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Thinking about Apple TV pt.II

 
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CNK
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:24 pm    Post subject: Thinking about Apple TV pt.II Reply with quote

Thanks all for the input and guidance.....very helpful with getting ready to purchase the atv!....and most importantly convincing the wife that it would be a good solution for a toned down (not using our mini) HTPC. One of my main lines of thinking with using the atv as an "HTPC", besides using it as a front end for my mini's content over our LCD is for rethinking our need/use for Comcast. Living in the northeast this is our only option and it bothers me to no end that I pay for subscription packages where we only watch a few of the channels. Our lifestyle is such that basic cable plus a few select shows from various channels would be fine. My hope is to turn in the digital and DVR boxes back in to comcast (thus saving the stupid "rental" fees of their equipment) and use the atv as an alternative to comcast. I would still have the cable (physical cable from the wall) where I could view free OTA stuff along with free HD channels (LCD tv has an HD tuner)....and with the atv, use the very cool feature of purchasing single shows or seasons of the couple of shows we both watch together. This was a huge selling point (along with saving dough not giving it to comcast) for the wife! Any thoughts or ideas on how a setup such as this sounds? Leads me to a technical question..........

Can the atv be hooked up directly to a Surround Sound Receiver instead of to the tv itself via HDMI? The receiver has optical audio in and plenty of hdmi inputs/outputs......I'm thinking it would be easier to use the receivers remote to switch back and forth from normal tv mode to the atv.

thanks again all!

chris
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup.

I tried HDMI and Component Video from my ATV to my 42" Panasonic Plasma. Turns out the Component looked better.

(Apparently the scaler in the TV is better than the one in the ATV)

Either way, the optical output was still alive.

It turns out you can have your cake and eat it too! Wink
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usarcher
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes to the receiver. Right now I have mine running HDMI to the LCD and optical to my receiver, its getting old Crying or Very sad. I would really like to get Pioneer's new VSX-1018AH-K and just run HDMI from the AppleTV to the receiver, then HDMI from the Pioneer to the LCD. This is another good reason to get an iPhone/touch. When the tv is off you can still access and listen to your music through the receiver by selecting them on the iPhone/touch screen.

Your proposed setup is what I did with my AppleTV. I just have cable for the internet, no basic programing at all. I get all the tv I need in better HD quality right over the air for free and I am in the northeast as well, Maine. I don't even remember the last time I used my DVD player. All my videos just stream from my iMac. I can rent a movie anytime I feel like it, or buy shows that I just have to see.

I used these ideas to convince my wife and she now loves the AppleTV, and is extremely glad that we bought one. Don't waste your money on the 160GB version, just get the 40GB. If you have a Sam's Club in your area check it out, my local store has the 40GB for $178. Wish it was that when I bought mine Confused
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

usarcher,

another solution to your multiple inputs/switching problem is a nice universal remote.

I have a Harmony H880. It works great. I set it up to switch all my inputs on my TV and receiver depending on what I want to watch.

(i.e. - ATV or Cable Box)

No DVD player here either! If I need to watch a DVD, I rip it with MTR (it's pretty fast) then just transfer to the external drive on the ATV.

Most of the time, I'm not in a rush, so I just rip it with Handbrake then transfer to either iTunes or the external drive.

Easy, peasy!
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usarcher
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:
usarcher,

another solution to your multiple inputs/switching problem is a nice universal remote.

I have a Harmony H880. It works great. I set it up to switch all my inputs on my TV and receiver depending on what I want to watch.

(i.e. - ATV or Cable Box)

No DVD player here either! If I need to watch a DVD, I rip it with MTR (it's pretty fast) then just transfer to the external drive on the ATV.

Most of the time, I'm not in a rush, so I just rip it with Handbrake then transfer to either iTunes or the external drive.

Easy, peasy!


HM,

Thanks for the advice, I really would like to get a Harmony. My biggest issue is simply to cut down on the cabling. Thats is why I want to run everything with HDMI. Now if only wireless HDMI was more widespread and cheaper... Wink
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

usarcher wrote:
My biggest issue is simply to cut down on the cabling. Thats is why I want to run everything with HDMI.


Just a thought.

I would certainly try different cabling methods. As I found out, using Component cables and setting my ATV (and cable box for that matter) to output 1080i (analog signal) vs. outputting 720p proved to be a better picture.

(again, I'm guessing the scaler in my TV is better than the ones in my cable box and ATV)

While I certainly understand your wanting to reduce cables, I'll always go with the solution that gives me the best picture and sound and over come any "switching" issues with a remote.

Just a thought and my 2 cents. . .

Oh! and I would never run anything more than audio through my receiver. No point in making any more connections in the video path than required.

Albeit, easier, It leaves more room for failure and signal degradation. . .

2 more cents? LOL Laughing
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usarcher
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:
usarcher wrote:
My biggest issue is simply to cut down on the cabling. Thats is why I want to run everything with HDMI.


Just a thought.

I would certainly try different cabling methods. As I found out, using Component cables and setting my ATV (and cable box for that matter) to output 1080i (analog signal) vs. outputting 720p proved to be a better picture.

(again, I'm guessing the scaler in my TV is better than the ones in my cable box and ATV)

While I certainly understand your wanting to reduce cables, I'll always go with the solution that gives me the best picture and sound and over come any "switching" issues with a remote.

Just a thought and my 2 cents. . .

Oh! and I would never run anything more than audio through my receiver. No point in making any more connections in the video path than required.

Albeit, easier, It leaves more room for failure and signal degradation. . .

2 more cents? LOL Laughing


I should try the component, although I am really happy with the quality from the HDMI.

I hear you about sending video straight to the tv, that's how I used to think. Prior to the AppleTV when it was the xbox and dvd player I tried and my old CRT HDTV, it had several Component inputs so I used those and just sent audio to the receiver. Then I moved and didn't want to deal with moving a 250 pound tv, so I got an LCD which switched out the slew of component for just one and added HDMI. To keep both units hooked up had to run the video through the receiver, and honestly there was no difference in picture quality. But everyone will have a different experience with different setups.

How is the atv flash working for you HM? I keep going back and forth with the idea of getting it.

You do have some of the best pennies around Wink
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

usarcher wrote:
How is the atv flash working for you HM? I keep going back and forth with the idea of getting it.


No problems. It works great! Well worth the $50. Just don't expect too much help over at the AppleCoreLLC forums. Wink
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Sipper
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hackersmovie wrote:
usarcher wrote:
How is the atv flash working for you HM? I keep going back and forth with the idea of getting it.


No problems. It works great! Well worth the $50. Just don't expect too much help over at the AppleCoreLLC forums. Wink


Seconded, and seconded Smile

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chris_b
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been a happy ATV owner for a few months, and would also recommend going for the 40GB version. All the music and photo content I watch is only streamed from my other Mac's anyway so disk space is not an issue.

Movie rentals only come in at about 2GB or so a movie in HD and will be deleted once you have watched them anyway.

Don't forget the Apple refurb store also. In the UK ATV's (both 40 & 160GB) tend to come up about once a week on average, but tend to go fairly quickly. Not sure about the US refurb store, but the UK one seems to get updated between 8-9am most weekday mornings, which is the best time to get the best choice. Given the same warranty, it seems mad to pay full price when the refurb is usually 30%+ cheaper.

If you have a Mac check out the "RefurbMe" desktop widget - one of the best ones I have used and shows live stock levels for your country's refurb store.

ATV makes so much sense if you have other Mac's in the household - the music and photo streaming are so useful, and the movie rental selection just gets better and better.
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castaway
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris_b wrote:
If you have a Mac check out the "RefurbMe" desktop widget - one of the best ones I have used and shows live stock levels for your country's refurb store.

Thanks for mentioning this widget. I wasn't aware of it.

As for my feelings on the Apple TV. Like chris_b said, it's a nice product if you already have a bunch of Macs. I'm not sure that it's the ultimate HTPC device on its own though. At least not without being modified with aTV Flash or Boxee.
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