Apple TV vs. WD TV HD Live Plus. Why did Apple destroy functionality?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by WiiDSmoker, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. macrumors 65816

    WiiDSmoker

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN
    #1
    Apple TV
    Price: $99
    Resolution: 720P
    Includes: Netflix, YouTube

    Support Video Formats: M4V, MP4, MOV

    Supported Audio Codecs: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through

    Built in Wi-Fi N


    WD TV HD Live Plus
    Price: $109
    Resolution 1080P
    Includes: Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, Pandora

    Supported Video Formats: AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9

    Supported Audio Codecs: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS

    Wi-Fi only available through extra purchase.



    So tell me again, how the Apple TV can compete with the WD TV HD Live Plus and other devices?

    Why does Apple come out with a great design, superb UI, but ruin the functionality?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #2
    It what happens when companies become overly reliant on "designers" and not enough on engineering. The Iphone 4 debacle is another example.

    Its an insult to engineers everywhere when Jobs says he's an engineer. He's not. He has no training. He's a designer and nothing more. At Apple design always beats out engineering and functionality.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    petvas

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Location:
    Mannheim, Germany
    #3
    As a former owner of a WDTV I can tell you the following:
    • WDTV's interface isn't as sleek and cool as the Apple TV
    • Configuring network connectivity between the WDTV and other computers is highly problematic.
    • There is no nice cover art, renting of movies and TV shows
    • The remote control sucks big time

    The only thing that keeps me from buying an Apple TV is the 720p maximum resolution. It is really a shame...
     
  4. macrumors member

    Gump

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Virginia
    #4
    This is an excellent question. Notice the lack of any USB ports! No future upgrade can solve this important piece of functionality. AVCHD support? Zero.

    I too am not sure what Apple is aiming to do, especially with a lack of iOS apps for the big screen. This is no way to compete with the Google TV and certainly is not a revolutionary product set to change the purpose of 'boxes' we have sitting around our TVs.

    However, I still don't know why the WD TV HD does not support raw DV video -- especially considering half my library is in this format. My current solution is to use Boxee on my existing (hacked) Apple TV via USB.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #5
    There is a USB port right under the HDMI port.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    #6
    Do you have a state of the art monitor over 60"?

    If not, you do not gain anything from 1080P.

    I have a Sony 46" BRAVIA® Z Series LCD Flat Panel HDTV. There is no noticeable difference between good 720P signals and good 1080P signals such as DirecTV.

    I do notice a difference with BluRay 1080P. However the difference is from two other factors - 24 frames per second and less compression.

    To 99.9% of us, 1080P is just a marketing issue.

    It does not give most of us a better picture.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #7
    Easily. If you have a large iTunes library on your Mac like many of us do.. Apple TV is the device that gives you perfect integration. WDTV doesn't even play M4V files.. and it doesn't properly read M4V metadata.. it doesn't support AC3 5.1 in MP4/M4V containers. I have 500+ movies on my iTunes server - I am not about to re-do them in MKV or some other format WDTV understands.

    So for people like me - new Apple TV is the perfect media device.. and I love the new form factor. NetFlix integration is just a cherry on top.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #8
    Amen to that.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Gump

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    #9
    Wow, I really must have missed that one during the demonstration.

    Still, this device offers nothing that the current Apple TV already offers, except better hardware price and iTunes Store rental prices.

    No support for external media - especially AVCHD - was shown.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #10
    It offers Netflix streaming. It offers 30fps framerate. Current Apple TV supports neither.

    So your statement is incorrect.
     
  11. macrumors member

    Gump

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    Hack the current Apple TV and you've got both - plus all the Boxee and XBMC content as well, which is more than the new Apple TV offers.

    In fact, I've been able to force the hardware to provide a constant framerate higher than 30fps in 720p with unofficial software. At least the current Apple TV can decode H.264 in 1080p using the hardware on board - this new Apple TV is limited to 720p.

    If this new Apple TV is successful it will primarily be for one reason: the price.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    #12
    Roku HD v. Apple TV?

    Looking for:
    Netflix integration (80% of my viewing comes from here- I don't have cable)
    digital rental ability of new releases (I NEVER buy movies or DVDs)
    ability to watch Hulu, Megavideo, TV shows from ABC.com, NBC.com, etc.
    (not a necessary but would be nice)

    Which should I get? Apple TV or Roku HD or something else?
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #13
    No you don't. No one has been able to get Netflix streaming properly working, even on hacked ATV. The hardware is just not capable.

    Boxee/XBMC are junk and != Netflix. Proper Netflix support is a huge feature of the new ATV, and is the reason why my old ATV's are going on eBay and being replaced with new ones.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    #14
    Apple TV relies on a Mac/PC being turned on with iTunes being accessible, does it not?

    WDTV Live can also do everything from a NAS w/o a PC being turned on. My NAS is on all of the time as my central media server, the computer is not.

    Plus, WDTV Live is multi room. Component and HDMI outputs are active at the same time so you can run one device on two rooms using both outputs. Apple TV only limited to one HDMI port. If you have an HDMI matrix switcher then you could make it multi room..

    I do agree the WDTV Live interface leaves a lot to be desired and the remote is bad, but that has been worked around by integrating with Logitech Harmony. Apple certainly has a nicer interface, but for me the ATV is a no sale because of no Pandora and lack of NAS support. Plenty of other devices, like the new version of the WDTV can do Netflix so apple is just jumping into the crowd with the other devices that already offer this.

    The ATV seems to be primarily designed to be a conduit for Apple to sell you more content via ITunes rather than more tuned to playing the content you already own and want to take advantage of variety of formats. If audio is of interest, there are several other options that have more content providers (like Pandora, Live365, Hulu, etc) than AppleTV. But, I think apple is going for the mainstream here and not exactly for the hardcore.
     
  15. macrumors member

    Gump

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    #15
    Apple TV vs Boxee Box

    Boxee is junk? Let's compare:

    Boxee - great UI with support for the following:

    Netflix, raw DV files, AVI, MPG/MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMVB, 3GP, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (SP and ASP), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), Huffyuv, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, QuickTime, Sorenson, WMV, and Cinepak.

    vs.

    Apple - great UI with support for the following:

    Netflix, iTunes Store purchases, and H.264 MP4 files (some).

    If Boxee is "junk" the Apple TV must be garbage.
    In fact, you've now convinced me to wait for the Boxee Box.

    I love my Apple TV but come on, this upgrade offers nothing revolutionary.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #16
    OK I don't care about that alphabet soup of video formats - all my content is in H.264/AAC, which ATV handles perfectly. Last time I tried Boxee on my original Apple TV - it was horrible quality.. laggy UI.. I uninstalled it after a week and never went back. Maybe things have improved, I don't know.

    Maybe not for you.. But I was just responding to your earlier comment that new ATV offers nothing over old one.. which is factually incorrect. ;)
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #17
    ATV works perfectly fine with the content you already own. And if you manage all your content in iTunes - it offers vastly superior experience to WDTV or any other generic media streamers out there.

    I have had my ATV's for years, and I am yet to spend a penny on any of the iTunes Store content :D
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2010
    #18
    UI experience maybe, but can't get around the fact that ATV still requires a MAC or PC to be powered on behind it, no?

    Many people including myself are storing all media on NAS. Much more reliable than a single MAC/PC because of RAID1 in case primary HD in the MAC/PC dies.

    But, Apple was not trying to compete with the likes of WDTV, Roku, Popcorn hour streamers that do a lot more things. It was going for what it felt it could do best for the price point and focus toward form/design. That is typical Apple.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #19
    Yes.. or you can now also stream media from iPad/iPod/iPhone to ATV. I have multiple ATV's throughout my house, and having the central media server works the best. This way all my ATV's get access the same content, and I don't need to worry about "syncing".

    I have NAS array attached to my Mini. It's no less reliable than a stand-alone NAS - if my main Mac drive dies, I don't lose any of the NAS array content.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Gump

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia
    #20

    While I forgot to add the word "significant" after "nothing" I'm pretty sure I got my point across. :D
     
  21. macrumors regular

    rediffusion

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #21
    I am torn between the new ATV and WD TV HD Live Plus. I am a Mac user and predominantly want to watch my archived videos which are predominantly .avi files.

    If I go for the ATV option I am going to have to convert everything to Apples video formats which is a pain. What is the best program to use for this? II have VisualHub but is there something better? I've found that this program sometimes has visual/audio sync problems.

    Alternatively I can go for the WD TV HD Live Plus option but I'm not too keen on the interface. Does this model work well with Macs? I also understand that it doesn't have a built in wi-fi capability, so I would need to buy a wireless adapter, right?

    Any advice would be gratefully received. ;)
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Shoesy

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Location:
    Colchester, UK.
    #22
    If you're dealing with mostly AVI files you would want either an old hacked appletv or a WD plugged in. If you want to rent and stream from itunes you'd want a new appletv. If you want a girly fight about which is best you'd want MacRumors ;)
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    mi
    #23
    The reason I'm interested in one (and the reason I think this one will do better with the non-techie market) is that I know if I hook up an aTv in my living room, my wife and kids will be able to use it without any problems - doesn't matter if they're watching TV, streaming netflix, or want to watch a slideshow of pictures we have on the computer - it will be simple for them to ues and figure out. A comparable streamer, which may handle more exotic formats (none of which I have on my computer), that may have better technical specifications, means nothing if the UI doesn't work well. Apple is trying what they did with computers and phones - on a technical level, it may seem less capable than other options on the market, but it's focused on what it does do, and doing it well - techies have a tendancy to ignore or brush aside issues of the actual user interface, but it's *huge* for everyone else.

    Just my opinion, honestly.

    Good timing too - I wanted a better netflix streaming option than I'm currently using, and was considering 79 bucks or so for a roku... now I can spend 20 more, stream titles from my main machine (which is always turned on anyway), rent movies, and watch slideshows - all with an interface I know other people in the house can enjoy. To me, that's worth the extra 20 bucks, and worth not having some whiz-bang features (or codec support) of other players.
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #24
    Not only that but the Front End is very important for me. I have a lot of Movies and TV Shows tagged in MetaX and the only system that supports it is the :apple:TV. I can't believe that nobody else support reading metadata directly from the files.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #25
    That sums it up perfectly.
     

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