Comparing the 360 to the ATV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dmm219, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    Ok, so I have had and have been pretty happy with using my ATV's for about a year now. Recently, I was able to pick up an Xbox 360 for free using my soon-to-expire FF travel miles. I have now been using both the 360 and ATV for about a's how I believe they compare and contrast. Please keep in mind that I do not have a HTC setup, nor do I want one, my primary goal is a standard living room cable tv replacement. So here it goes,

    1. 360 is loud. And I have one of the newer ones. Some people are more distracted by this than others. However, when watching movies with quiet scenes, it can become a bit of a nuisance.

    2. Netflix on 360 is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I have been lucky enough to get to use MS's new dashboard (coming this august) and play around with the Netflix upgrades, which are substantial. I'm not too into the MST3K style movie parties, which can be fun, but are more of a gimmick. But allowing you to search and watch online content directly from the app is very nice. The performance of the app is spectacular, even on my crappy, barely 1.5M DSL service.

    3. Playon vs. Boxee. I have installed playon on my pc media server (the same pc I also run itunes on to serve the ATVs). I can say for certain that hulu performance on Playon for the 360 destroy's boxee's hulu service. In fact, I doubt i will ever use Boxee for hulu again. The only reason I have at this point for keeping boxee is to watch southpart on CC, as playon does not have CC yet, and its not on hulu. I am also interested in the MLB app on boxee, so I'll probably pay for a month of and try it out in august. So boxee isn't dead yet, but for streaming content to my TV, playon is far superior (probably because the 360 is just destroys the ATV in processing power.

    4. The use of the ATV has been somewhat the quality of Netflix and Hulu on the 360 is so good, I no longer use boxee as much, and I don't have to pay for content from the Itunes store as much. I still prefer to use the ATV for my own library of media, the ATVs interface is just far superior and it all works so much better. I also prefer to use the ATV for my HD-type content (movies or shows and podcasts off of itunes). As I have a 37in set, I'm pretty happy with 720p, and I don't really need 1080p on this set.

    Overall, rounding everything out with a Terk HDTVa for local OTA, I can say I am now 100% happy with my ability to watch tv, without giving one cent to a cable company, and with cheap 1.5M DSL. But I need two boxes to achieve this (both the ATV and 360). If I had to actually BUY the 360, it may not be worth it.

    Also, there is some neat stuff on the 360 that you just cant find elsewhere...the wife and I are big fans of 1 vs. 100 on Xbox live, where you can play a live gameshow and win real prizes (tho the chances of winning anything are ridiculously against you at this point)...
  2. randy98mtu macrumors 65816


    Mar 4, 2009
    I can't watch a movie on that thing. It's way too loud.

    Another comment on the comparison. Most people likely don't do this, but I move my ATV back and forth between my living room and my bedroom (until a new version comes out) When I plug it in downstairs, it goes to the 1080p interface (I know the content is not 1080p.) When I plug it in to the 720p set, it automatically adjusts. When I was trying to get my 360 working in my bedroom, I couldn't get a picture. I was convinced the thing was broken. I took it downstairs and boom, works fine. It was just in 1080p. There may be a way to adjust it without being able to see the screen, but I found it ridiculous that I had to plug it in at 1080p, adjust the settings, then take it back to the 720p set for it to work.
  3. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    If you also play games, then I think the 360 would be a better alternative. Admittedly, I do not own one, but from what I hear the capabilities are pretty nice from people who do have one.

    I prefer Apple TV because:

    1. I don't play games except occasionally on my computer so I have no need for the 360's primary purpose.

    2. I like the small form factor of the Apple TV which lets me unobtrusively keep it in my entertainment center.
  4. dmm219 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    Good point, the 360 IS huge. We are light gamers as mostly just on the Wii until we got the 360. There are some really good games on the 360, but not a lot if you don't like first person shooters (which i hate with a passion).

    Two other things that popped into my brain, one bad, one good:

    1. The 360 does not come with any kind of wireless. You have to buy a $100 usb dongle from MS to get the stupid thing online. I was QUITE annoyed by this...yea, I save $300 not having to buy the console, but they still got $100 out of me just to get the damn thing online.

    2. if someone else you know has a 360, you can buy a cheap web came for it, and easily have living room video phone calls. its quite nice. I always though something like this would be great on the ATV as well...
  5. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    I started off using the 360 for media playback via Connect360 and it was OK for occasional use but as I added more and more files the interface on the 360 became a serious problem. I bought an ATV and it is so much better than the 360. Quiet and easy to use. I still use my 360 for games of course but for casual watching you can't beat the ATV.
  6. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    If you have a PC then using the 360 as a Windows Media Center Extender is great. And the upcoming Fall 360 update is going to bring Media Center with Windows 7, which has a much nicer, robust, and functional UI than the 2005 system it is currently based on. If you don't have a PC, I think Apple TV is the way to go.

    As for the 360 and wireless: yes, it sucks it is not included, however, it has made my Airport Express functional again. I just have the AE plugged into the wall directly behind my 360 and run ethernet to the AE, which connects to my house wireless network. Works great and makes the AE that much more functional, in my opinion.
  7. BORIStheBLADE macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2008
    Ya, I have a 360 and tried it out for streaming and was impressed with the media center feel, but I was having an issue with stutters with my wired system. I couldn't figure it out.

    Alone with the intentions to buy a 360 as a streamer it isn't the greatest.
    I also agree, too loud.
  8. almostinsane macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2008
    You already get the Win7 Media Center interface if you connect it to a Win7 PC. The extender function is the best part about the 360. I have one in every bedroom for watching TV and movies.
  9. yorkshire macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2008
    360 is good yes, but as others have said, too loud. And when you put a game in the thing it's like a jet taking off...
  10. weekendsrule32 macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2009
    New Jersey
    About the loudness, my ps3 is not very quiet either. It is just the heat generated by the upgraded processors and other parts to play the games causing the fans to work harder, at least with the ps3. If you don't play games, go with ATV.
  11. pjarvi macrumors 65816


    Jan 11, 2006
    Round Lake, IL
    3 things the ATV can do that the 360 doesn't (to the best of my knowledge):

    1.) Podcasts - I'm not to familiar with the 360's ability to sync with a PC, but when I get home from work each day, all my subscribed podcasts are already transferred and ready to play on my ATV. If an episode has not yet sync'd, I can simply pull it up from the Favorites list and play it directly off the net from the ATV, no computer needed.

    2.) YouTube - I just spent the last 3 hours watching YouTube videos on my ATV. :)

    3.) AirFoil - Okay, this is a 3rd party app, but with airfoil I can stream any audio source from my Mac to my ATV. I use this for sending internet radio streams to my ATV that are not available on iTunes. I'm even listening to via airfoil to my Airport Express as I type this on my computer.

    So far, I have only found TV shows and movies on the 360 a useful way to use up leftover points on Xbox Live. The noise never bothers me, and I currently use my 360 as my only DVD player (I still have HD-DVD's too).
  12. Jim82 macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2007

    I have both the 360 and AppleTV. I do love my 360 more, mainly because of the ability to expand beyond its own external hdd. I currently have a 1tb hdd hooked up to my 360. I have all of my media digital formatted and on that hdd. The AppleTV with it's limited 40-160hdd, would not work for my needs. I have a MB so the largest HDD I could have is a 500gig that could in theory stream to my AppleTV, but even that is not enough space. I like being able to have all my media played through my 360, which along with netflix makes it perfect. I have tried the hack for the AppleTV to allow external HDD, but it plays back very very slowly and makes videos unable to watch. However, HULU on the AppleTV through the Boxee/XBMC hack is great. Maybe someday HULU will be on the 360. The noise from the 360 to me is only noticeable when playing a dvd, which I do not use it for. But the fans don't actually bother me at all. Not enough to make me not want to use it.
    YouTube is nice on the AppleTV and I use it for that often, but not enough. I'm going to probably sell my AppleTV 40gig soon, as I just do not use it often enough. Maybe if I bought my movies or rented them through Apple, I'd use it for that, but I don't.
  13. dmm219 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    As I noted can easily get Hulu on your 360 (with the use of a PC) with Playon. Hulu looks, and plays far better on the 360 than it does with Boxee on the ATV. The bad part is you need a PC server running. This is no big deal for me, as I have a PC running all the time as my Itunes server and no also, my Playon server.
  14. geoffreak macrumors 68020


    Feb 8, 2008
    Anyone who claims that the 360's drive is too loud has crap speakers. Even with my speakers on low I can't hear the drive.

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