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FortWorthMac
Aug 27, 2009, 02:18 PM
Hello all,

I'm thinking of purchasing an ATV to go with my new LCD. It's going to go on my TV in my (home) office so that I can watch video on my TV as opposed to having to watch it on my iMac.

My questions are, it does play movies on my computer correct? In other words, will in play movies and TV shows that I've downloaded and ripped myself that are not in iTunes? FrontRow does this just fine but I'd rather not put my entire library into iTunes. I envision that ATV works and looks similar to FrontRow.

Also, I understand that ATV can work wirelessly. With that being the case, I have a good wireless network and don't plan on streaming HD, why not save the money and go with the 40GB device? Or I'm I missing something?

Thanks
David



dynaflash
Aug 27, 2009, 02:24 PM
Not without hacking. The atv works only with iTunes out of the box.

FortWorthMac
Aug 27, 2009, 02:37 PM
Not without hacking. The atv works only with iTunes out of the box.

Of course. It would make to much since to allow one access to one's library. I guess that also means converting the media into an iTunes friendly format?

I had to hack my iPhone (JB) guess I'll have to look into and search ATV hacks.

Thanks

byocrysis
Aug 27, 2009, 03:05 PM
I am planning on getting an apple TV for the same reason. You should check out aTV flash; only 50 bucks and lets you play ripped movies. Also has boxee, xbmc, plex, hulu and some other stuff. The website for the program is www.atvflash.com. Oh yea and it doesn't void the warranty either so that's a plus.

FortWorthMac
Aug 27, 2009, 03:16 PM
I am planning on getting an apple TV for the same reason. You should check out aTV flash; only 50 bucks and lets you play ripped movies. Also has boxee, xbmc, plex, hulu and some other stuff. The website for the program is www.atvflash.com. Oh yea and it doesn't void the warranty either so that's a plus.

Hmmmm. This looks interesting. Thanks

tom1971
Aug 27, 2009, 03:20 PM
check patchstick.ca (http://patchstick.ca) - they offer the same functions for as low as 29.99 USD.
They also offer a free base version that gives you a feeling for the full version.

ReggaeFire
Aug 27, 2009, 03:28 PM
Or you can just create the patchstick yourself and save yourself the money. At this point it's point & click simple. It really is a no brainer. Download atvusb-creator (http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/) plug in a flash drive, run the program, plug the flash drive into the AppleTV, plug it in, let it do its thing, reboot the atv and you're done. That easy. After that you can install any kind program you'd like.

Aidoneus
Aug 28, 2009, 03:53 PM
Just a side note, I'd say it would be prudent to wait until after the upcoming Apple media event before buying anything, as there's a chance the Apple TV will be updated there.

FortWorthMac
Aug 28, 2009, 04:40 PM
Just a side note, I'd say it would be prudent to wait until after the upcoming Apple media event before buying anything, as there's a chance the Apple TV will be updated there.

Yeah I had already thought about that. But thanks though.

rogervzv
Aug 29, 2009, 04:22 AM
Getting back to your original question, you can play any movie on the ATV that is playable in iTunes and that has been imported into iTunes. Which means that if you have ripped a DVD to MP4 format, for example, you can watch it on the ATV. This means that yes, there really is no need to download the file to the ATV HDD as long as the movie is on the main computer in your house that has iTunes and the library of movies. You can stream it from your computer to the ATV and enjoy it on your big screen TV that way. That's what I do and it works really well.

FortWorthMac
Aug 29, 2009, 05:10 PM
Getting back to your original question, you can play any movie on the ATV that is playable in iTunes and that has been imported into iTunes. Which means that if you have ripped a DVD to MP4 format, for example, you can watch it on the ATV. This means that yes, there really is no need to download the file to the ATV HDD as long as the movie is on the main computer in your house that has iTunes and the library of movies. You can stream it from your computer to the ATV and enjoy it on your big screen TV that way. That's what I do and it works really well.

That's why I was originally confused. FrontRow plays just about any media file in my "Movies" directory. They do not have to be in iTunes and they do not have to be converted to MP4. I don't understand why, out of the box ATV doesn't allow similar functionality .

I have hundreds of videos and not really looking forward to converting and importing them all just so I can play them on ATV. I'm going to wait and see if they update the line next month but then I may start looking for another brand of media player.

jjxc90
Aug 29, 2009, 06:08 PM
I am planning on getting an apple TV for the same reason. You should check out aTV flash; only 50 bucks and lets you play ripped movies. Also has boxee, xbmc, plex, hulu and some other stuff. The website for the program is www.atvflash.com. Oh yea and it doesn't void the warranty either so that's a plus.
+1

dynaflash
Aug 29, 2009, 06:33 PM
Getting back to your original question, you can play any movie on the ATV that is playable in iTunes and that has been imported into iTunes.
Not totally true, iTunes for instance can play back 1080p and encodes with weightb. The appleTv will not take the former whatsoever and chokes on the latter.

TuckBodi
Aug 29, 2009, 10:57 PM
Originally Posted by byocrysis
I am planning on getting an apple TV for the same reason. You should check out aTV flash; only 50 bucks and lets you play ripped movies. Also has boxee, xbmc, plex, hulu and some other stuff. The website for the program is www.atvflash.com. Oh yea and it doesn't void the warranty either so that's a plus.

+1

-1

Maybe you can tell me what ATV Flash (and Patchstick.ca) has that ATVUSB-Creator (http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/) doesn't have? And while doing that maybe tell me which patchstick was created by the developer who created the bootloader all patchsticks use? And then I'm curious if you could tell me which patchstick is blessed by the most ATV plugin dev's? And lastly, maybe tell me which one is free?

cdavis11
Aug 31, 2009, 03:40 PM
Hello all,


Also, I understand that ATV can work wirelessly. With that being the case, I have a good wireless network and don't plan on streaming HD, why not save the money and go with the 40GB device? Or I'm I missing something?

Thanks
David

David,

That's exactly what I did - 5Ghz wireless N *only* - and it's working very well streaming. I bought the 40GB and have nothing on it - all content is streamed. It works very well.

rayward
Aug 31, 2009, 04:00 PM
Also, I understand that ATV can work wirelessly. With that being the case, I have a good wireless network and don't plan on streaming HD, why not save the money and go with the 40GB device? Or I'm I missing something?

If you don't plan on syncing files to the device, save the money and get the small one. If you have a strong network, wireless streaming is perfectly fine - even for watching on-demand HD movies from the iTunes store.

If you don't have an exclusively "n" network, though - i.e. you have "b/g" devices on the network at the same time - you might want to think about creating a dual band network. On "n" only for your iMac and Apple TV, and one for everything else. That way you get the best performance from your Apple TV.

rogervzv
Sep 1, 2009, 03:33 AM
That's why I was originally confused. FrontRow plays just about any media file in my "Movies" directory. They do not have to be in iTunes and they do not have to be converted to MP4. I don't understand why, out of the box ATV doesn't allow similar functionality .

I have hundreds of videos and not really looking forward to converting and importing them all just so I can play them on ATV. I'm going to wait and see if they update the line next month but then I may start looking for another brand of media player.

If your movies are already on hard disk, as long as they are in a format compatible with ATV it takes only a minute or so to import them into iTunes. If they are still on DVDs then yes, the ripping procedure takes a while.

rogervzv
Sep 1, 2009, 03:35 AM
If you don't plan on syncing files to the device, save the money and get the small one. If you have a strong network, wireless streaming is perfectly fine - even for watching on-demand HD movies from the iTunes store.

If you don't have an exclusively "n" network, though - i.e. you have "b/g" devices on the network at the same time - you might want to think about creating a dual band network. On "n" only for your iMac and Apple TV, and one for everything else. That way you get the best performance from your Apple TV.

I totally agree about the dual band network. It hugely enhances the ATV.

FortWorthMac
Sep 1, 2009, 07:50 AM
If your movies are already on hard disk, as long as they are in a format compatible with ATV it takes only a minute or so to import them into iTunes. If they are still on DVDs then yes, the ripping procedure takes a while.


Okay so will ATV play formats that iTunes doesn't? ie WMV, AVI, MPG?

It's funny that FrontRow does natively(sp?) on my Mac but iTunes doesn't.

Thanks
David

sandman42
Sep 1, 2009, 08:23 AM
Okay so will ATV play formats that iTunes doesn't? ie WMV, AVI, MPG?

It's funny that FrontRow does natively(sp?) on my Mac but iTunes doesn't.

Thanks
David

Again, not without hacking. From the :apple:TV specs page (http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html), the file types accepted by the :apple:TV (out of the box) are:

Video formats supported

H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels, 640 by 480 pixels, 720 by 480 pixels (anamorphic), or high-definition 720p

MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

The :apple:TV plays a subset of the files types that are playable FrontRow, QuickTime, or iTunes. In other words, anything :apple:TV can play the others can play, but not the other way around.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone's said this explicitly, but you can add files to your iTunes library without duplicating or moving the existing file. Uncheck 'Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library' (in 'Preferences' --> 'Advanced') and you can use the 'File' --> 'Add to library...' command to make a compatible file accessible via iTunes without having to copy it to iTunes' library.

Sound like hacking would be a better solution for you though, as the :apple:TV, out-of-the-box, is somewhat restrictive.

FortWorthMac
Sep 1, 2009, 08:36 AM
Again, not without hacking. From the :apple:TV specs page (http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html), the file types accepted by the :apple:TV (out of the box) are:

Video formats supported

H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels, 640 by 480 pixels, 720 by 480 pixels (anamorphic), or high-definition 720p

MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps) in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

The :apple:TV plays a subset of the files types that are playable FrontRow, QuickTime, or iTunes. In other words, anything :apple:TV can play the others can play, but not the other way around.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone's said this explicitly, but you can add files to your iTunes library without duplicating or moving the existing file. Uncheck 'Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library' (in 'Preferences' --> 'Advanced') and you can use the 'File' --> 'Add to library...' command to make a compatible file accessible via iTunes without having to copy it to iTunes' library.

Sound like hacking would be a better solution for you though, as the :apple:TV, out-of-the-box, is somewhat restrictive.

<fail>

You all have a couple of got links for hacking the ATV? I of course did a search and saw some info but I would rather stick to the proven methods.

Thanks for all the help all.

cdavis11
Sep 1, 2009, 08:44 AM
<fail>

You all have a couple of got links for hacking the ATV? I of course did a search and saw some info but I would rather stick to the proven methods.

Thanks for all the help all.

My experience with the various hacks has not been pleasant.

That's not to say they didn't work, they just weren't satisfactory. Boxee is an alpha, and is as buggy and unstable as you'd expect an alpha to be. XBMC is better, but the interface (IMHO) is an abomination.

If I were you, I would spend the time to encode media in an Itunes playable format - you'll be happier in the long run not having to fuss with the hacks.

I put Boxee/XBMC on for a few days and ended up factory restoring to wipe it after being frustrated with the lock ups and general alpha-ness of it all.

FortWorthMac
Sep 1, 2009, 05:20 PM
Just read a blog post and got me thinking. I'm fairly new to Mac's so I don't know if this would work or not so please let me know.

I upgraded to Snow Leopard last night and today saw this blog post:

http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/31/mac-os-x-now-hdtv-ready-with-10-6/

My HD TV is only 5 feet from my iMac, so, would I be able to simply run a cable from my iMac to my HDMI port on the the HD then use the TV as a second monitor? I was able to do something similiar to my Windows box to my SD TV that I used to have but not sure it'll work the same way on a Mac. Advice? Comments?

Thanks

sircutbreaker
Sep 2, 2009, 01:15 AM
You can get the free patchstick and sit there and play with the plug ins... but, time is money... and ATVFlash has already done all the tinkering for you. Its money well spent.

The latest version makes it super easy to play whatever you wish on the atv.

Their files plug in works with the iphone remote app.

The NitoTV plug in makes it a cinch to stream content from your network.

http://img.skitch.com/20090902-jamm3w3374k29cwyek41sgterh.jpg

There is even a command line option to set the atv to use an attached usb to sync media... so buying the 40 gig is a viable option.

me personally, I have a 1tb drive attached to my time capsule and I stream all content from there.

I have plenty of movies in plenty of formats and the picture quality is more than sufficient.

xraydoc
Sep 2, 2009, 08:05 PM
That's why I was originally confused. FrontRow plays just about any media file in my "Movies" directory. They do not have to be in iTunes and they do not have to be converted to MP4. I don't understand why, out of the box ATV doesn't allow similar functionality .

I have hundreds of videos and not really looking forward to converting and importing them all just so I can play them on ATV. I'm going to wait and see if they update the line next month but then I may start looking for another brand of media player.

Think of the Apple TV as an iPod for your TV. As like with the iPod, the Apple TV is dependent on iTunes for its content. Like the iPod, once media copied (synced), you can disconnect the Apple TV from iTunes and play/display your media. Just like with the iPod, if its not on iTunes, the Apple TV (or iPod) won't have access to the media.

The Apple TV has one thing the iPod doesn't, and that's media streaming, whereby as long as the Apple TV has a network connection, it can play anything in your iTunes library, even if there's too much to fit on the Apple TV's hard drive. But streaming requires the computer in the other room to have iTunes up and running (but it can be minimized/hidden).

If you want Front Row-type access, a Mac mini would be a better solution.

For me, I have 3 Apple TVs in my home and I'm very satisfied with them. My desktop (see sig below) is on 24/7 with iTunes running in the background. It acts as the home iTunes/media server. All my media is in an iTunes-compatible format which gives me access to all the same media on our iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs. While it may not be the ideal in terms of high-fidelity, for most of my stuff its good enough and the compatibility with all my other devices (my wife, 3 kids and I have iPhones and the kids also have iPod nanos) is very, very convenient.

For my "important" movies, I buy 'em on Blu-Ray and watch 'em on a 107" DLP projection screen :-)

rayward
Sep 3, 2009, 02:51 PM
Also, I'm not sure if anyone's said this explicitly, but you can add files to your iTunes library without duplicating or moving the existing file. Uncheck 'Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library' (in 'Preferences' --> 'Advanced') and you can use the 'File' --> 'Add to library...' command to make a compatible file accessible via iTunes without having to copy it to iTunes' library.

You can just drag 'n' drop the file onto your iTunes movie list, and it'll add it to the list and create (if necessary) and iTunes-friendly version, without messing with the original.

When I first started ripping my DVD collection to my Mac, I nearly jammed my HDD because I didn't realise that there were two versions of each movie once I dragged the rip over to iTunes. Now I know to delete the original and empty the trash when I'm done.

rayward
Sep 3, 2009, 03:00 PM
For me, I have 3 Apple TVs in my home and I'm very satisfied with them. My desktop (see sig below) is on 24/7 with iTunes running in the background. It acts as the home iTunes/media server. All my media is in an iTunes-compatible format which gives me access to all the same media on our iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs. While it may not be the ideal in terms of high-fidelity, for most of my stuff its good enough and the compatibility with all my other devices (my wife, 3 kids and I have iPhones and the kids also have iPod nanos) is very, very convenient.

I have two Apple TVs, and the interface is a dream compared to using MediaLink on my PS3 (which is what I did before the ATV arrived). I do the same as you - put all my media into iTunes so that I can play it on the ATVs, iPhone, iPod etc. I rip movies using the iPhone preset in Handbrake, and find that this is a perfectly acceptable picture when played through an ATV on a big screen. It keeps the file size down but I do realise that I'm not getting the best out of it with such a low resolution rip.

I have iTunes set to open automatically, so it's always there for when I call on it through the ATVs.

FortWorthMac
Sep 3, 2009, 08:12 PM
You can just drag 'n' drop the file onto your iTunes movie list, and it'll add it to the list and create (if necessary) and iTunes-friendly version, without messing with the original.



Are you sure? I just tried dragging an AVI file into iTunes and it didn't work. Of course Handbrake will work though.

Thanks
David

sircutbreaker
Sep 4, 2009, 01:09 AM
The only way the ATV is going to play an avi is if it has been unlocked and perian has been installed on it.

sircutbreaker
Sep 4, 2009, 05:43 AM
Hello all,

I'm thinking of purchasing an ATV to go with my new LCD. It's going to go on my TV in my (home) office so that I can watch video on my TV as opposed to having to watch it on my iMac.

My questions are, it does play movies on my computer correct? In other words, will in play movies and TV shows that I've downloaded and ripped myself that are not in iTunes? FrontRow does this just fine but I'd rather not put my entire library into iTunes. I envision that ATV works and looks similar to FrontRow.

Also, I understand that ATV can work wirelessly. With that being the case, I have a good wireless network and don't plan on streaming HD, why not save the money and go with the 40GB device? Or I'm I missing something?

Thanks
David

I have a library of ripped movies and TV series that I have downloaded... and the only way to do it is to have the ATV unlocked... otherwise... you are locked into using itunes.

For $50.00 you can get a program that will take you all of 15 minutes to unlock the atv and give you the freedom to have it play all of your content... streamed right from your downloads folder (since you have a good network)

liamwillib
Sep 4, 2009, 12:00 PM
Just read a blog post and got me thinking. I'm fairly new to Mac's so I don't know if this would work or not so please let me know.

I upgraded to Snow Leopard last night and today saw this blog post:

http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/31/mac-os-x-now-hdtv-ready-with-10-6/

My HD TV is only 5 feet from my iMac, so, would I be able to simply run a cable from my iMac to my HDMI port on the the HD then use the TV as a second monitor? I was able to do something similiar to my Windows box to my SD TV that I used to have but not sure it'll work the same way on a Mac. Advice? Comments?

Thanks

You can connect your mac to your TV in exactly the same way it sounds like you did with your windows box. I do the same using leopard and it works perfectly. I think the blog you read shows that snow leopard now has a special setting allowing it to take advantage and fill every mm/pixel of your hdtv screen. Using leopard means that I have a tiny unused border at the top and bottom of the screen, the setting in snow leopard is obviously just further optimised for hdtv.

Either way you have the option to "mirror" your display or "extend the desktop" (which is what it sounds like you want to do). The options to mirror or extend only appear in displays tab in preferences once you connect the tv. The only drawback (someone correct me if I am wrong) is that Front Row will only work if you mirror the display, you won't be able to have Front Row on the TV while being productive on your iMac screen. You will have to just drag the movie window across to the tv screen if you want it playing at the same time as being productive.

Sounds like just using a cable could be much cheaper option while you wait for apple to make the AppleTV what most of us dream for it to become. Or until you need to move your mac and tv further apart.

FortWorthMac
Sep 6, 2009, 01:20 PM
You can connect your mac to your TV in exactly the same way it sounds like you did with your windows box. I do the same using leopard and it works perfectly. I think the blog you read shows that snow leopard now has a special setting allowing it to take advantage and fill every mm/pixel of your hdtv screen. Using leopard means that I have a tiny unused border at the top and bottom of the screen, the setting in snow leopard is obviously just further optimised for hdtv.

Either way you have the option to "mirror" your display or "extend the desktop" (which is what it sounds like you want to do). The options to mirror or extend only appear in displays tab in preferences once you connect the tv. The only drawback (someone correct me if I am wrong) is that Front Row will only work if you mirror the display, you won't be able to have Front Row on the TV while being productive on your iMac screen. You will have to just drag the movie window across to the tv screen if you want it playing at the same time as being productive.

Sounds like just using a cable could be much cheaper option while you wait for apple to make the AppleTV what most of us dream for it to become. Or until you need to move your mac and tv further apart.

Went ahead and ordered the cable to see how it works. I figure it's a little cheaper then an ATV.

Thanks all for the assistance.

David

xraydoc
Sep 7, 2009, 03:17 PM
I have two Apple TVs, and the interface is a dream compared to using MediaLink on my PS3 (which is what I did before the ATV arrived). I do the same as you - put all my media into iTunes so that I can play it on the ATVs, iPhone, iPod etc. I rip movies using the iPhone preset in Handbrake, and find that this is a perfectly acceptable picture when played through an ATV on a big screen. It keeps the file size down but I do realise that I'm not getting the best out of it with such a low resolution rip.

I have iTunes set to open automatically, so it's always there for when I call on it through the ATVs.

Try the Apple Universal preset in Handbrake. The file size is larger, about 1.5GB per average DVD, but its basically what is used by Apple for the movies you buy or rent on iTunes. Very good picture quality and it'll pass through 5.1 surround via HDMI or optical.

Dapness
Sep 7, 2009, 05:15 PM
I have two Apple TVs, and the interface is a dream compared to using MediaLink on my PS3 (which is what I did before the ATV arrived). I do the same as you - put all my media into iTunes so that I can play it on the ATVs, iPhone, iPod etc. I rip movies using the iPhone preset in Handbrake, and find that this is a perfectly acceptable picture when played through an ATV on a big screen. It keeps the file size down but I do realise that I'm not getting the best out of it with such a low resolution rip.

I have iTunes set to open automatically, so it's always there for when I call on it through the ATVs.

When you say you have it set to open automatically, are you running Snow Leopard and using the wake on demand fuction?? I asked in another forum if you could put your Mac to sleep while not using it but when the :apple: TV needs to access it, it awakes. I'm trying to save some power over here since I'm running a Mac Pro with 4 internal drives.