A bit tired of waiting for an AppleTv upgrade - thinking about alternatives

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by eidimon, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. eidimon macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    I have been waiting for a few months for an update to :apple:Tv, one that will allow me to view 1080p content.
    However, i got a bit tired of waiting, and no one really knows whether there will be an update in September along with the iPod, or in January, or whenever that is going to happen.
    So i am thinking if it would be wise to stop waiting, and buy something else instead.
    I am thinking about the popcornhour c-200 (http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=productspec&item_id=12).

    An updated :apple:Tv would definitely be my choice, but this new popcornhour, has got me thinking.

    First of all, i live in Greece which means that i don't have access to iTunes movies and tv shows episodes.
    Therefore, i would use the :apple:Tv only to watch videos from my pc, or a hard drive connected to my airport extreme, where i have many ripped dvd's, all my cd's in mp3 format,and other stuff as well.

    So far,for that purpose i use a ps3. I have never used it for gaming, just to watch videos, and some blu-rays.
    However the supported formats are very limited.
    (The :apple:Tv doesn't either support every format around, but that can easily be fixed.That's not the case with the ps3)

    So, what i was thinking was, instead of endlessly waiting for the new :apple:Tv, to get the c-200, plug a bd-rom in it as well, and maybe sell the ps3, as it won't be of any use to me anymore.

    This could even be a good chance for me to replace the 160gb hard drive in my macbook, as i could replace it with a 500gb one, and use the 160 with the popcornhour.

    What do you think?
  2. Boise Jim macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2008
    I, too, have been waiting on buying the Apple TV, but for other reasons. I wish they would enable the USB port for an external HD, plus I want to find a unit that I can (easily) access Netflix with. Or, if Apple was smart, they would have a rental service via iTunes. I've looked at the Popcorn Hour, but it has some features that are lacking (mostly in the music playback area). Also, I've just started looking at the HDX 1000 player. It looks very promising.

    As cheap as HD's are getting, I like your idea about changing out the MB's HD for a larger one and using the original in the Popcorn Hour. You've got my mind wandering, now!
  3. nando2323 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    You know what's going to happen right. You will buy something else then boom new ATV comes out with every bell and whistle that you ever wanted. At least that happens to me. :)
  4. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    In general, that's the case.
    So far i have managed to avoid that, as everything apple i have was bought just after a refresh (last october for my macbook, and this march for my iMac and airport extreme).
    In fact, i had placed an order for a 40Gb :apple:Tv along with the iMac, but the local reseller said that there was no 40Gb :apple:Tv availability at the time after all, and said that it was probably being refreshed soon, so that part of the order was canceled.
    So, since then, i have been waiting for the new one to make its way to the stores, and in the meantime bought a ps3.
    At the moment, i am seriously thinking about the popcornhour, even with the risk of seeing a new :apple:tv out just days after i gave up on it.
    A big plus is that if i get a bd-rom, i can use it as a blu-ray player as well, sell the ps3, and use that money for the popcornhour.
    Also, i'd rather not have a 100 different devices in my sitting room.
    The popcornhour can replace both the :apple:Tv, and the ps3 (since i don't do any gaming).
    Of cource a new, upgraded :apple:Tv would be brilliant, but since i am a bit tired of waiting, and tired as well from having to convert videos with handbrake before watching them with the ps3, i am having some doubts about waiting any further...
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    I would wait until after the annual iPod event in September.
  6. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Jul 8, 2008
    my house
  7. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Fixed... I think...

    It makes sense that Apple would group together their iTunes-related presentation into one.
  8. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Exactly. A bit more for a whole lot more. More customisable, more storage, more resolution. I'm completely sick of having of converting mkv's to mp4's.
  9. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
  10. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    So you are tired of waiting for Apple TV update but willing to wait indefinitely for something else?
  11. BORIStheBLADE macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2008
  12. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    Well, that IS true, but i already have an iMac, and a macbook. I really don't think i need another computer as well.
    The Mac Mini is actually more than i need, which is just a media center that can play most file formats (even if this is not out-of-the-box and i have to use something like boxee), and is able to play network streams or files from my home network shares.
    And Mac Mini price = 1,5 - 2 x :apple:Tv price (and pretty much popcornhour price).
    I had thought of the Mac Mini option, but i ruled it out for the above reasons.

    Actually, it's not quite the same.
    The new popcornhour is something that exists, has a release date, and known specs.
    The new :apple:Tv is something rumored (for several months at least),has no release date, and no one knows if/when it comes out what it will be like.
    There are various threads in this forum, where several people just speculate on what the upgrade will be, while others just project their wishes onto a new :apple:Tv.

    If i knew that a new :apple:Tv was definitely going to come out, that it will support 1080p whose lack is the main reason i don't buy the current one, and that this would happen in a finite time period, things would be much simpler for me.
    But this isn't the case here.

    September is not far away. I could wait until then.
    But if apple don't update the :apple:Tv, i don't think there's any chance of me waiting till January, then June, then again September, an so on...
  13. reactions macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2009
    I'm in the same market.

    The pch c200 is enticing but at $299 it's pricey compared to ghe older siblings.

    I like how it can play bluray with an added drive but how isn't an old pch device ($180) plus a bluray player ($100) not the same thing and cheaper?

    Plus it's RF so it's not compatible with the harmony remote for my home theater.

    Btw a mac mini.... U can use a remote? Plays mkv hi def files?

  14. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Just wait until September before ruling out the AppleTV. If there is no update then, it is unlikely we will see one for at least another 6-8 months, if at all.
  15. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    I think that the c-200 has better video playback than its predecessors, and can play these mkv files you mention without any problems (at least i am under that impression).
    The mini has the same graphics chip as my macbook, which is capable of playing the 1080p mkv files (i use the miro player, but mplayer will do as well).
    So, i think it will get the job done.
  16. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Processor is used in video decoding and playing in the programs you listed. Video card is irrelevant.
    I believe Plex is beginning to offer some form of h.264 playback acceleration though.
  17. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    I think that's what i'll probably do.
    I will be away in August anyway, so i could live without a proper media player for one more month.
    However, if there's no update with the ipods in September,I'm getting the pch the very same day...
  18. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
  19. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    I have seen WD TV, which is actually much cheaper than the rest.
    The problem with that is (provided i didn't misunderstand anything) that it cannot be connected to a network, and you have to use a usb drive every time you want to transfer something to it.

    I have 2x1,5TB drives connected to my airport extreme, which makes their content available to anyone connected to my home network.

    AppleTv or pch make it possible for me to go through my files, and stream/copy the ones i want to play without having to go to my computer, find the files i want, copy them to a usb drive and then return to copy the contents of the drive to the player in order to be able to play the file.
    With WD (at least the model i am aware of) i would have to go through that procedure every time.

    Being able to do that without all the extra trouble really helps, especially when more people are involved in the decision-making of what is going to be viewed...
  20. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    I'm waiting until September for my second ATV. If one doesn't come, I'll likely get a Mini for the living room and move the ATV upstairs permanently. That reminds me, I should download Plex and play with it on my iMac for a bit.
  21. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    How will you get around BD's AACS encryption, or do you only want to watch BD films you burned yourself with FinalCut Studio? Don't get me wrong i have a NMT-A110 for playing back .mkv and stuff but i do not think they will get a proper license to do AACS decryption which is used on BD.

    Maybe stream (and convert on the fly) "things" from your Mac to your PS3 with ps3mediaserver?
  22. eidimon thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2008
    About the BD thing, my thought was that since they say that this slot is for BDrom, the device will be able to play the commercial BD.

    Ps3 media server is something that i already use,successfully when it comes to avi's, but yet unable to watch even a 720p video (1080 is out of the question).
    I don't know whether the problem is the conversion, the bandwidth, or something else, but i am looking for something that won't make me convert formats (even on the fly).
    Just copy them as they are to the devices hard drive, and play them...
  23. gugy macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    it's true, but the only issue I have is how easy would be to have my family accessing the media they want.
    I have not completely explored the MacMini as HTPC but it feels that for people who is not computer savvy (wife & kids ;)) it would be too complicate and they would just give up using it.
    One of the things I like on :apple:TV is how easy is to navigate. Not sure if Plex is as easy to use.

    I do hope :apple:TV will be upgrade this year and add 1080p and most important for me the ability to add external drives to it's USB port in order to increase the storage capacity. That's key for people who have large libraries and want to have all the data locally stored without using the wireless features of :apple:TV and also having to turn on their Macs.
  24. BORIStheBLADE macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2008

    Apparently they have Blue ray licensing, so it should play commercial BR discs.

  25. butchseaman macrumors member


    Sep 16, 2008
    Mac Mini + plex

    So I take it that the combination of a mini and plex is the way to go for the most powerful media center setting aside the complexity of use.... is this right?

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