Jump to content
TimothyMDean

Apple TV questions

Recommended Posts

I am thinking about getting the new Apple TV sometime in the near future, but I have a question about how it will work in my setup.

 

I am curious about whether I will need to upgrade my Airport Extreme base station to take advantage of 802.11N speed. I have a new Mac Pro, which I think has the disabled 802.11N airport chip in it. If I get the Apple TV, will my Mac Pro talk directly to the TV, or does it need to go through my TCP/IP network (and hence my slower base station)? Or will it work more as a "peer to peer" connection between my computer and the Apple TV box?

 

Thanks,

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a very good question. Peer to peer would be great... however I think they're hoping that people get the new Airport base station.

 

It's form factor looks as though it may be stackable with Apple TV/Mac MIni, and it has the ability to mount external hard disks on the network without them being connected to a computer. This could be used as network storage for media that runs on iTunes and Apple TV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am thinking about getting the new Apple TV sometime in the near future, but I have a question about how it will work in my setup.

 

I am curious about whether I will need to upgrade my Airport Extreme base station to take advantage of 802.11N speed. I have a new Mac Pro, which I think has the disabled 802.11N airport chip in it. If I get the Apple TV, will my Mac Pro talk directly to the TV, or does it need to go through my TCP/IP network (and hence my slower base station)? Or will it work more as a "peer to peer" connection between my computer and the Apple TV box?

 

Thanks,

 

- Tim

 

It will still work. As it says here, the AppleTV will work with 802.11b/g/n. You'll need at least 802.11g to stream from a computer, but even on 802.11b you can send files to the AppleTV hard drive.

 

If you don't have WiFi, you can even connect it to a regular old wired Ethernet network.

 

--James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It will still work. As it says here, the AppleTV will work with 802.11b/g/n. You'll need at least 802.11g to stream from a computer, but even on 802.11b you can send files to the AppleTV hard drive.

 

If you don't have WiFi, you can even connect it to a regular old wired Ethernet network.

 

--James

 

Well, it looks like it will work but not as I would prefer. These specs seem to imply that you communicate to the device using your local wireless network. If you are using an 802.11g base station like I am, then the fact that my Mac Pro and the Apple TV support 802.11n is useless. My overall throughput will be limited by my slowest link. That is unfortunate, but perhaps it is necessary for technical reasons..

 

Anyone know if there will be limitations when using only a 802.11g network? Will I be unable to stream high-def content, or will video be transferred in a degraded mode in some way?

 

Thanks,

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question on the Apple TV: Does anyone know if it will be possible to get content that is NOT from the iTunes store sent to the Apple TV? I'm thinking about trying to set up some kind of PVR software to record content from my Cable provider onto my MP's hard disk. It sure would be nice if I had a way to view that content wirelessly through my TV.

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another question on the Apple TV: Does anyone know if it will be possible to get content that is NOT from the iTunes store sent to the Apple TV? I'm thinking about trying to set up some kind of PVR software to record content from my Cable provider onto my MP's hard disk. It sure would be nice if I had a way to view that content wirelessly through my TV.

 

- Tim

It's my understanding that the Apple TV is an iTunes extender, so the only way to get content to the Apple TV is to import it in to iTunes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My overall throughput will be limited by my slowest link. That is unfortunate, but perhaps it is necessary for technical reasons..

 

You hit the nail on the head. In managed WiFi networks, all packets go through the Access Point for routing. That allows for cool things like roaming and such, but it also means that your communications are slower if your AP is the slow link. To do device-to-device communications, you would have to set up an Ad-Hoc network between them or turn one into an AP. I seriously doubt the AppleTV can become an AP, but the Ad-Hoc network might work. It depends on whether AppleTV's drivers and OS are capable of switching the WiFi chipset over to Ad-Hoc mode.

 

You could, of course use a wired network, but wires are icky! :lol:

 

--James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it looks like it will work but not as I would prefer. These specs seem to imply that you communicate to the device using your local wireless network. If you are using an 802.11g base station like I am, then the fact that my Mac Pro and the Apple TV support 802.11n is useless. My overall throughput will be limited by my slowest link. That is unfortunate, but perhaps it is necessary for technical reasons..

 

Anyone know if there will be limitations when using only a 802.11g network? Will I be unable to stream high-def content, or will video be transferred in a degraded mode in some way?

 

Thanks,

 

- Tim

 

Tim,

 

I have tried to stream to both PC and a Mac Mini over 802.11g networks and although it's pretty much fine for audio, most video is patchy to say the least. I'd have to say you haven't got a hope with HD content at a decent bandwidth (but bear in mind there are different compression levels even within HD resolutions).

 

I went through this to eventually end up with a Mac Mini running under my tv. I connect through Gigabit Ethernet to give guaranteed throughput and it works a treat. Personally, attractive though the appleTV product is, I preferred the option of spending more money and have a full blown Mac which allows me to use whichever media front end I want, not tied into Frontrow. Don't get me wrong, Frontrow's great but I currently use Media Central as it also plays from VIDEO_TS folders, radio streaming and a few other things - additionally it's updated about every 2 weeks - so not as slick but more feature rich. I also went down this route as it provided me with an Intel Mac to allow running of Parallels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You hit the nail on the head. In managed WiFi networks, all packets go through the Access Point for routing. That allows for cool things like roaming and such, but it also means that your communications are slower if your AP is the slow link. To do device-to-device communications, you would have to set up an Ad-Hoc network between them or turn one into an AP. I seriously doubt the AppleTV can become an AP, but the Ad-Hoc network might work. It depends on whether AppleTV's drivers and OS are capable of switching the WiFi chipset over to Ad-Hoc mode.

 

You could, of course use a wired network, but wires are icky! :lol:

 

--James

 

Agreed that wires are icky...

 

I'm guessing that Apple would not set up the AppleTV drivers to work in an Ad Hoc network. They wouldn't really have any incentive to do that that I can think of. As long as the AppleTV can work reasonably well without a new 802.11n base station, using either slower wifi networks or wired connections, I doubt that an ad-hoc network would be something they concern themselves with...

 

Might be a nice project for some hackers to tackle though!

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tim,

 

I have tried to stream to both PC and a Mac Mini over 802.11g networks and although it's pretty much fine for audio, most video is patchy to say the least. I'd have to say you haven't got a hope with HD content at a decent bandwidth (but bear in mind there are different compression levels even within HD resolutions).

 

I went through this to eventually end up with a Mac Mini running under my tv. I connect through Gigabit Ethernet to give guaranteed throughput and it works a treat. Personally, attractive though the appleTV product is, I preferred the option of spending more money and have a full blown Mac which allows me to use whichever media front end I want, not tied into Frontrow. Don't get me wrong, Frontrow's great but I currently use Media Central as it also plays from VIDEO_TS folders, radio streaming and a few other things - additionally it's updated about every 2 weeks - so not as slick but more feature rich. I also went down this route as it provided me with an Intel Mac to allow running of Parallels.

 

Sounds like the AppleTV has a 40GB hard disk, so I'm assuming then that movies would be synced to that disk first before playback? In that case, the wifi speed would probably not impact playback quality, but it would certainly impact the length of time it takes to sync between my MP and the Mac TV...

 

Am I misunderstanding how this would work?

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's my understanding that the Apple TV is an iTunes extender, so the only way to get content to the Apple TV is to import it in to iTunes.

 

 

How hard is it to import other content into iTunes? If I wanted to set up PVR software on my Mac, and to rip some DVD's I own, would it be a difficult process to get these all into iTunes so that they could be sync'd with an AppleTV?

 

- Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How hard is it to import other content into iTunes? If I wanted to set up PVR software on my Mac, and to rip some DVD's I own, would it be a difficult process to get these all into iTunes so that they could be sync'd with an AppleTV?

 

- Tim

 

Re: the storage (or caching) prior to playback I agree it's a good approach but you're at the mercy of how fast the wireless network is. I get the impression that this will only work with itunes friendly media which rules out playing off DVD VIDEO_TS folders etc. Certainly trying to play stuff that big across a wireless network is a non starter unless it's 802.11n

 

I mentioned I use Mediacentral - one of the advantages of this is that it provides a user definable up to 4 gigs of buffering. That might be over the top but it does mean reliable service.

 

As for wired networks - hey I like an easy life and could run the cabling down the outside of my house. Transferring at 3 gigabytes a minute between Powermac and Mini is 'yummy' ;-). When we have gigabit wireless that has the same performance I'll be happy ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to admit I am a bit surprised the AppleTV does not have a DVD drive built in. Seems a bit of an over sight.

 

A.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need your opinions - After seeing the appleTV, do you think it is a better option over connecting a mac mini to your television as a media center?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I need your opinions - After seeing the appleTV, do you think it is a better option over connecting a mac mini to your television as a media center?

 

Having watched the keynote yesterday I note that it's only 720p. This doesn't make a huge amount of difference to most people but personally I'd want it to do 1080p (which tv will move to as the hd standard over the next couple of years (basically 720p is 1280 by 720 whereas 1080p is 1960 by 1080 res - might be slightly out with res but it's about that).

 

I'm certainly extremely happy with a Mac Mini setup and feel if gives a huge amount of flexibility over other products - I just think of it as perhaps double the price but 10 times the features.

 

Frontrow has had one minor update in the past year. Mediacentral has had about 20 - I don't want to be at the mercy of what Apple want to give me but be able to find an application that best fits my needs and is regularly upated - Mac Mini gives you that flexibility.

 

Frontrow is great as far as it goes but I'm not convinced that features will be developed on appleTV.

 

Worth going over to 123macmini.com who specialise in Mac Mini media centres.

Edited by haydn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome. Thanks for the input. I was leaning toward the mac mini except that it would be cheaper/easier to buy appleTV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because I have drives connected to the Powermac and want to keep the living room as clean as possible, I map all media drives onto the Mini. With Gigabit Ethernet it never feels like you're connecting to network drives. I also point iPhoto and iTunes to my Powermac libraries so that I only manage a single set of data (you can share libraries but I like the flexible options of being able to edit from either machine (although if you open on both the second one is read only but that's not a big deal). It's easy to repoint - I think you just hold down the apple key when you boot the application and point it to the other library.

 

I have 2T of mixed media and to control it all from a six button apple remote is fantastic - I know that things like wmv, divx etc. are highly unlikely to be supported in itunes so it's another reason to look at third party apps like Mediacentral and steer away from appleTV.

 

One word of caution. The Mini is DVI output which doesn't carry audio. I currently haven't got my 5:1 setup and still use the TV sound. My tv allows mixing of a HDMI source (I have a DVI-HDMI converter) with an analogue source. This works fine but if you intend to run like this then check your TV is capable of similar functionality. If you're going to use external speaker system (which you should) then it's a non issue. Why haven't I used an external sound source - mmmh - 2 small children that poke holes in my speakers! I want to though - TV speakers are generally very poor for music (and everything else for that matter!)

 

Mac Mini - if you can afford it you won't regret it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's easy to repoint - I think you just hold down the apple key when you boot the application and point it to the other library.

It's the option (or alt if you're on a pc keyboard) key. Works the same for iTunes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having watched the keynote yesterday I note that it's only 720p. This doesn't make a huge amount of difference to most people but personally I'd want it to do 1080p (which tv will move to as the hd standard over the next couple of years (basically 720p is 1280 by 720 whereas 1080p is 1960 by 1080 res - might be slightly out with res but it's about that).

 

I'm certainly extremely happy with a Mac Mini setup and feel if gives a huge amount of flexibility over other products - I just think of it as perhaps double the price but 10 times the features.

 

Frontrow has had one minor update in the past year. Mediacentral has had about 20 - I don't want to be at the mercy of what Apple want to give me but be able to find an application that best fits my needs and is regularly upated - Mac Mini gives you that flexibility.

 

Frontrow is great as far as it goes but I'm not convinced that features will be developed on appleTV.

 

Worth going over to 123macmini.com who specialise in Mac Mini media centres.

 

A week ago I would have agreed with you over the 720p/1080p debate, but I found something out recently that shocked me. There literally only a handful of TV's on the market today that actually have native resolutions of 1080p (1920x1080). Well over 90% of "1080p" TV's just mean they accept 1080p signals and downgrade it to their native resolution, usually 1280x768.

 

The point is that 1080p is in fact overblown. Unless you own one of the few, very expensive sets with an actual resolution of 1920x1080, you almost certainly won't tell the difference between 1080 and 720. Progressive scan is much more important than accepting and then downgrading higher resolution.

 

The mac mini alternative is much more tempting for me. From what I gather online, the appleTV has a USB port that cannot be used to connect external hard drives for more storage... WTF? ONLY for tech work they say. The appleTV does not have a DVD burner or even a player... WTF? So I still need a DVD player. You can't purchase content from the iTunes music store from the appleTV interface... WTF? Oversight?

 

I assume some of these features will be added/changed via firmware update or second iteration, but as it stands, $349 (CAN) is too much to pay. A mac mini, while still not perfect, would offer far more flexibility for not a whole lot more.

 

gekko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so you can't just put a dvd in your laptop and stream it to apple tv.

 

lame lame lame.

 

the masses will not wait to rip a dvd using handbrake just to watch it. Just unlock it already and let us stream our desktop to the apple tv.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The drivers to unlock your 802.11n capabiity is to buy the airport extreme. I am guessing that to sync wirelessly to the appletv, you will need the airport extreme network

 

Computer --> Airport Extreme --> itv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The drivers to unlock your 802.11n capabiity is to buy the airport extreme. I am guessing that to sync wirelessly to the appletv, you will need the airport extreme network

 

Computer --> Airport Extreme --> itv

 

Apparently it will work using a g network, it will just take longer to stream the files. I expect the hd will be used as a buffer and once enough has downloaded it will start playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a whole bunch of Apple TV/MWSF related questions. ome of it maybe a duplicate question.

 

- Can Apple TV act as the N router (by sharing the internet connection from Ethernet to its 802.11 interface)

- Did they hint at any possibility of future support for non HDTV's?

- [A bit of speculative guess but] does it use SATA drive and if so maybe we can clone the drive content to an another bigger sized laptop SATAT HDD and install that instead?

- Don't you think it's kinda stupid to make an HDTV only media box without selling HD content on iTMS?

- At this point, what is the the best single application solution for me to rip my DVD (which I own, of course) into iTunes compatible H.264 m4v file so I can have it streamed to the TV?

- It feels to me like buying a Mac mini and installing Equinux MediaCentral is a much more versatile option (granted I will have to pay extra $300-$400 for the device). Are people in agreement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have a whole bunch of Apple TV/MWSF related questions. ome of it maybe a duplicate question.

 

- Can Apple TV act as the N router (by sharing the internet connection from Ethernet to its 802.11 interface)

- Did they hint at any possibility of future support for non HDTV's?

- [A bit of speculative guess but] does it use SATA drive and if so maybe we can clone the drive content to an another bigger sized laptop SATAT HDD and install that instead?

- Don't you think it's kinda stupid to make an HDTV only media box without selling HD content on iTMS?

- At this point, what is the the best single application solution for me to rip my DVD (which I own, of course) into iTunes compatible H.264 m4v file so I can have it streamed to the TV?

- It feels to me like buying a Mac mini and installing Equinux MediaCentral is a much more versatile option (granted I will have to pay extra $300-$400 for the device). Are people in agreement?

  • Doubt it'll act as a router
  • As it has composite video, I'd expect it to support standard resolutions albeit with 16:9
  • HD content - think that's likely to change on launch - it was be rather absurd if it didn't
  • Use Handbrake on Mpeg streamclip to convert DVDs to m4v etc. - both excellent and free
  • Pay the extra and buy a Mini - 10 times more flexibility and features - just no 'n' support but that'll change when they refresh the line which should be in the next few months

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They have to have HD content on iTunes, it makes no since whatsoever for them to make the appleTV HD capable if there isn't any HD content.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

×