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264 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 14939 26-Jul-2007 23:39
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Does anyone own an Apple TV, or had enough one-on-one time with one to give an informed opinion? I'm considering shelling out for the 160GB model so I can watch TV shows which my 13" laptop don't really do justice.. Worth it, do you think?




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179 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 79979 27-Jul-2007 13:09
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I've bought one of these recently, and for me its definitely been worth it. The user interface is very slick.. This is one of the very few "wife friendly" devices out there, so much so that I barely get to use it myself nowadays.

In its most basic format I'd consider the Apple TV to be an "ipod for your tv". It does this really well.

However, to get the most out of one of these, you need to do some initial work.
Check out the wiki and forum at http://www.awkwardtv.org/

Here's what Ive done with mine:
- patchstick mod (allow ssh remote access, etc without opening up the box)
- ATV Files with Perian (adds support for  xvid, divx, h.264, etc)
- NitoTV (uses mplayer, which means it can playback all sort of codecs including Real Media)
- Sapphire (essential if you watch a lot of tv shows)

Plus a few bits and pieces like installing xampp (apache/php/mysql) to have a play around with.

For me, its been a great experience. Just a little upfront work.





103 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 79988 27-Jul-2007 14:20
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So does appleTV work like a wireless graphics adapter so you see whatever is on your desktop on the computer or does it only stream to the TV through iTunes or some similiar software?

I've been looking for an easier way to show what's on my compter on the TV rather than having to play around with the cables and screen settings etc.

 
 
 
 




264 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 80006 27-Jul-2007 16:10
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acsonline: Sounds good mate, thanks for the info. In terms of HD content, is there any available - legally or otherwise - that is able to be streamed or transferred via iTunes to AppleTV? Or is it all mpeg-4/h.264? I'm craving HD goodness...




179 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 80167 29-Jul-2007 01:05
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ok.. two answers here..

Spazz: hd content.. theres a not too much available thats over 720p. for me, anything above SD is a a bonus. I have actually ripped all the dvds that i have and put them into the Apple TV. Easy to index and refer to. Note that the Apple TV can do up to 1080i, at a stretch.

I rarely use the itunes interface for video. I mainly use it to sync my entire music and photo collection.
The new YouTube functionality is a bonus, I find that Im using it more frequently now.

FYI, a couple of guys at Awkward TV have recently enabled external USB drive functionality so thats something i might experiment (when I can get my hands back onto it).

Sinn:

Officially the apple tv can work in 2 modes. It can sync movies/photos/videos from one Itunes instance - this means that the media is stored locally and you dont need a PC running to use it. Alternatively it can stream the same media from up to 5 other itunes instances. FYI streaming works extremely well on my 802.11g network - i believe the apple tv does progressive streaming (downloads blocks and caches locally) which reduces chances of dropouts, etc.

The 3rd mode of course is to not use Itunes at all. And this is what I use for most of my video content. I have the flexibility of storing the content locally (most of it) and on a shared network drive (a lot of the archived/older stuff).

Works for me..



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Reply # 80170 29-Jul-2007 09:08
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acsonline: The new YouTube functionality is a bonus, I find that Im using it more frequently now.


With all the talk about HD content and everything, how can we really be satisfied with the low quality (in terms of output) of all those "American Funniest Video" style YouTube content?





431 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 80221 29-Jul-2007 14:41
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Doesn't the apple TV only support up to 720p anyway? Oh hang on maximum video res supported is 1280x720.






79 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 80262 29-Jul-2007 19:59
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The only apple tv experience I have has been with my modded xbox and some clever bugger has developed a skin that operates like itv but have called it xtv and its fantastic so if you have a chipped xbox you could have a go before you buy the real thing. itv would really be the go as it's HD compliant and we are all headed that way arnt we. 

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 80288 29-Jul-2007 23:31
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freitasm: With all the talk about HD content and everything, how can we really be satisfied with the low quality (in terms of output) of all those "American Funniest Video" style YouTube content?



True. youtube is all user generated content.. I usually just watch it for a laugh, but quite a few people I know use it religiously.
Quality varies significantly, and the source is usually of low quality anyway. Maybe it'll go HD one day, as a premium service and when internet grows up (one day;). Its surprising how forgiving people can be when it comes to self generated content!

Also, I dont have a 1080p TV, so youtube actually looks better on the TV than on my PC.



264 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 80302 30-Jul-2007 09:10
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I agree - the main hook is that it's user-generated. In fact, I'm not sure user-generated content broadcast in HD would have the same appeal - there's something organic and strangely enjoyable about watching badly pixelated clips of some guys jumping off a roof, etc..

Hey acsonline - you seem to imply that you can actually store your content on the ATV, it doesn't have to be constantly "synched" from iTunes? If this is the case, that would be a major pull factor for me, as my HDD is only 80gigs and most of that is taken up already..




179 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 80325 30-Jul-2007 11:44
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spazz: Hey acsonline - you seem to imply that you can actually store your content on the ATV, it doesn't have to be constantly "synched" from iTunes? If this is the case, that would be a major pull factor for me, as my HDD is only 80gigs and most of that is taken up already..


Exactly! I only use Itunes for music/photos. The rest of the videos, even if Itunes compatible, I just FTP straight onto the appleTV.

There are other options as well:
- I have a simple NAS box as well, and have enabled SMB (windows file share) on the Apple TV. This works well for SD content and music. ATVFiles plugin is invaluable here.
- The Awkward TV guys have just announced a hack so that you can plug in an external USB drive. Thats my next hack!

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