Move from media pc to atv, will it be worth it?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by shorn, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. shorn macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Hi all,

    My current setup includes an iMac which I use for all my music, tagged perfectly and run through iTunes.

    I also have a media pc, running xbmc, which plays all my video content that is stored on a jbod 4 drive Sata enclosure. My media is pretty much all mkv (720p) and avi (sd stuff).

    Now I would ideally like to ditch the pc for an apple based solution.
    My thoughts were to purchase a drobo, connect it via FireWire 800 to the iMac, convert all my media to m4v and manage it via iTunes. The purchase an apple tv and have that in the lounge and stream my media from the iMac.

    I'm wondering if the process involved in doing this will be worth it for the final result?

    I would have to convert near on 250 movies and over 1000 tv episodes. Seems like a lot of work. I did a test convert of a 720p mkv last night using handbrake. It took the file size from 4.37gb to 1.31 gb but there was a small loss in quality. I didn't really look to much into settings just wanted to test. This file now plays fine in iTunes, would presumably stream well to the apple tv and I love the fact that I can drop it on my iPhone if I choose. But do I really want to convert all my media? Has anyone done it with a large collection? Was it worth it?
    Also what are the chances that the new apple tv can be modded to play other file formats? (probably no one knows until it's out, I assume.)

    To be fair the media pc and xbmc have worked well, but it would be nice to do away with a pc in the lounge (and altogether for that fact!) and a small apple tv that can be easily powered on and off by remote would be nice. (can't do that with the pc). The iMac is always on anyway so thats not an issue.

    Just canvassing thoughts really before I decide to go for it.
  2. jgunn macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2008
    I'm currently doing a similar thing for what it's worth. I have a media pc, revo 1600, atom based with remote and running boxee on it. It's pretty good, just throw an avi on it and it will download cover art etc automatically, has no problems playing 1080p, mkv, etc.

    but... and this is stupid i know, I much prefer the interface to the apple tv and the ability to hire pretty much anything instantly appeals to me more than, buying dvd's occasionally and converting them to avi. I would rather be done with that and just hire instantly, when I want.

    so I'm currently converting about 400 movies to mov and importing to itunes. So far it's pretty painless. I'm using iflicks, which coverts, downloads the meta data, covers etc and imports to itunes in one step. Also no problems with audio sync like handbrake, so far anyway. It's all spot on. That said it's an hour per movie to convert, I've ordered a elgato turbo off ebay which should make the conversion only take about 15mins.

    So yeah, I'm kind of doing the same thing as you. In the end, I will convert all these and put them back on my revo 1600 and have that plugged into my router as a media itunes server. Should run well. The things we do for a nice interface hey
  3. shorn thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Yea im just a bit reluctant to start at the moment. I know a lot of the process can be batch completed and queued up, but it will still take a great deal of time.
    I am a stickler for nicely tagged media as well. I have just over 1500 albums in my itunes library, with everything tagged correctly and high resolution coverart scanned/obtained for every album.
    I like the idea of having my entire video library sorted through the same iTunes library, and the ability to keep everything "mac". :D
    I think I would need to find the perfect encode preset so that everything looks good on the Apple TV, but I love the fact that if I have it simply in iTunes it will stream fine to the TV.
    At the moment to add a video file to my library I need to rename it, put it in the suitable location, run mediacompanion program to scrape artwork and data and then run and update xbmc to get the file to show. It just seems a bit overkill to have a full pc running just to act as a media player.

    I have just had a look at some AVI's that I converted last night and they are about the same file size as the original and the quality is the same. (to my eyes at least).

    I only have a 32" LCD, and i'm not to worried about 1080p content. I would really like to move towards a rental/streaming/subscription method for movies, but in the UK at least, there is not many options.

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