Can Apple TV Replace DVD and Cable?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Tavelon, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Tavelon macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2009
    Simple enough: I watch a lot of movies and news. Can apple TV replace this? How big is the movie library?

    From what I understand, live things (Like sports and news) can't be transferred to Apple TV, though recorded programs can. Is there a way apple tv can replace cable and dvds? Or maybe will there be a future version capable of this?
  2. dlblarg macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2008
    Worst part of the ATV is that they called it television. It's not -- it's an extension of iTunes. You can add Boxee, but it's still alpha and buggy. What I do is just run basic cable and use ATV for the rest of the entertainment, but it's not a TV replacement.
  3. dXTC macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2006
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    Not completely, no, as dlblarg has stated. The DVD portion, perhaps, provided you know how to get DVD movies into iTunes format. The "live" portion, no.
  4. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    If you have HD cable/satellite you will be deeply disappointed by the AppleTV.

    I'm thinking about selling mine. I never use it. I have Boxee but it's so slow it's mostly unusable. I may just use my PS3 as a media center instead. That actually has CPU/GPU processing power from this century and native 1080/60 and 1080/24 support.

    When Apple says AppleTv is a hobby, they really mean half-baked hobby.
  5. Monetthecat macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008
    Replacing the DVD player is a possibility, but you have to be willing to either rent/buy everything from iTunes (expenseive), rip your own DVD collection (whole lotta time) or hack the box to run Boxee/XBMC (problematic). I've ripped my whole DVD collection and hardly ever use the DVD player any more, but its a commitment in terms of time to do all of this - RIP - Encode - Tag - Transfer to NAS - Load in iTunes.

    Replacing the cable box (for me) was never a possibility. Boxee/Hulu is nice, but quality is poor and selection is limited.
  6. brendon2020 macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2007
    no, not unless the $30 monthly rumor is correct then maybe. I've got a series 3 tivo and a netflix plan, it'll be pretty hard to replace that.
  7. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
  8. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I beg to defer: I used to spend about $100 per month on cable to get the channels I wanted in HD with a DVR included in the plan.

    The result was I was paying for a ton of channels that I didn't want and I had to go through the mess of channels and schedules to find the content that I really wanted to watch.

    Most of what was on TV were re-runs with about 10-15% being original programming.

    Now: I buy a Season Pass to the shows that I know I want to watch. Occasionally, I'll buy a show that I don't watch regularly but at the spur of the moment I feel like watching (usually Discovery, National Geographic or TLC shows). I like that à la carte model. $2 bucks here and there when I want to watch something isn't a stretch and I get to keep the show.

    The result is that I ended up building up my own TV station, customized to what I want to watch. Those shows I paid for on cable? I watch them and they're gone. Now I own them. I own a collection of my favourite TV shows that so I can play my own re-runs whenever I want.

    For movies, I mostly rent via tv since I don't often watch a movie more than once anyway.

    There's also a ton of TV network quality content available free on Podcasts, some of which I watch often.

    I control my budget by buying an iTunes card. I end up buying a $100 card every 3 to 4 months. Now compare that to $100 every month while I was missing a lot of my shows and having to sift through crap to get to the ones I wanted.
  9. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    I need some news networks (Fox News, CNN, etc...) and other networks like The Food Network. Then yes, it can.
  10. Tavelon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2009
    Thanks for the insight everyone!

    ipedro, thanks but does my main concerns are those ^. I enjoy news programming from specific channels like fox news. Hopefully there'll be a way to get a live feed in the future (much like you can with many radio station's web sites) If this were the case perhaps you could buy a subscription to a news channel and get that over wifi....

    But until something like that happens, I'm afraid I'll have to stick with cable.
  11. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    First of all, there's a couple of poorly thought out arguments here...

    Paying for Itunes shows is, in reality for MOST people, cheaper than paying for cable. I'm not going to do the math for you guys again, but unless you watch more the 12-15 FULL season shows a year, then its actually cheaper to buy in Itunes. (This doesn't mean I don't think there is room for Apple to lower prices however)

    The best set is the following:

    1. Get a terk antenna and get your local ABC, FOX, CBS...etc for free and in HD.
    2. Use Netflix on demand for tv shows and movies
    3. Use Hulu if you can't find your shows on 1 and 2.
    4. Use Itunes as a lost resort.

    At MOST I spend a couple hundred bucks a year as opposed to a thousand on cable. I still get live sports with the antenna along with live news (however, no live news CHANNELS (fox news...cnn...etc)...a good thing in my opinion...
  12. Tavelon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2009
    But I like live channels like Fox News :p

    I see your point, though. Thanks!
  13. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    To add to my experience explained in the other thread, I did eventually build a UHF antenna so I occasionally watch live NBC and local (Toronto, ON) newscasts and late night talk shows that aren't available on iTunes.

    Most of the time though, my TV is on the tv input. I'm loving the new home screen :)
  14. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Speaking about the new home screen, that Internet menu is looking very anemic. I bet we'll see live programming go in there soon. Also, considering Apple's close relationship with Facebook (i.e. iPhoto), we'll likely see it in the internet menu soon.

    YouTube has already begun broadcasting live events such as the U2 concert. It won't be long before we see this content reach TV.
  15. JuanGuapo macrumors 6502a


    May 21, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    AppleTV is ok if you watch a lot of iTunes-compatible movies, Video Podcasts, etc. However, I confess I've been largely disappointed w/ it since we got it.

    Video quality is good but not exactly Bluray territory. The box can be finicky on certain TVs with HDMI (I had to run mine on Component).

    Unless they do something where you can do all-you-can-watch video for $30/mo, I seriously doubt the future of the AppleTV. If I had the choice today, I'd rather get a Roku box and Netflix.
  16. ipedro macrumors 601


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I'm not expecting BluRay quality from tv. "Internet TV" won't get to that point until the majority of the US is outfitted with fiber optic broadband internet. 1080p isn't boggled down by tv's hardware, its barrier is the speed, reliability and bandwidth cap of most existing ISP's in North America.

    I reiterate that I love the iTunes model and ecosystem. I buy/rent only what I want to watch and I build my collection of favorite shows as I go along. I don't have to program a DVR to record any show and skip over commercials. I simply just buy a show or a season of what I really want to watch.

    A lot of people go the Bit Torrent route, but in my opinion if you do that, you either have a lot of time on your hands or you're being cheap. I like the convenience of browsing iTunes and buying on the spot what I want and knowing that I will get the real show or movie, commercial free without the hassle of having to update the metadata or sift through different versions until I find the one I like most and dealing with incompatible formats. That hassle free, time saving method to me is worth a few bucks.
  17. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    Pretty much agree with everything here... I dropped my cable TV subscription shortly after getting my AppleTV and committing to the iTunes-centric media lifestyle. So far I haven't been too disappointed (HD movie selection isn't great, but getting better), and I'm still saving money when I compare cable bill * 12 months versus buying season passes for the shows in iTunes. The savings is even better when I figure in the cost of any TV DVD/Bluray sets I would have bought as well.
  18. tmofee macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2009
    i wish it could replace it. over in australia, we miss out on a lot of tv/movies compared to the us. sure, there are easy ways around that, but none of them are cheap. i do the right thing and buy subscriptions to stuff like the daily show, and the occasional new aussie tv series that gets an itunes release, but most of the time i use my ps3. now with play tv coming to our shores and (for some reason back in the day) i own a psp, what's it really missing? i wish we had streaming over here, but they are saying iview is getting ps3 support soon. step in the right direction for us down under :)
  19. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    No, but Plex + Mac Mini + indoor antenna can.
  20. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    For movies, the itunes library is not too small but not big either. It has a lot of mainstream popular movies, but some are always mysteriously missing. Some are there for a while then gone. Etc. It also has a fair amount of classic films, but never enough. In general, I find it pretty dependable to be able to find movies I like, but to each his own. I suggest going into the iTunes store movie section and searching for films you like. :apple:TV will have a fair amount of those movies in minimal 720p (which will generally look better than DVD).

    For movies you don't find, it is relatively easy- but time consuming- to convert DVDs to movies you can add to your iTunes library. As a general rule of thumb, if quality matters, budget about 2.5gb per film. So, if you have 200 all-time favorites, you'll need at least 200 times 2.5gb of storage space just for those favorite movies. Storage is cheap, so this may not be a big deal (but the stock :apple:TV almost certainly does not have enough on-board storage to completely hold anyone's favorite movie collection).

    Live programming is not a part of the :apple:TV experience (yet). But there are great ways around that. The free way is to put up an antenna, which can get HD quality local channels BETTER than you can get via satt/cable. If you live near enough to a city, you can likely get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and an independent or three FOR FREE. That does a good job of covering LIVE local news, live sports on those major networks, and many of the more popular weekly shows. These don't flow through :apple:TV, so you'll need to either:
    • buy another box like a TIVO to act as your "over the air" tuner and DVR
    • hook the cable in from the antenna into a TV capable of tuning HD channels (and watch everything live)
    • buy a device like those from elgato, so that your computer can be your tuner & DVR. Their software can capture live programming to your computer's hard drive, then convert it to a format compatible with :apple:TV. That's the (easy) way to go if you would like to watch such stuff through :apple:TV.

    So that leaves favorite cable networks you can't get via (Free) antenna- like Fox News. If such programming is absolutely required, you'll have to buy a subscription to either cable or satt. However, one other option to explore is the vodcasts in the podcast section of the iTunes store, and the TV shows. A lot of Fox News personalities & programming is offered via video podcasts. I just went into the podcast section of iTunes and searched for "Fox News" and about 20+ vodcast/podcasts are available. You might find that a selection of these sufficiently feeds your Fox News hunger. If so, they are all free.

    A lot of TV shows- from major and cable networks are available to :apple:TV via iTunes store. These have costs per episode or season passes that seem steep. But depending on how much you pay for cable, and how many shows you really want to watch (especially if you use the antenna solution to get the shows from the major networks for free), a lot of people find it much cheaper to buy season passes of the few shows they can't get via antenna vs. paying for cable or satt. And those shows are commercial free, which is very nice.

    I hope this is helpful. Only you can completely answer some of your own questions, as no one here knows the movies you like, the shows you consider "must see", etc. Spend a little time in the iTunes store searching for stuff that's important to you, and that should help you make a good decision. For those podcasts & vodcasts, yo can sample them on your computer via iTunes so you can see right now if they will do the trick for you. If major network programming is much of what you watch, the over-the-air antenna option is FREE and delivers the BEST quality signals. And pairing that with an Elgato solution or TIVO is a great way to go.
  21. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    It is popular to say nothing is on, but when you get 200 channels, yes, there is always something worthwhile and interesting on the air. Without boring anyone with a list, I made one once of all the high-end sort of informational programs on in one evening. Pretty amazing.

    And, there were cartoons, movies of every sort, simulated sex, crazed news commentators, sports both major and minor, music, military and on and on.

    Someone made the very good point that Apple made a mistake calling it TV. There is nothing TV about it except that it can connect to one. Does Denon call their HT receivers "Denon TV"?. That would be silly.

    Then, Jobs called it a hobby. What is hobby about it? Is an iPod a hobby because it isn't capable of replacing every electronic device in the world?

    ATV is a very good device. Hard to understand the bitching about it.
  22. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    Also - note for those that want the news - NBC Nightly News is available as a video podcast and is available very quickly after it aires.

    So podcasts in many instances take the place of live news channels
  23. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    For a more universal appeal, they will need to make it a subscription service running over cable or open it up to more unpaid content. The focus on mainly paid content separate from the cable bill, ISP bill etc keeps it pretty niche.

    With access to Hulu, Netflix etc and dare I say a tuner/recorder itself, you have a product with more mass appeal. Throw in a Blue Ray player and make it $399 to $499 and watch out.

    Lots of people are doing most of these things on a Mac Mini (including myself), its just that the masses do not want to be bothered with setup etc as a media center.

    The 27 inch iMac is essentially a big HDTV with a Mac in it. They need to perfect their offerings and the living room becomes Apple's.
  24. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    Are you buying HD or SD? Itunes would be my Number one choince if HD was $1.99 and SD .99 but I guess the prices are set by the studio and they are the same on all services , VOD etc.
  25. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    I have replaced cable and dvds with my two Apple TVs. I use an old antenna to get beautiful HD news and sports and my apple tv for everythign else. All you really loose in my opinion is the sports and news on cable, CNN, ESPN ect.

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