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Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in!
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kaidomac
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

The idea of an AppleTV is appealing to me, but the HDTV requirement isn't, nor is the $300 pricetag. I just have regular, standard-definition tube TVs in my house and no real desire to get an HDTV yet. I only get like 8 high-definition channels in my area and I don't really want to spend $1,000+ just so I can watch grainy, pixelated SDTV/DVD shows on a new HDTV. Hmm, what to do...

Solution? Xbox Media Center with the xTV skin. If you're not familiar with Xbox Media Center (XBMC), it's basically multimedia software that you load on your Xbox after installing a modchip or doing a "softmod". While the Xbox isn't powerful enough to run full-on HD content (or DRM-protected material, for that matter), it's perfect for SD content. I have a picture and a video below, please excuse the mess and low lighting conditions:

xTV skin for XBMC

xTV in action

It's not as small or as nice-looking as an AppleTV, but it's about $200 cheaper and it plays nice with my plain old tube TV. It doubles as a DVD player, too. Technically it can play HD if the show is encoded properly (like in DivX format), but it will choke on 1080p stuff. However, it can upconvert shows to HD if you have an HDTV. So, if you're an AppleTV fan and have been left out in the cold by Apple because you don't have an HDTV, here's a nice option for you Cool


Last edited by kaidomac on Wed May 09, 2007 12:36 pm; edited 4 times in total
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kaidomac
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

I forgot to explain the video. The Xbox is hooked up to my router, which in turn is hooked up to my laptop (I haven't run Ethernet for the network yet, which is the reason for the mess). The Xbox is streaming videos from my laptop to the TV (in case you're wondering, the shows playing are Shanghai Knights with Jackie Chan and an episode of The Lone Gunman, an X-files TV show spinoff).

You can use any computer that is capable of file sharing and has enough disk space for video to store your movie files. The Xbox is capable of playing a variety of formats, pretty much anything that isn't DRM-protected. Part of the reason for setting up a "DVD Jukebox" file server came from my DVD problem, i.e. kids would come over and scratch up the DVD disc, friends would borrow movies and never return them, etc. With tools like Mac the Ripper and Handbrake, you can store your movie collection on your computer and keep your movies safely locked up. If you have kids, it's a great solution because the worst they can do is break the remote, not your expensive DVD collection of Spongebob Squarepants Wink
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Ben Tex
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is pretty cool! Cool
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was chatting with a friend of mine about this just last week. I was considering picking up an Xbox, if I can score one cheaply, just to run xbmc, but with this skin, it's even prettier.
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kaidomac
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ClunkClunk wrote:
I was chatting with a friend of mine about this just last week. I was considering picking up an Xbox, if I can score one cheaply, just to run xbmc, but with this skin, it's even prettier.


Yeah, installation is cake. Solder in a modchip, load up the software, tweak with the xTV skin and point it to your network. Takes all of an hour. EB Games usually has used consoles for like $109; modchips are available online for like $15 (I recommend the DuoX2 chip). You can upgrade the Xbox's stock 8 or 10gb hard drive up to 500gb as well (500gb drives are down to around $120 if you catch a good sale). If you want remote control functionality, you'll need an *official* Microsoft DVD kit (remote & dongle, $10 on eBay - make sure you don't get a knockoff!) plus an XERC 2 chip from Sickmods ($19). You can actually use a universal remote like a Logitech Harmony with the DVD dongle and XERC chip too - remote control and remote on/off. $109+$15+$120+$10+$19=$273...cheaper than the AppleTV, plus you get a 500gb drive! Very Happy
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Ben Tex
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kaidomac wrote:
the AppleTV, plus you get a 500gb drive! Very Happy


I'm just over a fifth way there. Laughing

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shorafix
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 11:35 am    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

kaidomac wrote:
The idea of an AppleTV is appealing to me, but the HDTV requirement isn't, nor is the $300 pricetag. I just have regular, standard-definition tube TVs in my house and no real desire to get an HDTV yet. I only get like 8 high-definition channels in my area and I don't really want to spend $1,000+ just so I can watch grainy, pixelated SDTV/DVD shows on a new HDTV. Hmm, what to do...

Funny that you listed that topic under "want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV"? Of course there are other solutions that may suit one better depending on the individuall need and budget - and that's what is going to drive Apple to make their products better and better. So thanks for the link.

However, for those who really want AppleTV without replacing their tubes, there are solutions on hand. Video Converters such as Hama Video Converter 2-3, priced @ 80,- Euro or J.S. Technologies RGB to Video converter simply convert component to Scart. Thanks to Apple a child and spouse proof solution for everyone.

By the way, it's not my intention to start a thread of "what's better Microsoft XBox or AppleTV". If someone likes to do so, you better start a new topic - maybe interesting. For me AppleTV works nicely (yet it may be improved in the future). I just like to point out solutions for the problem using a tube on AppleTV:

Here in Europe look up the following links (and there should be plenty options across the pond):
http://www.js-technology.com/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=52&osCsid=9983771025a24f2c802db03ce50fda27
http://www.hama.de/en
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kaidomac
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

shorafix wrote:
kaidomac wrote:
The idea of an AppleTV is appealing to me, but the HDTV requirement isn't, nor is the $300 pricetag. I just have regular, standard-definition tube TVs in my house and no real desire to get an HDTV yet. I only get like 8 high-definition channels in my area and I don't really want to spend $1,000+ just so I can watch grainy, pixelated SDTV/DVD shows on a new HDTV. Hmm, what to do...

Funny that you listed that topic under "want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV"? Of course there are other solutions that may suit one better depending on the individuall need and budget - and that's what is going to drive Apple to make their products better and better. So thanks for the link.

However, for those who really want AppleTV without replacing their tubes, there are solutions on hand. Video Converters such as Hama Video Converter 2-3, priced @ 80,- Euro or J.S. Technologies RGB to Video converter simply convert component to Scart. Thanks to Apple a child and spouse proof solution for everyone.

By the way, it's not my intention to start a thread of "what's better Microsoft XBox or AppleTV". If someone likes to do so, you better start a new topic - maybe interesting. For me AppleTV works nicely (yet it may be improved in the future). I just like to point out solutions for the problem using a tube on AppleTV:

Here in Europe look up the following links (and there should be plenty options across the pond):
http://www.js-technology.com/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=52&osCsid=9983771025a24f2c802db03ce50fda27
http://www.hama.de/en


So if I understand you correctly, you can purchase one of those adapters to enable an AppleTV to work on a non-HDTV?
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

shorafix wrote:
However, for those who really want AppleTV without replacing their tubes, there are solutions on hand. Video Converters such as Hama Video Converter 2-3, priced @ 80,- Euro or J.S. Technologies RGB to Video converter simply convert component to Scart. Thanks to Apple a child and spouse proof solution for everyone.

Unfortunately, in the US we don't use Scart. I'm not aware of a device yet that will convert the HDMI or Component signal of the AppleTV to a signal that's suitable for 4:3 standard definition TVs, without distorting the aspect ratio of some content.
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shorafix
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

ClunkClunk wrote:

Unfortunately, in the US we don't use Scart. I'm not aware of a device yet that will convert the HDMI or Component signal of the AppleTV to a signal that's suitable for 4:3 standard definition TVs, without distorting the aspect ratio of some content.

ClunkClunk
"Scart" is just a hardware plug/socket equivalent to S-Video/Cinch. I would have been surprised if there was no solution (http://www.svideo.com/appletv2tv.html).
Moreover, there is no issue regarding the aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9) since this can be set-up on AppleTV easily - just try out the available video standards and you know what I am talking about.

By the way, I am travelling to the States frequently since 1975 and always found an appropriate way to show pictures and movies to my family and friends. Let's say: it was never that easy as today.


Last edited by shorafix on Fri May 25, 2007 7:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

kaidomac wrote:

So if I understand you correctly, you can purchase one of those adapters to enable an AppleTV to work on a non-HDTV?


YES, definetely!

look here: http://www.svideo.com/appletv2tv.html
Cool
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Yvan256
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

shorafix wrote:
Moreover, there is no issue regarding the aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9) since this can be set-up on AppleTV easily - just try out the available video standards and you know what I am talking about.


Actually there is an issue with the aspect ratio. The AppleTV doesn't support 4:3 ratio displays, at all. There's no setting for that.

The only choices are between different NTSC and PAL widescreen resolutions. And yes, 480i also assumes a 16:9 display, not a 4:3 one.


shorafix wrote:
kaidomac wrote:

So if I understand you correctly, you can purchase one of those adapters to enable an AppleTV to work on a non-HDTV?


YES, definetely!

look here: http://www.svideo.com/appletv2tv.html
Cool


I had an AppleTV2TV converter on order (since my TV doesn't have a widescreen mode), however after a few emails they finally told me their converter would not do anything about the aspect ratio, it only converts the component signal to S-Video. The description seemed to imply otherwise, though I think they changed it.
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shorafix
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

Yvan256 wrote:

Actually there is an issue with the aspect ratio. The AppleTV doesn't support 4:3 ratio displays, at all. There's no setting for that.

The only choices are between different NTSC and PAL widescreen resolutions. And yes, 480i also assumes a 16:9 display, not a 4:3 one.


I just checked on one of our screens setting it to a fixed 4:3 ratio (with gray bars to the left and the right): when selecting 480p (NTSC) or 576p (Pal) from within the AppleTV settings, first it seemed to be a correct 4:3 ratio of the AppleTV menue is displayed to the screen. However, you need a TV-set able to switch to 16:9 (letterboxed). This feature should be available on any device sold somewhat in the late 90ies.
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kaidomac
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Want AppleTV but don't have an HDTV? Come on in! Reply with quote

New video:

http://orionmods.com/temp/appletv.avi

Takes about 10 seconds to boot, then goes into the opening video sequence for the AppleTV, then loads the interface. Very slick if I do say so myself Cool
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I may have had a brain fart here...can someone post any/all the links info needed to do this xbox mod? I would like to try it, I have an xbox sitting around not being used. If it is a minimal cost I would like to try it out. I couldn't seem to sift thru the info above. (i am not xbox lingo savvy) I went to the site links, just don't know which "board" or "boards" I need.

thanks for the help in advance!!!!
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