Want to buy an AppleTV but have questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jchildress, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. jchildress macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    #1
    I’m thinking about getting an AppleTV and have some questions about the device. Everybody on here seems experianced enough with it, so I was hoping that you all could answer these questions:


    - I think I know the answer to this one, but: I use an Apple Time Capsule for storage of all of my media, do I need a computer running iTunes in order for the ATV to stream\link this media? I think the answer is yes, if so, why doesn’t Apple offer some kind of “wake-on-lan” option to have ATV tell my sleeping MacBook to wake up and turn on iTunes? Or just install a headless version iTunes itself on the ATV?

    Do I need a computer on with iTunes running to rent, download to the ATV hard drive and then watch a movie? Or can I just use ATV to rent and watch movies without needing a computer turned on?

    Can I rip my DVD collection onto my Time Capsule so ATV can play them and not store them on the ATV drive itself? Is this even legal? How much space does an average quality 2 hour ripped DVD movie take up?

    Can the ATV drive be seen on the network and used as network storage? For example my wife wants more storage for our digital photos. Can she use the ATV drive?

    Can a wireless keyboard be added to make typing easier for features like YouTube?

    Does the iPhone\iPod Touch Remote app control just the media saved on the ATV? Or can it control the shared media that the ATV links too (media on my Time Capsule)?

    Is there any speculation that Apple will update or even release a new ATV device before the year is over? I’d hate to buy an ATV and months later a totally better one comes out during the Christmas season.


    Any advice would be appreciated,
    Thanks,
    Jason
     
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #2
    I just got my ATV, so I'm going to answer your questions to the best of my ability.
    [quote

    - I think I know the answer to this one, but: I use an Apple Time Capsule for storage of all of my media, do I need a computer running iTunes in order for the ATV to stream\link this media? I think the answer is yes, if so, why doesn’t Apple offer some kind of “wake-on-lan” option to have ATV tell my sleeping MacBook to wake up and turn on iTunes? Or just install a headless version iTunes itself on the ATV?

    Do I need a computer on with iTunes running to rent, download to the ATV hard drive and then watch a movie? Or can I just use ATV to rent and watch movies without needing a computer turned on?
    [/quote]
    You can use the ATV solo to rent/purchase movies and watch them. You can also do it through iTunes and send them to the ATV.
    Time Capsule use requires that you have a computer running iTunes on, which gets the files from the TC and sends them to ATV. There's some reports of issues doing this. You can expand the ATV storage through USB only via hacking (not hard apparently).

    It's illegal in the US, according to the DMCA, HOWEVER 1) if you own the movie you have a fair use claim to rip it and watch it through the ATV and 2) if you own it and rip it in your home for your own use no one is going to challenge you on the legality so don't worry.

    I rip movies using Handbrake to CRQ (contast quality, not fixed bitrate) h.264 files. So, the size varies, but typically a 90-120 movie with both a stereo AAC DPLII soundtrack and an uncompressed 5.1 DD soundtrack is 1 to 2gb. 1.5gb is a pretty close average. The quality is slightly worse than DVD but it's not noticeable from the couch on your TV. You will see a difference on your computer screen because you are sitting 18 inches from it... on my 30" HD from 8ft it looks exactly like DVD, on my 94" 480p projector from 12ft (yes, I know I sit to close for that resolution and screen size, the screen door doesn't bother me so I like it :p) it's visible but not distracting or a problem.
    Can the ATV drive be seen on the network and used as network storage? For example my wife wants more storage for our digital photos. Can she use the ATV drive?
    USB keyboard via hacking, nothing out of the box, AFAIK. The iPod remote lets you use it's screen as a keyboard, and I'm pretty sure you can't control streaming of media to the ATV with it (which is stupid and makes it useless to me).
    I've heard no rumors, and I personally think it's unlikely, aside from price changes and capacity bumps. Nothing Earth shattering, but then again, what do I know.

    Hope that helps! For the record I LOVE my ATV. The video quality is really good, the interface is slick (although I wish you could customize the main menu. I'd want to have the My Movies and My TV Shows and Other as the main choices. Not a big deal since it remembers your last position in a menu, but it's still a little annoying that Apple put the My Media options at the END of the menus and the "Buy Crap from iTunes" options on the top...)

    Any advice would be appreciated,
    Thanks,
    Jason[/QUOTE]
     
  3. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #3
    I'll try to do this:

    1) You need a computer running with iTunes open to stream the media, even from an external HDD. This is what I do with a pair of HDDs. You can turn the computer off if you store everything on the ATV, but the hard drives aren't near big enough for the video I have.

    2) You can buy or rent just about anything with ATV. I think you can't buy HD TV shows yet, but everything else you can do without a computer.

    3) Yes, you can do all that ripping. There are a lot of posts on here about Mac the Ripper and HandBrake. That's the best solution. As for legality, I think it's a gray area. I'm not sharing this stuff with other people, so I don't see the problem with it. I just want my movies and TV shows in a digital format so they can be played on my computer and iPhone without discs. I also like to have video playlists at night for entire TV show seasons or "best of" collections, which you can't do with a disc. The studios aren't losing one dime on what I'm doing, unless you count me being slow to buy Blu-ray Discs because I can't do that yet on them.

    4) Don't use the ATV for network storage. I don't even think you can, but don't. Just drop about $100 on a 500GB HDD and let the ATV do its job.

    5) As far as I know, the only things you can use to control ATV are the remotes and iPhone/iPod touch with the Remote app. Neither has a keyboard to use with ATV, so it's the sucky slowness of using the remote. ATV doesn't have Bluetooth, so you couldn't use the keyboard anyway.

    6) The Remote App is OK. It let's you browse anything in the ATV's database (including shared stuff). It STILL doesn't let you use any playlists, which is my top concern with the device. If this is how some iPhone users feel about MMS and cut and paste, I get it. Stuff is out of order on my iPhone Remote app for some reason, which is baffling. The other main concern is when the stupid ATV tells me it can't play a video file it just played 20 seconds ago because it doesn't support the file type. That's complete BS and a major software F-up.

    7) I'm hoping they update the ATV at MWSF '09 or before. The only update so far has been the software, which was a decent update but still lacks the two fixes I mentioned about. Why it can't work almost exactly like iTunes is beyond me. A Blu-ray drive would be nice and not take up much space, although Apple hasn't even put those in Mac Pros and such an addition would require more power under the hood.

     
  4. JW008 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    #4
    You can actually use the iPhone "keyboard" to type in searches in YouTube. The downside is that you have to use the infrared remote to navigate to the YouTube viewer and then the keyboard will pop up on your iPhone. I assume it does this for the touch as well, but cannot vouch since I don't have one.

    I can use music playlists from my iPhone remote. It actually even sorts them according to any folders you might have on iTunes. I don't have any video playlists so I can't vouch if those work or not.
     
  5. Vick77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    #5
    i thought it was pointless me starting a new thread as the title of this one fits perfectly anyways...

    im considering buying an apple tv but i think im missing the point? ...and thats because i'm not sure whether to buy the 40gb or 160gb. Does the apple tv actuly store your itunes library? or does it just stream it from either a mac or times capsule?

    I only have approx 12gb of music and 12gb or dvd's, so would the apple tv only store any content i rent from the itunes store?

    any help is appreciated
     
  6. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #6
    I'm kind of in your situation here. i just got an apple tv today. What i want to do is sync just my music to the apple tv and stream my movies, is this possible or is it one way or the other?
     
  7. sandman42 macrumors 6502a

    sandman42

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #7
    You are right; the remote app works exactly the same on the iPod Touch as it does on the iPhone.
     
  8. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    you can select custom sync settings in the aTV tab when it shows up in iTunes. I sync ALL my music, some tv shows, and some movies. Those are all stored on the aTV harddrive, if I want to view other stuff, I launch iTunes, and stream everything in iTunes. There are alot of custom sync options for the aTV.
     
  9. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030

    basesloaded190

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #9
    so when i sync everything that i want on the hdd, what do i need to do to be able to stream things for apple tv while keeping let's say my music, on the hdd of the apple tv?
     
  10. ltsching macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #10
    HD video podcasts

    I am interested in buying an :apple:TV as well, mainly for HD contents. I was thinking about a PS3 for Blu-ray, but when I checked my NetFlix queue, I realized there aren't that many Blu-ray-available discs in there. I also have the Roku player and the selection and picture are so-so. Good for what it does.
    I am curious about HD video podcasts on an :apple:TV. Can I subscribe to them without using a computer and download them to iTunes first? Do the podcasts start immediately? It certainly looks that way from the Apple website. How is the picture? Finally, how's the picture for YouTube? Is it passable? Thanks!
     
  11. trule macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
  12. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #12
    From the ATV interface you can "favorite" a podcast so it's listed on your favortes list and you can get to it quickly, but I don't think you can subscribe to them outside of iTunes.

    Tine to start is dependent on your internet connection. For me, SD podcasts start up instantly, HD have to buffer for a bit. Using the movie trailers as a guide, the SD iTunes content looks good. Not DVD, but very good. The DVD is better than DVD, but only a bit, imo. I don't watch YouTube on the ATV so I don't know how that looks. YouTube looks like ass usually, so imagine it'll look like ass on a big HDTV, too.
     

Share This Page