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OK AppleTV haters, time to put up...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mrgreen4242, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. macrumors 601


    My AppleTV is on the fritz, and while I might be able to keep it running for a few more months in the hopes of a hardware revision in the Fall, I may have to buy a new one.

    Lots of people go on about what a failure the AppleTV is and how much it sucks, so, what's the superior alternative? I need something that meets the following criteria:

    -.11g or better wireless
    -Streams (wirelessly) h.264 files from my iMac, keeping in tact my surround sound audio tracks and soft subs
    -Simple enough for my wife to figure out without explanation
    -HMDI, component, and optical audio out
    -Under $200

    If it added netflix instant watch, that would be very convenient. So, there must be another option out there since there is such a large group of people who hate the ATV so much, right?

    Note: I have a PS3 already and so I can assure you it is not a suitable replacement for the ATV - its wifi sucks and it can't play a movie via streaming. It also won't passthrough AC3 audio properly. It's so bad at media center duties, in fact, i am considering selling it.
  2. Moderator emeritus


    There doesn't have to be another option out there. A Mac Mini with Plex does all of your requests and more, however it isn't in the $200 price range. That's what I went to when I got tired of my AppleTV.
  3. macrumors 601


    Mac Mini with Plex.

    Costs more and no HDMI but it is the most superior Apple HTPC set up available. Totally worth the price.
  4. Moderator emeritus


    I have an adapter which let's me run both audio and video via HDMI. So while not native, you can do it.
  5. macrumors 68000

    Can Plex play iTunes-purchased content from within its interface?
  6. macrumors 6502

    The wireless will be your big stumbling block. If you were willing to look at either connecting to an Airport Express or one of the many Powerline type Ethernet solutions your choices would expand quite a bit (I can think of dozens of media players that do all you want, but only have ethernet).

    If wireless is a must though, both D-link and Netgear make media streamers that should do what you're looking for. I haven't ever investigated them since I happen to have my router next to my TV, so I just used ethernet based players.

    Also, your PS3 can stream movies, you just need to install a UPnP media server program on your iMac. There are variety of them, such as EyeConnect, Playback, or even XBMC, but if you have issues with your PS3 wifi that probably won't be a great solution. Worth a shot though, most have free trials and are notably cheaper than buying a whole new box.
  7. Moderator emeritus


    It can play iTunes purchased music but not video. I don't have a large amount of iTunes store video so while unfortunate, this wasn't an issue for me although it may be for others. Good question/point!
  8. macrumors 68000


    I've heard good things about the WD TV Live HD Media Player. I might actually get it myself. Cheaper and more flexible, from what I've read.
  9. macrumors 65816


    There are people who hate everything Apple makes. If you have been happy with AppleTV, and don't want to spend more on an alternate solution, buy another one. It's okay.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Go with the ATV. It is a great little machine. Does all that you need.

    I do wish that it would play all my iTunes video files, not just ones for the ATV.
  11. macrumors newbie

    I'm on the fence about getting an ATV too. I'm an Apple fanboy, but that popbox that's coming out in the spring might just be the way to go. Not sure about the audio end of it, but it will pretty much do any video codec you throw at it. And i agree with the last comment that ATV should play anything that iTunes has in it's library. I believe that there will be two popbox's. One without wireless and one with. The one with wireless N, i believe, will be about $149. Oh and it will have Netflix 2.0, HDMI and that optical thingamajig your looking for!!
  12. macrumors member

    For your reqirements, I don't know of anything better. Becasue you have a desktop (iMac or Mac Mini), getting a Mac Mini is overkill. The iMac already allows you to do everything you need. If you only had a laptop, I would say to go with a Mini/iMac.

    I have a set up with a Mini hooked up in my living room and a ATV in my bedroom. Mini streams everything to the bedroom. Works great! Go for it again!
  13. macrumors 68020

    Well, gotta agree that given your criteria I think you pretty much describe the atv in general. If I might ask what do you think is borked on your exisiting appleTV ?
  14. macrumors regular


    I use the same sort of setup. I have one central iMac with a 1TB drive. It has all the TV shows, music and movies in the iTunes library. The two AppleTVs in the house stream content from the iMac over 802.11n. The only local content on the AppleTVs themselves is photos for the screen saver (which is a great source of entertainment for guests).
  15. macrumors 6502

    You can also launch Front Row from within Plex to play iTunes video content. It will shut down Plex, launch Front Row, and return to Plex when you exit Front Row. Somewhat clunky, but it works.
  16. macrumors regular

    I have a WD TV Live HD and while I really do like it I do not believe it will stream content from his iMac.

  17. macrumors 68000

    A refurb is the cheapest way to go, should tide you over until the new model comes out. Even then, is the new one going to offer improvements that are important to you anyway?
  18. macrumors 68030



    I think an Xbox 360 with Connect 360 on the Mac can do all that (at least streaming works nice in my home network), but you'd probably have to spend a bit more than 200 bucks.
  19. macrumors 68020

    how bout a :apple:tv with boxee.
  20. macrumors 6502


    I use Boxee Beta on my ATV and love it. Since I don't have any iTunes video content I use the Boxee app exclusively. I enabled USB disk storage and afp access, so I keep all my media on a 1.5TB hard drive attached to the machine.

    Since the hardware will likely never be upgraded, I'll move to a Mac Mini once it gets the audio over Mini DisplayPort so I can play 1080p content. Until then, I'll continue to enjoy my ATV.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    I also have a WD TV Live. I have no problems streaming from my Mac.

    Previously, I needed to rename my iTunes ".m4v" files to ".mp4" files in order to get full fast-forward and rewind functionality. However, a recent firmware release fixed that problem.

    I find that I use my Apple TV for playing music (controlling it via WiFi from the Remote app on my iPhone is *way* cool.) But, I use the WD TV Live for playing video. It plays any video format I throw at it (I have a bunch of .m2ts files) and the fact that it has a composite output allows me to use it when I go on vacation and don't have an HD TV.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    The Apple TV fits your criteria perfectly. I'd get one of them ;)
  23. macrumors 601


    Oh, I love my ATV - it's just with the number of people who seem to really dog on it I figured someone must be making something better. Doesn't sound like it though. The WD TV Live is promising, but its about the same price when you add the wifi adaptor and doesn't really look to add anything new.

    My ATV is dying a slow overheating death, but I think I'll be able to resurrect it. I've got it running upside down and bottomless now and it's back to working again. I'm going to replace the HDD with a CF card and replace the fan with something bigger and better, then build up a new, bigger enclosure (built off the stock one) for it so I can spread the components out a little more.

    I'm hoping that this year we'll see a new ATV built off the iPhone/iPod system. If you take the 3rd gen iPod touch with 8gb of flash (that is, the actual 3G hardware with only 8gb, not the 2G 8gb model still sold), add a new UI layer, drop the screen/touch digitizer and battery, add a digital output board for HDMI and optical audio, an IR receiver, and maybe add a SATA bus for an optional harddrive (personally, I'd like one without the HDD as I don't store anything on it locally) you could a cheap, dead silent, cool running iTunes to TV bridge.

    Trying to make the one I have last until then, though! If I can get it built up properly it should run for many more years, I think, so I can move it to the bedroom or the theatre room when we get a new one. :)

    I appreciate all the replies though, it confirmed for me that the ATV is the best at what it does in its price range - which makes all the "it's a failure" comments people male even stupider. :p
  24. macrumors 68030

    What popbox are you referring to? I'm curious. Pls provide links.
  25. macrumors 601


    What's really funny is you spending the money on two of these. Your first one is failing. The top is removed and it's upside down dying a slow death. For the price of two, you could have bought a Mini, had three times the functionality, and we'd never be having this conversation.;)

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