Considering Apple TV....can I get some advice please??

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by itsjustmeee, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. itsjustmeee macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #1
    I'm considering getting the Apple TV, but after reading about it at the Apple site and online, I'm not sure if it's the best choice for me. I really would like something that would also be able to stream any movies that I have on my Mac hard drive ...... not just itunes compatible ones. I have some avi files as well.

    Also, I'm not sure, but it looks like anything that is streamed has to be imported into itunes, and you can't just navigate to an alternate folder with mp3s and movies, is that correct? I have over 150 gigs of music on one of my Mac drives, but they are not imported into itunes and I would rather not. I use this particular Mac for my work and would like to keep all of those media files separate from itunes.

    Any ideas, suggestions or comments about Apple TV for me, and/or any other wifi media streaming devices out there that I should look at??
     
  2. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

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    May 15, 2007
    #2
    No, you can "patch" your AppleTV and thus watch non iTunes movies such as avi, mpg etc.

    There are several solutions available.

    This is a good resource to read.
     
  3. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #3
    The Apple TV can't natively play non-iTunes formatted or non-iTunes located files, but can be modified to do so using a patchstick. Patchsticking involves booting the Apple TV from a prepared USB memory stick which adds extra functionality.
     
  4. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #4
    Don't get an ATV. Mine's a major dust gatherer.

    Get a PS3.

    The only reason to get an ATV is if you are a big renter / purchaser of Apple prepared content.

    I don't like renting/buying content from Apple. Renting is expensive in my opinion; Redbox or Netflix are much cheaper options. Purchasing gives me the willies because it's trapped in Apple DRM format and if you ever lose your drive you can't re-download it from Apple again (others correct if this not true).
     
  5. itsjustmeee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Interesting. I was just looking at the patchstick info. Is there any real advantage of opting for the paid version as opposed to the free one?
     
  6. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #6
    If you don't know whether it is true or not, then why even mention it?

    AppleTVs run hot and they may have set many fires to homes across the U.S....I don't know if this is true, of course...others can correct me.

    Isn't this a silly statement?

    It's great to share opinions and actual specs and features, but to guess is foolish, especially if it's to someone who is looking for pros and cons of a device.

    (I do not know if what you said is true or not. I for one, just would not have mentioned it if I didn't know. If it is true...have you ever heard of backing up data? I mean, if you have a house fire you will lose your DVDs too. Can't get those back from Suncoast or WalMart can you?)
     
  7. itsjustmeee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #7
    mstrze, so you can take files from the hard drive in apple tv and copy them over the a drive on your mac (or do the files just sit on your mac when you download them from itunes?)

    If that's the case, who cares if you are locking into the "apple system". As long as you can remember your login and password, I think it's safe!
     
  8. mstrze macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #8
    Everything on your AppleTV will be synced to your main iTunes computer.

    BUT you don't need to store anything on your AppleTV if you don't want to....or you can store/sync everything up to 160GB (the largest HD an AppleTV has)

    I have the 40GB AppleTV stream everything from my main iMac using the wake-on-wireless feature so my comp isn't on 24/7. When I buy or rent movies or TV shows on AppleTV, they are shared and stored in my iTunes Library back on the iMac. I am almost 100% sure that the items you buy or rent on AppleTV reside on your ATV HD first and are then synced back to the main computer as or after they are downloaded.
     
  9. mrj412 macrumors regular

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    May 27, 2009
    #9
    The paid version is just a repackage of the free stuff, stick with the free.

    We use our AppleTV a lot but almost always in XBMC. Patching is very easy and I have the storage shared from my Mac over the network. No need to reencode, import into iTunes or copy files to the ATV.
     
  10. itsjustmeee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #10
    That makes sense that it would back up the purchased movies on the Mac because if the atv ever goes down or takes a dump, you're screwed as far as getting them back. But in response to what scott6666 said, I believe that it used to be the case where you could only download media once from itunes, but I think that they changed that a while back, didn't they? I don't really use itunes too much other than buying apps for my iphone.
     
  11. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #11
    This might be true for some users. However, it is absolutely not true for many other people.

    I had been using iTunes on my PowerMac as a music server for years. However, it was an awkward setup and my wife pretty much never used it on her own. I bought the AppleTV primarily to serve as a music server, which it does a very nice job of (particularly if all your music is already in iTunes).

    I hadn’t really been concerned with its capability to display my pictures from iPhoto at the time. However, I now find this is one of the features I like the best. I set up different albums in iPhoto to use as screensavers and find we get much more enjoyment out of photos than we did before.

    Another good reason is for viewing home videos. I no longer have to burn DVDs of things like my wife’s horse shows. I put all the home videos on the AppleTV and she can watch them any time without having to track down a DVD.

    Yes, I understand that plenty of people use the AppleTV mainly for video, and it might not be the best game in town for that. However, there are others ways that an AppleTV can make a great deal of sense.
     
  12. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #12
    It would save you the 30-45 minutes of googling to understand how the free one works. ;)

    I just used the free one and installed Sapphire to manage streaming movies from my NAS, and XBMC to manage streaming DVR recordings from my MythTV server. XBMC could do both, but Sapphire's killer feature is automatically downloading cover art for movies and TV shows (unfortunately I haven't found a way to make it work with MythTV).
     
  13. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    If you are familiar with Linux, Unix and / or Terminal command, then you are fine.
    If not, this is the easier solution.
     
  14. PeterQVenkman macrumors 68020

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    Mar 4, 2005
    #14
    I second the PS3. you can do netflix on the PS3 now, too. Plus it plays all sorts of other formats, and plays them internally or from external USB drives.

    Plus Blu-Ray! Once you go blu, you can't go back.
     
  15. dynaflash macrumors 68020

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    Mar 27, 2003
    #15
    Hmm, I have a 1 TB eSata atv .... and about 1.8 GB of iTunes content ... I would have to disagree.
     
  16. srexy macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 19, 2006
    #16
    How does Sapphire handle high frame rate HD rips? - my one complaint about XBMC on an :apple:TV is that streaming high bit rate/frame rate rips gets very choppy. I think this is a limitation of the processor/video card but I don't know for sure. Wondering whether Sapphire does a better job...
     
  17. garylapointe macrumors 65816

    garylapointe

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    Feb 19, 2006
    Location:
    Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
    #17
    On my AppleTV:
    I usually use NitoTV instead of Sapphire; it just seems to play a little better. I used to use Boxee, but the AppleTV just doens't seem to have enough power for the last few versions of Boxee.

    But lately I've been playing with XBMC which is great (even streaming across the house), but it still doesn't have enough power for mkv files (ones with about 2GB per hour) but it tries.

    I've read somewhere that they just don't have the needed drivers for the graphics chip in the AppleTV.

    The AppleTV (standard software) does a great job of preloading files across the network so that it's really playing from the hard drive of the AppleTV, none of the installable players seem to do it in the same way.

    Gary
     
  18. iOrlando macrumors 68000

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    Jul 20, 2008
    #18
    i use it just to rent 5 buck HD movies on itunes and to watch Revision3 shows. I use it usually once a weekend. I got it on black friday last year, the low capacity one, so it was less than 200 (i think). Overall, its fine. I think i got my money out of it.
     
  19. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #19
    Silly me! I forgot the rule that we had to be entirely bombastic to post on the boards. :eek:

    CORRECTION THEN: I am absolutely sure to a metaphysical certainty that what I said was true.

    I'm sure this is first time in board history that someone posted an impression as to how things worked without being 100% sure. Won't happen again.

    PS. The units do run hot as well. Kind of surprised they are not failing like the time capsules are. As you said, it's well reported that AppleTVs run hot and they may have set many fires to homes across the U.S. Our house has burned down several times due our overheating ATV.
     
  20. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #20
    If you have tons of iTunes content, I agree that ATV is a good choice. If you have a bunch of avi's like the OP has then not so much.

    I tried the ATVFlash stuff. While it does exactly what the originators say it does, it is somewhat harder to use and has to reinstalled every time Apple does an upgrade. I have a lifetime subscription to it but it's not worth the trouble to keep having to reinstall it.

    The PS3 and XBox both work much better at serving up avi's.

    I have all three and have had for over a year now. I can only tell the OP which I've gravitated to over time. The ATV is far and away the least used device; like almost never. I would not encourage the OP to spend the $ for an ATV at all.
     
  21. srexy macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 19, 2006
    #21
    Not sure about the ATVFlash (I assume it's the same) but with the patchstick there's a setting to turn off the automatic updates to the ATV - saves a lot of hassle re-configuring stuff.
     
  22. itsjustmeee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #22
    Thanks for everyone's advice. Looks like the only way to really get what I want out of an ATV is to hack it. But I'm still trying to figure out which of the 3 choices is the best, Patchstick, ATVflash, or ATV usb creator. I don't want to spend hours messing around with terminal or settings and going online researching and looking for ways to add and subtract options. I would like this to be as easy and as painless as possible. So knowing that, which one would work the best for me? I just watched a demo video of ATVflash and it looks like it has all of the features that I want. I'm not crazy about spending 50 bucks and having to be concerned about whether to buy additional updates, but it does sound like a good way to go.

    Any more thoughts on ATVflash or choosing another option would be appreciated (knowing that I want this to be an easy process.)
     
  23. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

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    May 15, 2007
    #23
    With atvusbcreator, you pay nothing, but there's no support.
    With atvflash and patchstick.ca, you get support.

    Patchstick.ca has a nice plugin management that does not cause your ATV to freeze. I tried ATVFlash once and it did not work because their plugin is not properly implemented into the aTV framework.
    You can try the patchstick solution for free, and it is really easy to upgrade to the full version. Try it out here
     
  24. itsjustmeee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2008
    #24
    scott6666,

    Now I'm gravitating more towards a PS3. How do you stream videos to it from your mac? Do you need to install EyeConnect? Also, once it's installed, can you point it to any folder or folders, or will it just stream stuff in the itunes library? And from what I can see, the PS3 can handle pretty much any file format. Have you had any problems that I should be aware of? (I am also guessing that it streams mp3's as well, correct?)
     
  25. Scott6666 macrumors 65816

    Scott6666

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #25
    I've uses an old windows box as my streaming server using tversity as the streaming software. I have an MBP and an IMac so I can try to stream from them before you commit to a PS 3. This week however we are at the inlaws out of state so I won't be much help. Assuming the iMac is not stolen while we are gone I would be happy to do some experiments next week.
     

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