Noob AppleTV Questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by DamFu, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. DamFu macrumors regular

    DamFu

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #1
    I am going to buy one this weekend but I have some questions to set expectations. Some of this I have read bits and pieces on in various threads but I am just looking for confirmation.

    1. Resolution. I know it only goes up to 720p which I am fine with but does it do any upscaling for standard definition movies that I own and rip into iTunes?
    2. Can it stream from an external HD on my iMac (my iTunes library is stored here)
    3. Can I connect an external HD to my ATV?
    4. How does it work with Boxee, patchstick, etc and would that at all conflict with the existing ATV OS or does it over write it?
    5. Based on my above questions about an external HD, what would the benefit be to get the 160GB version over the 40GB?
    6. I have never rented movies from iTunes. Is it a good experience?

    Some of the questions I have sen differing answer to in other threads so I am just looking for confirmations. I am sure some of you are a little tired of threads like this and I honestly appreciate your time in answering mine!!
     
  2. thenetstud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    #2
    I can answer a few of these for you.

    2. Yes you can. I have my media stored on a external hard drive connected to my Macbook.

    3. It is possible but it would require hacking your AppleTV.

    5. I opted for the 40GB version and have always streamed my content. I have never stored anything on the hard drive so 160GB would be a waste of money.
     
  3. LeoFio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    In addition to what the previous poster said:

    1. Apple TV does not do any upscaling. The video displayed will only be as good as the source.

    5. Like the previous poster said, you can just get the 40GB version if you will stream your content (which requires that your iMac be on and running/not sleeping) or plan on hacking it and putting in a larger HDD anyways. Streaming works well for the most part even over 802.11g networks as long as there are not a lot of users using it.

    6. Movie renting is a good experience as long as you will be watching the movie and finishing it the same night.


    Enjoy your soon-to-be purchase!
     
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #4
    Not true. The Apple TV does too upscale provided your outputting at 720p, 1080i or 1080p.
     
  5. LeoFio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    Just because you are outputting at those resolutions doesn't mean that the video quality will actually be at those resolutions.
     
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #6
    I don't think you understand the meaning of upscale. Of course, it doesn't magically turn your DVD into a 720p HD movie. However, it does upscale the original 480p (or 576p for PAL) image to 720p, 1080i or 1080p.

    Otherwise your ripped DVD would be presented in its native 480p (or 576p for PAL) format and therefore pillar-boxed on your HDTV (see graphic below, blue is all you would see if Apple TV didn't upscale and you were playing back a 4:3 "fullscreen" ripped DVD).

    It works just like an upscaling DVD player.

    More confirmation: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7117838

    Other thread with answer from a member of the actual Apple TV product team:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=418495
     

    Attached Files:

  7. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #7
    ... which pretty much sums it all up.
     
  8. FearlessFreep macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    #8
    Your graphic isn't entirely correct as you're mixing aspect ratios with resolutions as well, but the point is essentially correct.
     
  9. LeoFio macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I attributed upscaling to increasing the picture quality, which is not what is happening. So upscaling is taking the source resolution and having it outputted at a specified resolution to match the TV (720p, 1080p, etc..)?
     
  10. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #10
    Meh. I didn't feel like going into details about various widescreen aspect ratios or trying to create a graphic representing them.

    Exactly. Now, you know!
     
  11. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #11
    Ok, this thread (and the others provided) has entirely confused me.

    I have an Oppo upCONVERTING dvd player. I am assuming now, that upSCALING and upCONVERTING are different things? Correct?

    So, what you are all saying, is that my ATV will NOT upconvert my standard dvds like my Oppo does. In other words, there is no way to get the same picture quality from a standard DVD source via the ATV as I do with my Oppo...is this correct?

    However, I assume you can take a BR movie, and downCONVERT it to 720, and have it look excellent on the ATV. So the only way (right now) to get HD versions of my own movies on ATV, is to rip from a BR disc...correct?

    sorry for breaking it down as such, I just wasn't following this thread at all...
     
  12. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #12
    Here's my answer to every question.

    1. I'm confused by this thread (see my above post)...but I think the answer is no.
    2. Yes. I have all my media on a 1TB USB drive, attached to PC running itunes...I stream everything from there. HD tv shows or podcasts i tend to sync to the ATV, as they can get stuttery sometimes when streaming
    3. Not without hacking your ATV
    4. Boxee does not overwrite your ATV. It just adds some extra menu items to the ATV interface. It poses little to no risk in bricking your ATV in any way, as you can always do a restore at any time to return the ATV to its default settings.
    5. As I stated above, I use the 160G because I like to have my HD content played back from the ATV, as opposed to streaming. I have had some stutter when trying to stream HD content. So for me, the 160G is useful.
    6. Its the best rental experience I've ever had. Its not streaming, so you don't ever have to worry much about your movie stopping. Wait for the download to complete, and your guaranteed a smooth movie the whole way through...if the internet goes out while you watching the movie? no big deal, its downloaded. Another reason for a larger HD, is if you rent a lot of movies, it stores that HD content ONLY on the ATV HD (not your itunes drive). Only down side, is once you start a movie, you have to finish it within 24 hours...which I think is a bit restrictive. But it hasn't been an issue for me yet.
     
  13. bucksaddle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    ...or 48 hours if you live on the other side of the pond :)
     
  14. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #14
    No. In this context, they're the same thing. They shouldn't call them "up-converting" DVD players because they don't up-convert, they up-scale. "Up-converting" is marketing jargon and has somehow become interchangeable with up-scaling when referring to DVD players.

    Nothing is done to your original movie, it's just "played back" using algorithms to fill the resolution of your HDTV (proportionally). There is no conversion taking place.

    The Apple TV upscales content. It works just like your Oppo.

    Yes.
     
  15. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #15
    Ah, ok, so the ATV actually IS trying to improve my standard 480p dvds to 720p via algorithm. If that's the case, I have to say the oppo's upscaling algorithm runs circle's around ATV's. Movies unconverted on my oppo look far superior to those on the ATV.

    Does ATV also attempt to up convert SD movies and tv shows off of itunes?
     
  16. BaldiMac macrumors 604

    BaldiMac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    #16
    You would have to use the same content on both devices to compare the upscaling algorithm. The DVD player is playing the original content. The AppleTV is likely playing a compressed copy.

    Why do you say "attempt to?" The AppleTV upscales (or downscales) video content to fit the output resolution you select in the video settings without changing the aspect ratio.
     
  17. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #17
    What movies? Movies you've ripped with Handbrake? Or movies you purchased off the iTunes store?

    It doesn't attempt to do anything. It upscales plain and simple. (Please go back and the read the thread from the beginning.) The problem with iTunes movie purchases (and rentals if not directly rented from the Apple TV itself) are they are encoded for the iPod/iPhone, and are not DVD quality.
     
  18. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #18
    Interesting...so never rent a movie on my PC and try to watch on the ATV...

    Bottom line for me, SD DVD's look far superior upconverted on my Oppo than anything I have seen ATV able to do. Ofcourse, the oppo has the advantage of working with the source DVD directly. And I admit, I may not be using the best handbrake settings (I use the ATV setting).

    HD content off of itunes, whether podcasts, tv shows or rentals do look awesome however. But my oppo upconverted dvd's look just as good. So if I wanted this same picture quality from my own SD DVDs, i'll stick with the Oppo, as the ATV upscaling of the ripped movie doesn't look near as good.
     

Share This Page