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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Apple TV Take 2 - first impressions

Apple TV Take 2 - first impressions
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Hanul
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Feb 12, 2008, 05:28 PM
 
I upgraded my Apple TV to the new software an hour ago and I would like to share my first impressions:

* new "TV screens" startup screen - nice
* new UI - so lala, the new square window overlayed semi-transparently over some cover art isn't as nice as the "old" one, but menu options got more and are better accessible this way. Going down a menu shows the "old type" sub-menues.
* Downloading an HD movie (via DSL 6MBit) takes a long time. Apple TV offered to start the movie, when 17% have been reached (may vary). To get there took ca. 45 minutes.
* Music video playlists still don't run continously. It stops after each video.
     
pman68
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Feb 12, 2008, 05:51 PM
 
How does the HD "look"?
     
wingdo
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Feb 12, 2008, 06:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hanul View Post
* Music video playlists still don't run continously. It stops after each video.
Sigh.

This is SO stupid, I don't know why they can't get this done.
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Nexus5
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Feb 12, 2008, 06:32 PM
 
You can now use the Apple TV as an AirTunes basestation! It even shows the title on the screen. Great!

nexus5.
     
Toyin
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Feb 12, 2008, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hanul View Post
I upgraded my Apple TV to the new software an hour ago and I would like to share my first impressions:

* Downloading an HD movie (via DSL 6MBit) takes a long time. Apple TV offered to start the movie, when 17% have been reached (may vary). To get there took ca. 45 minutes.
.
I use Comcast. It gave me the okay to watch a HD movie in about 1 minute! I was quite surprised, since X-box on the same network takes about 10minutes before it's ready. Unfortunately I don't have time to watch it, so I couldn't tell if it really would have been an uneventful viewing. 10% was downloaded in 6 minutes, so total download should take about an hour.
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Eriamjh
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Feb 12, 2008, 07:21 PM
 
I heard it supports 1080p. Can anyone confirm?

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Wiskedjak
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Feb 12, 2008, 07:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Nexus5 View Post
You can now use the Apple TV as an AirTunes basestation! It even shows the title on the screen. Great!

nexus5.
Couldn't you essentially do that before? In fact, it was better than AirTunes since you could control the music from the ATV rather than from the computer.
     
Wiskedjak
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Feb 12, 2008, 07:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Hanul View Post
* new UI - so lala, the new square window overlayed semi-transparently over some cover art isn't as nice as the "old" one, but menu options got more and are better accessible this way. Going down a menu shows the "old type" sub-menues.
I don't get the new UI. It looks like it was designed by the same guy who designed the Gen3 iPod and killed off all of the sophisticated design elements of the previous generation.
     
drmcnutt
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Feb 12, 2008, 07:51 PM
 
I played with it today. Very cool update. I like the greater functionality of the UI. I have not rented anything yet. I'll wait until we really want something. I did view some podcasts and I like the fact that you don't have to download them and sync them anymore. That's awesome!

I was worried the update would be deluged by many people trying to DL at the same time, but I forgot that the user base is smaller and everything went smooth. Love my AppleTV.

The hardware is not 1080P, but can display at 1080i. BTW.
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drmcnutt
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Feb 12, 2008, 07:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
I don't get the new UI. It looks like it was designed by the same guy who designed the Gen3 iPod and killed off all of the sophisticated design elements of the previous generation.
I think the change makes it easier to tell where you are at with in the menus. With some of the options you go rather deep into the menus. The back, back, back required to get you out of some of the new options would probably get pretty old.

My 2 cents.
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Eriamjh
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Feb 12, 2008, 08:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
I heard it supports 1080p. Can anyone confirm?
Macrumors says 1080p signal output, but max resolution Apple TV can display is still 720p. This jives with Apple's tech spec page.

D'oh.

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swiz
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Feb 12, 2008, 08:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Couldn't you essentially do that before? In fact, it was better than AirTunes since you could control the music from the ATV rather than from the computer.
Its better now becasue you can still control from the tv but also the computer now. It even allows me to control tv as an Airtunes device from my iBook while Im "borrowing" from my remote Mac iTunes.

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gperks
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Feb 12, 2008, 08:59 PM
 
1080p and 1080i are now available options. Whether it really outputs 1080 I don't know.
     
imitchellg5
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Feb 12, 2008, 09:02 PM
 
1080 is just an upscaling. IMO, the menus look a lot better in 720p.
     
The Wolf
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Feb 12, 2008, 09:03 PM
 
Can you "sync" 2 or more iTunes computers now?
     
The Wolf
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Feb 12, 2008, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by gperks View Post
1080p and 1080i are now available options. Whether it really outputs 1080 I don't know.
which should I select for the best image?
1080p
1080i
1080i 50 mhz (whatever it is)
???

Also, is the actual high def download better than the high def "preview"? On my TV the preview looks a little weak.
     
mikemako
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Feb 12, 2008, 10:04 PM
 
My first impression is that the new UI is a big improvement, both functionally and aesthetically. I like the way you can flip through the DVD's and TV Shows. And moving around through the menu feels more logical. I love the look, it feels like I am using a giant iPhone. So simple.
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pman68
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Feb 12, 2008, 11:15 PM
 
My experience so far.

Update took a while15-20 minutes or so, rebooted like 5 times. Everything up and running. Renting Simpson the Movie in HD. SO far, 25% downloaded in about 50 minutes on a Charter 5 Mbit connection. No message about being able to start the movie yet. I, too, was under the impression it would be quicker than this. Maybe time to upgrade to 10Mbit?

What are some other download times? Is regular SD much faster to start streaming??
     
BGK
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Feb 12, 2008, 11:30 PM
 
I've noticed a few things I don't like so far:

1) it doesn't seem to remember where I've left off on some audio podcasts. At least some of them, perhaps the ones that haven't sync'd over from iTunes yet.

2) I had deleted a lot of movies from my Mac HD but kept the icons in iTunes. in the last update, this meant ATV was tricked and the movies stayed on its HD. with the new update, iTunes resync'd and recognized the actual missing files on the Mac HD, thus freeing up its space... this is a big inconvenience.

3) I downloaded an Alaskan HD podcast and it said ATV would not support this video!

What I do like:

The new GUI.

Access to new podcasts right through the iTunes music store, adding them to My Favorites.

Holding down the Menu button on the remote brings up the menu overlay over everything. Pressing it again toggles you right back to where you were.

Awesome!
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AppleGirl1990
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Feb 13, 2008, 08:38 AM
 
Lets talk about MOVIE VIEWING QUALITY:

Watching a 'regular movie' is no good. Quality is that of standard television. Which when blown up big on a 60 inch HD TV, look aweful.

However, watching a 'high definition' movie is awesome. It's crystal clear! I was very impressed.

For me, i would only rent an HD movie because of this HUGE quality difference.
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KeyLimePi
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Feb 13, 2008, 08:56 AM
 
So, let me get this straight. There is no option to purchase movies from the Apple TV menu. Correct? So can you still purchase movies through iTunes, or did Apple get rid of buying altogether?
     
Mrjinglesusa
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Feb 13, 2008, 09:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by gperks View Post
1080p and 1080i are now available options. Whether it really outputs 1080 I don't know.
You sure about that? I have my ATV connected to a 1080p display and I only get options for 1080i and 720p. There is no option for 1080p that I can see.
     
bwatson009
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Feb 13, 2008, 10:04 AM
 
Just as an FYI, after the update my Macbook Pro did not "see" the Apple TV. I discovered this after encountering a bizarre error on the Apple TV itself after mistyping my apple ID while attempting to rent a movie. It instructed me to go to itunes to correct my account settings. (Would have been nice to have a "back" button here so I could attempt again.) Anyways, I open iTunes, and while I am able to stream music to it Airport Express-style, it never appears under devices in iTunes. I did the "preserve network settings" reset, hoping it would clear my cached credentials and allow me to try again, to no avail. Then I removed the power supply on the Apple TV, waited a minute, and plugged it back in; nothing. So, I restarted iTunes, rebooted my Macbook; nothing. All the while I am able to stream music to it, but nothing under devices. So this time I selected the "factory restore" option from the Apple TV menu. Well that did the trick, but be advised that "factory restore" means old firmware... Would have been nice to know. So, I had to download the new firmware, again, and reinstall. This time, I was able to see it in iTunes, and 45 minutes after beginning I was able to rent a movie. I can say that after all of this hassle, I did watch an HD movie nearly instantly without any interruptions or "blips". Overall, very satisfied with the movie rental part, not so satisfied with the upgrade process, nor am I satisfied that "factory restore" doesn't put you back to a factory install of the latest firmware. This would seem easy enough to correct, so hopefully it will be addressed in future releases.
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legacyb4
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Feb 13, 2008, 10:32 AM
 
Ah, so it works both ways then. That's a nice touch.

Now just waiting to hear how soon the xvid codecs can be put back on and non-MP4 content viewed through it.

Originally Posted by swiz View Post
Its better now becasue you can still control from the tv but also the computer now. It even allows me to control tv as an Airtunes device from my iBook while Im "borrowing" from my remote Mac iTunes.
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mpancha
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:02 PM
 
Has anyone played with the Flickr Photo streaming feature?

I am contemplating buying 3 Apple TVs to fill a need I have... I had a baby about 10 months ago, and am struggling with simplifying viewing baby photos for the grandmothers. I've tried blogs, and flickr photo streams, but the problem is I want the photos private, not public.

Currently I have a Flickr album that is private, with invites for just a few family members, and friends.

I'm hoping that the Flickr photo stream allows me to stream the private photo streams via Apple TV to the grandparent's TVs. I know public photos work flawlessly, what about those set as private. Has anyone tried this yet?
( Last edited by mpancha; Feb 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM. Reason: enabled email notifications)
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:17 PM
 
I've heard that there's no way to view private flickr accounts. I don't know first hand, however.
     
mpancha
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Feb 13, 2008, 12:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
I've heard that there's no way to view private flickr accounts. I don't know first hand, however.
That's a shame, I'm sure there are many people in the same boat as myself who would purchase AppleTVs just for family members who prefer simplicity.
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stwf
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Feb 13, 2008, 02:07 PM
 
I think the new UI sucks! Its ugly, the old one looked cool.
Plus now 'My Movies' and 'My Shows' are stuck at the bottom. They have turned my box into a front end for iTunes rentals. I'm very unhappy 90% of what I watch is my own stuff. Not rented or bought.

The output is in 1080p but since there is no content at that level its probably a waste. HD movies look no better than an upscaled DVD. And we have already determined the 24 hour time limit is a showstopper.

FLickr integration is cool but so clunky in implementation it has no real use. Just marketing checklist filler. Same with dotMac.

There is nothing good about this upgrade!
     
KeyLimePi
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:02 PM
 
Um...so why did you upgrade?
     
mpancha
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by KeyLimePi View Post
Um...so why did you upgrade?
NO intention of sounding rude here, but, how else do you find out what is in an upgrade? You can read all you want online, but you won't know the feel of an upgrade until you've tried it yourself. Nothing wrong with expressing disappointment in an upgrade either.
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Wiskedjak
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:50 PM
 
The functionality improvements are great, but the UI is certainly a step back. I agree with stwf that by sticking My Movies and My Shows at the bottom of the list is probably a move to push users towards rentals/purchase.

The boxed menu looks like it was done by a graphic design intern who's previous experience was on 20th century websites. The default wallpaper (movie titles) was probably stuck there by marketing. I was hoping the wallpaper would at least show the titles I have on my ATV or would be configurable.

It does not feel like using an iPhone, as others have claimed.
     
mpancha
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Feb 13, 2008, 03:53 PM
 
re: the boxed menu .... when the Apple TV first came out, I couldn't wait to see the UI come over to Front Row. It has in Leopard. Now with Take 2, I hope they don't ever bring that over to Front Row. I'm sure over time we'll get used to it, but like you said, its a step backwards.
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stwf
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Feb 13, 2008, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by KeyLimePi View Post
Um...so why did you upgrade?
Well, thanks to all for handling this, but there are some things I'd like to add...

The crazy thing is I just bought the AppleTV becasue of the v2 software, I thought the HD rentals were going to be great. They still may be but the selection at this time is laughable, and the 24 hour time limit is a dealbreaker.

The Flickr integration terribly flawed as is dotMac, and as nice as it is to say it outputs in 1080P we all know content that takes advantage of this is a long way off. If you can even tell the difference. The HD movies do not impress, ESPNHD looks better, as do upsampled DVD's.

But I never expected such a decline in aesthetics or functionality. If you upgraded your iPod and the new interface took 8 clicks through iTunes store features just to get to your own music you'd be angry too, and surprised no doubt.

A rare swing and a miss from the UI team at Apple!

Question: I've held off on hacking my ATV until this upgrade came out, but now I'm going to try and downgrade and hack it. Do the folks at awkwardTV have a substitute BackRow App so I could stay at v2 and keep the old interface or do I need to stay stuck at v1.1 forever?
     
Toyin
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Feb 13, 2008, 04:50 PM
 
I read plenty of complaints about TV shows and their sorting before the upgrade. Not quite sure why you updated if TV organization was a huge deal for you.

As for the new UI, that's been out since Macworld, why it suddenly looks like ass to you opinions is beyond me.

I bought the ATV after Macworld anticipating this feature set and UI. Personally I think it's much more effective for what I want to use it for.
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stwf
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Feb 13, 2008, 04:59 PM
 
well, I guess I just have confidence in Apple, or did.

I didn't read any complaints about TV organization. Where would they have been? No one has really used the UI until today, right? I find it the same once you get there. It did take a while for it to sort things by show. But once I did everything seems fine. Some items did seem to get their tag data messed up, but I figure thats a bug.

I don't know what you mean by the UI was out since MacWorld, if you mean looking at a screen shot of the new boxy top menu layer, I thought that was the for the iTunes store. I still can't believe they made that the top level menu.

Not to start trouble, but what do you use it for? The only thing it seems better for is renting movies
     
AppleGirl1990
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Feb 13, 2008, 05:03 PM
 
I still may purchase a blu-ray player to watch movies. Blu-ray 1080p output into the TV is going to ALWAYS be better than the 720p upconverting that AppleTV does.

Prices of players have really gone down in the past few months.

Good to have both. More options, more options....
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Feb 13, 2008, 05:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by stwf View Post
well, I guess I just have confidence in Apple, or did.

I didn't read any complaints about TV organization. Where would they have been? No one has really used the UI until today, right? I find it the same once you get there. It did take a while for it to sort things by show. But once I did everything seems fine. Some items did seem to get their tag data messed up, but I figure thats a bug.

I don't know what you mean by the UI was out since MacWorld, if you mean looking at a screen shot of the new boxy top menu layer, I thought that was the for the iTunes store. I still can't believe they made that the top level menu.

Not to start trouble, but what do you use it for? The only thing it seems better for is renting movies
There has been a walkthrough video of v2 since they announced it on apple.com. It showed the UI plenty. Are you saying you didn't even look at Apple's site on the Apple TV 2.0 before you bought one?

Sometimes a gamble is a gamble. Sounds like you took a gamble by buying the Apple TV without waiting to see what the actual thing would be like. It sucks that it didn't live up to what you expected, but that stuff happens when you take a gamble. The odds may have been in your favor, based on Apple's history, but them are the brakes.
     
stwf
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Feb 13, 2008, 05:49 PM
 
OK, to finish my participation in this thread, just to clarify.

I love my AppleTV. I just bought it when I got my HD set. No, I did not go through the Apple walk through before upgrading, I never imagined they would totally rework the purpose of the thing. It was a great way to get video and photos from my computer to my TV. I assumed a slick interface to the iTunes store would be incorporated into this, I was wrong.

Now its focused more on being a slick front end to the store. And watching my own stuff has been deprecated.

Since HD rentals (and the rental system in general) is a huge disappointment I'll downgrade, hack, and personalize my AppleTV and return to being very happy.

Thanks!
     
Toyin
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Feb 13, 2008, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by stwf View Post
well, I guess I just have confidence in Apple, or did.

I didn't read any complaints about TV organization. Where would they have been? No one has really used the UI until today, right? I find it the same once you get there. It did take a while for it to sort things by show. But once I did everything seems fine. Some items did seem to get their tag data messed up, but I figure thats a bug.

I don't know what you mean by the UI was out since MacWorld, if you mean looking at a screen shot of the new boxy top menu layer, I thought that was the for the iTunes store. I still can't believe they made that the top level menu.

Not to start trouble, but what do you use it for? The only thing it seems better for is renting movies
Usually when there's a big update a scourge the Apple forums to pick up problems before I upgrade. This time the most information came from Macrumors forums

As mentioned before there was a video walking through all the changes and it was also demoed at the Macworld Keynote.

Until yesterday I used the ATV to view my photos, music videos, youtube, but my main reason for buying it, was rental of HD content. While not as good as my HD-DVD, it's ALOT better then upscaled DVDs and is very convenient. I don't remember podcasts being available in the ATV 1.0 but I had a lot of fun poking around those yesterday.
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Feb 13, 2008, 06:35 PM
 
Sorry, you had said earlier that you bought the AppleTV because of the v2 software.

The crazy thing is I just bought the AppleTV becasue of the v2 software, I thought the HD rentals were going to be great. They still may be but the selection at this time is laughable, and the 24 hour time limit is a dealbreaker.
I was assuming that you weren't interested in the old functionality of the AppleTV. My bad.
     
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Feb 13, 2008, 07:05 PM
 
true, I was unclear there, no sweat. The whole truth was I knew what I wanted, but was undecided between AppleTV and MacMini. After MacWorld I chose AppleTV for the HD rentals, v2 features, and price. Didn't forsee a UI split between the two.
     
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Feb 13, 2008, 07:12 PM
 
I was hoping that Apple would combine the AppleTV and the Mac Mini into one wonderful device. But that wouldn't really help the AppleTV UI I guess. I just remembered how cool I thought it would be when you mentioned the Mini. I guess that wouldn't be in the best interest of Apple, since they can have 2 products to sell instead of 1.
     
boazh
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Feb 13, 2008, 11:10 PM
 
Can anyone tell me how to restore to v1.1 (not factory restore v.1)
I hate the new interface and I have all kinds of issues with my Apple TV, such as freezing and unresponsive remote, and worse of all... streaming is so slow... it pauses every min, and it drives me nuts! Did not have ANY issues with the previous version. Please help!
     
jokell82
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Feb 14, 2008, 07:20 AM
 
I've been nothing but impressed so far with my TV Take 2. Rented Live Free or Die Hard last night in HD and was able to start watching in under 10 minutes. The quality was absolutely fantastic. I have a feeling this will quickly become my new favorite way to watch movies, as long as they increase the library enough.

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mpancha
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Feb 14, 2008, 12:03 PM
 
[QUOTE=jokell82;3602422]The quality was absolutely fantastic. /QUOTE]

I've heard mixed things regarding the "HD" quality of movie rentals. They are 720p, and that does classify it (loosely) as HD, but I've heard both that the quality is fantastic, and that its horrible in comparison to upscaled DVDs.

jokell>> how would you describe yourself as far as being an AV enthusiast? Personally, I'm not quite an audio/videophile, but I'm teetering on that line. Audio quality is a huge deal to me, and video should be clear with no artifacts at a minimum. The SD movies I expect to be clear, the HD I expect to be equivalent to the watered down, compressed quality of Cable and Satelite HD. I'd love to see the quality of OTA-HD, but that's highly unlikely considering the file sizes and bandwith that Apple would have to deal with.
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jokell82
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Feb 14, 2008, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by mpancha View Post
Originally Posted by jokell82 View Post
The quality was absolutely fantastic.
I've heard mixed things regarding the "HD" quality of movie rentals. They are 720p, and that does classify it (loosely) as HD, but I've heard both that the quality is fantastic, and that its horrible in comparison to upscaled DVDs.

jokell>> how would you describe yourself as far as being an AV enthusiast? Personally, I'm not quite an audio/videophile, but I'm teetering on that line. Audio quality is a huge deal to me, and video should be clear with no artifacts at a minimum. The SD movies I expect to be clear, the HD I expect to be equivalent to the watered down, compressed quality of Cable and Satelite HD. I'd love to see the quality of OTA-HD, but that's highly unlikely considering the file sizes and bandwith that Apple would have to deal with.
It doesn't classify it loosely as HD - it's actually HD.

And I'm not sure how anyone could call it horrible compared to upscaled DVDs. They'd have to be blind. It is at least on par or better than any Cable HD program I have seen.

I don't know how I would "classify" myself as an HD enthusiast. I was an audio engineer for 6 years so you could say I'm more audio-inclined, I guess. But when I say it was fantastic I mean in all aspects.

Why not give it a try for yourself? The Apple Store may have a demo running you could check out...

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mpancha
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Feb 14, 2008, 01:16 PM
 
jokell >> Considering you're an audio enthusiast, I'll take your word on the audio quality. Visually, I'm very picky, so I'm hoping when I get time to go to an Apple Store I'll get to see a sample of an HD movie. What I meant by "loosely" qualifying as HD is, true, by definition its HD, but like we see with Cable and Satelite, it does look better than SD TV, but its compressed so you are losing a lot of your HD quality due to compression. With apple being able to allow movies to start within a minute or two, and having a full movie downloaded in (what I read) 10 minutes... its fair to assume that its very highly compressed 720P HD. That's what I meant by "loosely" HD. It is... but its not the full signal you get with OTA-HD.

Does anyone else have any comments about the Flickr integration as this is the make or break selling point for me? I must say I'm surprised Apple didn't also include Google's Picasaweb as a streaming option given their partnerships with Google on the iPhone.
( Last edited by mpancha; Feb 14, 2008 at 01:44 PM. Reason: adding info)
MacBook Pro | 2.16 ghz core2duo | 2gb ram | superdrive | airport extreme
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jokell82
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Feb 14, 2008, 02:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by mpancha View Post
jokell >> Considering you're an audio enthusiast, I'll take your word on the audio quality. Visually, I'm very picky, so I'm hoping when I get time to go to an Apple Store I'll get to see a sample of an HD movie. What I meant by "loosely" qualifying as HD is, true, by definition its HD, but like we see with Cable and Satelite, it does look better than SD TV, but its compressed so you are losing a lot of your HD quality due to compression. With apple being able to allow movies to start within a minute or two, and having a full movie downloaded in (what I read) 10 minutes... its fair to assume that its very highly compressed 720P HD. That's what I meant by "loosely" HD. It is... but its not the full signal you get with OTA-HD.
The only qualifier for the term HD is that it must have at least 720 vertical lines of resolution. Cable and satellite broadcasts are still HD, even though they are compressed. But if you can pick apart standard cable and satellite broadcasts as being vastly inferior to OTA broadcasts you probably won't like the AppleTV. I'm sure there are some small things you can pick out on close inspection, but from the 8' away I watch on my 42" plasma it was beautiful. I know I could fool regular people into thinking they were watching a Blu-Ray or HD DVD.

Also, I don't think anyone could download the full video in 10 minutes. We're talking 5+ gigabyte files here. I was able to start watching after about 10 (didn't time it, but it was close to that).

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BRussell
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Feb 14, 2008, 02:28 PM
 
AppleTV's 720p is horribly compressed and looks like sh1t. Even Bluray's 1080p is horribly compressed and looks like sh1t. I'm such a videophile snob that I only watch straight-up, full-bit, uncompressed reality.

And the occasional youtube.
     
jokell82
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Feb 14, 2008, 02:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
AppleTV's 720p is horribly compressed and looks like sh1t. Even Bluray's 1080p is horribly compressed and looks like sh1t. I'm such a videophile snob that I only watch straight-up, full-bit, uncompressed reality.

And the occasional youtube.
How about 4k?

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