Some ATV Questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Dr Strangelove, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. Dr Strangelove macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    I've been trying to search this but cannot seem to find answers regarding my possible Apple TV purchase. Any input would be appreciated:

    #1 Is the HD upgradeable? 40GB seems way to small and 160GB also seems like it would fill up pretty fast. My music library alone is over 100Gigs not to mention movies and podcasts.

    #2 If I had a windows machine running iTunes does it work the same as if the machine was a Mac as far as streaming to the ATV?

    #3 Should I wait to get this, seems like the ATV is due for some update soon?

    #4 I already have an Xbox360 but the media connect function with MCE just sucks. It is so slow and doesn't have a way to read my itunes playlists or ratings. Is the ATV a better multimedia unit versus the 360?

    I guess I cannot decide, I really want one, but it seems like the reviews are a mixed bag at the moment.
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    I believe the biggest HDD you can do right now is 250GB. There's a thread round these parts where Cave Man hooked up a 750 GB drive to the ATV by having it live outside the case.

    I was very close to pulling the trigger on an ATV this week, but I can't shake the feeling that some sort of update is coming.
  3. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I'm personally waiting for hardware support for 1080p, and then iTunes will start offering 1080p movies for purchase and rental.
  4. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
  5. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Yep, check this thread -
    I've done it personally, and it works out really well. Just so long as you get a PATA drive. (WD2500BEVE) 250gb is the max, as SkyBlue pointed out.

    Same... Shouldn't matter one bit.

    If it does what you want it to do now, I'd say get it. There will always be software updates (I'd guess). If not, will it be updated soon? Well... I'd hope so, but... We wont know til that day, and that's really the joy of buying technology :D

    Can't help you with the comparison, but I'm really happy with my AppleTV. I used to have my Mini connected directly to the TV, and that was all fine and good, but it had it's share of issues. And, being that I got the MBP, I wanted all my music on BOTH machines which would have been a headache. AppleTV sync's automagically, and there's no need to do ANYTHING. It's really quite nice. Especially with a 250GB drive :)

    Good luck with the decision!
  6. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    dmm219 - you beat me to the punch. This is a great idea, and precisely what I did. That plus the $85 on Amazon for the 250 gb drive, and I have a 250GB AppleTV for $290ish. Not too shabby.
  7. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Shoot, I am techy but I dunno that I really wanna mess with it. Maybe I will just get the 160GB version and be done with it. If they release a new one soon, I can always move this one into the bedroom later.
  8. VTMac macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2008
    I'd be very surprised (and very happy) if 1080p came to the ATV. Basically to get reasonable download speeds on typical US broadband connections (3M) they'd have to really, really compress the 1080p .. defeating the purpose. Either that or fit it with a BluRay drive so that physical media could be used.

    I just don't see 1080p coming to ATV for at least 18+ months. Pure speculation of course.
  9. jcschlic macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    I have the 160gb version and regret getting that size. I should've just gotten the 40 because I stream all of my media...
  10. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Is there any benefit to not streaming the media? I would assume the interface and response of the unit should be quicker if the data was
  11. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    in my case, synced media responds much faster. if you're running a pure n network or if you're hardwired, i doubt it matters much.

    the other benefit of synced media is that you don't have to be connected to itunes. this makes the unit portable so you can move it from room to room or take it with you when you travel.
  12. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    You can do it! (from Waterboy)

    ... anyway, seriously, you can. I didn't want to open it up either, went through a few headaches with patchsticks and an external USB drive, only to sweat profusely whenever it hung up and I had to reset it. Carefully peeling off the rubber bottom, unscrewing 8 screws, slapping it into a USB sled, and dusting off your terminal skills is way worth it :)
  13. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Exactly. I just changed my 802.11n network to 5Ghz and manually set the channel. Now, my Apple TV streams movies almost instantly (not that it was even that slow with 802.11g).

    For example, my 360 is much slower at streaming content than my Apple TV using either 802.11n or 802.11g.

    Apple has really done a good job with the buffering.
  14. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Hmm, that is one major thing that just annoys me about the 360, the streaming so sooooo slow!

    One of the big reasons I wanted to get the 160GB drive is because of the fear that streaming will not be sufficient. I am running a pure N 5Ghz network.
  15. ugacdawg macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2008
    I have three ATVs now, one on each floor of the house... all three are on a dedicated 5Ghz N network and they are served via a very old XP P4 box with 512MB of RAM that acts as the iTunes server...

    I can stream 720p video to all three without any delay or hiccup and they all play perfect...

    I have all three 40GB models and I still have 38+ GB free on the boxes... because I can stream the other 4TB of media I have from the iTunes server with no issues...

    You can go with the cheap ATV model and be very happy... I haven't even felt the need to hack mine - I'm converting all my Blu-Ray with Handbrake and tsMuxer and they look fantastic...
  16. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Interesting...I want to get the 40gb but for some reason something is telling me I should get teh 160gb.....

    I have a similar set up to you ugacdawg in that I have a multi-terabyte Windows box as my itunes server. I should just save myself the $100....hmmm.
  17. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Ok one last question: When streaming podcasts from an itunes server..... When you view a Podcast on the ATV does it register on the server as a podcast being watched so that it will remove itself from the itunes server if you have it set up to delete all watched podcasts?

    Currently I watch a lot of podcasts on my macbook but I always need to remember to go up to the server and select the ones I have watched as "mark as not new" since the library sharing does not register them as watched.
  18. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Sorry one more... does streaming update playcounts and also allow you to manipulate playlists etc?
  19. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    I dithered on getting an ATV but finally pulled the trigger last week. Just bought the 40GB because I couldn't run to the 160 and figured I could always update the drive if needed.

    In the event though, I am streaming everything from my Mac mini with 400GB of disc hanging off it for media. I have set the ATV to not sync music or watched stuff, just new things and this works well. When the mini is running, everything is available and you can't tell which is synced and which isn't. I'm on a G network but the ATV is close to the access point and my mini is upstairs running via ethernet over mains adaptors which work really well too.

    I've rented a couple of HD movies and have been pretty impressed. I have HD DVD which looks fantastic through my Xbox 360 addon drive but it is dead now as a format and the Xbox is pretty noisy. Debated getting Blu-ray but media costs are too high and I don't get much chance to rewatch stuff so decided to go the rental route through ATV. Very pleased with the quality. On my 100" DLP projector, the HD output looks really nice and definitely crisper than DVD. HD DVD (and likely Blu ray) have a bit more punch but overall I can't really complain given the price and the decent catalogue which I can only hope will get better.

    Would I buy the 160? Nope. Do I care about 1080p? Maybe, but the added bandwidth requirement would be a problem for me. 720p streams well enough and starts after 5-10 mins so that is OK. Pick a movie, get the kettle on and make some tea, sit down and enjoy.

    My current challenge is encoding my large DVD collection at higher quality than previously as I had ripped them for my iPod. Tried HandBrake with ATV settings and the encodes are pretty slow on my MBP (getting about 11fps). I have a Turbo264 and it encodes at 24fps but the picture quality isn't as good as HandBrake and files are twice the size. Think I'll stick with MP4 2.5Mbps rips as they encode fast and the picture is pretty good.
  20. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Can anyone tell me if streaming will mark podcasts as watched and also update playcounts on the itunes server when streaming to ATV?
  21. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Yes i believe that it does update the play count. The apple tv is treated like an ipod i think, so every time it syncs even though everything is streamed it will update all the information.
  22. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Alright guys, pulled the trigger on a 40GB model today. Thanks for all your input.
  23. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Awesome. Have fun!
  24. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    Enjoy your new toy ;-)
  25. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2008
    Oh wow is all I can say. This thing is awesome, not sure why I did not get one before.

    I do have a few more questions if possible:

    #1) The Apple TV seems to be missing some music and playlists even though I have set syncing to custom in the settings and unselected everything. I am streaming only. Any ideas?

    #2) Will HDMI hook up only attached to a receiver allow me to listen to 5.1 audio if the source has it?

    #3) Is there any way to prevent the remote control from also controlling my laptop in the same room. This is highly annoying! :(

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