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Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Big Pfhat AppleTV link roundup..since I don't have mine yet

....and to think, even though I ordered Day Zero, AND paid for expedited shipping, and I still don't have mine. Grr, grr, GRRR!

So instead, here's a ton of info that isn't first hand from me. Sigh.

-Accelerate Your Macintosh!'s links to over 40 Knowledge Base Docs on AppleTV - 3/22/07. I'm not ABOUT to go make links to them all.

-better organized listing of new KBase docs

-Apple TV: First impressions | Crave : The gadget blog - with c|net video. complete with anal retentive chef, I mean unpacker. It is packed up like an iPod. No power brick, just a power cord (more like consumer A/V gear). NO CABLES other than power cable included - LAAAAAAME. Truly, the Anal Rententive Reviewer. Nice concise quote:

The Apple TV is a bigger, stationery-networked iPod that you hook up to your TV, and its degree of desirability is directly proportional to how much iTunes is the center of your digital media universe


-MacNN | Best Buy to offer Apple TV on Tuesday: " will be available in all 822 of its U.S. stores starting on Tuesday " - average of about 5 per store. Get there early if you want one from there. Bring your elbow pads.

-Top Ten Reasons You Don%u2019t Need Apple TV (Yet) | iLounge - I take issue with them right off the bat- # 10 talks about using a 5th gen iPod - it isn't HD, the UI is worse, etc. - not the same kind of thing. But other than that, there are a lot of rational points. Like if you don't have an HDTV, or have lots of non-AppleTV media, it doesn't DVR, it doesn't do ANY shiny disc media, etc.

-Five Little Things We Don't Like About Apple TV - Gizmodo - to cheat and summarize - initial boot time is long, wireless syncing slow, can't manually resync, trailers have to fully buffered (or downloaded?) before playing.

-AppleTV upskirt shots - but wait there's LOTS more!

------

-Will Apple TV be bigger than iPhone?Loooong article of analysis:

"Not surprisingly, then, some industry experts say Apple TV, due to be released this month, will be a huge iPod-like success, doing for digital video what the iPod did for audio. Some even think Apple TV could be bigger than Apple Inc.'s much-ballyhooed iPhone, which will be released in June.

'Long term, strategically, Apple TV as a revenue-generating platform is much bigger than iPhone,' said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband and IPTV for Infonetics Research. 'It's a $300 device that multimillions of people will put in their homes vs. a $500 device [an iPhone] in a market that's saturated with BlackBerries and similar things."


I dunno about that - my thoughts - as for similar to iPod's efffect on audio, yes and no.

Yes - an easy to use gadget that lets you access digital media more easily than before.

No - well, audio is a portable thing, and iPod roxored because it let you take all your music with you everywhere and enjoy it anywhere - on the bus, on the jogging trail, at work, in the car, during minor surgery, etc. But the same can't be said of AppleTV - it bridges the gap from computer in den to TV. Which is darn nice, but not revelatory. I stil think iPhone will be a bigger deal long term.

My other gripe - while it is technically HD video, just BARELY. LITERALLY - it is the lowest resolution that can clearly and arguably be said to be "real" HD, as well as the DEAD MINIMUM frame rate that any content an be said to be full speed. While 960x540 at 30fps is higher resolution than NTSC or PAL, it ain't real HD, no matter how you want to argue it. 960x540: higher than SD? Yes? As high as HD? No. No, no, and for you in the back - oh yeah, NO.

I don't even have mine yet, and already I'm realizing the hard drive is waaaaaaay too small for my own power user needs. I'm already seriously considering putting a 200 GB hard drive in there to handle all my CURRENT pictures (only last 3 years, forget all the burned CDs of Laptops Of Yore), audio (MP3s and AACs), and iTunes video (I've been a Good Boy and haven't Rip, Rent, & Returned from my Netflix service in bulk...yet...).

-40GB is pitifully small - they'll fix this.
-960x540 @ 30fps is too low and too slow. 1280x720 is too low, and 24 fps is too slow to be a real HD device. Mark My Words - Next MWSF, 2.0. Airport Express with audio streaming was the first step, this is the second with onscreen UI, full SD and toe into HD. HD downloadable movies are next @ 720p at 5mbit (that's the spec, checkit), and next year we'll get more.

-----

-other notes from around the web:
-does not do Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Boooo!
-no streaming Internet radio playback
-can't shuffle music videos
-all movies gotta be in iTunes library, NOT in Movies folder
-streaming is its saving grace - you don't HAVE to shove a bigger hard drive in there for audio and video, but pictures MUST be local - can't stream'em.
-drive capacity is even less than expected - start with 40GB, but then formatted capacity is 37GB, then the OS and the sample videos are another 4GB, so you only have 33GB to work with for your own media.

From MacinTouch:

Apple TV

The 40GB hard drive out of the box can store only 32.84GB (formatting, OS and virtual RAM takes the rest?). This is a major limitation for me as my digital media assets far outstrip this capacity. Yes, I know I can stream, but would like more HDD storage for flexibility and limit the need to switch between ATV and iMac for streamed content (see next comment).

The ATV can't auto-switch between sources (ATV or computer) or does not let one set preferences for the 'source' by media type. One must choose the source in the settings menu. For example, if one wants to view photos, which can only be synched/copied to the ATV, then you must choose the ATV as the source. Separately, if you want to stream music (as I want to since my music library is 50 GB) one must switch the source to a computer. This is easy, but takes a couple minutes to go through the interface and for the ATV to 'connect' to the computer/iTunes.

An issue with this, besides the time is takes, is that if I want to watch a slideshow of images (they have to be synched/copied to the ATV), I can't play any background music as my music has to be streamed, which is a different 'source'. So the ATV can only read from one source at any time and can't auto-switch based on preferences."


Bummer - but this sounds like a surmountable software issue - why NOT be able to pull from hard drive and network at same time? AppleTV is, after all, a stripped down computer, so this is a fixable thing. I'd imagine we'll see a series of firmware and software updates over time, that will likely show up in iTunes first and then be downloadable to the AppleTV, henceforth to be called ATV (great, now I'll get AdSense ads for All Terrain Vehicles...) In time, I'm sure they'll figure out how to download directly to ATV. At present, you can surf movie previews on ATV, but not download movies or work with the iTunes Store directly....if Apple wants this to take off, somebody is working on this right now, I hope. Somebody somewhere suggested they'll drag their feet to sell more Macs - I doubt it - you can use any ancient PC (or Mac) that runs the minimum OS to be the iTunes host, and it does NOT need to be fast at all - all it is doing is pushing tiny amounts of network traffic, no processing going on of any meaningful sort.

Apple TV - Review by PC Magazine

PROS: Basically a TV-sized iPod. Can stream iTunes content from five computers. Shared iTunes library function makes filling up the 40 GB hard drive easy. Stream content when you want to watch it. Could replace an entire stereo/DVD component system for non-stereophiles.

CONS: Not all video content that plays in iTunes plays on Apple TV%u2014some QuickTime surgery is required. Same cheap HiFi remote. Video resolution will irk some discerning eyes. Only works with widescreen TVs.


Rogue Amoeba - Under The Microscope - has a pic of AppleTV working with a plain jane 480i STANDARD def TV set - the specs claimed 480p was required, but there's a 480i preset, and he's even got a pic to prove it. But you do have to connect with component cables, so maybe that is why Apple is stating 480p minimum, just to avoid the cabling confusion. Also, I'd guess that the aspect ratio is "squarshed" to fit the 4:3 image when AppleTV is expecting a 16:9 aspect ratio physical device.

He goes on to state another issue, this one a serious problem for me:

With an iPod you have the choice between syncing everything or manually managing. The AppleTV does not allow for manual management. This means it's not possible to drag and drop select songs to the AppleTV. I'd love to use syncing, but my music library alone is over 40 gigs, so that won't work.


Uh oh. Read on for how he deals with it.


-mike

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