Buying an Apple TV - should I get first or second gen?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hafr, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    I thought it was an easy choice. Get the aTV 2, jailbreak it and use XBMC to access the USB drive connected to my AEBS. But after having read a little about the aTV 1, it seems like it can pretty much do everything that the second gen can, and with a cheap graphics card it can handle 1080p. Plus, the internal storage and the possibility of using the USB port to connect additional storage.

    On paper, it looks like the aTV 1 is better than the aTV 2, but I've never used either of them. I'm guessing there are a lot of people here that have switched, and some who switched back. What would you say are the biggest pro's and con's with the two machines?
  2. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    ATV 2, there's too much the old one can't do.
  3. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    For local storage, decoding bluray spec video and 1080p output there's only one logical option ;)
  4. szolr macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2011
    London, UK
    Get an :apple:TV 2. You can stream anything from your computers to it, so why bother with 100 + GB of internal storage? ;)
  5. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    But it can't, only certain compliant h264 videos. ATV coupled CrystalHD and XBMC on Linux will play anything, and you can stream over SMB/AFP.

    Ok, not anything, but anything within reason.
  6. CHRONiC YOUTH macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2011
    So can the atv2 if you jailbreak it, just did mine the other night 10x better then the stock atv2
  7. PhilSandifer macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2010
    I just run anything I get through Handbrake and put it in h264 format. It's not at all hard - certainly not harder than any other workaround.
  8. nihonjin macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2011
    Like what care to elaborate?

    I thought the atv2 is only 720p whereas the at1 is 1080p. atv1 has internal storage and atv2 does not. Seems the atv2 has less features not more. I would love to hear of any new features the atv2 has over the atv1.
  9. hafr thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Thanks for the advice, but would you like to elaborate? :) What can the 2nd gen do that the 1st gen can't?


    But can't the 1st gen stream anything as well? The way I see it, they seem to be capable of the same things, but the 1st gen also gives you a NAS (the internal disk is upgradeable to at least 1 TB) with the possibility of connecting additional disks to the USB port.

    But never having owned one, I feel there must be a reason to why people switched from 1st to 2nd and that I'm missing something :)
  10. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    No that is incorrect. Neither officially support 1080p but the ATV2 is more powerful and more capable. The ATV1 can't even handle and doesn't support 720p30 and it can't handle high bitrate 720p HD files that the ATV2 can handle easily.

    Plus the ATV2 streams better, supports Airplay, and supports a growing list of custom apps like, NBA, NHL, Vimeo, WSJ Live, Netflix, etc. It runs on iOS5 and supports iCloud streaming of all your tv and music purchases as well as Photostream and it just got updated with iTunes Match support although only developers can sign up right now.

    None of these features are offered by the ATV1 and the gap is only increasing over time. The ATV2 is being updated more often than even the iPhone and the ATV1 won't be receiving any more updates.
  11. HobeSoundDarryl, Nov 7, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    There's a lot of misinformation in this thread

    If we review the OP comments, this is not another "which is better" thread. He's talking about jailbreaking, adding the crystalHD card to yield 1080HD playback, etc. Let's try to clarify a few key points...

    If his intent is to jailbreak and use software like XBMC on either, then neither is completely done with software updates. Yes, it appears very likely that Apple will not be upgrading the stock software on V1 (version 1) anymore but that doesn't stop the jailbreak software from being upgraded.

    Out of the box, V1 is capped at 720p 25fps while V2 is capped at 720p 30fps. However, he's wanting to add the Crystal card, so the real comparison is V1 with 1080HD playback vs. V2 still capped at 720p.

    A V1 stock unit is limited to <200GB of internal storage. However, the OP is talking about both replacing the internal drive (which I've done myself to yield a 320GB model and I've seen references for much larger internal upgrade options) AND he's talking about converting the USB port for bigger local storage. That works fine and gives you a couple of terabytes of storage locally if desired (which also means you can store up to "it all" on V1 and turn off the computer).

    V2 has a number of Apple-enhanced software offerings like Netflix, MLB, etc which aren't available in V1 Apple software. V2 is considered better hardware though one would have to judge that on UI as the OP is wanting to add the crystalHD card which changes everything about the actual video playback capabilities. V2 has airplay and V1 does not.

    On the other hand, with V1 you can load it up with lots of media for a trip and take it with you, while V2 really wants to stream everything (and thus really needs to be at home unless the source computer is also going on that trip with you). V1 also has a few extra jacks which can prove helpful on older HDTVs and especially with receivers that have a zone 2 option (and need analog audio in). Personally, I still like the navigation setup of V1 better than (putting all the personal user media under one "computer" menu) V2 (I wish apple would go back to that navigation scheme: yes, that would mean a few more menus but they are nicely broken out by movies, tv shows, music, podcasts, etc).

    Both V1 and V2 can stream from the computer in identical ways. V1 can also sync content on large(r) local storage so the computer doesn't have to be turned on.

    If it was straight head-to-head, the weighted advantages probably favors V2. But it's not a head-to-head comparison with what the OP wants to do. I'd recommend carefully considering what's important to him and choosing wisely. Here's a few key benefits:
    • If you want 1080HD video, it has to be V1 with the crystalHD card
    • if you want Airplay, it has to be V2
    • if you want ongoing software updates from Apple, it has to be V2
    • if you want local storage of size, V1
    • if you want expandable local storage via USB, it is probably V1 (can V2 do this?)
    • if you really need 720p 30fps instead of 720p 25fps, it has to be V2 (unless you add the crystalHD card)
    • if you need component video or analog audio out for an older HDTV or a zone 2 receiver, V1
    • if iCloud functionality is important, V2
  12. KeithJenner macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2010
    That isn't exactly true. I fairly often travel with an ATV2, Airport Express and an iPod Touch. Obviously, if you don't own those items then there is considerable extra expense, but they don't take up much more packing room than an original ATV.
  13. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Agreed. But if you are using space on that iPod Touch for media for the trip, you could actually save more space by getting the cable that will connect that iPod directly to the TV (and thus leaving V2 at home). And again, iPod Touch is 64GB MAX, while V1 can hold several hundred GB of media on an internal drive. If one wants to take a lot of movies because they are not quite sure what they might want to watch on the trip, the added space is handy (I know this first hand). In my own case, our HD home movies alone would require about 5 iPod Touch 64GB to come with us if we wanted to cover this with a V2 + iPod Touch option.
  14. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    ATV, you can fry eggs on it :D

    I upgraded my sister to an ATV2 and took back the ATV that I had given them previously. Seeing this thread makes me think I should get it out and make some use of it.

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