I Got my AppleTV!

Poll: Got or getting AppleTV?
Total Votes: 17
Why?/Don’t Need
3
No
7
Yes
7
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    Posted: 29 March 2007 07:23 PM #16

    [quote author=“KitsuneStudios”]Is the remote Bluetooth or IR, and is it interchangable with a Front-row equipped mac?

    Kind of curious if you could teach a learning remote to mimic it. I have a second-hand palm pilot I use almost exclusively as a remote control with NoviiRemote.

    Someone wrote in one of the discussions that the remote for the Apple TV kept turning on Front Row on a Mac in the same room. One can “pair” the remote with a single device, though. As I recall, Jobs said that it used the same remote as the iMac, Mac Mini, etc.

    It is an IR remote. You might be able to teach the commands to your Palm, though there are some unusual features, apparently, inlcluding the length of the command.

    As I’ve written before, it shouldn’t be long before Logitech includes the Apple TV in the setup for their Harmony remotes . Some users have found a way to do it, both by learning the commands and by treating the Apple TV as a Mac Mini with Front Row.

         
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    Posted: 01 April 2007 11:00 PM #17

    I stopped by my local Apple Store today and did a quick test drive of one of the Apple TVs on display (attached to what I believe were 32” 720p/768p sets).  Pretty nice interface, smooth as butter (the GeForce 7300 chip was a very good call), super-easy to navigate.  But video quality?  Er…not too sure about that.  I was only there for a couple minutes, so I didn’t load up a movie myself, but I did try streaming the Blades of Glory trailer.  I also saw maybe 20 seconds of footage from The Incredibles (don’t know if it was the trailer or the actual movie).  There was an awful lot of pixelation in both videos, though it was way more pronounced in the Blades of Glory trailer.  Obviously, standing back 10 or so feet would help, but when the AppleTV interface is so clean and sharp, it is a significant difference.  I’d assumed AppleTV automatically pulls only HD trailers by default, but maybe I was wrong.

    Anyway, what’s your thoughts on vid quality DaiMac?  I’ll have to give the AppleTV another demo, but right now I’m think Apple might do well to do “smart resizing” of certain video files.  Sure, a black border might be a little unnerving, but if it improves the video quality, I think buyers would appreciate it.

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  • Posted: 01 April 2007 11:55 PM #18

    [quote author=“Mav”]
    Anyway, what’s your thoughts on vid quality DaiMac?  I’ll have to give the AppleTV another demo, but right now I’m think Apple might do well to do “smart resizing” of certain video files.  Sure, a black border might be a little unnerving, but if it improves the video quality, I think buyers would appreciate it.

    The trailers are a horrible example, I’m surprised Apple didn’t send a disc with some HD video along with their demo units so people could see it in action. In fact I despise the entire iTunes top movie/music/trailers options, because not only do they not allow one click buying, but only listing 10 (for iTunes Movies/Music) is silly, give 100. On the trailers, not only should they be in HD only but they should be at least as up to date and detailed in their information as Apple’s Quicktime Trailers website. It seems stupid, hopefully this will be addressed in AppleTV software update 1.x at some point soon.

    The very best example using content that is free and easy, not requiring conversion, is one of the high-res podcasts available on the iTunes store. I’ve found two that are excellent:
    Matthewhooper.com
    MerlinShow

    Please note I’m not vouching for their content (good or bad), they’re just good examples of what high-res AppleTV video looks like. They’re only 480p, but they still look nice.

    Two shows that look great from the iTunes store are Heroes and Battlestar Galactica, although they’re not in actual HD resolution the video still looks excellent, and fills the screen nicely (one exception in what I’ve watched so far, episode 5 of BSG season 3 has weird video lag). I’ve also converted a few xvid and divx HD clips, took their sweet time converting but the result is of equal quality to the source, looks good on screen.

    In terms of video resizing, one thing that would be nice is an option to display things at native resolution, because as you observed it gets ugly when a medium sized clip is blown up to 720p, all the hardware and software scaling tricks in the world only do so much when you’re upconverting to that extent. On the other hand, if you have a medium-small HD display then smaller videos might be as bad or worse at their native size then blown up. What would have been good is some type of display control for each video during playback with different size options, but that might have required a more complex remote.

    On the black borders, while I think what you said about it is perfectly rational, having worked at a retail chain that primarily sells dvds and cds, I can tell you that a large percentage of consumers irrationally hate them. They don’t understand technical issues like resolutions and film aspect, they simply feel like the money they spent on their TV, DVD player, and movie is wasted if the movie only fills 60 percent of the screen. Even when I explained to people that taking a movie shot specifically in widescreen format and putting it in a 4:3 format requires nasty digital cuts and frame cropping, they still want the fullscreen “because my grandma hates those black bars.” I suspect this has something to do with Apple’s emphasis on videos filling as much of the screen as possible, but I might be wrong.

    All of that said, at the rate the crazy, warranty-disregarding hackers over at hackint0sh and http://www.appletvhacks.net are going, they’ll be a softmod program that can be loaded on a usb stick to hack in all of the functionality Apple didn’t think to add for this first revision. I don’t want to crack open my box (though it looks relatively painless) just yet, but once more issues have been worked out and its clear how Apple is going to proceed (will they turn a blind eye or try and break hacks with software updates) I might give it a try.

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