Apple TV vs. iPod video out

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by PaulMoore, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. PaulMoore macrumors regular

    Dec 3, 2007
    Hello there

    I have been thinking about getting an Apple TV- but I would mostly be using it for watching videos I have downloaded or converted from DVD- not rentals since I use Netflix anyway.

    Since this means I have to convert all my videos anyway, is there a good reason why I couldn't take a cheaper option and hook my iPod up to the TV and watch video from there?

    Essentially, what are the main advantages for watching via Apple TV vs. watching via iPod?
  2. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    For one thing, AppleTV now supports Dolby Digital audio output. Also, higher resolutions can be supported by the AppleTV. Also, iPods support video resolutions up to 640x480. This isn't equivalent to DV NTSC 720x480 that is native to the DVD format. AppleTV supports DV NTSC as well as HD (1280 x 720).

    Also, even though you might not purchase movies via AppleTV, I think as the library of rentals expands you'll find yourself using it. In addition, podcast and youtube content is accessible directly via the internet. There are SD and HD podcasts that cannot be supported by iPod or browsed directly for that matter. iPod has to sync the podcasts from iTunes whereas AppleTV communicates directly with the podcast feed.

    iPod also cannot bridge more than one iTunes library to your TV because it syncs content from only one machine. AppleTV can stream content from up to five computers.

    Lastly, AppleTV is designed more to be a home entertainment solution with a fully navigable on-screen interface. iPod is not well-suited as a home theater solution. It's far more useful where portability is needed... say if you are traveling and want to watch a movie, or need to give a presentation.

    Ultimately, these are not issues of necessity but personal choice... so it's a matter of whether you find it worth the $230 to have these features and benefits.
  3. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    There are many differences. Here are a few off the top of my head:

    1. Video quality. The AppleTV puts out a much higher quality video signal and is capable of 720p HD. I believe the iPod only has composite video, whic would be fine for a small TV, but would look mediocre at best on a big screen.

    2. Surround sound. The AppleTV can do 5.1 surround. The iPod can only do stereo (which can contain surround information, but not discrete surround).

    3. Connectivity. The AppleTV can stay connected to your home theater system, can store up to 40 (or 160) GB of media files and can either be synced with your computer or can stream from your computer. The iPod would have to be connected to your computer to load the files.

    4. Internet connect. The AppleTV can connect directly to the internet. In addition to rentals, it also gives you the capability to access YouTube videos (a feature that is much cooler than I thought it would be) and photos (from .Mac or Flickr, or whatever it's called). It's likely that more and more internet capability will be added as time goes on. Your iPod needs to be connected to your computer to load music/video/photos, than moved over to your TV for viewing.

    These are just a few of the differences. If your TV was small enough and you were only listening to the audio on your TV speakers, the quality differences wouldn't be very noticeable. However, the AppleTV is a much more elegant and convenient solution and has really good video/audio capability.
  4. sandman42 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    First of all, the resolution of the :apple:TV is much greater than the iPod. The :apple:TV is capable of 720p (HD), where the iPod can only manage 620x480 (SD). The :apple:TV also formats video for widescreen TVs, which the iPod does not.

    Second, you get a nice, visual, remote-driven user interface with the :apple:TV, for navigating all the available content. You can use a remote with the iPod (if it's in a universal dock), but only for stopping, starting, pausing, etc, and there's no on-screen menus. You'll have to go to the iPod and use its screen to navigate up and down the menu structure.

    The :apple:TV is network device and can sync and stream content, so if you have more content on your computer than it can sync, that content is still available (via streaming).

    You also get lots of internet-provided content on the apple:TV, like YouTube, movie rentals, movie trailers, etc. I wouldn't have thought this would make a big difference for me, but having used these features I really like them.

    On the other hand, you can't carry an :apple:TV around in your pocket and listen to music (and watch videos).

    I have to emphasize that, in my opinion, the big difference is the picture quality (resolution). The iPod would be a little less convenient to set up and get your movie going, but once you've started your video the real difference you'll notice is in how the picture looks.
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The 640x480 limitation is not accurate anymore. The iPods and iPhones all (except the 5th gen iPod Video) can output 720x480, with anamorphic support up to 853x480 at bit rates as high as 10,000. The SD picture quality is DVD quality should you do Anamorphic encodes at about a 2,000 bit rate.

    The iPods have component video output, and the quality is damn good, except on the iPhone and the iTouch because there is a problem with the blacks being too dark. I have not tried it since the 1.1.2 update, so this may have been fixed recently.

    If you are buying from iTunes, neither the Apple TV or the iPods will make the video look amazing. The HD and SD rentals looks great though.

    As for what to get, I think having the iPod is more practical than the Apple TV if you can only get one since it can be used for many things, especially the iPod Touch. However, the Apple TV is amazing and I recommend it as well.
  6. sandman42 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    I'm sure zedsdead knows this already, but for others, this is because all video purchased from the ITMS is formatted to play on the least of the devices, so it is limited to 640x480. Content rented on your computer from the ITMS is slightly better, because it is only playable on iPod Classic, Nano 3G, Touch and iPhone which can handle wider format 480 video (but not earlier video iPods which won't play rentals). Lastly, though, content rented via the :apple:TV is much better quality, because those rentals are only playable on the :apple:TV, which can handle much higher resolution video.
  7. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    Yes, that is what I was trying to say;)

    I think it is horrible of Apple to handicap the purchases because of the 5th gen iPod video. Every other device: iPhone, iPod Touch, Video Nano, Apple TV, and every Computer they sell plays the better quality. Time to move on from the 5th gen ipod, or at least have a way to sign into a type of iTunes Plus Account like they did for the audio.
  8. chocolate632 macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    Does anyone know where to get a cheaper alternative to apple component cables for the iPod Classic?

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