Random AppleTV 2.0 Factoids

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by EvilRob, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. EvilRob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #1
    Remote libraries

    You can choose one remote iTunes library as a source. Items in this remote library are combined with items stored on the AppleTV, and appear under Movies / My Movies. This library must be configured for syncing, and will begin syncing immediately after pairing. You cannot select a default remote library that merely streams, but you can (laboriously) disable each of the sync categories.

    The minimum UI path to view your own movies is now Click-Down-Click (click Movies, Down to My Movies, click to select). If you have your region set to somewhere with movie rentals, the minimum UI path is Click-Down-Down-Down-Down-Down-Click. This is crappy usability vs. the 1.x firmware, which achieved the same thing with a single click. The UI remembers previous selection positions, however.

    You can also browse remote libraries without selecting them as a source, by doing the passcode pairing and then selecting Movies / Shared Movies. As suggested by Apple people who post here, this seems to only transfer metadata for the relevant section of the remote library, and so is quite a lot quicker.

    Local or remote libraries of your own movies use the 1.x selection UI (tall vertical list), and not the newer poster grid interface.


    Parental controls

    Parental controls on your own movies works, provided you have tagged them appropriately. Content restricted by the parental controls still appears in the list, it simply prompts for the PIN if you attempt to play them.


    Rental selections and locations

    The ability to browse the rental selection is dependent on a region setting you can choose. The ability to buy or rent is determined by your Apple ID, which you enter separately. If the region is set to a country that does not have rentals available, these options are removed from the menus. It doesn't matter where you bought your AppleTV or which country you are using it in. If you can somehow arrange a US-located Apple ID that can buy content from the US iTunes store, you can rent movies. The mail fraud required to achieve this is left as an exercise for the reader.


    Audio output

    Turning on the Dolby Digital output does not enable the transcoding of 6ch AAC into AC3 at the output. The output remains Dolby ProLogic II. Examination of the new bootup movie suggests that Apple snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by bundling a stereo audio stream and an AC3 private stream in an MPEG-4 container to provide AC3. Presumably this is the approach they will take for rentals as well.

    It does mean, however, that transcoding audio from AC3 sources is now a possibility when ripping movies (at the cost of good MPEG-4 compliance), but I have not tested that yet.


    Other stuff

    Feel free to add your own factoids. ;-)
     
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #2
    TV Shows ("my") finally use metadata in list

    Went to my Outer Limits series (original), and now - lo and behold, the list is now sorted by show number and season (per the metadata). Previously, the only way I could get the shows in the broadcast order was to prepend a show number to the title. Of course, now the show number shows up twice (for instance "25 25 The Mutant". Just have to edit them - but that's OK. :)

    (There's also a nice break in the list with "Season 1" and "Season 2")

    Nice feature.
     
  3. Avatar74 macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #3
    What do you mean by that last sentence? Dolby ProLogic II is a phase shifted analog surround quadrature. Neither AC-3 nor multichannel AAC are.
     
  4. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #4
    What I found really great is that for streaming, each time you select that as your source, in movies, tv shows, photos, or music it takes quite a while to load that library. I found it cumbersome. In 1.x you could select the entire source and then browse all types of media. In 2.0 if you are streaming it takes a while and if you go from music to movies it reloads the library over again.

    HOWEVER, the great part is that I sync very little and stream almost everything. With the new 2.0 you can set it just to sync photos and then you still have access to all the movies and music etc, in my movies etc without having to set up that computer as a streaming machine. Anything that is in your library is available as long as iTunes is running and your machine is not asleep. Just sync the photos and you don't have to wait for everything else to load in a streaming machine. I really like it.
     
  5. EvilRob thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #5
    I'm not sure how I can make it more clear.

    The AppleTV 2.0 software does not transcode 6ch AAC into AC3 at the output. Instead, it encodes 6ch AAC as Dolby ProLogic II, and plays that, exactly as it did on the 1.x software.

    If you're missing the background (ie. why would anyone care), it was the hope of some people here that Apple would license Dolby Live, since the AppleTV audio hardware is capable of that transcode with the appropriate software. That would have allowed people with extensive movie collections with 6ch AAC soundtracks to output them as AC3.
     
  6. EvilRob thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #6
    Wait, what?

    Your AppleTV is showing a TV show in broadcast order, rather than the reverse order it normally uses? By broadcast order, I mean, episode 1 at the top of the list, then episode 2, etc.

    Are you sure?
     
  7. bobm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #7
    The remote

    don't know if the old remote interface did this but from the main menu if you hit the little button (the menu button) it will take you back to where you were.

    kinda interesting.
     
  8. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #8
    No, #1 is at bottom. Guess I was used to it that way from v1.0.

    By broadcast order, I mean I had to force it by putting the number in front of the title. Otherwise, it would have been in alphabetical order (until now, I'm presuming - I haven't removed the numbers from the titles yet).

    Too bad I can't do a screen shot. ;)
     
  9. mrklaw macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #9
    for parental controls, will it still show you a thumbnail but just not let you watch it? Eg for ahem, adult content, would I have to go in and put some 'safe' thumbnail art in there and a safe filename? probably mark it as a TV series or something? Bit disappointing but understandable.

    very disappointed with the selection UI for personal content being the same old list.
     
  10. EvilRob thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #10
    Exactly.

    If the cover art is the poster, this is probably fine, but if there is no cover art, then the AppleTV will generate a poster frame from the movie, and that will be displayed instead. And yeah, there are circumstances where that might be a bit dodgy.
     
  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

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    Jul 25, 2003
    #11
    I thought this was already well known. When Take 2 was announced back on Jan. 15, it was reported that Dolby 5.1 would be via AC3 passthrough, and not via decoding of any 6 channel AAC stream.
     
  12. FreeState macrumors 68000

    FreeState

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    #12
    One solution for this is to store content you don't want others to see in its own separate library on a mac/pc and stream it to the TV. That way its not available unless you have opened that specific library in iTunes. If your on a Mac you can create a separate user and have that user logged in with the library open in iTunes and your main user with your "safe" iTunes library at the same time. Even better yet if you have a laptop and a dedicated hosting computer you can use Screen sharing to open the library without leaving the couch if you dont want to leave it open except when you want to view the private videos :)
     
  13. EvilRob thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #13
    Yeah, that hope goes back a lot further than Jan 15.
     
  14. uva25 macrumors regular

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    Feb 2, 2008
    #14
    Aren't they in reverse show order?
     
  15. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #15
    With the list in "Show" mode, episode #1 is at the bottom of the list. I still haven't edited the titles to remove the number, though. But, I don't think that'll make any difference.
     
  16. Bulliet macrumors newbie

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #16
    When using the TV as an airport express I was under the impression that the remote would allow you to play/pause/forward and reverse the song in the iTunes library on the mac.

    Am I wrong about this or am I doing something wrong?

    It seem to only work if you aim the remote at the mac.
     
  17. Avatar74 macrumors 65816

    Avatar74

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    #17
    Are you sure that this is what AppleTV does, or are you inferring/assuming it from the end result at the receiver?

    Let me put it another way...

    Dolby Surround analog tends to be encoded into the L-R channels of every AC-3 stream. If you've taken a Dolby Digital AC-3 bitstream and converted it to multichannel AAC, and the AppleTV sends, as I suspect, only the L-R AAC to your receiver, and your receiver automatically decodes Dolby Surround analog, then the AppleTV isn't doing anything. The receiver is decoding the Dolby Surround soundtrack that tends to be present in the vast majority of AC-3 bitstreams' Left and Right front channels (as a backward compatibility measure for Dolby ProLogic receivers.

    Except it would have cost more as Dolby Digital passthrough requires no decoder licensing. Dolby Digital Live however does require licensing from Dolby Laboratories, and would raise the cost of the AppleTV which would then be passed on to you, the consumer. After all the complaining about price points needing to be anywhere from $199 to $250 before people took interest in AppleTV, ask them if they'd prefer that solution considering that hobbyists who download or transcode content to multichannel AAC are, ostensibly, in the minority of Apple's core demographic (affluent "plug-and-play" seeking consumers).

    EDIT: One more thing... I've yet to see any kind of documentation that shows that multichannel AAC preserves the metadata from Dolby Digital AC-3, such as dialogue normalization, Dynamic Range Control, etc. I would thus not prefer multichannel AAC over direct AC-3 passthrough, because Dolby Digital Live cannot restore metadata that isn't there.
     
  18. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #18
    Check "Allow iTunes control from remote speakers." in iTunes Preferences, Advanced.

    I used it - and it's pretty nice, actually.
     
  19. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #19
    Darn, I was hoping the update would send 5.1-channel AAC to 5.1-channel LPCM over HDMI.
     
  20. Bulliet macrumors newbie

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    Feb 10, 2008
    #20
    Thanks!! :)

    That was it. I had to quit iTunes and restart for it to work, but now I got it now.
     
  21. EvilRob thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #21
    You're correct in that assumption. The process preserves only the audio waveform, by first decoding it, and then re-encoding it as AAC-LC. Additional AC-3 baggage is discarded.

    I'm wary of getting into the rest of your post any further, because this is ostensibly a forum about the AppleTV and my professional interest is in MPEG-4 generally, not specifically the AppleTV. While there is some intersection, in that the AppleTV is one of the first STB devices to play standards-compliant MPEG-4 with a user interface that is not delivered straight from the screaming pits of hell, the objectives don't always line up.

    None of your comments are factually incorrect, they just reflect different practical objectives. It's the service of these different objectives (MPEG-4 compliance over AC-3 convenience, for example) that causes the disconnect, not any lack of understanding of what drives the consumer end of the STB market.
     

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