Apple TV

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Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:25 am

Does anyone have one? I am seriously contemplating getting one and dropping Cable/sat all together. I rarely watch realtime shows anymore. Besides with Boxee it makes it that much more enticing.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:37 am

depending on where you want to get your stuff from, you might be better off with your PS3 or 360 (seems to me you have both already?) or connecting your PC to your TV if they're in the same room.

The latest PS3 firmware supports full-screen flash, so that means Hulu full-screen. Netflix streaming on the 360 is reportedly farkin sweet. Between those two, I'd have plenty to watch, myself. We're going to get MLB.tv this year to see if we can watch those games full-screen on the PS3 and if we do, I think we're seriously going to drop cable and get a different ISP. Comcast makes things too expensive.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:50 am

Yeah I have both. My 360 is gen1 and on its last leg, besides I cannot take the CDROM sound anymore so its sits collecting dust. The PS3, thats an option but no netflix? I guess I can put Boxee on that as I can boot ubuntu on it.

hmmmmm....
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:15 am

Yeah, no Netflix streaming on the PS3 at this point, though I would think Sony will HAVE to do something. Does Boxee do Netflix streaming or something? I know it was XBMC when it was originally on the Xbox, but I thought it was just a media player. Boxee on the PS3's Linux may not be an option if it relies on Flash. YellowDog 6 does have a somewhat functional Flash-alike plugin, but it's not all that hot.

I dunno, the AppleTV is pretty limited if you want to do something besides stream from your iTunes library, and voiding the warranty right out of the box seems insane given that it's not really that cheap, although I guess it's not too bad anymore.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:29 am

Considering the cost of my monthly cable bill I would have the appliance paid off in 2 months roughly. And since I primarily deal with iTunes and netflix I figured it would be the best route.

Boxee is really cool in a bunch of different ways. The number one way is it adds a front-end for all the streaming content out there. ABC, CBS, NBC, Comedy Central, etc....... There is also a social element to it. Really you guys should check it out.

I guess I need to stick to one thing and then see what happens in the near future. I do know one thing is I rarely watch TV realtime, maybe food network or Discovery. Everything is DVR'd or from file or disc.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:48 pm

Boxee does indeed look good.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:56 pm

Instead of the AppleTV, better option might be getting a Mac Mini and streaming your media to the PS3 or 360 (there is both free and paid software available for both that can do that). The initial price of entry is slightly higher, but you get a full fledged computer that can access iTunes and Netflix. It cannot stream iTunes purchased TV shows/movies, but neither can the AppleTV. The benefit is you can expand storage externally and set up a streaming media server. Look around for deals or go refurb.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:24 am

Ok I found my solution (no boxee :( ) anyways since its on my PS3 I wont clutter up the thread, its called tversity.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:37 am

I just got an Apple TV yesterday and its fracking sweet :D It streams all my iTunes content from my computer and the wifes computer. No dicking around trying to make it work like you have to do with media center. Contrary to what some people think hulu is still there you just have to have the newest version of boxee installed. If you go here and grab patchstick you can hack your ATV to have a bunch more features including support for external usb storage. As far as voiding the warranty goes its a soft hack and not likely to be found if something ever did go wrong. If something does go wrong you hold down menu and - while the system boots and it restores it to factory settings which should nuke all traces of the hack.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:44 pm

XMBC on the Apple TV should pretty much address all your media playing needs. Exceptions are exotic codecs like RMVB and may be non-English characters support. AFAIK the ATV may be too weak to handle 1080p content but how many of those are out there right now?

TVersity is good if all you do is stream the content as-is. Transcoding is still hit and miss, especially with those exotic codecs again. Transcoding also requires a fairly high powered computer so it may not be cheap. With no transcoding, I am able to stream downloaded Xvid-encoded TV shows in AVI format to my PS3 no problem. I have not tried "720p" MKVs yet though. The PS3 also has decent scaling so a "regular" 626x352 release looks ok on my 46" 1080p TV.

For me, due to the exotic codecs and non-English file names, I pretty much need a regular computer so I may be re-purposing some components (or buy new) and build a HTPC.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:05 pm

I do offline transcoding with HandBrake. It's been my long-time goal to rip our DVDs (well, the good ones, forget the goofy anime stuff that my wife had before we got married) to the hard drive for streaming to the PS3. It's taken so long because I'll just pop a disc in the drive and start converting, then go to work. When I get home, one disc is finished. That takes for freakin ever though.

Not too shabby of quality, though. x264 with a decent bitrate (say, 1500kbps for video, VBR audio) for a DVD at native res comes out to about 500MB per hour. A 500GB drive (460GiB) comes out to about 450 or so movies on a hard drive.

Backing that up via Time Machine and a USB drive attached via Airport Extreme 802.11n probably takes a while, but it's always backed up that file before I ever get home from work.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:16 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:I do offline transcoding with HandBrake. It's been my long-time goal to rip our DVDs (well, the good ones, forget the goofy anime stuff that my wife had before we got married) to the hard drive for streaming to the PS3. It's taken so long because I'll just pop a disc in the drive and start converting, then go to work. When I get home, one disc is finished. That takes for freakin ever though.

Not too shabby of quality, though. x264 with a decent bitrate (say, 1500kbps for video, VBR audio) for a DVD at native res comes out to about 500MB per hour. A 500GB drive (460GiB) comes out to about 450 or so movies on a hard drive.

Backing that up via Time Machine and a USB drive attached via Airport Extreme 802.11n probably takes a while, but it's always backed up that file before I ever get home from work.



Spend 20 bucks and add a second dvd rom that would speed things up a bunch. :wink:

I don't have a huge amount of content I need to stream so what little bit I need to convert will be an easy project. I have been trying to get my ATV to see an external 750 gig drive as its main storage today and am not having any luck. I will have to do a little more research and see what I am missing. Hopefully I can get it figured out that way I can move basically all my media files to it and save streaming stuff over the network nonstop.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:22 pm

Probably more like $45 because I'll need an external case for it (not an ATX or mATX tower in the place; a Macbook and an iMac is all we have), but your point is duly noted.

Assuming you've already hacked the aTV, is your external drive partitioned using GUID rather than MBR or Apple Partition Mapping, and is the partition formatted Journaled HFS+?
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:29 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:Assuming you've already hacked the aTV, is your external drive partitioned using GUID rather than MBR or Apple Partition Mapping, and is the partition formatted Journaled HFS+?


Yes the drive is partitioned with hfs+. I had a hard time finding a program that will let you do that from with in windows. Ended up having to use my boys computer that still runs windows xp to get the job done because I couldn't find one that worked in windows 7 at all. I can see the drive when I ssh into the apple tv and it shows 700 gigs free or whatever so that part of it is working. The part I cant seem to get done is forcing the atv to use the drive as the main drive instead of a storage drive.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:28 pm

HFS Explorer, I take it?

Uhm...hmmm...not having an aTV myself, all I'm going to be able to do is regurgitate what I find by Googling, something I'm sure you've done alot of already. You could try the Apple forum at Ars...there are several there with aTVs, and I think most of them have hacked them.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:36 pm

MacDrive7 is the program I used its just a demo but worked long enough to get the job done.

Apple updated the apple tv software in the last month ( i think) on a hunch I rolled the software back to factory specs and then turned off my router so it couldn't update. Once I did that I ran patch stick again which lets you block updates. With all that done I tried to set up the external drive again and it worked the first time. I wasn't screwing it up so much as the new software wasn't letting the hack work. I am now the proud owner of a 700gb ATV. The old software version is 2.3 and the new version is 2.3.1. The only thing added was a network testing program so meh. So does anybody care to tell me how long its going to take to copy 100 gigs on 802.11 g or do I even want to know ?
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:46 pm

I'm getting 3.02 MB restoring an image over wireless. 100gb at 3 MBps = 34,133 seconds, or 9.48 hours.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:53 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:I'm getting 3.02 MB restoring an image over wireless. 100gb at 3 MBps = 34,133 seconds, or 9.48 hours.


Not nearly as bad as I figured it would be. I don't really care how long it takes because hopefully I will only have to do it once.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:14 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:I do offline transcoding with HandBrake. It's been my long-time goal to rip our DVDs (well, the good ones, forget the goofy anime stuff that my wife had before we got married) to the hard drive for streaming to the PS3. It's taken so long because I'll just pop a disc in the drive and start converting, then go to work. When I get home, one disc is finished. That takes for freakin ever though.

Not too shabby of quality, though. x264 with a decent bitrate (say, 1500kbps for video, VBR audio) for a DVD at native res comes out to about 500MB per hour. A 500GB drive (460GiB) comes out to about 450 or so movies on a hard drive.

Backing that up via Time Machine and a USB drive attached via Airport Extreme 802.11n probably takes a while, but it's always backed up that file before I ever get home from work.



I grabbed hand brake and am transcoding a dvd right now to try out on the apple tv. All at once I feel your pain derfunk. I need a way faster processor. In hand brake I just picked apple tv as the target and started the encode. I am getting like 15 FPS. Time for a quad core or something. If it works though it would be really cool to have our fairly small movie library all sitting on the apple tv ready to go.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:44 am

What format are you encoding to? Are you running the Windows version? Would another encoder be faster?
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:48 am

Other encoders might be faster, but in my experience, Handbrake is right up there - it just uses plain x264 or MPEG4 or other codec libraries that are built in. The nice thing about it is if you DO have two DVD drives, it can do batch encoding.

Hance, I think the Apple TV preset upconverts the video to be 1280px wide (720p if it's a 16:9 video, some number of lines less if it's wider than that) with the x264 codec. If you don't mind losing whatever antialiasing you get from upconversion, you might want to bump it back down to native res. I'm doing it that way because I created my own preset and it's re-encoding slightly better than realtime for 24fps movies (usually in the 25-30fps range, and that's with a "wimpy" 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo mobile CPU that I can't overclock at all).
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:38 am

Handbrake is the best, I use it for everything. Yes it is a little slower than most other but I find the quality top notch! I have used handbrake to rip a Blue ray and although it was slow as molasses the quality of the file was flawless.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:36 am

The version of handbrake I have makes me rip the movies to my hard drive first so a batch convert will be easy once the movies are ripped. I just used the apple TV default settings in handbrake. I don't have a ton of movies to rip
So if a batch encode takes a few days I don't care.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:46 am

Wow I just got done ripping every movie we own. At the current rate the encoding process is gonna take like 3 weeks :roll: Somebody have a quad socket with quad cores they want to loan me ? Goes off to price drop in quad core upgrades.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:53 am

:lol: that sucks, Hance.

Are you still using the AppleTV preset?
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:46 pm

Yes I am still just using the apple TV default. I did a little looking for better apple tv settings and everybody has their own opinion and nobody seems to agree. No matter what somebody says half a dozen other people will chime in and say they are wrong. After seeing that quite a few times I decided to trust hand brake and use the default settings. I will only have to do it once but its going to be a long slow process.

Have you ever had your mac mini hooked up to a tv derfunk ? Is front row on a mac the same interface as the apple tv if you know ? I have thought about getting a mac for quite awhile just to try out and if I could use the mini like a fast apple tv when i got done with it that would be cool.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:32 pm

My mini has been fine attached to my 32" LCD via an HDMI->DVI cable and analog audio. I tried VGA at first, but the image quality was nicer this way (obviously; digital signals look better). It's detected as 1366x768 and the desktop fills the entire screen with the overscan set to "off" on my TV. Movies play very nicely.

No idea what the AppleTV interface looks like. FrontRow looks, to me, an awful lot like an iPod's interface. Here is a picture of the front screen where you can pick movies/tv shows/music/etc and also the screen you get to view your movies folder. Note that in their infinite wisdom, Apple decided the mini didn't need to come with the remote anymore so you'll be milked an extra $19. I think that's stupid, myself. The buttons on the remote are identical to the buttons on my 2G shuffle, in a circle with a big play/pause button in the middle, and an added "menu" button you use to bring up the interface (so you don't need a keyboard/mouse to launch it or anything) and to back out of screens:

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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 6:26 pm

Front row look similar to the apple tv interface. I will have to stop by an apple store or something and check it out in person. I am half tempted to buy a cheap quad core just to encode movies with at the rate this is going.
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:16 pm

I think Apple TV's UI is essentially Front Row's. A guy at work highly recommended putting XBMC on the ATV after hacking it. Can't help you with encoding though. ;)
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Re: Apple TV

Postposted on Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:35 pm

I have XBMC on mine already. Its ok but I rarely use it. The biggest reason I installed it was or its DVD file support. Yeah it supports vob files but you have to open them up one at a time so its a PITA. Boxee on the other hand is awesome. I had never really thought a quad core would speed things up or me until I started this project. Now I see why the more processor you have the better.
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