Debating purchasing an Apple Tv.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iMackPro, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. iMackPro macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    How many people out there have the 2nd Gen Apple tv? Thoughts and opinions about it? how often do you use it?

    is there a way for me to connect and external HD to a apple tv so i can use my mac to select which movie i want to play but not actually have to hook up my mac to my tv to play the movie? or have to hook up my computer to the external drive to play the movie?

    Simply put id like to be able to:
    Turn on my mac, sit it on my lap
    select a wireless external HD,
    click on a movie
    watch it on my tv! while still being able to surf on my mac.

    Also, do i even need an apple tv to JUST play movies? if my tv has a usb input can i hook up my tv to a external HD and use my tv remote to navigate through my hard drive?

    Lastly, if i do have an apple TV, can it played movies that are NOT in iTunes? for example downloaded stuff from internet and ripped files?

    Lastly, where is the bottleneck in connecting a HD to an apple tv? What will make it choppy where like the movie still has to stop and buffer then keep playing? Is it the HDD rpm rate or the speed of a cable or the speed of the Apple tv? Is there a certain cable or is the internet the determinant factor if ill be able to watch movies without buffering if my apple TV is connected via usb or whatever cable it uses?

    I really want to buy one tomorrow so any quick useful responses would be greatly appreciated!! thank you to everyone that helps this uninformed apple lover out!
  2. MrXiro macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
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    Apple tv2 only let's u watch iTunes loaded videos off of a Mac. If you have any avi files you will need to convert it. If you have an iOS device that contains a lot of media I will say yes to getting an atv2 for the AirPlay. If not it's really not for you. A ps3 though quite a bit more $$ is a more capable machine. But I personally really enjoy the integrated ease of use of it all with my iPad, iPod touch, airport and iMac. If I was missing any one of these devices I would be a little less enthusiastic about it.

    Just to be clear. It does not read an hdd at all.

    The bottleneck is most likely the tvs processor when there is video stutter on a tv that has video codec playback features or ram. The buffer isn't enough to cover the playback speed either via decoding or in ram storage.
  3. maclaptop macrumors 65816


    Apr 8, 2011
    Western Hemisphere
  4. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    Wait what will i have to convert it too?

    And so i have to take the movie off of my External, put it on my mac, then transfer it to my AT2??!! then watch it?

    Can you simply put the best way for me to watch a downloaded movie off of the internet on an external HD?
    I have netflix so i can watch most of that for tv episodes but for as far as movies go, i have about 100 on an external HD and i want to hook them up to apple tv and be able to watch them! without having to use my mac!
  5. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    I don't have iOS device besides my mac, well that has movies on it anyways.
    i have a ps3, would this be a better use than apple tv? is there a way for a ps3 to read external HD and play HD movies ive downloaded? you got me really excited at this point lol please keep posting!!!
  6. Captain Dynamo, Apr 24, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011

    Captain Dynamo macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Northern California
    Apple TV 2; Playing non-iTunes videos through ATV2


    I have an Apple TV 2 and like it. Well worth $99.

    I use it for Netflix and renting the occasional movie. My wife thinks the killer app is the Flickr screensaver. You can enter a keyword, like "autumn leaves" and the Apple TV 2 downloads the latest 100 photos from Flickr tagged with the keyword and uses those for a screen saver. Quite beautiful.

    The Apple TV 2 can be used to play non-iTunes videos, but it requires extra hardware. There is a fabulous app called Air Video for iPads and iPhones. This streams video from your Mac to the iPad or iPhone. You need to install a free server app on your Mac. You can use Airplay to send the video from your iPad or iPhone to the Apple TV 2. So, you have three Apple devices involved: your Mac with video files of pretty much any kind on it, your Apple TV 2 to display videos on your HDTV, and your iPad or iPhone to take the videos from your Mac and send them to the Apple TV 2 via Airplay. Convoluted, but it works.

    By the way, the Air Video server will convert videos on the fly on your Mac as it streams them to your iPad or iPhone. This works fine even on my old Macbook with the first gen Intel cpu.
  7. ZombieZakk macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
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    You can put movies directly on your ps3 or by connecting ot to a home media server which if u have a lot of content not in itunes this might be the better way to go as the apple tv works better for people using itunes content.

    i have one and love it. I also have a ps3 and xbox but i still prefer appletv2 for netflix and media as it was cheap quiet and plays my itunes library easily most of my media is in itunes so it works great.
  8. Locodice macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    I'm as much of an Apple fanboy as the next guy.

    Take my advice dont buy Apple TV, it's not all its cracked up to be. For £50 more you can buy an HD media player with 1tb of onboard storage that plays any video file you throw at it.
  9. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    Get a Mac mini. Download Plex ( BEST setup I've ever hard since cutting the cord.
  10. Tonepoet, Apr 24, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011

    Tonepoet macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2010
    The Apple TV is a good device for somebody with a family who wants to hook up something cheap in their living room and be done with it or somebody who uses a stationary desktop computer. However I don't think it's right for everybody. It depends on how patient you are with setup and what portable device(s) you've got in the house and how many people want to independently watch movies from iTunes or Netflix. The more patient you closer the ratio to 1:1 the better it would be to just buy the appropriate adapters to hook the device(s) up directly to the TV is instead.

    The iPad 2 has the Apple Digital AV adapter to transmit up to 720p movie files to your display and for the laptops/mac minis, there's the kanex iAdapt v2. (There are cheaper alternatives to the kanex but that's the only one I'm certain has the capability transmit surround sound over H.D.M.I. when used with compatible equipment). If your computer is an older model that needs a separate cable for sound, throw in a toslink to minitoslink cable as well. I liked the grey ones from Cables to Go 'cause they have a metallic end that sorta matches the anodized aluminum finish, if not just a couple shades darker. You might need a wireless keyboard/mouse with your computer too. One reviewer reports this PS3 wireless keyboard with built in trackpad working with a mac mini if you don't already have something suitable.

    Overall it can be much cheaper and allows you ever so much more flexibility to use your television not only with movies, but fully fledged websurfing (Online TV devices are treated as second class citizens of the Web. Speaking from personal experience. Youtube won't even let you watch high quality videos with a PS, let alone full HD and good luck signing onto hotmail) and general computing purposes. Wanna play Escape Velocity Nova on a bigger screen? Well now it's possible. Need a bigger and higher resolution for effective photo editing with your ultra portable 13" Macbook Pro? You've instantly got up to 1920x1080 resolution on televisions of up to 60". Pendent on the circumstances, you may even be able to do away with your standalone DVD player in favor of your computer for all the good it does you just eating up space.

    Edit: Oh hey, more posts since I started compiling this...

    As far as I know, you can use it by itself just fine for Netflix and PSN rentals but I wouldn't recommend buying any movies off of PSN since their DRM is so restrictive. You only get one video activation per account and if your Playstation 3 YLODs on you, you can say goodbye to all your videos. I've not had experience with this personally but I've read that Sony's employees have told people they're responsible for deactivating their Playstation 3s before they break, which is pretty much an impossibility considering you don't know when that might happen. You can only deactivate a PS3 from the PS3 itself. You get up to five game activations by the way so that's not as much of an issue but it's still something to be weary of.

    I also hear you can stream movies wirelessly but I'm not entirely sure how that works. I have transferred music to it with a thumb stick before though. Probably works with bluray compatible movie formats too, such as Mpeg-2. What format are iTunes movies kept in?
  11. far4477 macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2011
  12. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    wil you link me to this media player?
  13. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    Im sorry im having trouble catching all of what you just said abut the PS3, so it CAN or CANNOT be attached to an External HD and then use my PS3 controller to navigate through the HDD and play BLU RAY movies? because if my PS3 CAN do this then i feel absolutely NO NEED for an apple tv. thanks for all of your help man i really really appreciate it though
  14. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2010
    Calgary AB
    I use my ATV2 almost every day for listening to music on my home theatre speakers rather than just my desk speakers. So simple to setup and use that I dont care that it may not have 'everything' that other home theatre systems have, but if you already have a lot of movies in mp4 or rent off itunes (i'm the former), or if you want to just be able to enjoy your better speakers and music elsewhere away from your mac, then $100 is absolutely worth it for it.
  15. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    i downloaded and ripped all of my movies and none of them are kept in iTunes. about 70% of them are .mkv blu ray full HD movies. the rest are avi and MPEG4. im not sure which is the best resolution quality/FPS. and i have no idea how to find out.

    Is there a way to put my pirated movies in iTunes so i can access them via my iPhone 4 and play them air play with apple TV?

    or is there a way my PS3 can be hooked up to a external HD and so i can use my ps3 like i already stated earlier? that'd be AWESOME!

    ALL i want is to be able to watch movies i have on my tv without it taking up my precious mac! if i can run it in the background thad be fine, i know it would tax my computer but this thing is a freaking beast and so i know it could handle it without a lick.
  16. Locodice macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    Sure. Got this about a month ago and haven't got a bad thing to say about it. I also have no idea why it's only got 4/5 on Amazon, it has played everything I've chucked at it and so simple to use.

  17. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    If you dont want something with storage built in and would rather use external HDs, steaming from file shares or DNLA WD also make these:

    It's very similar to the previous post, main difference is internal storage and price. Cant recommend these WD boxes enough they're so versatile when compared to the Apple TV and this ones cheaper than it too
  18. iMackPro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2011
    does it have a built in HD? can you hook it via usb or firewire to an external HD? can it access a wireless network and play movies saved on an external HD or the one in my mac?
  19. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hey guys. This is a Macbook PRO forum. Please post Apple TV related posts here.
  20. EVO9Nate macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    When people talk about the new Apple TV they focus on what it is lacking vice focusing on what it has and does well… It has HDMI and it streams your itunes library extremely well.

    I have a 3 year old who has a lot of the favorite movies which we store in our iTunes. My family has 2 - MACBOOK PROs/ 1 - MACBOOK/ 2 - iPads/ 2 - iPhones and 1 - iPod Touch. These are not all of our Apple products but these are the ones that can wirelessly stream movies and content to our Big Screen TV. To me being able to watch a movie from the iPod onto a 52" screen TV is pretty damn impressive. Also with that flexibility you can also still use your computer while Apple TV shares your iTunes Library…

    I know that the major point of contention is the lack of a hard drive but with all of the other devices, do you really need one. Besides children's movies and some classics, we rarely watch the same movie twice anyway…

    I just thought that I would share my perspective on the Apple TV with everyone or someone who is on the fence.


  21. 8CoreWhore macrumors 68020


    Jan 17, 2008
    Big D
    ATV2 with XBMC

    I have the AppleTV 2 with XBMC installed. This allows me to play back any file type, not just native. So, AVI, MKV, etc. Awesome!

    I have the ATV2 wireless to my wifi router, and I have a HDD connected to that router (AEBS) thru USB. The HDD is then mounted on my desktop.

    I jailbreaked the ATV using Greenpoison. Then installed XBMC.

    There are tutorials and videos on youtube, etc.
  22. Tonepoet, Apr 24, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011

    Tonepoet macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2010
    If all you need it to do is this, the Playstation 3 suit your needs quite adequtely. Here are the video file types the PS3 supports. and here are the audio ones.

    There are several cavats but nothing too difficult to deal with:

    First your hard drive will have to be formated as FAT 32, possibly requring multiple partitions for every section of up to 32GB of the Drive you want to see.

    Secondly, I'm not sure why it happens but I've noted I can't personally can't see the files in the external USB drive for some reason. If this happens, try selecting it and hitting the triangle button. I forgot what it's called but there's an option to see the entire file structure by doing that. I'm not sure what the situation with DRM protected files will be if you should ever need it.

    I think it might be possible that the problem is that the Playstation 3 wants me to shove the media in a special dedicated directory like one would make for the .pup file if you're doing a disc based firmware update but again, I'm not 100% certain about that.

  23. worky macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes. Just plug your USB external hard drive into any of the ps3's USB ports, go to the video tab at the main menu, then scroll down to find your HDD. For some reason though it doesn't always show all of the files on your HDD if you hit "X", so I always hit "TRIANGLE" then "Display All." All of your files should be there. I will note however that I only download AVI's and am unsure what other file types it will play. I believe it will play MP4's and MPEG's, but I know for a fact that it will not play .MKV's.

    I watch shows and movies on my PS3 on a daily basis and couldn't live without it!
  24. Smoothness macrumors regular

    Apr 6, 2011
    I opted for a roku xds box instead of an appletv. I watch netflix,hulu, crwckle, listen to pandora, can rent moviesmfrom amazon on demand AND play converted movies stored on a thumb drive.
  25. modernmacintosh macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2011
    Are you a native to Apple products?

    This is one question that is important to your discovery of the wonderful world of local and streaming entrainment content.

    This link will help with some comparisons of a few of your options.

    Apple horror here. My Apple products create their own environment in my home so it is worth it for my family. Short term solutions for our everyday viewing needs are becoming much more accessible in pricing battles and built to allow updates for the ever changing options.

    Good Luck >.<

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