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#215792 - 07/21/08 11:01 AM Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool!
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
To make a long story extremely short, I got a 160GB AppleTV this weekend. It's pretty neat.

While I am a Windows guy when in comes to my computers, all of my music is ripped into my iTunes collection, I own several iPods, and I love my iPhone. I occasionally had rented episodes of missed TV shows on iTunes too. So with my new HDTV, I thought that my family would enjoy an AppleTV. I was correct.

As with most things Apple, it was a breeze to set up. Extremely easy to use too.

Since we're all about sound quality here, I will say that the SQ is excellent, though of course dependent on the source. Unlike some people, I actually think the 256kbs iTunes+ stuff sounds great, so I have several albums of that. I also buy music from Amazon, as I think their 256kbs MP3's sound pretty good too. All of my CD's have been ripped in either Apple Lossless or 320kbs AAC, depending on how important the music is to me. I had been using a DLO Homedock + iPod Classic to get my content from my collection to my Axiom system. The AppleTV sounds much better. Music was the primary reason I bought the thing, and I'm absolutely thrilled with having my whole music collection easily accessible in our den, and with excellent quality. The ability to shop the iTunes store from the couch is both neat and dangerous. We spent a good hour or so just browsing and finding new music to enjoy on our system. Two thumbs up.

I also played around with video. Even the SD content stuff looks pretty good. Certainly not HD, but it seems better than the SD stuff we get via Dish Network. We rented 10,000BC in HD, and the picture and sound quality were excellent. It is only 720p, but it was otherwise every bit as good as the HD PPV we've done via our Dish Network receiver. I'm sure it's not as good as blu-ray, but for us, we're thrilled with the quality.

The photo stuff is also fun. We didn't think it would be that interesting. But I took the time to sync up all 20,000+ photographs in our family collection to it. It's surprisingly fun to look through our family photos on the big-screen, especially with nice musical selections playing. Also neat in that the AppleTV can use your photos as a screen saver while playing music. Lots of, 'oh wow, remember that!' moments while enjoying music. Neat stuff.

For anyone considering one, I'd be happy to answer any questions about it.
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#215795 - 07/21/08 11:39 AM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: PeterChenoweth]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16289
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
My dream future realistic HT system will include an AppleTV (and a TV, and a Wii, and ...)
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#215797 - 07/21/08 11:40 AM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: pmbuko]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17789
Loc: NoVA
Now, you have to have your computer with your iTunes collection on it turned on to use the ATV, right? THat's kind of the dealbreaker for me.
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#215802 - 07/21/08 11:47 AM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16289
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
No, you can download/buy/rent movies and music directly to the device. AppleTV Take 2 is much more capable as a stand-alone device.
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#215807 - 07/21/08 12:10 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: pmbuko]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
As that other Peter said, yes, it works beautifully as a stand-alone device. Needing to be tethered to a PC would have been a deal-breaker for me as well.

Once hooked up to your network (wired or built-in B/G/N wireless), it shows up exactly like an iPod or iPhone to iTunes. Just like an iPod, you choose what to sync, either everything automatically or you can customize it. Then it syncs.

If you choose not to sync (why?) or it hasn't finished, AppleTV can still see your collection on the PC/Mac and stream the content. But once it's synced, it acts as a stand-alone device. It hooks up to your iTunes online account for renting or purchasing shows. Any movies, music, or TV shows purchased (not rented) on the AppleTV are synced back to your iTunes, and vice-versa. It's really pretty slick.

It took it about 5 hours to sync up about 60GB of content via my 802.11N network. My notebook acts as my primary PC at home, so it has all of my media on it. The sync was all done wirelessly. While the Atheros chipsets in the notebook & router can negotiate up to a 300mb 802.11N connection, the AppleTV could only manage to sync up to 130. Faster than 100mb ethernet, but not as fast as I had hoped. NBD, as the primary big sync only had to happen once.

The AppleTV did lock up twice while it was trying to sync. It would just stop copying, and then a minute or two later the AppleTV would reboot on its own. Then it'd re-establish itself and start copying again from where it left off. Sort of bizzare, but it worked in the end.

Another very cool feature is the free AppleRemote software on my iPhone. From anywhere in my house I can connect to the AppleTV and command it as to which music or video to play. Album art & volume controls too. Very neat to stand in the kitchen and wirelessly change the music in the other room.

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Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
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#215808 - 07/21/08 12:17 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17789
Loc: NoVA
Oooh... OK, now I'm interested. I didn't realize you could put non-purchased content on it.
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#215813 - 07/21/08 12:34 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: Ken.C]
fredk Online   happy
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7133
Loc: Canada
It amazes me that after 30 odd years, Apple continues to be one of the few companies out there that makes the minimal effort to figure out what consumers want and then delivers using a simple intuative interface.

After 30 years it should have become standard practice throughout the industry.
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#215816 - 07/21/08 12:47 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: Ken.C]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
Oooh... OK, now I'm interested. I didn't realize you could put non-purchased content on it.


Yup!

The vast majority of my library is not-from-Apple content, though it's all managed through iTunes.
_________________________
M80v2 | VP150v2 | QS8v2
SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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#215817 - 07/21/08 12:51 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: PeterChenoweth]
EFalardeau Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 3270
Loc: Laval, Quebec, Canada
What formats are you adding to iTunes? I have tried several things and the only thing I ever got to work was pretty low quality H264.
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#215818 - 07/21/08 01:01 PM Re: Got an AppleTV. Pretty cool! [Re: EFalardeau]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
 Originally Posted By: EFalardeau
What formats are you adding to iTunes? I have tried several things and the only thing I ever got to work was pretty low quality H264.


My videos start as high-quality AVI files. iTunes won't natively handle AVI files, of course, so they must be transcoded.

For that, I've had great success with a free little utility from a company called Jodix. Do a google search. On my Core2Duo Vista notebook it can transcode an hour-long AVI video into the mpeg-4 format that iTunes uses in about 10 minutes on its highest-quality settings. At those settings, I can't tell a difference between the pre-and-post files. You can adjust the quality down if you don't need it (for viewing on an iPod, for instance).

Once converted, it's just a simple drag-and-drop of the .m4v file into iTunes and the videos play perfectly on an iPod, iPhone, or now, AppleTV. ;\)
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SVS Pci+ 20-39
Emotiva UMC-1 & LPA-1
M22ti + T-Amp, in the Office

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