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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > What does Apple TV do that Chromecast (or Amazon Fire) Does Not?

What does Apple TV do that Chromecast (or Amazon Fire) Does Not?
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ghporter
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Mar 4, 2018, 02:59 PM
 
I'm in a situation where I want a streaming TV device, because my TV's maker (Samsung) doesn't have an app for the service I want to use. I do not have a 4K TV, so the ultra high definition feature of the latest Apple TV isn't a big deal.

Compared to either Chromecast and Fire TV, Apple TV is much more expensive. So what would I get from an Apple TV ($150) that I wouldn't get from Chromecast ($35) or Fire TV ($39)?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Thorzdad
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Mar 4, 2018, 04:55 PM
 
A remote that is insanely easy to lose?
     
turtle777
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Mar 4, 2018, 04:57 PM
 
* TVOS apps
* access to iTunes store / media
* limited voice control (Siri)
* better user interface (subjective)
* Apple home hub functionality

-t
     
ghporter  (op)
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Mar 4, 2018, 09:07 PM
 
Thanks turtle. It sounds like there are some useful features, though most of these aren't particularly applicable to my situation.

Right now my wife and I are considering a number of options. A friend has the 4th Gen Apple TV, and he likes it a lot. I'm particularly impressed by the screen savers that appear to come with the device.

Our TV is a 2013 Samsung, which uses their older OS. Samsung says they have an app for this service for their newer TVs, and promises they're going to release a version for the older OS "later." So that's one avenue. We're also trying to compare and contrast things like using Amazon Prime Channels (which is a subscription service) along with a subscription to the streaming system we're interested.

OK, it's CBS All Access, and yes, it's because we want to see if we (as first run, Original Series Trekies) are impressed by Discovery. Reports from a friend who is exceptionally well versed in all things Trek (from the very beginning) are very promising. But we want to avoid spending a bunch of money to find out for ourselves - particularly since we are pretty new to the streaming television paradigm.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 5, 2018, 04:22 PM
 
Is that the only way to see it, get the CBS app? urg.
     
Thorzdad
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Mar 5, 2018, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
Is that the only way to see it, get the CBS app? urg.
It’s on CBS’s pay streaming service, CBS All-Access, which is available through the CBS website and the CBS app as well as all the usual boxes (Apple TV, Roku, Fire, etc.) Outside the US (and, I think, Canada) it’s available on Netflix.
     
turtle777
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Mar 5, 2018, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Right now my wife and I are considering a number of options. A friend has the 4th Gen Apple TV, and he likes it a lot. I'm particularly impressed by the screen savers that appear to come with the device..
The screensavers are awesome.
I watch those more than cable TV.

Especially after i cut the chord ;-)

-t
     
subego
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Mar 6, 2018, 03:39 PM
 
Talk them up! I need better screen savers.
     
Stogieman
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Mar 7, 2018, 08:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
* TVOS apps
* access to iTunes store / media
* limited voice control (Siri)
* better user interface (subjective)
* Apple home hub functionality

-t
Two more features you forgot to add:

* AirPlay. I mirror the screens of my iPhone and MacBook Pro to my 4K Samsung TV all the time.
* Built-in Bluetooth - You can easily sync wireless headphones to the AppleTV. There is a lot of traffic noise outside my bedroom. This allows me to crank up the volume without disturbing my neighbors.

FYI - DirectTV is running a promotion. Pre-pay for 3 months of DirectTV Now and get a free AppleTV 4K. (32GB) No contracts, you can cancel at anytime. The cheapest package is $35 per month.

$35 * 3 = $105. This will save you $75 on an AppleTV 4K device.

https://www.directvnow.com/appletv?r...SAAEgKlnvD_BwE

Slick shoes?! Are you crazy?!
     
turtle777
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Mar 7, 2018, 10:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stogieman View Post
* AirPlay. I mirror the screens of my iPhone and MacBook Pro to my 4K Samsung TV all the time.
* Built-in Bluetooth - You can easily sync wireless headphones to the AppleTV. There is a lot of traffic noise outside my bedroom. This allows me to crank up the volume without disturbing my neighbors.
Yes, thanks.

I use AirPlay a lot. It's a great feature.

-t
     
subego
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May 10, 2018, 04:02 PM
 
I ended up grabbing an AppleTV.

Are the cool screensavers apps?
     
Chongo
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May 10, 2018, 04:27 PM
 
I have it set to use my iCloud photos.
     
subego
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May 10, 2018, 05:42 PM
 
At this point, 90% of my “photos” are screen grabs from my phone and crappy memes.
     
subego
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May 10, 2018, 06:04 PM
 
     
subego
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May 11, 2018, 12:26 PM
 
I was kinda hoping for something like Flurry or Magnetosphere.
     
Chongo
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May 14, 2018, 06:40 PM
 
I bought an 64 GB Apple 4K in anticipation of upgrading to a 4K set. I noticed when watching movies showing they are 5.1, my receiver shows PCM, not Dolby Digital. Is it sending uncompressed PCM/DD Tru HD? I checked the Apple website and I did not see any there there other than DD 5.1 and 7.1. Under the audio menu it has “best audio” selected.
     
P
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May 15, 2018, 05:45 PM
 
Most likely it does, yes. Exactly what format it uses will be negotiated to some extent between the receiver and the AppleTV, but HDMI supports up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio, so it is certainly possible.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Chongo
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May 20, 2018, 06:31 PM
 
Next question. YCbCr or RGB high/low? Current settings are: 1080p SDR, HDMI output RGB high, Match content: range and frame rate.

TV is PN60F5300 Sammy plasma.
     
Chongo
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May 20, 2018, 06:47 PM
 
Does the unit auto select the best video settings?
If not, YCbCr or RGB/high low?
I have it set now as
1080p SDR
RGH high
Match content set to match dynamic range and frame rate.
TV is an PN60F5300 60” Sammy PDP
     
P
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May 23, 2018, 04:20 PM
 
It should select the best automatically, but if it doesn’t, RGB High is the highest quality if your TV supports it. If you use that now and the TV hasn’t exploded, you’re fine.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Chongo
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Apr 22, 2019, 06:30 PM
 
"Hi Res Audio" inquiry.
Will there ever be a "Hi Res" tier for Apple Music" Is the ATV 4K even capable of handling "Hi Res" audio? Tidal is available in the ATV app store. It has an MQA tier.
     
turtle777
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Apr 22, 2019, 10:19 PM
 
Allmost nobody cares about High Res audio.

And what type of receiver will handle the required digital-to-analogue conversion with sufficient quality to make it worth your while ?
Your plain vanilla ADAC is not going to cut it.

-t
     
Chongo
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Apr 23, 2019, 12:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Allmost nobody cares about High Res audio.

And what type of receiver will handle the required digital-to-analogue conversion with sufficient quality to make it worth your while ?
Your plain vanilla ADAC is not going to cut it.

-t
No shinola. I’ve watched some of the YouTube videos from this year’s Axpona, $$$$$$$$$! Ten grand for a turntable? I did a search for 5.1 speaker placement and came across PS Audio videos. I checked out their website. The least expensive unit is the Sprout, $599, paired with a set of Elac speakers, $899. The Sprout is the only integrated amp. The rest are separates.
https://www.psaudio.com/

So snake oil?

Edit: what, you mean tell me my lowly RX-V373 Yamaha is not worthy? The specs clearly says it can handle DSD/SACDs!
( Last edited by Chongo; Apr 23, 2019 at 12:45 AM. )
     
turtle777
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Apr 23, 2019, 06:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
No shinola. I’ve watched some of the YouTube videos from this year’s Axpona, $$$$$$$$$! Ten grand for a turntable? I did a search for 5.1 speaker placement and came across PS Audio videos. I checked out their website. The least expensive unit is the Sprout, $599, paired with a set of Elac speakers, $899. The Sprout is the only integrated amp. The rest are separates.
https://www.psaudio.com/

So snake oil?

Edit: what, you mean tell me my lowly RX-V373 Yamaha is not worthy? The specs clearly says it can handle DSD/SACDs!
"Can handle" doesn't mean anything.

If you want to take advantage of uncompressed audio, you need special dedicated ADAC, and most likely, very good headphones. Or speakers that cost 4-5 digits.
A stock receiver / speakers will not give you the quality that will let you distinguish uncompressed audio from well compressed audio.

I wouldn't call it snake oil, but 99% of the people can't hear the difference between a good AAC file and uncompressed audio.

-t
     
Chongo
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Apr 23, 2019, 11:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
"Can handle" doesn't mean anything.

If you want to take advantage of uncompressed audio, you need special dedicated ADAC, and most likely, very good headphones. Or speakers that cost 4-5 digits.
A stock receiver / speakers will not give you the quality that will let you distinguish uncompressed audio from well compressed audio.

I wouldn't call it snake oil, but 99% of the people can't hear the difference between a good AAC file and uncompressed audio.

-t
My iTunes rips are a mix of AAC and ALAC.
The Wikipedia article on CD v SACD:
In the audiophile community, the sound from the SACD format is thought to be significantly better than that of CD. For example, one supplier claims that "The DSD process used for producing SACDs captures more of the nuances from a performance and reproduces them with a clarity and transparency not possible with CD."[40]

In September 2007, the Audio Engineering Society published the results of a year-long trial, in which a range of subjects including professional recording engineers were asked to discern the difference between SACD and a compact disc audio (44.1 kHz/16 bit) conversion of the same source material under double blind test conditions. Out of 554 trials, there were 276 correct answers, a 49.8% success rate corresponding almost exactly to the 50% that would have been expected by chance guessing alone.[41] When the level of the signal was elevated by 14 dB or more, the test subjects were able to detect the higher noise floor of the CD quality loop easily.[1] The authors commented:

Now, it is very difficult to use negative results to prove the inaudibility of any given phenomenon or process. There is always the remote possibility that a different system or more finely attuned pair of ears would reveal a difference. But we have gathered enough data, using sufficiently varied and capable systems and listeners, to state that the burden of proof has now shifted. Further claims that careful 16/44.1 encoding audibly degrades high resolution signals must be supported by properly controlled double-blind tests.[1]

Following criticism that the original published results of the study were not sufficiently detailed, the AES published a list of the audio equipment and recordings used during the tests.[42]
My guess is they weren’t using a HTIB for the comparison tests. The ATV converts everything to 48 kHz uncompressed PCM. Kinda makes the Tidal MQA tier a waste of money, unless you’re using an iPhone XS and a $$$$$$ set of headphones.

Not to stray too far off topic, I was asking this because I need to get a stand-alone BluRay player because my PS3 has a noisy ass fan that kicks on during movies, that and it will no play my “The Benny Goodman Story” import. I was looking at the 4K players and some play SACDs/Hi Res files. I would not need that feature if the ATV could. I don’t need one that does streaming since I have the ATV, so I will look for one as basic as possible.
     
Dex13
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Apr 24, 2019, 08:40 PM
 
I know you're mildly on the apple tv train ...

the chromecast controls and connectivity are downright garbage when running it from iOS device. I did the Pepsi challenge with my friend's android, and it worked perfectly, of course!
sometimes when we jump to a specific spot in a film or sports game ... it will just restart ... or it will rewind or fast forward too far ... or the "casting" will just downright stop as well. *only with an iOS device

Chongo -- depends on what decoders your receiver or soundbar, etc has ... not every signal will be converted to a codec unless forced ... i usually leave mine on Auto Format Decoder
( Last edited by Dex13; May 8, 2019 at 01:51 AM. )
     
   
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