Apple TV vs. Xbox 360

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Dr. Dastardly, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Dr. Dastardly macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Jun 26, 2004
    I live in a giant bucket!
    I really like the idea of ripping my movies from DVD to iTunes and streaming it to my TV in the living room. I have either been loosing all my DVDs or have trouble finding them so a digital copy of it would be best for me.

    So naturally I have been wanting an Apple TV just for that purpose. I could really care less for any of the other features. Then a friend told me I could basically do the same thing with an Xbox 360 and play all the great games that are out now. I do some moderate gaming right now with the Wii but I would love to try Dead Rising and Bioshock.

    I tried doing some research now and please correct me if I'm wrong. My plan was if I went with the 360 ripped my movies to iTunes, download Connect 360, and stream my movies to the 360 in MPEG4 or H.264.

    So my questions are:

    • Is the above stated correct and is it easy to implement.
    • Is there a cheaper wifi adapter available? It seems MS gets their wifi adapter the same place Apple gets their RAM.
    • How well does it stream? My Powerbook G4 usually gets about 3 out of 5 bars when in the living room with my current G router. Should I upgrade to N wireless?
    • How does it look while streaming with 720p and 1080i. Does it get choppy anywhere during streaming. Would it be the same quality if I put a physical DVD or HDDVD in?

    I do apologize if this has been asked, I tried doing a search but couldn't find anything this specific to my questions. And most of the results from google resolved around a Windows PC.
  2. wwooden macrumors 68000


    Jul 26, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    As an alternative to AppleTV and being a game console as well, the XBox 360/ Connect360 duo is very good. Obviously it doesn't play anything from the iTunes store and the UI isn't quite as flashy or simple, but it works really well. I stream 720p content over a g network from my iMac G5 to the 360 with wireless adapter without any problems. Actually, sometimes the 360 plays stuff better streamed better than my iMac does, such as HD stuff.

    It doesn't show any of the album art of info about the movie but does display the title. The user interface and navigation is tedious as it shows everything in alphabetical order, mixing everything from movies, tv shows and podcasts all in order. I'm hoping in a later update the 360 will be able to see folders so I can separate files. I would recommend getting the 360 if you have any interest at all in playing games.
  3. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    For Media, AppleTV wins....its streams very well(if you have a N network, you can forget lag time...360 doesn't support wireless N), FairPlay support, Youtube support.

    If you want to stream get an AppleTV, want to game Xbox 360.

    Both...well the only choice is 360 because AppleTV doesn't game.
  4. Dagless Suspended


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I'd go for the :apple: TV, you're actually best getting the original Xbox with the media centre on there instead of the 360. Supports pretty much every codec. It's very good but :apple: TV for ease of use, power usage, size, styling (hardware and software).
  5. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    OK, let's see...

    1) Yes, you are correct, and it's pretty simple to implement. You'll have to pay for Connect360, btw.
    2) You can't get another USB adaptor for the 360, but you can use a wireless bridge. It's essentially a small router that you plug the 360's wired ethernet into, and it connects to your wireless network. You can get one with 4 wire ports for about $50, so you could connect other things near your TV to your network wirelessly with it (a Series2/3 TiVo, for example).
    3) It's not going to look like the original DVD because you are recompressing it to MPEG4/H264. Same would be said for the ATV, though. The upscaler in the 360 is very good though.

    The streaming will be fine over .11g, you should have little to know buffer time and no trouble with stuttering as long as your connection to the network is strong.

    .11g carries 54mbps (theoretical) and a nicely compressed DVD resolution h264 file will be about 2mbps. As you can see, there's no need for .11n speeds here. Even with HD there's no compelling reason for .11n. The ATV will only support 720p at, what, 5mbs? The 360 will let you go up to 10-12mbps. So, even if your .11g network was running at half its max speed (which is very possible with overhead, interference, weak signals, etc) you've still go plenty of head room.

    As for a comparison of the ATV vs. the 360, well, here's my take on that.

    ATV: Support iTMS purchases (sub-DVD resolution), has a fantastic interface. $300+cabling costs

    360: Supports 1080p resolutions, supports double the bitrate of the ATV, supports more formats, plays games, plays DVDs, plays HDDVDs (with addon), plays HD media from MS Marketplace, has a usable, if clumsy interface. $300 (Core + cables + remote)

    Seems like a pretty open and shut choice for me, but to some the interface and OSX integration is worth the money. I'm still holding out home for the ATV. A price drop, support for higher h264 bitrates, native 5.1 support, could make it a great product. I'm keeping my eye on it as a possible second front end for a streaming library of movies, with the 360 being the first/primary device.

    Also, wanted to add that I'd recommend against getting an original XBox for this. It supports SD media in most formats, with the appropriate hacks and software, but it's support for h264 is limited and there's no way it'll support HD media. You can get a used XBox for $50-80 if you look around, then you have to mod it. A used 360 Core system is <$200 nowadays, and you won't have to replace it in 2 years when you want to start ripping/streaming HDDVDs.
  6. Dr. Dastardly thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dr. Dastardly

    Jun 26, 2004
    I live in a giant bucket!
    Thanks for all the input guys, you guys are the shizz!

    I do think I am leaning more towards the 360 than the Apple TV. Mostly because I don't feel like I will use the Apple TV to its most potential. I don't care about any of the music, podcasts, tv shows, ect. I only want have my DVD collection readily available. And I never really download anything from iTunes except the occasional song.

    I also want to be able to stream HD content, I wont use it so much now but I would like it to be an option for future use.

    Is it possible to by pass the streaming all together if I attached a hard drive directly to the 360 itself?
  7. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Yes, the 360 supports mass storage USB devices. One oddity, though, is it doesn't treat the iPod like a mass storage device, but rather loads the iPod index file and only shows content that you have sync'd via iTunes... you can't drop a, say, WMV file on the iPod (assuming you have enabled disc mode) and then access it on the 360.
  8. sas76 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2006
    I currently have an xbox 360 running connect 360 and it works almost perfectly.
    I have been using handbrake and the PS3 settings, the sound quality is much better then :apple:TV setting.
    The picture is perfect with no lag.

    I say almost perfect because it sometimes it will not detect/connect to my new iMac. If it will not connect my wife is unable or not willing to go through the steps. So she won't use it. To be honest when I am sitting downstairs wanting to listen to some music and it won't work I get pissed to.

    I am not sure what has changed but my old G4 iBook never had any problems. My new iMac regulary does not detect or visa-versa. Any ideas ?
    Once I restart the iMac it works.
    I think it is having a conflict with some apps I am running.

    My verdict is xbox 360 good idea but not perfect. If you are willing to put up with some minor issues go for it. It gives you games etc as everyone else has stated.
  9. KlondikeTW macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2007
    How exactly are you getting the HD content ripped? Does handbrake actually handle HDDVD's?
  10. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    I don't have an Apple TV, but I do have a 360 and the Connect360 software on my Macbook.

    1) It works pretty well. I don't use it a ton, but it was a cheap solution since I had the 360 anyway.
    2) You can buy any wireless bridge and use it with the 360. I used to have the Linksys gaming box ($30)...I have since moved the router adjacent to the 360 and plugged it in directly. I still use the gaming box to bridge my laser printer.
    3) I stream over wireless and never noticed a blip.
    4) Never streamed HD...dang where are you getting HD from?
  11. KlondikeTW macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2007
    Exactly what I was wondering. Since I'm pretty sure I can't rip HDDVD on my MBP and I don't want to try and download a bunch of HD content, I think I might go with the ATV just for ease of setup and use.
  12. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    the 360 also has the facility to stretch a 4:3 movie to 16:9 fullscreen, a feature i wish that the appleTV, and frontrow had

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