Apple TV vs...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by luffx, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    #1
    Hey all,

    I am looking for a well-rounded media solution that can perform.

    I have a 1080p LCD and I would like to take full advantage of it.

    I was originally thinking about using a PS3 for the job, due to the Blu-Ray player, DVD Upscaling, 1080p, and Divx compatibility. Then I realized that I don't know much about the :apple:TV. What kind of quality can it output? Can it take advantage of a 1080p set? How well does streaming high-quality movies handle? Can I replace the HDD or hook-up an external?

    Thanks for your advice!
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    Mindflux

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    #2
    I think the AppleTV does 1080i at best. I still haven't updated to the latest Software to verify that though.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    #3
    I just found this on Apple's site...

    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

    Ack! So it can 'support' 1080i, but will display as 720? That's awful for a product purely dedicated to media. :(

    Is there anyone here that uses the :apple:TV w/ a 1080p set?
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4

    Use Sony PlayStation 3
    it supports 1080p, you can connect your external hard drive to your router (on your mac u can install MediaLink) and u can stream the content onto your tv and have playstation 3 up convert it to 1080p, but u have to have the video files in MP4 format
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #5
    um, the atv can upscale to 1080p. No blue ray though.

    http://www.apple.com/appletv/specs.html

    Under TV compatibility. Of course it cannot play true 1080p content. But not much can tbh from an mp4 file. The AC3 5.1 DD is nice.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    megfilmworks

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Sherman Oaks
    #6
    I've been using both the PS3 and the ATV through an Epson 1080p UB with over 9ft wide projection.
    There is no doubt that the 1080p on the BluRay is better than Apple (less to do with 1080i vs 1080p than compression).
    But the movie download service is not as good on the PS3.
    The quality of the Apple rental, download time, cost and rental period (not to mention 5.1 Dolby) make the ATV the hands down winner for rentals.
    The BluRay is hands down the best picture though.
    I love them both for different reasons.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    wwooden

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Burlington, VT
    #7
    I have both a PS3 and an AppleTV and I would so rather use the :apple:TV for media streaming. The interface is 100x better and more pleasurable. I also like it's integration with youtube, flickr, and podcast. You can spend tons of time with the :apple:TV and never stream media; just browsing youtube and other online content.
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #8
    Well, there would be no comparison obviously, an average atv preset encoded dvd with HB would be along the lines of *maybe* 2 gigs of data with the ac3 5.1 dd track, whereas the BlueRay content would be up to say 30 gigs. Two completely different scenarios. If BluRay is your thing, Obviously the PS3 would be king.

    Now, next version of HB encoding a BluRay title to a true 720p upscaled by the atv ... maybe not so much at a distance of more than 8 feet away ;)
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    gcmexico

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    #9
    *
    great point...the video podcast are awesome!
     
  10. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Location:
    WI
    #10
    Most of the music/conversation I enjoy is too obscure to have a podcast dedicated to it, and YouTube is fine on a computer.

    I'm mainly wondering about the :apple:TV's ability to do what it is meant to do....play movies. The Apple site says that it 'supports' 1080 sets, but outputs a max res of 1280 by 720, which is certainly not 1080.

    Here is a quote from another forum...

    "One is geared for graphic intensive video games and high quality movies. The other is for watching low quality videos from itunes. Apple tv is basically an ipod that connects to your tv."

    That's what worries me. I'm looking for results, not a nice GUI or nice downloading services. I won't be downloading from the store, I won't be doing YouTube or podcasts. I will only be ripping to it. Everything I've heard so far sounds like the AppleTV is a 4-cylinder engine in a Camaro's body. I guess I was hoping to hear otherwise from somebody who actually has a 1080 setup.

    <Rant>
    It pisses me off that Apple constantly makes products that are just below industry standards, and stamps a big fat price on them. They make the main feature subpar and cover it up with extra features. They make a computer that uses 667MHz RAM and a slow FSB, another company makes a computer that is using 800 to 1066MHz RAM and an equivalent FSB. Now the aTV. Grrrr....oh well.
    </Rant>

    I'm crossing my fingers for an AppleTV that truly supports 1080P and has a built in BluRay drive. >.>

    I think I'm going to wait a bit and do more research until I make a decision. Thanks for all of your input!
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    ViViDboarder

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #11
    What I thought about was buying an :apple:TV and installing Leopard on it so I can run EyeTv on it to get it to function as a PVR. That'd be a solution for me. The only problem is that I use a widescreen PC monitor as a TV instead of an HDTV... So that defeats the purpose... So MacMini?
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #12
    From the sound of what you want, the PS3 is a much better option for you. I mean you get the bluray player, the streaming media using medialink and a pretty awesome gaming console as well. I would say that if downloading apple content from itunes isn't a priority for you, then go for the PS3 and you should be happy.
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #13
    It all depends on your setup. Most people don't sit close enough to their TV to see any benefit from 1080p over 720p. In theaters it makes a difference more often.

    For example, if you have a 50" set, and you're sitting more than 8 feet away (most people would sit more than 10) you will not see ANY DIFFERENCE between 1080 and 720. Your eyes physically can't resolve the difference. It's kind of like having 16GB of RAM when you never use more than 4GB.

    This chart might give you a better idea of what I'm talking about:
    [​IMG]


    Personally, I have an AppleTV hooked up to my 720 Panny Plasma, and it looks GORGEOUS! Absolutely perfect.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #14
    That chart above is crap. You can see the benefit from 1080P from any distance. Not to mention that 1080P just has a smoother overall picture.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #15

    I'm sorry, but you're 100% wrong. The graph is based on hard science. This chart simply states the facts. The human eye can only resolve so many pixels per square inch. The distance you sit from the TV is EQUALLY important to the resolution of the screen. If you go back 25 ft or 30 ft. a SD TV and a 1080p tv LOOK IDENTICAL as far as resolution is concerned. Just like a photo taken with a 5mp camera and a 12mp camera look exactly the same its a wallet sized print or even a 4x6 for that matter. It's science man, there's no use disputing it.

    Try this test... go to your local best buy, walk to the HDTV section, find two identical TVS with the only difference being the resolution (1080 vs 720). Now, walk backwards... keep walking backwards. If you can see the difference at more than 12 feet for example, you're not human. You're an alien or have been genetically gifted with the ability to resolve more data through your eyes than most humans.

    Needless to say, this is not something television manufacturers tell people. They want to get the easy up-sell. But if you do some reading from sources that know what they're talking about... this is COMMON KNOWLEDGE.

    Here is Engadget's take on the subject:
    http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/12/09/1080p-charted-viewing-distance-to-screen-size/

    Here is what CNET said:

    Often times the EXACT same TV, with the only difference being resolution, can cost you TWICE as much. My 720 Panny was $1300. the 1080p was $2600. In the store, I walked back to a good 'viewing distance' (about 9ft. for me) and I couldn't see ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL. NONE. That was the end for me. If nothing else, I just saved $1300 on something that 99% of people couldn't see a difference with. The funny thing, people see that big number and just automatically assume the can't have anything else. That's what I almost did... but its similar to the old mac arguments. Less Ghz didn't translate to less speed.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #16
    I had a 50" 720P Panny plasma and a few months ago bought a 50" 1080P. Night and day difference. I can immediately see the additional resolution and it is a lot smoother.

    This is from an 8' to 10' distance.

    The TV sets you see in store are not calibrated so maybe that is why you can't see a difference. And who knows what the quality is of their source material.

    Buy the biggest TV you can afford or fit in your location. And get 1080P. 720P is legacy.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    bacaramac

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #17
    Just my thought, I think if you have two identical TV's (quality wise) with two different resolutions, you wouldn't be able to tell the diff. Your switch in TV's may have just provided you with a nicer picture on 1080p because your older TV was not as good.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #18
    The old TV was a 50" Panny Plasma from 2005. It was a damn good TV. The new one just looks that much better. And I did look at 720P vs. 1080P side by side at Magnolia Hifi just for the hell of it. Big difference.

    Usually the people who say they can't see a difference between 720P and 1080P and the ones who settled for a 720P TV.

    None of this really matters when AppleTV is brought into the mix as it doesn't display any 1080P content.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #19
    Haha! Excellent argument. Well crafted. Perhaps I'll turn it around on you.

    "Usually the people who say they can see a difference between 720p and 1080p at normal TV viewing distances are the ones who paid through the teeth and feel guilty/stupid for wasting their money on something they'll never see."

    Now, I don't necessarily think this is true. For "home theatre" applications for example, where you sit considerably closer and/or have a larger screen, 1080p makes a TON of sense. The problem is that people don't realize when it does matter, and when it doesn't. The chart I posted lets people know the facts. When it matters, and when it doesn't. Simple as that.

    For 90% of people, in 90% of TV viewing situations, the human eye physically can't resolve the difference between the two. It's as simple as that. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, and you like sitting really close, then go ahead! You can read the chart. Maybe you'll benefit from it. Most won't.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #20
    I have both a PS3 and an Apple TV. I hardly EVER use the ATV and use the PS3 two to three times a week (for video).

    Unless you are a fan of renting from Apple, pick the PS3. All the other video you can acquire comes in formats that the ATV cannot play.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Newton, MA
    #21
    Take your time, Dyna.

    (Is it done yet?) pant pant.
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    #22
    I recently built a media centre and am pretty impressed with it. But..... there's so much stuffing around involved in getting it to work. Vista is ALWAYS asking for updates and often these mess with reliability.

    There are obviously "some" things that Windows Media centre does that ATV doesn't but the Apple TV does what it does, better and with less hassles. The lack of H.264 compatibility for Media Centre is also a real downer

    my 2c
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    #23

    I agree 100%. It's all numbers and a big ploy to sell more units.

    The picture on my Sony CRT HD TV (not full HD and over 4 years old!!) is wayyyyy better than my neighbours $5000 Full HD Sony LCD. Even he admits it. Myself, I'm waiting for at least 1 year before I purchase a new TV because the new technologies (yet to be released) compare much better to CRT in the quality stakes. This is why the argument about 720, 1080i and 1080p is not "very" relative to the actually visual quality.

    The other thing to remember is most recorded content doesn't even supply enough data to take advantage of the potential of HD. How much content is filmed/recorded in "full HD"?

    When will people realise that we've actually taken a big step backwards by moving from CRT to Plasma & LCD? They are big, that's all. It's like the move from CD to MP3, it's step back for the sake of convenience. Plasma manufactures are trying tell sell us on their "amazing black" it's still NOT BLACK. LCD makers are trying to sell us on their "super fast refresh rates" and yet both Plasma & LCD still suffer from shocking lag compared to CRT.

    My 2c
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    #24
    I don't disagree that the picture may well be much better on the newer 1080P TV. What you need to remember is it may have little to do with the higher resolution and more to do with the refresh rate and other technologies.

    As I said in my earlier post, how is it, my neighbours Sony Full HD, top-of-the-line Sony LCD TV has a much lesser quality image, than my CRT that isn't "Full HD". I used his TV as an example. It's pretty much the best (or one of) TV money can currently buy, but the same goes for Pioneers, Panasonics and all the quality brands. (I'm a reseller so I see them all the time).

    The analogy I use is PCs (macs included). They get fast and faster each year, but it's silly to say they get faster simply because the processor speeds increase. On the contrary, the recent increases have been brought about by higher speed buses, RAM, better graphics cards AND processors. Remember, we had 3 Ghz computers 3 years ago!!!!

    Same goes for TVs. The early LCD and Plasma TVs were crapola! We only put up with them because they were new and big. How many people have upgrade their LCD TVs recently? Lots, and the reason is that even the best current Plasmas and LCDs aren't great but they are heaps better than a few years ago. They are much better, but not great.

    My 2c
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    IOWA
    #25
    Tronic, some very good points. You obviously know what you're talking about. Everyone pay attention... this man SELLS these TVs, and he agrees that there is a "big ploy" to up-sell customers to 1080p... which wouldn't be beneficial to most customers under normal viewing conditions. He would know.

    People looking for a new HDTV -- if they're educated -- should be looking for contrast ratio, black levels, refresh rate (on LCDs), noise levels, etc. if they're concerned with a quality image. Resolution is far down on the list... and frankly, its the lowest feature in terms of bang vs. buck. WAY too many people get conned into buying a lower end 1080p, when they would have been MUCH better off with a high-end 720p.

    If you're looking for a plasma, I would suggest sticking with Panasonic, Samsung, or (if you can afford it) Pioneer. Plasmas have better viewing angles, contrast ratios, black levels, and over all picture quality than LCDs do. Image Retention and burn-in is no longer a significant problem with the modern plasmas.

    If you're looking for an LCD, I would suggest sticking with Samsung, Sharp, or Sony. Get the model that judders the least during high-motion scenes, because most LCDs look DEPLORABLE in those situations.

    For home living room situations, 90% of people would never get any benefit from 1080p. It's a complete waste of money. To pick a TV, you need to first define what kind of room you'll be watching in, how far you'll be sitting away, etc. Don't just get the expensive model with high numbers or you'll be kicking yourself in the end.

    Now, if you're building a home theatre, this conversation needs to change a little.
     

Share This Page