advise from ATV users

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by psburley, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. psburley macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    I started looking at ATV then went on to WDTV Live, Revo etc but wondered if apple TV can :-

    Access additional hard drive via usb so I can add when 160gb full?
    Play all my home moves and DVD's - so play other than quicktine such as MKV file formats.

    What I want is a medi player for all my archive DVD's, home camcorder videos, music, photos. Also on ATV can you access your account and favorites in youtube....your opinions would be appreciated before I decide which one to go for
  2. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Out of the box, the ATV does not support external hard drives or DVD files, etc.

    However, it's very easy to hack it do so. You can buy ATV flash which adds tons of extra features , including those you mentioned, and is very easy to use, or there are some other free hacks that are equally easy to install but a little more tricky to set up to do what you want. All you really need to do the hack is a computer with internet, a USB flash drive and the ATV.

    Either way, its not too hard to do what you want.

    Youtube is a bit crippled on the ATV. You can access your favorites, but I don't think you can access your videos you've uploaded without searching for them. It works, its just a bit crippled.
  3. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    apple tv

    whats the cost atv flash? in your opinion is atv a good product do you think its better option that something like WDTV live? what would you say the disadvantages are? I appreciate your time
  4. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    I think atv Flash is about $40 or $50 bucks. I haven't used it, but I've read a lot of good things about it.

    I haven't used the WDTV box. The Apple TV does what I need it to do. You can rent a flick for 3 or 4 bucks quickly and easily.. I don't need a harddrive hooked up to the ATV because I'm perfectly content streaming my media from my iTunes library on my PC.

    There is a tradeoff between functionality and features. If you want to rip all of your DVD's to a drive as folders or images and play a jumble of different formats, then the WDTV may be your best option. If you want something with a clean, slick interface, something that lets you rent and purchase movies and music and watch free video podcasts and Youtube vids as well as stream your iTunes library, and you don't mind encoding your DVD's to mp4 (or hacking it to allow DVD rips to play), then the ATV is a better option most likely.

    To me, I like being forced to use a non-hacked ATV. I can tell very little difference (if any at all) on films I encode to mp4 with Handbrake's universal preset. It may take me a long time to encode my DVD's, but I'm fine with it.
  5. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    ATVFlash costs 50 USD for one year or 79.99 lifetime. provides additional functionality and costs 39.99 USD per year or 69.99 lifetime
  6. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    apple tv and atvflash

    well GermanSuplex I hope you right because after 2 weeks of looking at ATV then WDTV then Acer revo I have gone back to atv with possibility of ATV flash..and gone ahead and placed an order !!!

    When you say youtube is crippled....doesnt that run fine under boxee??

    anyhow I hope I am ok with it, I assume it will play all my dvd's at high quality and no probs...what do you use to convert your dvd's for use on atv???

  7. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Well, the Youtube situation doesn't bother me too much... it works, you can watch videos on it and it looks as if some of them are high quality (maybe even HD.... I just noticed this a few days ago). The only thing that's really crippled is user accounts, meaning accessing your videos and account. It may work under Boxee but, like I said, I don't run a hacked Apple TV.

    As for DVD's, I convert all of mine with Handbrake. I lose little quality and get files 1/3 - 1/2 the file size, complete with 5.1 audio. I use the Apple Universal preset and get a file that plays on my iPod classic, iPhone and still looks great on my 720p TV. Some videos I can even get away with encoding at 640x480 and don't notice any difference from the DVD source. Others I use the 720 strict anamorphic setting.

    If you insist on ripping your DVD's, you can use DVD Shrink to save some space and rip only the main movie. Or, since you will be taking the time to rip, you can rip the full disc. It really comes down to what you want to do. For 90% of my movies, I never watch the extras, so it's a personal call.

    It's all personal preference and what works for you. This is actually why I like the ATV... instead of having tons of movies on DVD I watch once and then never again, I've been renting movies a lot. I save money by paying only 3 or 4 bucks, watching once and then being done with it.

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