Is AppleTV for me?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by thomapa1, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. thomapa1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010
    New to an iMac @1 month ago - love it!
    Looking into extending the use of media.
    Would like to use my iMac as my 'central' device (music, photos, movies) but have the ability to tap into my home theater system (HDtv, 5.1 audio).
    Used to have xbox media center plugged into my home PC and enjoyed being able to get content from my PC to the TV.
    Is Apple TV the best solution? or is a media server (Plex or something) a better alternative?
    I don't use Netflix/blockbuster/Roku... but I do have a library of movies, music, photos available on my iMac.
    My iMac is on my main level - home theater is in basement. Looks like I can do wireless with Apple TV or I would have @50-60 foot run if hardwire is needed.
  2. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    If everything you have is managed in iTunes, then yes - Apple TV is great.

    If everything you have is able to be converted to an iTunes compatible format (handbrake, etc..) then yes, Apple TV is great.

    I have two aTV 2Gs and use them for movies, TV and photos (as well as Netflix) on two TVs in my home. It works very, very well.
  3. thomapa1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010
    I like the 'ease of use' idea - but not so much the limited playback capabilities. ie - I have alot of movies in .AVI format, so with AppleTV - I guess I would need to convert them all.

    I assume the only other workaround is to install another (old) mac and make it a Media Server with something like plex/boxee/etc? then I would locate all of my content on this device and keep it running - hard connect it to my TV. More expensive route, but I assume I would be able to play a much larger variety of movie formats / audio / photos.
  4. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    I looked into a mini and plex before I settled on a pair of streaming boxes (roku and apple tv 2g). Plex is great, but I would've had a hard time teaching my wife and kids how to use it. What really bothered me was the switch from plex to itunes when you need to view Itunes protected content (I have a bunch of movies I purchase through the Itunes Movie store). It just didn't pass the non-tech geek test for my wife and kids...I would've loved it, who's going to turn down another cool piece of gear, right? But it was interface overkill in many ways.

    I had the same issue with some stray .avi's early on. I ended up converting them, hating the quality of them on my big screens and then purchasing the movies (in my case, they were movies) in iTunes anyway.

    I'm very happy with the Roku XD/Apple TV 2 combo I run now. It works for me, YMMV.
  5. Omne666 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    As I tell my friends who have WDLive box but are considering the Apple TV, if your willing to put in the work making sure your content is compatible, the interface just plain kills anything else out there.
  6. stoplis macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2009
    I used to use XMBC running on my PC, with the video and audio cables running through the wall to my TV. I now have an Apple TV and I would have to say I'm much happier with the Apple TV.
    As it has been said you will have to convert all your media into an iTunes friendly format, but once you've done that it is all so simple and easy.
    I recommend using iFlicks for SD media with only stereo sound, e.g. TV programs and using Handbrake for anything in HD or with surround sound and then using Subbler to grab the info/tags.

    If you don't wish to convert all of your media you could jailbreak an apple tv and use Plex, which works but is still in very early stages, or wait for aTV Flash (Black) which is still in development but is making good progress in playing different codec (such as avi) on the apple tv natively (beta should be out in the next week or so).

    Hope this helps.
  7. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

    Sep 16, 2010
    Ky Close to CinCinnati
    How much is "alot", for me i have about 600 DVD's and TV shows that i am encoding and dumping into iTunes. I will be done in about 2 weeks (started in October) It have not be a big deal just spend a few hours a week on it.

    We have Netflix and access to my personal library on 2 ATV's and it is so easy for the wife and kids to use.

    Going forward the upkeep will be minimal, just convert any new DVD's or just purchase through iTunes (I like to hit the $5.00 DVD bin at walmart).
  8. thomapa1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010
    thanks for the info…based on the responses, I think AppleTV is my best option. #1 - due to ease of use and solid interface…I want my wife to enjoy it. I'll do a little work on the backend to ensure compatibility.
    #2 - simplicity (small footprint, wireless)
    #3 - low cost solution

    thanks! I predict that Santa is going to leave a gift under the tree

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