So Confused, Apple TV or Not

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dezza.1985, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Hi Everyone.

    Firstly hello, I'm new to this forum although read plenty of threads hundreds of times!!

    I have been trying to make a decision into what option to go down for a media streamer around the house.

    I used to have .avi and pop them onto a memory stick and play them through my ps3, however I am now looking for an option that is a little more permenent and easier.

    I have been looking into the Apple TV, hacking it so that I can play the .avi's that I have with the benefits that I can use iTunes for newer movies. I like the menu and the fact that I can use my iphone as a remote for the Apple TV.

    Where my main question is, is the fact that how is the best way to get my media streaming through the Apple TV without having to have my Macbook Pro on all of the time. I have been looking into the option of the Airport Extreme, so that I can attach any portable HDD (Can this be more than one at a time) which I can then take with me if I'm going away for a few days and want to take my media with me. Can the Apple TV read this even when the Macbook is turned off?

    I must admit that after many years of using Windows and other products, since having my iPhone and Macbook, I have become fond of the fact that Apple does just do what it says on the tin. However am I looking too far into Apple products, or is there a better solution.

    The last thing is that I can never seem to get encoding right, and I have loads of DVDs that I want to put onto the Apple TV, with hacking this I can see that it can support Iso images and Video_TS, is this a good option if I can't stand encoding?

    Sorry for all the questions however I'm going round in circles when reading other threads.

    Help would be appreciated. :confused::confused:

  2. macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    It appears you want to get one to play unsupported formats so wouldn't it be easier to get the new base Mini?
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Base Mini? Do you mean Mac Mini? If so I have looked into that, but I don't see that I would use it for the extra features that you are paying the extra cash for? Also I seem to feel that it isn't so easy to just turn on and use as the Apple TV is?!

    Please correct me if you have further advise... I may have missed something, I just feel the price difference is considerable...
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    Not everyone can afford the new Mini's ridiculous price:D
  5. macrumors regular


    Aug 27, 2009
    The :apple:TV is a great device for any home media center. Now it is very cheap with a pretty decent HDD space. I have the 40GB model bought a year ago and I love it more and more every single day. Like you, I have bunches of .avi movies. I hacked the :apple:TV so now I can attach my portable harddrive full of media and I´m good to go. On my :apple:TV I have podcasts and the fews movies I buy on iTunes.
    I don´t recommend hacked it in order to play ripped DVDs because it won´t work smoothly, in fact the image kind go slow. My DVDs I play on a DVD player or the PS3. Digital Media I put in the hands of my :apple:TV and it does a wonderful job.

    No computer continuously on, or no wifi requirement unless I´m using Youtube, which I use a lot on my TV. The only thing I don´t like though is the fact that you can´t turn it off, it gets hot even on sleep mode, I just power it off. :rolleyes:
  6. macrumors 6502


    Mar 11, 2006
    This is not confusing. The TV sucks. Do not buy it. End of story.

    PS3 + MediaLink is so much better.
  7. macrumors 68030


    May 26, 2009
    I have the Apple TV using the latest version of ATVFlash (which allows it to play many media types). It has Boxee on it and can connect to my network shares and stream my content very easily. I find myself using my aTV once again. The PS3 is a great media extender, but the Apple TV is less money and with Boxee hacked into it I consider it better than the PS3 for media consumption.
  8. macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2008
    I think the more I research this the more I think Apple are leaving people to botch something together.

    I do like my ATV, but no real storage, if you want more, Buy a very expensive mini and loose the interface, stream from another mac or PC, add a NAS more money.

    I just spent £121 on a sony blu ray player, it has a network connection, it has DNLA, my NAS has all my content and Twonky media server.

    I'm thinking of changing my media format for films and using my bluray player to steam via ethernet from my NAS. The Sony also has a remote app for free on the store.

    £649 / £15 per blu ray film = 43 films where I don't have to support steve's hobby with my film collection.

    I think its time to look at options while Apple sorts itself out, You can throw lots of money at this but at the end of the day, you spend very little time using the interface and 99% of the time actually watching the film.

    I'd love a non Apple media thread where people discuss the best alternative method to itunes.
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    I think that you have some very good points!! Although using iTunes to download the movies means I can easily, without encoding put them on my iPhone. I wish there was another alternative, other than iTunes to legally download high quality movies in the UK, or even stream like NetFlix does in the US!! I want to try and get away from hard copies of movies as they take up so much space, when a NAS or HDD really doesn't!!

    So another question I suppose to anyone reading this is... Does anyone know of a legal way to download digital movies and TV shows without using iTunes.
  10. macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    Yes I meant the base Mac Mini (as in the least expensive one), I never capitalised the B in base so IDK why you think I was one about a different Mac :s. IMO for me the TV is crap, can't do 1080p, can't playback Blu-ray (whereas with a bit of jiggling the new Mini should play them with MakeMKV and Plex) and should you feel the need you can add an EyeTV product and have PVR as well so for the extra price is worth it from my point of view.
    Dah well, it is 100x's better than the TV (from what I can tell) so it is worth it :)
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    It might be 100x better than the ATV but it's still not worth $700, lets see:-

    2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo - 4 year old technology:(
    GeForece 320M 256Mb - A mobile GPU in a desktop machine that was designed for the 13" Macbook Pro with a poor amount of video memory.

    Yes it's got a HDMI port, big deal. It's just not that big of an improvement over the Mini it's replacing. You could build a small form factor Quad core machine and still have change left over, granted it's wouldn't look as nice but it would beat the Mini to a pulp:D
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    Although I know that a lot of people think that the Mac Mini is a better product than the Apple TV, you have to think of the price, if you compare the Apple TV to some of the other products available e.g WDTV the price is already high, however if you then compare the WDTV cost to a Mini its unreal, totally different product for a totally different purpose. Face it, if you have a box under your TV to purely watch and stream your media you don't want to have to go through a full OS and spend crazy amounts of cash!

    What about the Airport Extreme functionality, to be able to serve the media to the Apple TV without having the Macbook on? Is that possible?
  13. macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Apple TV hangs off iTunes, not the HDD where the media is stored. Unless you have your media synced to the ATV's limited HDD, or replace the internal HDD with a larger one, or hack it to attach an external HDD, there is no way to stream media through an Apple TV without having iTunes open on an awake computer.

    Seems to me that you want a Mac Mini but are only prepared to pay for an Apple TV. This isn't Apple's fault; the technology you want exists, you just don't want to pay for it.
  14. macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    With the new Mini out there should be plenty in the used channels at good prices.

    I think you may need at least a C2D model for 1080p....
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    Not at all... Look at the little Atom/ION boxes some only have a tiny 1.6Ghz single core cpu and play 1080p content perfectly. It's all about hardware decoding on the GPU, which all modern GPU are capable of now.
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    I don't agree, it's not a case of paying the extra if there is something that will do everything that I want, the Mac Mini, although a great product doesn't do everything that I want... Buying/Renting HD Movies from iTunes is something that the Mac Mini isn't able to do in the UK, thus meaning that if I want HD content I have to go out and buy Bluray (I know Bluray is far superior than download currently). I think that trying to make the Mac Mini into a Set Top Box is like making a PC into a Media Centre, lets face it after awhile just gets far too much hassle for simply turning it on and watching a film!!
  17. macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2007
    If you want HD get a US Account (fund via Gift Cards), sure it will take a little extra time (30 seconds as most IMO) to boot it and load a film and have open and play... but think what you can do to the Mini, you can add TV Tuners for HD Freeview/Freesat and record, you can also add a Blu-ray drive and playback via Plex with MakeMKV and most importantly it can handle 1080p where the TV can't.

    The TV as it is, is completely destroyed via the New Mini.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    From a purely media playback point of view the Mini dosn't destroy the ATV at all, sure you can add TV and Blu-ray but that's just adding more to the $700 price the Mini already has. Take an ATV add a $50 crystalHD card and XBMC and it will also play 1080p.

    Now if you want something for more that just video playback then a proper computer would be a better option, not the Mini through because it's still way over priced ;)
  19. macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    I have 6 TV's around my house. Ideally, I'd have an AppleTV at each TV. At $700 a pop, the mini would cost $4,200. By contrast, the rumored iOS 1080p at $99 would cover all TV's for just $600. So, costs do matter.

    Right now I only have 3 TV's covered. One by the iMac and two by my 2 AppleTV's. I am holding out for the upgraded AppleTV's to cover the other TV's in the house.

    AppleTV is great if you are happy in the Apple ecosystem, which is pretty comfortable if you conform to its rules. I have encoded my entire DVD, HD DVD and Blu Ray libraries into .m4v files. It took forever, but once it was done maintaining it now is effortless. Whenever I buy a disk, I immediately throw it into my i5 iMac and in 30 minutes the encode is done (BR's takes about 2 hours). But then I can throw the disk into deep storage in the Attic and still watch the file anywhere in the house. Nice.
  20. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2009
    Peterborough, UK
    I'd recommend a PlayStation3 and PS3MediaServer. Much better support for video formats, and it also plays Blu Ray and games. If Apple release a tiny, cheap, A4 based :apple:tv they might be onto something, but at the moment the PlayStation is much better value than the current :apple:tv.

  21. macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    AppleTV... Not
  22. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 17, 2010
    This question is prob opening up a can of worms itself, however here it goes... I have always had serious problems with trying to encode video, everything always ends up low quality, or with serious file sizes that just can't be real.

    What do you use to encode to .m4v and what settings do you use for Apple TV? Does this file then play on iPhone, if not do you bother putting your video on an iPhone and how do you go about managing this so that you don't have 2 of everything in iTunes? I know when you download a Movie/TV from iTunes then the standard def will play on iPhone and the High Def versions have a second file for iPhone, however doesn't appear twice under iTunes!!??!!

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