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Old Mar 30, 2010, 08:05 PM   #1
rtay
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Good Time To Buy?

Hey i am looking to buy an apple TV but i just wanted to make sure there isn't any upgrades coming up. I also wanted to know if it is good for renting streaming movies, or if it only looks good if i download. I had an xbox to do it, but i dont really care about the 1080 vs 720 cause i really cant tell a difference.
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Old Mar 30, 2010, 11:02 PM   #2
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There is never a good time to buy gadgets, only bad times - but right now, there are no serious rumors I'm aware of that the Apple TV will be updated soon. Then again, who knows with Apple.

You can rent 720p movies via iTunes. You pay $2-$5 depending on how popular the movie is and whether it's in HD. Popular movies are usually $3.99 for SD and $4.99 for HD. Then you download it ... you can start watching it after your Apple TV thinks the buffer is big enough, which depends on your connection. On a good connection, it can be seconds, on a slower broadband connection, it's usually minutes. Once it's sufficiently buffered, you can start watching it at any time (or wait for it to download 100% if you'd prefer). You have 30 days from initiating the rental to begin watching the movie. After 30 days, it's deleted. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to watch it as much as you like. 24 hours after you watch the first second of the movie, it's deleted.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:02 AM   #3
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I snagged a brand new one on craigslist the other day for $150. Do a little shopping around. You can probably find a good deal too.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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Apple has a refurbished one on their website for $180. Should i go for this or is the apple tv refurb quality low?
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:55 AM   #5
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Apple has a refurbished one on their website for $180. Should i go for this or is the apple tv refurb quality low?
Apple's refurbs are known for being of very high quality. If I decide to stop waiting and take the plunge, I'm likely to go that route too.

The AppleTV is "due" for an upgrade in the sense that it's been a long time since the hardware was refreshed, and that's now obvious by its current limitations. As another poster said, though, there's no reason to think that Apple's about to change the situation.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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ipad ftw

It is a very good time to buy an ipad IMHO, which could certainly fulfill a very similar role to an appletv.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:30 PM   #7
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It is a very good time to buy an ipad IMHO, which could certainly fulfill a very similar role to an appletv.
um how ? The iPad is limited by the crappy video out from the dock connector. While I agree that the internal components in terms of cpu are better to say that an iPad can replace an appletv imo is inaccurate. No optical or hdmi out (therefore no ac3 5.1) and no hd (afaik it cannot do 720p). Plus who wants to run up to the iPad in its crappy ( in terms of video out ) dock connector every time you want to browse movies ? I just do not see the iPad replacing the atv in its current incarnation as we know it. Though thats just my .02.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:40 PM   #8
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Yeah i plan on getting an iPad which is a major reason i want apple tv. I can buy movies to go and for my TV. Looks like im gonna take the plunge and save myself $40.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:45 PM   #9
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The iPad looks like a really interesting gadget, I may buy one, but it does different things than the Apple TV and will fill a different role in your life if you buy one.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 12:55 PM   #10
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um how ? The iPad is limited by the crappy video out from the dock connector. While I agree that the internal components in terms of cpu are better to say that an iPad can replace an appletv imo is inaccurate. No optical or hdmi out (therefore no ac3 5.1) and no hd (afaik it cannot do 720p). Plus who wants to run up to the iPad in its crappy ( in terms of video out ) dock connector every time you want to browse movies ? I just do not see the iPad replacing the atv in its current incarnation as we know it. Though thats just my .02.
What he said.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 01:06 PM   #11
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anyone buying an appletv for HD is going to be bitterly disappointed in my opinion. It can barely manage 720p in its basic form.

from the ipad spec page:

Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable

H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

admittedly the 720p support sounds like a winner over ipad's 1024x768 but I doubt you'd be able to see the difference. My main point is it's basically a terrible time to buy the stupidly underpowered and outdated appletv, but a great time to buy the bleeding edge ipad.

FYI I own an appletv and have done more or less since launch, I wouldnt however reccomend it to anyone anyore, just too much money for such a weak, outdated and singleminded product.

Sorry - thats just the way it is.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 01:11 PM   #12
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I’m not entirely sure there is ever a good time to purchase the Apple TV. However, I wouldn’t expect an update until the September iTunes/iPod event.

Apple is busy with more important projects.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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It manages 720p fine.

"Bitterly disappointed"? I am not convinced most people using most TVs can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p.

Comparisons of Apple TV and iPad are strange - they serve very different purposes. One is handheld and runs apps and does Web/email. The other is an appliance you hook to your television.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 01:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Shoesy View Post
anyone buying an appletv for HD is going to be bitterly disappointed in my opinion. It can barely manage 720p in its basic form.

from the ipad spec page:

Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable

H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

admittedly the 720p support sounds like a winner over ipad's 1024x768 but I doubt you'd be able to see the difference. My main point is it's basically a terrible time to buy the stupidly underpowered and outdated appletv, but a great time to buy the bleeding edge ipad.

FYI I own an appletv and have done more or less since launch, I wouldnt however reccomend it to anyone anyore, just too much money for such a weak, outdated and singleminded product.

Sorry - thats just the way it is.
The Atv has no problem Handling 720p, original poster do not listen to this guy, do you really own one? I do and Blu Rays Converted to 1280 by 720p at 24fps look and play fantastic.

It is a single minded product it has been since day one, why people try to meld it into sometihng it isn't amazes me. It's not a Blu Ray, or DVR, its an Itunes Bridge. It's for Streaming or syncing Media in your Itunes Library to your TV in another room either thru ethernet or wirelessly. Then they added the ablity to buy content thru the device. Period End of Function.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 02:13 PM   #15
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Can we please try not to turn this into another "why would you buy an AppleTV when you could buy an iPad as its obviously created to be the AppleTV replacement?" thread... they are two completely separate devices with different targeted users.

Personally, I'm 100% satisfied with my two AppleTV devices... they can deliver an excellent picture (especially if you know how to use other tools for encoding... like Handbrake), are easy to use, and offers access into the iTunes Store from the couch. When you buy a lot of content from Apple, that's a nice feature to have.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:12 PM   #16
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Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to watch it as much as you like. 24 hours after you watch the first second of the movie, it's deleted.
Actually, it is a bit more forgiving than that. It will not disappear while you are in the middle of watching it as the 24 hours expire. This is helpful if you have kids and can only watch an R rated movie after it is bed time for the kids. If you get tired and want to finish watching it the next day, you can. However, before the 24 hours expires, you need to start playing the movie and put it in pause and leave it in pause until the kids are in bed and you are ready to resume watching. You will be permitted to finish watching the movie so long as you do not hit menu and leave the movie. Once you leave the movie, it disappears. However, I am pretty sure it gives you a warning and a chance to cancel and return to the movie.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:19 PM   #17
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Fair enough. OP asked if it was a good time to buy? In my opinion, no - you've missed the boat. When / if they update the hardware then maybe. 3 years down the line with no hardware upgrades? No. Just no. Buy something up to date.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 08:00 PM   #18
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3 years down the line with no hardware upgrades? No. Just no. Buy something up to date.
I predict that the next update will use a much different CPU, probably an ARM (like the iPad). So now is a good time to buy if you want to hack the box. I predict it will be much harder to hack the next gen box.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:36 PM   #19
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I'm sure iPad will be another great way for one person at a time to "consume" media.

My TV is enjoyed by my whole family at the same time
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 09:40 PM   #20
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It's true that the Apple TV hardware hasn't been updated much lately.

It's true that it'll probably make a significant leap in hardware at some point in the next 6-12 months.

It's not true that it's "outdated" or will be outdated soon. It does what it's designed to do perfectly well. And what it's designed to do is more advanced than what 95% of Americans have hooked to their home theater systems today and more advanced than 85-90% will have hooked to their home theater systems next year.

You don't throw out your microwave every year to buy the newest technology. The Apple TV is kind of like that. It won't be outdated until 1080p streaming is common and/or iTunes stops supporting it.

And by the way, this is a $200ish item. You can spend that much to take a family of four to a baseball game or spend that much eating 10 or 15 meals out that you could have eaten at home.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 10:01 AM   #21
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You don't throw out your microwave every year to buy the newest technology. The Apple TV is kind of like that. It won't be outdated until 1080p streaming is common and/or iTunes stops supporting it.
I'm so glad someone finally made this point.

I have a DVD player that still works fine - I purchased it 5 years ago.

The aTV works just fine with my system, i'm happy to be in the iTunes ecosystem and i'm very happy now that iTunes extras are supported.

I got rid of my DVDs, everything is digital and can be moved onto iPhones, iPods, AppleTV and my computers with a minimum of fuss.

With a good wireless network streaming is the way to go.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 10:32 AM   #22
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AppleTV is fantastic for what it does. The HD video quality is just fine on our 52" LCD and the convenience factor of renting movies online vs. going to the video store or doing the mail thing with DVD services is untouchable.

The ATV will NOT be streaming 1080p movies anytime soon, the bandwidth required to do this due to the file sizes is just not there yet and I don't expect it will be for a while. In fact, I think the reason the ATV is doing well now compared to when it originally launched is in part due to more people finally having enough bandwidth to at least get 720p size files.

Again we're more than pleased with the video quality especially if you sit at anything like a normal distance from your TV when you watch movies. If you want to get close and pixel peep then sure you're going to see differences. But for average users, no worries. The video is at least as good as the BEST HD broadcasts that I've seen or somewhere between DVD and Blu-Ray in my opinion (for the HD stuff on ATV). My wife thought I was nuts when I bought this and now it's HER baby. We haven't seen a video store in a year and a half and I bet at least a dozen people I know have bought one now on our recommendation or after seeing it at our place. Not an unhappy camper in the bunch with their ATV's.

Also, in Canada at least, we get 48 hours to watch the movie, not 24 like the U.S. Not sure why that is but just clarifying that point for any other Canucks reading this thread that are thinking of buying one. You get 30 days from time of download to start watching the movie and once you start and authorize it you get 24 (U.S) or 48 (Canada and U.K.) hours to finish it or watch as many times as you like before the time limit expires. Cheers!

James
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 12:58 PM   #23
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Just one point, to be clear yes the iPad can support 720p technically using the dock connector to vga adapter. Now thats $29.00 US and looks to be about six inches long tops. The iPad Dock which would make the iPad even remotely useful next to your tv is another $29.00 US. As far as I can tell, when the dock to VGA connector is plugged in there is no way to charge your iPad, so even given a long enough vga cable and a television which has the input available ( also realize that you likely will need a decent length vga cable as the dock to vga adapter looks to be about 6" long) ... I still don't see how you get audio out of it using that dock connector... besides splitting to rca's out of the headphone mini jack to 2 channel rca connectors on your tv. plus As well there is no apparent charging capability while using said dock adapter so the battery had better last as long as they say ( my guess is their estimation for battery life is not considering decoding 720p the whole time). Of course there is the issue of limited local storage for the price as well since the best you can do on an iPad is 64 GB( at a cool $699.00 us) and no apparent streaming capability at least as far as we know (though admittedly it seems plausible that streaming could be added down the road).

My point is not to bash the iPad in any way ( I personally think it is likely to be a breakthrough product), but to suggest it is a very poor replacement for the appleTV with its HDMI output, toslink and AC3 5.1 Dolby Surround pass through. Probably the biggest advantage it has over the atv from a technical video perspective is 720p30, which I have actually done just fine testing on the atv if I bypass iTunes. It plays it no problem. So personally I could see that available as a software update.

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Old Apr 1, 2010, 01:12 PM   #24
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Just one point, to be clear yes the iPad can support 720p technically.
I know I'm damning my own argument, but 1024x768 isn't technically 720p (which has a widescreen aspect ratio of 1280 x 720 with progressive scanning).

So yes I'm wrong.

But it's still not a good time to buy an appletv so ner.

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Old Apr 1, 2010, 01:16 PM   #25
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My point is not to bash the iPad in any way ( I personally think it is likely to be a breakthrough product), but to suggest it is a very poor replacement for the appleTV with its HDMI output, toslink and AC3 5.1 Dolby Surround pass through. Probably the biggest advantage it has over the atv from a technical video perspective is 720p30, which I have actually done just fine testing on the atv if I bypass iTunes. It plays it no problem. So personally I could see that available as a software update.
Has anyone tried syncing a 720p30 video to AppleTV since 9.1 was released? Just curious if they might have removed this artificial limitation when they added iPad syncing. I don't happen to have any 720p30 content available or I would have already tried this myself.
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