New apple TV (Set top box) for iOS 5.1

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Jordom115, Feb 8, 2012.

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Will Apple update the Apple TV (Set top box) along side the iPad in March?

  1. No way

    7 vote(s)
    18.9%
  2. Somewhat unlikely

    17 vote(s)
    45.9%
  3. Somewhat likely

    8 vote(s)
    21.6%
  4. Almost certainly

    5 vote(s)
    13.5%
  1. Jordom115 macrumors member

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    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #1
    Does anyone think Apple will release another set top box style apple TV possibly with an A5 or A6 chip and more advanced functionality? I am specifically hesitant about the current model due to the lack of 1080P output capability. All this hype about the iTV is great but everyone seems to have forgotten about current ATV and how it hasn't been updated in 2 years. I am very hopeful that apple releases an updated box with the iPad 3. It would make sense since the Apple TV is just another iOS device and iOS 5.1 will likely have some sort of updated functionality for the Apple TV. It would be a great selling point for Apple to differentiate the old from the new with some advanced iOS functionality that would only work on new ATV hardware. Any thoughts?
     
  2. iWantThat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #2
    There was talk last fall (because Amazon designated the current Apple TV as a 'late 2010' model) that Apple might soon release an upgraded model with an A5 chip. At this point though I doubt we will see it in the very near future, if at all. If rumors are to believed and we do in fact see an actual 'iTV' late in 2012 I could see apple announcing a set box alternative with many of the improved features. But even that is entirely speculation on my part.

    I bought the apple tv2 in October and despite the rare netflix buffering issues that don't seem to happen on some of my other internet connected devices, it works as intended and the 720p resolution doesn't bother me. Remember that many cable stations output in 720p anyways, Fox being one of them.
     
  3. Jordom115 thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Regarding the update -- I guess I will just get an Apple TV2 but I think I will wait until the iPad 3 announcement to actually pull the trigger. Something tells me people are so distracted by all the iTV rumors that no one is really paying attention to what could be happening behind the scenes at apple when it comes to a set top box. I see your point that it would be unusual for them to offer a new box without having all the features that the iTV is supposed to have, but what if the Apple plans to position the Apple TV3 as a full iOS running TV interface? That would be a huge leap on its own but would still leave a giant gap for the iTV to differentiate itself with Siri and hand gesture control.

    Apple will want to have a solid base interface that people already recognize as "the best" but the only way to do that is to truly keep up with similar devices like Roku which already have primitive app downloads 1080p output, and smart buffering for video streaming.

    I think the ATV2 is way overdue and since apple is putting a focus on TV again, they won't likely want to leave it on the back burner for another 10 months. There is just too much potential on the table.

    I know the 1080p thing isn't too big of a deal especially on a smaller TV. I am used to my Roku that outputs 1080p native to my 46". When the apple TV gets hooked up, it will be set to 1080i which in theory will look better than the 720p even though it's a lower res. Multiples of resolution do not require the display to scale and therefore will look more crisp.

    Finally, regarding the buffering issues with netflix, I've found that when abundant bandwidth is not present on the Roku or PS3, quality will be cut so that the show will play within a reasonable amount of time. Does the ATV stop, buffer for a while but always maintain the same quality? I've always wished I could control buffer settings so that I could buffer for a long time in the beginning to ensure no interruption and even if it does have to stop, I'd rather it not drop the quality. Do you have any knowledge of this?
     
  4. iWantThat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    #4

    I have no direct knowledge but I know what you are talking about with the PS3 and how the quality is diminished a bit when there isn't abundant bandwith. From my experience the streaming on the apple tv2 maintains the same quality at all times. At first I thought the buffering was just happening at peak times but there have been times where it has happened to me close to midnight so I'm not really sure what the issue is. I get about 30 mbps on my home wifi so that shouldn't be the issue. By no means does it happen often, but when it does it can be a hastle.

    As far as your theory on a new set top box coming out sooner rather than later, I would think Apple wants to save all its ammo for the unveil of the iTV. I hope you are right though, If I could get all the perks of a fully operating iOS in a $99 set top box equipped with an A6 chip instead of paying $1500+ for the actual TV set with it built in ( I understand Siri and gestures wouldn't be enabled but I think that will be troublesome and unreliable anyways) that would be fantastic.
     
  5. maturola macrumors 68040

    maturola

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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #5
    I don't think it will be introduce with the iPad3, but it will be revise this year for sure.
     
  6. Jordom115 thread starter macrumors member

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    Location:
    Albany, NY
    #6
    Blah... I'm becoming more and more indecisive. Still waiting for the iPad3 to make any decision.
     
  7. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #7
    Got my fingers crossed for new model, plus official app store on new and old model.
     
  8. HobeSoundDarryl, Feb 8, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #8
    Consider that Apple has now embraced 1080p with the launch of the iPhone 4s. Every video shot with that is a 1080p video looking for an outlet to our 1080p HDTVs. The existing :apple:TV can receive that video but is hardware capped on the output at 720p. This alone is a sign that 1080p is likely coming soon.

    Consider that a new iPad3 is coming soon. Principal among its rumored benefits is the so-called "retina" display. Most people seem to believe it is going to follow the iPhone "retina" upgrade by simply doubling both the horizontal & vertical resolution of the existing iPad. If so, it's screen resolution will be 2048 X 1536. 1080p resolution is 1920 x 1080. The upscale of HD video from 1920 to 2048 should look very nice on that new screen. The upscale of (existing 720p) 1280 to 2048 will not look as nice. This may point to a new tier of HD video in the iTunes store at 1080p, joining the existing options of 720p and SD. If so, that will beg for a new :apple:TV3 to also leverage that tier of video.

    Consider that this iPad3 would be pretty favorable to get that 1080p video camera as well. Other than holding something back for the iPad4, why shoot only 720p to then try to scale it up to 2048 x 1536? If it goes 1080p, that's another mainstream device begging for someone to push those home videos to our 1080p HDTVs. Once again, this would beg for an update to the :apple:TV.

    There should be a point where Apple will want to put the new iDevice CPU inside the :apple:TV box rather than continuing to make the old CPU. The newer CPU is plenty capable of pushing 1080p to an HDTV. It becomes a "might as well" proposition for such an upgrade.

    Apple gave us iMovie HD in- what- 2005 or 06? It's been able to import, edit and export 1080HD video ever since. iTunes can import 1080p and it plays via iTunes just fine. All the (Apple) pieces are in place except this ONE piece.

    Just about everything in consumer HD now touts "Full HD" as 1080p. Apple is marketing one of the few things that still pitches the "HD" tag but only pushes 720p (and a limited version of it at that). Cheap competitor set-top boxes are all 1080p and have been for some time. And- even HERE- it is obvious from many threads about 1080p that there appears to be a good-sized pocket of ready buyers for a 1080p :apple:TV3. Apple likes to sell hardware; maybe finally give all buyers what they want?

    Obviously, I expect an :apple:TV3 sooner than later.
     
  9. jamesvdm macrumors regular

    jamesvdm

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    #9
    I agree with all your points except three tiers of definition. It's more likely they will just call it HD (or HD+ ?) and only have the best option available alongside SD.
     
  10. acisgeorge macrumors newbie

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    Feb 8, 2012
    #10
    I certainly believe that apple will launch the new set top box very soon. It will develop all the possible technologies it can. Waiting eagerly for that. Do not know what iPad3 will come upto.
     
  11. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #11
    There are so many things wrong with this paragraph that it's hard to know where to start, but I think we can stick with: the ATV2 doesn't output at 1080i, only 720p (or lower).
     
  12. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #12
    While I personally would be fine with that, I think they have to keep 720p option in the store too. There are those who genuinely do not have the added bandwidth, storage, and/or swear they can't see enough difference to justify 1080p files. This would effectively yield the old "small, medium & large" proposition. But either way, it will be nice to move on to a toe-to-toe competitor for Blu Ray.
     
  13. Jordom115 thread starter macrumors member

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    Albany, NY
    #13
    Ouch... I looked into the 1080i output and unfortunately you're right that the ATV2 does not output at anything but 720p. The only reason I made an assumption here is because the ATV1 did output 1080i (which is an older resolution format) I do not understand what else I was wrong about though.

    1080i or 1080 interlaced is a resolution that actually only displays half it's overall lines of horizontal resolution at a time. To somewhat more accurately compare and interlaced resolution to a progressive scanning resolution like 720p or 1080p, you must cut the interlaced resolution in half. To be fair, that does not exactly equalize everything. There are still inherent benefits to progressive scanning vs. interlacing such as a reduction in video artifacts.

    My point here is that really 1080i is ~ the 540p equivalent although you do need 1080 lines of horizontal resolution to display it natively. That brings me to my next point - Native vs. Scaled resolution.

    Every HDTV has the ability to artificially, with the use of image processing, convert lower and higher resolutions back to the native (actual number of horizontal lines on the physical screen). This is a critical feature as there are many different resolution formats commonly used. Most new TVs in the United States will accept 480i (SDTV), 480p (EDTV), 1080i, 720p and 1080p (all HDTV). Simply choosing the highest resolution output from your device will not necessarily give you the best image quality. For example, selecting 1080p output on a PS3 will provide a lower quality image than choosing the native 720p, this is because when you make a TV or connected device do any scaling, there is always some image degradation with one very notable exception.

    If you have to scale at all, it is best to scale in exact multiples of your native resolution. This is because of how simple and accurate the scaling becomes. in the case of a 1080p native TV, you will generally get a slightly better image with 1080i that with 720p. There is a big but though. This all depends on the quality of the TV's video processor. High end TVs can scale 720p to 1080p very well... it's never perfect but sometimes it may be worth the trade of for the inherent advantages of progressive scanning.

    In my case, I have a pretty cheap 1080p LCD that I know does not have the processing clout of some of the high end models. I would prefer to output 1080i for this reason. So I am a bit disappointed that apple chose to narrow their previous range of resolutions.

    Your thoughts?
     
  14. peterjcat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #14
    I apologise for the ouch, I had just woken up.

    I agree with most of what you say, but it wouldn't usually make much sense to me for the ATV to upscale and interlace an image to 1080i just so that the display can then deinterlace it to 1080p. Deinterlacing and reinterlacing seem to be quite easy to get wrong, and are generally more error-prone than scaling, so for most setups I would not expect that (eg) 720p -> 1080i -> 1080p would give a better picture than 720p -> 1080p. That would only be the case if the ATV had a much better scaler than the TV, and the ATV and TV's interlacing and deinterlacing worked well together, which is always possible but I wouldn't count on it. It could well be the best solution for your setup but as always, everyone else should test all possibilities and see what looks best.

    Unfortunately, though, the ATV2 doesn't give much scope for experimentation.
     
  15. Jordom115 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Agreed on all counts. I'm really just hoping for not only 1080p output on the ATV3 but just as important, 1080p content.

    I don't want my Roku to out do my apple TV. That's why I'm holding out for the next one until at least after the iPad3 is released.
     
  16. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #16
    I think with Apple choosing 1080p for the iPhone (and presumably the iPad3), it's only a matter of time now for an :apple:TV to roll out with 1080p playback. It will likely become a point of frustration as people with 1080p iDevice video and 1080p HDTVs have to settle for downconversion by the :apple:TV and then upconversion by the HDTV. I'll be very surprised if we don't get a 1080p :apple:TV3 (and/or the somewhat dreaded whole television) soon.

    While iMovie & iTunes have been fully capable with 1080p videos since about 2006, the :apple:TV has been the broken link in getting video from iTunes to our 1080p HDTVs at 1080p. Until iPhone 4s, Apple has generally appeared to endorse the compromise of 720p. But now that Apple has finally adopted 1080p, the :apple:TV3 should follow. If iPad3 has 1080p video capture, I'd expect an :apple:TV3 with 1080p hardware very soon.
     

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