in order to increase the storage capacity. That's key for people who have large libraries and want to have all the data locally stored without using the wireless features of :apple:TV and also having to turn on their Macs.

BORIStheBLADE
Jul 25, 2009, 10:55 PM
How will you get around BD's AACS encryption, or do you only want to watch BD films you burned yourself with FinalCut Studio? Don't get me wrong i have a NMT-A110 for playing back .mkv and stuff but i do not think they will get a proper license to do AACS decryption which is used on BD.

Maybe stream (and convert on the fly) "things" from your Mac to your PS3 with ps3mediaserver (http://ps3mediaserver.blogspot.com/)?


Apparently they have Blue ray licensing, so it should play commercial BR discs.

http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=23797

butchseaman
Jul 25, 2009, 11:02 PM
So I take it that the combination of a mini and plex is the way to go for the most powerful media center setting aside the complexity of use.... is this right?

NJuul
Jul 26, 2009, 04:57 AM
One issue with a Mac Mini though, is that it can never support HD audio (as far as I know, at least). It is maybe not a deal-breaker for most, but you should at least take it into consideration before building a home theater around it.

Chris Rogers
Jul 26, 2009, 07:49 AM
So I take it that the combination of a mini and plex is the way to go for the most powerful media center setting aside the complexity of use.... is this right?

It's not complex at all. It's so easy a caveman can do it.

srexy
Jul 26, 2009, 08:23 AM
So I take it that the combination of a mini and plex is the way to go for the most powerful media center setting aside the complexity of use.... is this right?

It's not even that hard. The only downside to the Mac Mini is the lack of BD support but that looks as if it might be resolved soon. Regardless it's by far the best solution for a HTPC right now. I had the :apple:tv for 2 yrs before finally taking the plunge - the support for all formats and the seamless integration of the IMDB and TVDB scraping is worth its weight in gold. Once you throw in the iPhoto & iTunes integration, 3rd party apps such as Hulu, Vimeo, Joost then you can see that the additional "computing" power isn't going to waste. The fact that I can have Handbrake running intermittently + backup routines, Firewire support and the occasional browse is the icing on the cake.

Mac Mini + Plex - nuff said.

eidimon
Jul 29, 2009, 09:53 PM
I also found this device, that seems to do pretty much what i need, and it's price is pretty low as well (120 euros with a 80211n antenna) :

http://www.xtreamer.net/

I think should there not be an :apple:TV update (which would probably be my first choice), i could get this instead of the new popcornhour (350 euros without the wireless card)...

jakerules133
Jul 30, 2009, 12:19 AM
mac mini with plex > apple tv > popcorn hour > western digital tv


That's the general consensus on the forums I think.

I'm only talking about quality, not price or anything.

OddyOh
Jul 30, 2009, 12:34 AM
Before you get rid of your PS3, try out PS3 Media Server (if you haven't already)...it's well worth the free price of admission, as it's the only Mac friendly streaming software to support transcoding, which allows your PS3 to play many more media formats on the fly.

http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

But grab the latest Mac beta versions from their forum. Hope it works for you.

Myself, I'm also waiting to see what Apple does with the AppleTV in September, since it's currently pretty useless in Canada (we don't have nearly enough content for it). Plus I'm a blu-ray fan anyway.

eidimon
Jul 30, 2009, 03:57 AM
Before you get rid of your PS3, try out PS3 Media Server (if you haven't already)...it's well worth the free price of admission, as it's the only Mac friendly streaming software to support transcoding, which allows your PS3 to play many more media formats on the fly.

http://code.google.com/p/ps3mediaserver/

But grab the latest Mac beta versions from their forum. Hope it works for you.



This is what i use for the moment.
Works fine with avi's, but the result wasn't that good with 720 or even more 1080p mkv files.
I don't know whether it was my iMac, the wireless network i use (probably not enough bandwidth, as if i remember well the ps3 has a 80211g adapter and not a n one), but playback of these files didn't work.
And this also means that the iMac has to work with a full load transcoding the file, which probably means i can't do many more things at the same time...

grazzyman
Jul 30, 2009, 07:30 AM
I recently bought a mac mini to use with Plex...amazing! It is by far the best solution I have seen yet and the IMDB/TV Show scraping is great.

No joke, I have reduced my sky subscription to the bare minimum because now 95% of all my viewing is using the mini+plex.

The mini also played 1080p mkv fine with 1GB ram but I upgraded to 4GB for about 40 because I found that the menu's worked a bit slicker.

I'm just waiting for a Spotify plug-in for Plex...now that would be good.