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  • shermanikk - Monday, July 30, 2007 - link

    You were having trouble with the Front Row remote controlling the MBP in this review, this will actually happen to all Front Row devices visible unless you pair them. It's pretty simple, take a Front Row device (such as the macbook pro) and hold the remote right in front of the IR sensor and holding the "Menu" and "Next" buttons for about five seconds. After that a little chain link icon should show up on the Macbook Pro and now only that remote will control that Macbook Pro. Very handy. Reply
  • vision21 - Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - link

    I have read about Galaxy IPTV DMG 3500 - Digital Media Gateway that is available now for $180. Here is a link:
    http://www.supermediastore.com/galaxy-3500-iptv-dm...">http://www.supermediastore.com/galaxy-3...id=bizra...
    Anand should review this product as well as next version of XBox 360 with HDMI to give us some options compared to Apple TV.
    Reply
  • heulenwolf - Sunday, April 01, 2007 - link

    Wow, its amazing how much whining was generated in response to this article. I'm glad Apple made this device because I think it solves problems I have:
    My computer is up in my loft, my HDTV is down in my living room, using my PC as a media center sucks, and I want to see and hear my content on the way-too-damned-expensive 720p display I bought.
    So it doesn't play DVDs. DVD players are throw-away devices costing ~$30 now. What real value would be added by including that function in a $300 device?
    So it doesn't output 1080x. Apple doesn't provide 1080x content. They provide 640x480 which scales fairly nicely up to 720p. If you bought a 1080x display, chances are it has its own, high-quality scaler so why should Apple bother?

    Sure it would be nice if it had a few more features but its got the important basics and costs no more than an iPod. Given than it runs some version of OSX, I wouldn't be surprised to see development continue and more features added in the near future. Its a consumer electronics device so its not supposed to support the diy, modding, or pirated content communities. Its supposed to play Apple's content and "just work." According to the review, it does.

    I agree with the article's assessment that the iPod's popularity stemmed from its support for the standard mp3 format. The lack of a comparable, unifying video standard hurts the AppleTV's chances. The video codec alphabet soup is maddening to average users. I hope that the market organizes itself better and that Apple supports whatever standard comes about in future updates.
    Reply
  • JAS - Friday, March 30, 2007 - link

    I've seen the Apple TV in person and liked several things about it -- but the modest video bitrates and lack of wider codec support are enough to turn me away. Perhaps some of the negatives will be addressed by Apple firmware updates. I expect version 2.0 of this product to be a whole lot better. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - link

    Nice taste on including the Top Gear shots towards the end of the article. I am curious however, since you aren't in the UK, did you catch the rare (at least in my market) TV rerun of the episode, or do you know of a place to view them online? Youtube doesn't really seem to be able to keep them up for very long at all, which makes it difficult getting friends into the show. Reply
  • ninjit - Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - link

    I noticed the top gear clip too - I'm originally from the UK, and it's one of my favourite shows.

    It was shown on BBC world and then discovery channel for a while, but in a highly edited form, each episode was about 25mins as opposed to the actual 55mins in the UK.

    Bittorent is the best place to find episodes of Top Gear (if it is not broadcast where ever you may live)
    Reply
  • PokerGuy - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Anand did a nice job providing an in-depth review of Apple TV and it's functionality, but I think I can provide a one-word review that captures it equally well: "Garbage".

    This is quite simply an overpriced useless piece of junk that will not appeal to anyone but the hard core apple fanatic and the ill-informed who ask the Best Buy salesperson what they should get. Bottom line, it doesn't do much of anything, offers very little value, has all sorts of restrictions and limitations.

    My one question: why the sugarcoating Anand? It's clear from the review that you know this thing is a pile of dog crap. Why sugarcoat it?
    Reply
  • Imazalil - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    that's because it isn't, to some people. In my opinion the apple tv is meant to be a nieche (sp?) product. There are people out there that do actually buy tv shows on itunes and don't pirate / rip them. These people need an easy way to view their bought shows on their tv's which usually aren't near their computer. Despite of all the hype that the media put on this thing it is not the next ipod or imac, this just lets you view your tv shows on your tv. It's not a tivo, it's not a xbox (360) or anything else.

    If you have an xbox, tivo, your own homebuilt media center, hell even an mini mac connected to your tv, this is obviously not for you. Does it cost too much, in my opinion yeah, but then i'm a cheap bastard who downloads his tv shows from, ahem, other sources.

    Ignore the media hipe, all apple promised was to get your iProgram files (tunes, photos, tv shows etc) easily onto your tv, they have done this in spades. Yes it costs more the a lot of people are willing to spend, but then if you are paying for tv shows in itunes you have a bit of cash to spare right?
    Reply
  • ninjit - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    It just occured to me that for $200 more you get a mac mini, with a faster processor, more hard drive space, more memory, gigabit ethernet port

    And it still has all the features of the Apple TV - apple remote to use with Front row, built-in wifi (and bluetooth, which the Apple TV doesn't have).

    And you can get quicktime plugins to let you play ALL media (divx, xvid, avi, etc.)

    Hook up the mini to your HDTV through the DVI port, and voila your set (it'll operate just like the Apple TV because of front row)

    The apple TV really isn't a good deal at all. It should be priced under $100 to be worth it
    Reply
  • ninjit - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    I forgot to mention that it has a DVD drive for playing movies directly as well

    Seriously anyone who buys this over the mini is very very misinformed.
    Reply
  • rexian96 - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    The video in mini is very crippled though. At least this one has a 7300 chip which would help in H264 decoding. I'd say an XBOX 360 is a much better choice (price wise) if you have an MCE PC around, or nothing beats an HTPC.
    Reply
  • feraltoad - Thursday, March 29, 2007 - link

    I didn't even think of that ninjit. You guys are both right. The Video does suck in the MacMini. -Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory(1)-

    I think this means no way in hell is Apple gonna up the MacMini to 7300 graphics cuz if they did it really would take tard to buy an apple TV over a macmini when ur alreayd willing to shell out 300. Looking at that the Apple TV looks really insane. And even that looks crazy if Microsoft puts in a HDDVD drive now that the 360 has HDMI. Also, PS3 really flubbed up IMO by not leveraging the media center xtnder aspect since it would be preferable to the MacMini to my mind for an entertainment machine considering the gaming and the BR drive since they are ~same price. I here PS3 can do media extending work, but I don't here much from anyone about it. This crap makes me mad. The only "convergence" I ever see are companies with what seem like kick-ass winning products that ultimately "converge" into the s#it hole. They need to just make an extender that only relays video and audio but digitally (and relays commands) for those who want cable free extension. Til then I'll have to stick to my "30 dollars worth of cables" as someone else suggested.
    Reply
  • Novaoblivion - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    I just picked one up yesterday evening and have been enjoying it so far. I bought it after having heard that it has been hacked to play xvid files :D. Reply
  • Trisped - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    What is so great about the 7300 that it warrants the statement, "http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2952&a...">even with the help of the GeForce 7300." A 7300 doesn't rate high on the processing side no matter how I look at it. Now if it was a 7800 or 7900 or an ATI 1800 or 1900, or better yet a 8800, then yes I would say that the statement applied. I just don't see it for a 7300 GO GPU.

    Fast Forward is when you play the video back at an accelerated speed (1.5x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, etc). What is described http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2952&a...">here, "Fast forwarding through video content is done very well: simply tap the forward button on the remote to skip ahead by a fixed interval and the player jumps ahead"here is more of a skip ahead, since you are skipping some video to move forward, or ahead, in the video.
    Reply
  • Trisped - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Also, why was the review so tame? Normally Anandtech drills anything that isn't perfect, but this one was more of a "for your info" type review.

    We should we expect a compare contrast between the AppleTV and the XBox360?
    Reply
  • rexian96 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Didn't see it mentioned, but I am assuming it supports MP4 container only to be compatible with iTune. In that case, no Dolby/DTS sound tracks. And since it doesn't have analog 5.1/7.1 output, I think it's safe to assume stereo is the best audio you can get? Hmmm, like someone said it's just an ipod with video out & no display.

    If these assumptions are right, I think it's safe to say that it's NOT targeted towards enthusiasts.
    Reply
  • Questar - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Of course it's not. This is targeted at the mass market. Reply
  • archcommus - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Every review of a device like this just confirms my thoughts even more that if you want this kind of device behind your TV, you're better off just building an HTPC yourself and having a nice gigabit network throughout your home. Then you can have a server PC with hundreds of GB or even over a TB of storage for videos, music, photos, etc., and also with multiple HD tuner cards in it, and then all you need for each TV in your home is a cheap client PC with a good network connection and some old processor and like 40 GB HDD, that can then stream HD television, video, music, photos, YouTube, whatever the hell you want from the server.

    Sounds a lot better to me.
    Reply
  • vision21 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Is not that the solution to lot of these problems? Laptops already have graphics cards that support 1080p resolution. I have seen VGA ports and DVI ports on laptops, but not HDMI or component cable outs. Instead of keeping AppleTV connected to HDTV, can't we connect laptop directly to HDTV? Am I missing something? Reply
  • abakshi - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    A bunch of laptops now have HDMI outputs, such as the one I'm typing this on (HP dv9000t).

    But more importantly, that has the same issue as directly plugging in a desktop to your TV -- people don't do it - they want a simple, set-top box type of device, so that's where a Media Center Extender / Apple TV / X360 / etc. comes in.
    Reply
  • Hulk - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Great review by Anand as usual but a very disappointing product.

    No native 1080p and not H.264 at higher resolutions and bitrates makes it useless for me to even consider.

    No thanks I'll just build a HTPC that actually plays back high quality, high resolution video and has loads of storage.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    But a mini itx with a AM2 or new via processor with a tuner card is almost as small and more useful. And much more expensive. Reply
  • Phynaz - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    DivX support was hacked in last week. Reply
  • BladeVenom - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Coming out with a device that doesn't play 99.99% of the videos available just doesn't make any sense to me. If you want to hook a TV to your computer get a $30 cable, not a $300 box that doesn't even play the most common formats. Reply
  • rrsurfer1 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Well I have an old xbox, not 360, the first version, that does better as a media extender than this. Of course it has a modchip, but still, it has basically none of the flaws discussed here and it costs a hell of a lot less. I've had almost no issues with it, and it plays everything I want it to. Reply
  • BoberFett - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    With the ease of soft mods these days, the Xbox with XBMC is still the best thing going. Under $100 for a used Xbox, and the only thing it lacks that I can see is hi def. And since it sounds like the Apple TV only supports HD somewhat (limited bitrates, no 1080p) it isn't as good as the Xbox, especially when you consider all the extra functionality the Xbox has as a game machine, DVD player, emulation box, etc. The Xbox also isn't limited to streaming from a host machine using iTunes or Windows MCE. Perhaps someday the PS3 or 360 will be properly cracked and step into that role, but for now I'm sticking with XBMC on the original Xbox. Reply
  • dugbug - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Why are folks holding their punches with this product? Anand, you should not be gentle with products just to appease the applenauts. This thing is $300 and offers hardly any value.

    Media center and tivo both destroy the thing so utterly. I am more than shocked as well with how well the xbox 360 works as an extender.

    -d
    Reply
  • Chadder007 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Add 1080p support
    Add a way for users to somehow remote control their MAC from the Apple TV
    Add support for more media types
    Reply
  • somegeek - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Anand Shimpi CES '07: "Convergence Happened."

    No it didn't, and it never will.

    "Convergence" is one of those horrible, ambiguous, buzz-words that are used by people who have no real ideas. "Convergent" devices will all fail because they're too expensive, too limited, too hard to use, too hard to make, and specialized devices are a lot more profitable and easier to sell. Set-top boxes and HTPCs have consistently been ignored by the mainstream and the AppleTV won't be any different. When new, divergent technology becomes mainstream, all the annoying "convergence" people will claim that's what they meant all along.
    Reply
  • creathir - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Anand,
    You should also review the 360 with the Media Center in Vista. This setup is really quite simple, elegant, and addresses many of the issues you have with the AppleTV product. There are a few issues with codecs, as some of the more... questionable ones are not "natively" supported, but independent software developers out there have addressed these issues with transcoding add-ins that transcode on the fly. You really should check it out.

    - Creathir
    Reply
  • Awax - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    AppleTV is almost standalone : you only need iTunes (free) on you Mac or PC. You can play files from the inner HD or stream from computers.

    XBOX 360 : same price as AppleTV, but you need a full Windows MCE, much more expensive (and not Mac compatible). You can only stream content from the WinMCE computer which needs to be swicthed on. And AppleTV frontRow is said to be simpler.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    quote:

    XBOX 360 : same price as AppleTV, but you need a full Windows MCE, much more expensive (and not Mac compatible). You can only stream content from the WinMCE computer which needs to be swicthed on. And AppleTV frontRow is said to be simpler.


    I dont know about any one else, but if I'm buying an XBOX-360, the last thing in the world I would be concerned about, is if it is 'apple compliant'. Matter of a fact, the last thing in the world I want, is ANYTHING 'apple compliant'. But hey. thats me, just call me a MAC biggot, if you must . . .
    Reply
  • Awax - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    As staded on 1st page, the iPod success came from the MP3 capacity of being at the same time 100% legitimate and 100% pirated. It is the main format for pirated music but you can legally rip all your CDs to MP3.
    For AppleTV, the trouble is that there are no legitimate way of getting unDRMed version of videos. 99% of digital version of movies are stuck in DRM (DVD, HD/DVD/BlueRay, VoD, ...) and converting them to another format hits the DMCA (or equivalent local legislation).

    Currently, 99% of ripped video content are distributed as AVI or MKV files, encoded mainly in DivX/XviD. More recent pirated movies are released in H264.

    The solution for the AppleTV can only come from the pirates themselves. As MP4/H264 can be read on nearly every PC (Mac or Win), pirates just have to switch from MKV container to MP4 (almost same features) and keep their H264/AAC encoding process. For this last part, they just have to check that their content is compatible with AppleTV H264 limitation : currently, pirates are using the full H264 specification, even the latest options, which are not supported by QuickTime nor iTunes. And QuickTime/iTunes/AppleTV can only support stereo AAC, not 2.1 or 5.1 AAC.

    If pirates are targeting a specific device (with rather broad and open standards), this can break AppleTV's major limitation.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    Here is something, for at least 'food for thought"

    http://www.tgdaily.com/index.php?option=com_conten...">AnyDVD now rips HD DVD/Blueray
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    The other major problem is that a high quality encode of a DivX file can be accomplished in about 2-3 hours on a reasonably fast Core 2 Duo setup (say, E6600). If you drop quality a bit, you can get it done in half that time - and I'm talking about typically full length movies for that time frame.

    H.264 encoding easily takes twice as long in my experience and it's not nearly as flexible if you need to target the specific Apple TV standards (i.e. only 5 Mbps and 720p - I can see 720p being fine, but quality at 5Mbps is debatable for some). Then you have a lot of devices that support DivX/Xvid... but not Apple TV's H.264. Decoding of H.264 is also a LOT more complex than DivX HD - a 1280x720 DivX file easily runs on a midrange Pentium M or similar CPU; H.264 requires dual cores or GPU acceleration.

    I personally don't see this device as catering to the necessary market to get lots of illegal content. I think that decision has already come and gone, so without something substantially better (and Apple TV's content requirements are not going to qualify), people will stick with what they already have.
    Reply
  • Awax - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    For transcoding, you can use other tools than Quicktime : x264 is a better/faster encoder for H264 and it supports more than 2 CPUs. So on a Quad MacPro, you'll use all power available. You just need to have the proper H264 profile/level for the AppleTV.

    Encoding/transcoding is not really a problem because it needs to be done only once : you might see new "AppleTV compliant" pirate release appear on your favorite "multimedia content provider".

    Finally, AppleTV is not the only device playing H264 encoded content. The iPod does. And my Archos 604 does. Actually, I'm trying to find the ultimate encoding format to ripp my DVDs (I know, this is bad) so I can play them on my Archos and on the AppleTV I might buy if I can find such a format.
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    you want to have movies that display on your typical 50" HDTV in the same format as the ones displaying on your 1" IpOD?

    Good luck finding a good compromise.
    Reply
  • Awax - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    I don't have a video iPod, I have an http://www.archos.com/products/video/archos_604wif...">Archos 604 (4.3" wide screen, plays video up to DVD resolution in MPEG4 ASP (DivX), MPEG4 AVC (H264), MPEG2 and WMV with AAC and AC3).

    So, if I encode my DVD in their native resolution, I'll be able to play them on both my 604 and my 42" HDReady TV.
    Reply
  • artifex - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    1) I've heard that skipping around in a movie can cause a problem, especially while streaming. Did you find it was always smooth?

    2)I've heard that if you create a slideshow with synced sound, the slideshow will work, but the AppleTV will ignore the music you synced and pick some other music. Did you try this feature and can you confirm whether this is the case?
    Reply
  • giantpandaman2 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    Poor resolution is a huge problem. Also, given your discussion of video bitrates and their effect on video resolution you make no comment about audio decoding, or even if there is any besides stereo. I assume it can pass through digitally encoded audio through the HDMI or Optical, but how high does iTunes actually go?

    What about the price factor? $299 is a decent price for computer hardware, but compare that to $299/399 for an Xbox360 and I have to ask, what's the better deal? I'm not trying to toot the 360's horn--I don't even own one--but I'm genuinely curious as to which makes a better media extender. Off hand I'd guess the 360 due to resolution (especially once the HDMI version hits), horsepower, and the ability to buy content directly from the box, but that's only a guess. Where's your commentary on that?

    Looking at the price and specs of the Apple TV I really expected a harsher verdict. To me the Apple TV looks quite weak, fine for hardcore Apple die hards, but for everyone else wait a few more iterations/generations. I also gotta ask-is a hacked old Xbox a better extender than the Apple TV? Maybe not for mainstream--but Anandtech readers are hardly that.
    Reply
  • ninjit - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    I'm a little surprised at your comment about the apple remote and the Macbook pro - it doesn't sound like you've used them together much.

    There's an option under the Security section of System preferences, that lets you select whether to disable the remote access or not.

    The other (and much more reasonable) option, is to pair the remote that came with your Macbook to the computer - this is really what everyone should do.

    Once paired, only that remote will work with your macbook, and you won't run into the issue you are having with the Apple TV
    Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    This device is good if you buy alot of itune stuff. It lacks in feature from being a true Home MCE box. Dual TV tunner , Xvid , DVIX , Ogg , MKV and other stuff that can have in a MCE box. Reply
  • Awax - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    How much is a MCE ?
    A MacMini can also play all this.

    I think you missed the point : this is basically a iPod with no screen, no battery, HD ouput and Wifi+Ethernet.
    Reply
  • feraltoad - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    I might have two video files on my PC I could extend with this. How can this be considered anything but crippled in regards to video? I think extenders would catch on but for the fact that all of them don't "Just Work" with your "digital home". Maybe Apple sees a "digital niche" for iTunes junkies? I certainly don't think they should use the word "TV" in it. TV=Mindless/Easy

    This looks like a trial run to me. Apple must be throwing this out there to get some ideas for their AppleTV 2 that will have decent file support and support HD.

    I don't think it could be put better than another poster in the AppleTV preview "Wow, Apple created a 2 yr old ultra mobile laptop."
    Reply
  • shady28 - Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - link

    I have both an XBox 360 and the iTV, and I'm a heavy iTunes user. The reality here is that the XBox 360 is nowhere near the ease of use and handiness of the iTV.

    In fact, I've put most of my DVD collection into iTunes at this point. Lots of programs are out there that can do this - I use Jodix Free Ipod video converter among others.

    This makes the iTV able to select any movie or show from my collection and play it in my living room. That's an incredibly convenient feature. Other 'generic' DVR type devices are limited by their drive capacities, whereas my collection can grow on my PC with no effect on my iTV.

    I'm not talking about pirated content here - I know a lot of people with large DVD collections that are messy and hard to manage. This makes it all a snap for the videos, plus I can listen to my iTunes music without having to hook up my ipod to my stereo - yes not a major problem, but one less thing to clutter up the living room.

    For me at least, this was one of my better purchases as far as home entertainment goes.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Monday, March 26, 2007 - link

    quote:

    I don't think it could be put better than another poster in the AppleTV preview "Wow, Apple created a 2 yr old ultra mobile laptop."


    How about: 'Yay, Apple created another heaping pile, of overpriced s**t' ? If it wasnt the same person, then it was another poster who also said something along the lines of: 'This is nothing you could not do for yourself using MiniITX hardware', etc. With which I whole -heartedly agree.

    Now that, that has been said, wake me when something truely innovative comes along ;)
    Reply
  • rjmasotta - Saturday, August 11, 2012 - link

    Question. I am looking to buy the Apple TV G3. I'm trying to solve an issue. I have a 1080p CEILING mounted projector (providing video only, no audio) which is currently wired with component video cables coming from a high-end receiver. The sound is produced from optical out of the reeiver to speakers. Current video inputs are from cable box and DVD. I have an iPad 2 and want to stream video from it( Hulu, Crackel, HBO) to the projector. I don't want to remove the 35' of component cables and replace with HDMI) What I'm thinking is to use the HDMI output from the Apple TV into a HDMI to Component converter device, then take the component output produced and push it through the component video cables which run up, into, and over the ceiling to the projector. I would also use the optical output from the Apple TV to the second optical port on the receiver for sound.

    Does this sound like it will work?
    Reply

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