Is the Apple TV right for me?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Citizen Cook, May 29, 2017.

  1. Citizen Cook macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

    Joined:
    May 29, 2017
    #1
    Hi there,

    I own an ipad air 2, Windows 10 PC, and a Steam Link.
    A year ago I decided to buy my future movies and TV shows digitally. I choose Apple over Amazon because as far as I can see, Apple have the largest digital library.

    Currently I have a 5TB external hard drive connected to my PC that stores all of this content.
    Since my PC is in another wing of the house, running a HDMI cable to the TV in my lounge is out of the question. I've found that by minimising Big Picture on the Steam Link I can access my PC's desktop. From there I can launch itunes.
    The problem comes when I want to watch my itunes videos in HD.
    itunes doesn't recognise the Steam Link as a HDCP compliant device and therefore will only display them in SD.

    To counter this problem I'm looking to purchase a PC extender. I want to mirror my PC to my TV. I want to access my HD and future 4k digital content, and I want to do so legally.

    I've been looking at the Amazon Fire TV, the Roku 4, and The Apple TV. Which one is right for me?

    I own several home consoles (Xbox One/PS4) but none of these appear to be able to access itunes via an app.
     
  2. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #2
    If it's iTunes you want to use, Apple TV is the only choice. It will stream purchased/rented tv, movies, and music from the cloud or via Home Sharing from your PC on your home network. The ATV does not support 4K at this time, but then neither does iTunes. I'm sure it will in the future as 4K becomes more common.
     
  3. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    #3
    You mentioned iTunes. But we need a clearer picture of what on iTunes you want to access.

    There are apps available for the Apple TV that will stream anything you throw at it such as Infuse. And if you have iTunes purchased content you get to do both.

    - iTunes content Natively
    - non iTunes content via streaming apps

    So all you really will need is a NAS with all your non-iTunes stuff on it.
     
  4. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

    Joined:
    May 29, 2017
    #4
    Ok, thanks for the reply.
    It sounds like the Apple TV is right for me. I've just purchased a new 4K TV, maybe I should wait a little while for a 4K compatible Apple TV device? I think you need a HDMI 2.0 port for 4K. I doubt the current Appple TV has one...

    Oh, btw, which version would you recommend? 32GB or 64?
     
  5. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #5
    32GB is fine, you'll never use all the storage.

    Wait until at least Keynote on June 5. That's not far away, and they may announced a new AppleTV and/or 4K iTunes library.
     
  6. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

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    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I'm as obsessional and brand-loyal to Apple as anyone, but I thought the new Apple TV was bloody awful and returned it.

    The flaw is iTunes. It's just dreadful. Astonishingly bad. Amateurish.

    I rarely buy tv and movie -- I'm happy enough with Netflix and Amazon Prime. But when I do, I now use Amazon. I have the Fire TV. It's a fraction of the price of the Apple TV. It's great. As are the iOS apps.
     
  7. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

    Joined:
    May 29, 2017
    #7
    I've already invested in the itunes store, so it's too later for me to back out now. If as niteflyr said, only the Apple TV allows me to access itunes, I kinda have to buy Apple over Amazon.
    --- Post Merged, May 30, 2017 ---
    Thank you.
     
  8. Hermes Monster macrumors 65816

    Hermes Monster

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    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    An Apple TV would tick a lot of boxes for you, apart from 4K obviously. In the meantime, you would have to download your iTunes movies and run them through handbrake or something to remove the DRM and stream them from your NAS
     
  9. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #9
    Oh, one other thing just occurred to me...

    Can the TV turn on my PC? My PC is a long way from my TV, it would be nice if I didn't have to traverse the house to in order to watch a downloaded movie from itunes.
     
  10. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

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    Southern Cal
    #10
    I'm not aware of any on/off remote control for PC. If it is an iTunes purchased movie you can stream it from the cloud on the ATV Movies app. No need to turn on computer.
     
  11. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #11
    I already have an WOL app for my ipad so i know i can turn it on with that. But not how to turn it off.
    How good is the Streaming? Many people claim that Steaming no matter how good the connection, will always be inferior to a physical storage medium.
     
  12. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    That iTunes movie file you download has been, "streamed" if you will, to your computer. It is a rendered and compressed 3-5 GB file. Blu-rays are typically 30-50 GB. I find iTunes streaming quality to be no different than the downloaded movie. iTunes doesn't vary the stream bitrate as does Netflix, etc. and the ATV will cache iTunes content into memory as it streams so you don't get the pausing and pixelating you sometimes see on Netflix and others. No it isn't Blu-ray quality but very good in my opinion. I'm sure some extreme videophiles might argue otherwise.
     
  13. d21mike macrumors 68040

    d21mike

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    Jul 11, 2007
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    #13
    1. I agree with @niteflyr
    2. I now use PLEX for everything for a number of reason but not because Stream iTunes Content is a problem.

    I personally have no problem with Ripping Content that I have purchased and removing DRM so that I can use PLEX and other Apps to watch it.
     
  14. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #14
    What happens when itunes start offering 4k content, will the visual quality gap between UHD discs and Streamed content widen?
     
  15. niteflyr macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Probably not. Better technology, better codecs, etc. What little 4K streaming I've seen on Netflix and Amazon Prime look very good but they do require a good higher bandwidth internet connection.
     
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    If one contrasts and compares "streamer" boxes, ATV doesn't quite fair that well in many categories. However, if one's needs are limited to purchase/rentals from iTunes store and doesn't mind the limitations of audio and video, then its an ideal fit.

    I prefer some of the other offerings. I think Roku has a few that are ideal for most people and an interface that is clean and easy enough for most to use. Amazon's offering is akin to ATV as it is Amazon biased but offers more than Apple. For movie/tv streaming and some gaming, the Nvidia Shield TV (the most expensive of the bunch) is impressive. Again it really comes down to what one needs, what one is willing to give up or put up with and of course budget. For me, Nvidia was the way to go while I would be far more likely to suggest Roku or Amazon Fire to immediate friends and family. Let's also be aware that relationships between companies come and go and that means items like Netflix, Vudu and more might be with one streamer box and next year be gone (or within each of those, their catalogue of movies/tv shows changes).
     
  17. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #17
    Can you play itunes on the amazon or Roku boxes?
     
  18. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #18
    Nope. However, I did mention in my first few sentences that if one is all about iTunes, then the ATV is the pick. As for me, I am not into iTunes so I have far more choices elsewhere with Amazon, Vudu, Netflix etc. This doesn't diminish the ATV for the iTunes advocate but shows where some lines are drawn as to need and availability. There are several contrast and compare various streamers. The difference may not just include sources of media but playback as well - 4k vs 1080p, standard audio formats vs hi def audio (ex: DTS MASTER), handling of subtitles...etc.

    ATV is akin to the Kodak Instamatic Cameras of yore. Both are vehicles to get the consumer to buy the real products (iTunes media purchase/rental and film respectively). Apple, at times seems to be the only and best game in town but sooner or later, there are competitors that match and often surpass (for a given time) Apple.
     
  19. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #19
    So no apple TV 5th generation...

    When is the next possible occasion when a new apple TV could be announced?
     
  20. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    ATL
    #20
    September iPhone event.

    If this turns into a 7S year with mild internal upgrades. They'll have plenty of time to devote to an iTunes image quality UHD and HDR overhaul and a new AppleTV.

    Don't hold your breathe though. Apple is so far behind on image quality, they've virtually signaled abandonment.
     
  21. Novus John macrumors member

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    Sep 27, 2015
    #21
    I wouldn't expect a lot more from the 5th gen. ATV except better streaming codexes and a 4K support. If they add 4K support then I'd also expect to see 4K films appearing in iTunes as well.

    In the meantime, ATV works with 4K TVs but the image will be upscaled by the TV. That might be a problem for some films, but then you already own them in an old sd/hd format, and they will be upscaled anyway. Streaming from iTunes to the ATV is doable if you have a decent Internet connection, i.e., one that doesn't limit you to 5Mbit/s and 5GB of downloading per month. :)

    I'm having a similar problem like yourself, I solved it temporarily by borrowing an ATV from a friend who replaced it with an xbox. But my biggest use for it is streaming youtube videos from safari over airplay and watching netflix for which I don't have a 4k subscription because I'm a cheap bastard.
     
  22. idunn, Jun 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017

    idunn macrumors 6502

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    #22

    It depends on what you expect from a home theater in ease, quality, affordability, etc.

    For now and the foreseeable future neither Roku or Amazon Video/Fire TV will play iTunes content, thus an Apple TV the only one of the three suitable for your chosen medium. But you may wish to reconsider, depending.

    The simplest expedient is to no more than stream everything you watch, watched once and done. No storage hassles, no encoding, no external hard drives, no computers (other than one of aforementioned devices like Roku). If so, then options expand and choice lie in such as extent of their libraries, pricing, UI, etc.

    Apple may finally offer 4K with the 5th generation of ATV (i.e. Apple TV), if a good chance iTunes no 4K content immediately thereafter and limited when it at last does begin to appear (at a price). Meanwhile both Amazon and Roku offer 4K options today (Roku the most at the moment). Although consider that whenever Apples does get around to it they may offer a higher quality (less compressed) version of 4K.

    Maybe not in every instance, but the controls I've used with Amazon Video have been less than ideal compared to Apple TV. I hear that Roku pesters one with advertising, yet otherwise is the most neutral towards content, with both Apple and Amazon favoring themselves. Best to research this as the UI and other factors is to some extent a subjective and personal decision.

    If you wish to actually own (as in physically possess) that purchased then your options narrow to basically iTunes and physical media like Blu-ray. In example, one cannot download that "owned" on Amazon Video. Some will never care about this, but without it in hand one remains forever at the caprice and fortunes of the provider.

    Including iTunes to an extent as well due their DRM on all video. One will forever require the appropriate Apple hardware in order to play these iTune purchases (i.e. that downloaded), unless one goes to the trouble to rip out said copy protection.

    Blu-ray offers the best video and audio quality, but is not exactly a digital experience if one is continually getting up from the couch to put in and out discs. Thus the consideration if one is satisfied with that—not to mention not near instantly selecting and watching that streamed—or will wish to rip each Blu-ray disc towards inclusion in their digital library.

    One could do worse than choosing iTunes for video purchases, as you have. They have a good library (if certainly not all inclusive), relatively fair pricing, and ease of use if one uses their ATV principally to view iTunes content. With, as said, the option to also download that purchased, if so desired. Possibly add in a few extras such as Netflix and one could be pleasantly satisfied—especially if that such as ATV or Amazon Video plays the role as adjunct to decent cable television.

    So begin in assessing your desires—then match the technology best suited to fulfilling them.
     
  23. Citizen Cook thread starter macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

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    May 29, 2017
    #23
    I've decided to go full digital and invest in an Apple TV.
    I'm just waiting for the 5th generation to come out so that I can get 4K content. I just hope the quality is as good as UHD...
     
  24. Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    #24
    Nice choice!!! Definitely my choice mind you, i've been loving ATV since aTV2 wayyyyy back in the winter of 2010!!! I find the ATV experience to be flawless and headache free - it's a real pleasure to use!
     
  25. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

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    Oct 2, 2007
    #25
    I've been watching more iTunes HD content (on my new 1080 LED tv...the older 1080 LCD tv broke a week back) and I am somewhat amazed at the quality of the HD streams. I know others will tell me how awful my eyesight is, how much banding and loss of "X" i have digitally instead of with a Disc but — ehh. I can see banding at times. I think the AppleTV displays crisper than my Fios or Comcast TV via digital boxes. and I can tell the 720 vs 1080 networks and how stuff on ABC isn't as nice as stuff on CBS. though the streams on the AppleTV of ABC shows do look to be at 1080.

    We upgraded the ATV 3 with an ATV4 this past Christmas. moved the ATV3 to the basement for the kids. I am pleased with them. The idea of a 4K ATV is not for me now without a 4K TV but glad to hear others will be getting that upgrade.
     

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