So over the weekend I spent some time downloading content and using just the AppleTV as my main source of television entertainment. The cable man comes by today to cut the cord, and we’ll be off to the races, but there are a few things worth noting from the get-go.
First, the quality of video files from one company to the next seems to vary drastically. That’s something that I didn’t really expect (although, I probably should have). For example, I was not pleased with the latest episodes of SNL or South Park that I downloaded on Saturday. They look terrible on my television…SNL is so pixilated, I thought I was watching a YouTube video blown up to full screen.
Most of the NBC shows, however, all look pretty darn good. Shows like Heroes, Andy Barker P.I., Raines, The Office, and 30 Rock all look rock solid. I’m not sure who is doing the SNL enoding…but fire them and give it over to the guys doing the rest of your programming NBC.
I also downloaded a few movies…The Prestige and The Royal Tanunbaums…and both of them look pretty good. I think “near DVD quality” is probably accurate…but I do have to say, I have very little motivation to download more movies from iTunes if they’re only going to be “near DVD”. I can go buy a DVD…and seriously, with as long as it takes to download the movies and transfer them to the AppleTV…I could have just as easily gotten in the car, driven to a store, purchased the DVD and returned home…and in most cases the DVD wouldn’t have been much more expensive…and in A LOT of cases…the DVD would have been significantly less expensive.
So, for now, I don’t think I’ll be spending TOO much time in the movie section of the video store…
Check back tomorrow as 30 Days of AppleTV continues….
Took the plunge Sunday and brought home a unit, after waffling a bit over the NetGear alternative.
Overall quite pleased, though the folks at the Apple store were mostly still in the dark on a lot of the features. I have a fairly large network at home with one iMAC and 5-6 XP machines all on a wired network and also wireless g available for the occasional laptop session.
Couple of comments on features that were answered incorrectly (as it turns out) at the Apple store involved access to photos on various machines on the network. Turns out that Apple TV will not stream photos, so you have to select which machine/folder you want to view photos from, and then you have to Synch that machine/folder, which means that all the photos are copied onto the 40 GB ATV drive. The implication at the store was that you could stream photos, but that is not the case. You can synch to one machine and stream from up to 5 other machines, just not photos. So if you have photos scattered out across multiple machines, you have to select which ones you want to see on TV, then synch that box/folder(s).
I will probably consolidate all the photos I have (abt 80GB worth) to one PC and move on from there.
The other quirk I noticed was that synching to a folder of jpg images (even on a MAC) produced blurry images on the AppleTV..
If however, you synch to iPhoto files on the MAC, the very same pictures are displayed at the original quality. Haven’t figured this out yet, but would be interested in any comments on this from others. Could find no reference in the manual/on-line about this difference.
Overall, setup was a snap, implementation was very well done and overall first impression is quite positive. Wireless streaming music and videos from various other PCs showed no dropouts or quality issues…
Good information about the relative quality of picture quality.
But I seem to be one of the few people who notice or care that all the NBC shows that I’ve purchased are MONO. Such as “Heroes”, “30 Rock”, the free Andy Richter Pilot, etc. Technically the files are stereo, according to the results of opening in Quicktime and doing a get info. But listening to them with headphones leaves no doubt.
In contrast, Fox shows like “24” mysteriously started being in full stereo in the middle of last years season 5, and South Park is definitely stereo. And the one movie that I bought (“8 Below”) was stereo. At least it is possible to preview a clip of each show on iTunes before buying, to determine whether a show is stereo or not.
Chicken and Egg. If you build it, he will come. Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Pick your cliche.
720p H.264 video with 6 channel AAC audio is already appearing on the P2P sites. (Ripped from 480p DVD source… so the upscaling varies from title to title.)
It’s only the first week. Give it time. In the meanwhile, discover the world of podcasting.
search for free online movies streaming webistes @ https://www.fnuz.com