Apple TV owners' thread. - Page 19 - AVS Forum
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post #541 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by edalzell View Post

And any way to load the batch automatically? Hazel or a Watch Folder?

This is probably trivial using standard Mac OS services (e.g. a launchd WatchPath) and a bit of scripting given "CLI" program(s) to drive.
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post #542 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bodosom View Post

True but almost certainly compression at Netflix prior to delivery. They have to compensate for widely varying connection speeds, device capability as well as network contention (Netflix uses vast quantities of outbound bandwidth). I've seen enormous variation in streamed quality within the same title/session but the consumed bandwidth stays reasonably constant and I assume the available CPU is also constant.

Naturally I don't have any problems with HD content "streamloaded" from Apple.

If it is Netflix compression why do I see a little more of this artifact on the Apple TV 2 than on the PS3 or Roku?

I suspect that in addition to the compression artifacts, there is some video processing in each box that is designed to hide the effects of compression and noise and scaling, and each box probably does this a little differently.
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post #543 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

If it is Netflix compression

As I said the quality is continuously variable. A device with more CPU may do a better job but that's clearly a second order effect. I can see the same content vary from DVD to fourth generation VHS quality over the course of five minutes. Whatever is triggering the gross differences I'm seeing (on a 50" display) it seem unlikely it's the capabilities of the ATV or the intrinsic quality of the Netflix decoder.

Things look much nicer on my iPad.
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post #544 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 05:47 PM
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As far as I know the "applications" for all devices are developed by Netflix and, I guess, they are trying to match certain quality levels. Is your Apple TV connected by WiFi? What about your PS3 and Roku?
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post #545 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

If it is Netflix compression why do I see a little more of this artifact on the Apple TV 2 than on the PS3 or Roku?

Netflix has different servers (files and or encodes) for the same content based on the streaming device. I compared the Apple TV to the PS3 (including the new PS3 app) and preferred the Apple TV. Actually I haven't been impressed with the PS3 compared to several other streamers. I compared the opening scenes of 24 (season seven - episode one) as it has a lot of varying content. Fast action, close-ups and long range shots such as the columns of the hearing building. The columns looked more detailed/defined on the Apple TV versus the PS3 (whether the PS3 did the scaling or not).
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post #546 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

If it is Netflix compression why do I see a little more of this artifact on the Apple TV 2 than on the PS3 or Roku?

I suspect that in addition to the compression artifacts, there is some video processing in each box that is designed to hide the effects of compression and noise and scaling, and each box probably does this a little differently.

Netflix delivers different streams to different devices. Currently, the PS3 receives far better streams than the atv2. I can't remember the codec details off the top of my head but they are public.

There are two ways of looking at this. One is to only be concerned with the end effect, the viewing experience. The ps3 has way better streaming right now. The other way is to also be concerned with the reasons why and if the situation will change in the future. Both are valid perspectives.

It will be interesting to see if the atv2 limitation of 720p is sufficient once (or if) it also gets the higher quality streams.

For now, I will only watch netflix on the ps3 due to the superior picture quality. But I hope that other devices, such as the atv2, will someday receive that same higher quality stream. To me, the difference is immediately obvious and significantly impacts the movie viewing experience. Other people don't mind and/or don't notice. But for me, one looks like watching a 700mb file ripped from dvd while the other is near blu-ray quality with no noticeable artifacts, banding, etc.
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post #547 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

Netflix has different servers (files and or encodes) for the same content based on the streaming device. I compared the Apple TV to the PS3 (including the new PS3 app) and preferred the Apple TV. Actually I haven't been impressed with the PS3 compared to several other streamers. I compared the opening scenes of 24 (season seven - episode one) as it has a lot of varying content. Fast action, close-ups and long range shots such as the columns of the hearing building. The columns looked more detailed/defined on the Apple TV versus the PS3 (whether the PS3 did the scaling or not).

This is the first i've heard of this. There is pretty much a consensus to the opposite of what you're saying. The difference in quality isn't even close enough to make subjectivity an issue.

With a solid connection to a netflix server location, the ps3 blows the atv2 out of the water, not even close. Nothing else is remotely close to x-high hd on the ps3. Not only does it use a more aggressive codec, the bitrate is also much higher. The atv2 is limited to using the older, lower bitrate streams, with a different codec.

Does your stream quality fluctuate? Also, which level of streaming do you get on the ps3?

Please note, i'm not trying to bash apple or the appleTV. It is an excellent product from an excellent company. I use my atv2 daily... just not for netflix streaming. Also note that this isn't unique to appleTVs. All other netflix streamers are similarly limited when compared to the ps3... for now. That will likely change in the future, hopefully the near future.
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post #548 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

This is the first i've heard of this. There is pretty much a consensus to the opposite of what you're saying. The difference in quality isn't even close enough to make subjectivity an issue.

With a solid connection to a netflix server location, the ps3 blows the atv2 out of the water, not even close. Nothing else is remotely close to x-high hd on the ps3. Not only does it use a more aggressive codec, the bitrate is also much higher. The atv2 is limited to using the older, lower bitrate streams, with a different codec.

Does your stream quality fluctuate? Also, which level of streaming do you get on the ps3?

Please note, i'm not trying to bash apple or the appleTV. It is an excellent product from an excellent company. I use my atv2 daily... just not for netflix streaming. Also note that this isn't unique to appleTVs. All other netflix streamers are similarly limited when compared to the ps3... for now. That will likely change in the future, hopefully the near future.

Netflix on PS3 is the only Netflix that does 1080p with 5.1 surround.
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post #549 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ChAoTiCpInOy View Post

Netflix on PS3 is the only Netflix that does 1080p with 5.1 surround.

Sorry, I may have derailed the thread somewhat with the comparison of my newly purchased atv2 to the ps3. Hopefully we won't get completely caught up in debating which is better.

One last comment before leaving the discussion to others... more important than that 1080p is the bitrate and codec. Or at least I think those are the primary reason for differences in streaming quality between devices right now. Once these are in parity and are bumped up over time, that's when 1080p will matter more.
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post #550 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

Netflix delivers different streams to different devices. Currently, the PS3 receives far better streams than the atv2. I can't remember the codec details off the top of my head but they are public.

There are two ways of looking at this. One is to only be concerned with the end effect, the viewing experience. The ps3 has way better streaming right now. The other way is to also be concerned with the reasons why and if the situation will change in the future. Both are valid perspectives.

It will be interesting to see if the atv2 limitation of 720p is sufficient once (or if) it also gets the higher quality streams.

For now, I will only watch netflix on the ps3 due to the superior picture quality. But I hope that other devices, such as the atv2, will someday receive that same higher quality stream. To me, the difference is immediately obvious and significantly impacts the movie viewing experience. Other people don't mind and/or don't notice. But for me, one looks like watching a 700mb file ripped from dvd while the other is near blu-ray quality with no noticeable artifacts, banding, etc.

Well after another long night of comparisons I have to say I agree with you regarding the PQ. The PS3 does look slightly better to me in almost all movies. It is a difficult thing to compare due to the varying nature of the network of course, and the fact that I can only stream one device at a time, but it is consistent.

Truly the Apple TV is a marvel of technological achievement, and it is an absolute pleasure to use. But I guess it is asking too much for this little A4 box to compete with the PS3's computational power. If I didn't also need a blue ray player, I think I'd stay with the ATV2. To my eyes it really is close enough in PQ (except for that yucky blocking effect on solid surfaces).

I would say it gets 90% of the PQ for only 1/3 of the price.

Regarding the bitrates of the various codecs. Can you tell me more? What is the bit rate when the PS3 is in X-High HD? What is the ATV bitrate?
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post #551 of 3109 Old 01-10-2011, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

One last comment before leaving the discussion to others... more important than that 1080p is the bitrate and codec. Or at least I think those are the primary reason for differences in streaming quality between devices right now. Once these are in parity and are bumped up over time, that's when 1080p will matter more.

Would you know how much bandwidth a movie uses when streamed at Netflix's 1080p for the PS3 vs 720p or whatever HD is for the ATV2? Do they lower the bitrate and raise the resolution so that sizes don't get out of hand?

The reason I mention this is that there is this thing called UBB which is about to be difficult to avoid in Canada. Basically, the internet providers are going to cap everyone, or almost everyone, at a rather low ceiling and depending on whom you talk to the sky will be the limit when it comes to usage charges above that cap. It is the wireless model ported to the net which is largely controlled here by the satellite and cable companies ( they also run the phones). That will make streaming from anywhere impossible except within a provider's local network. So for example one can get TV via ip from the main phone company which also control much of the net access. Programs streamed from your subscription won't count towards bandwidth usage which is shared with the DSL connection. it's a neat service but effectively blocks Netflix, iTunes, etc... for anything video related.

This makes the ATV2, and many other similar devices, far less useful. The end result is that people will be counting their bandwidth pennies and it's not 1080p that people will want but rather dvd and lower quality. This, of course, is very country specific and probably has no parallel in the US unless the cable/sat companies there want to solidify control as well.

philip
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post #552 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

Would you know how much bandwidth a movie uses when streamed at Netflix's 1080p for the PS3 vs 720p or whatever HD is for the ATV2? Do they lower the bitrate and raise the resolution so that sizes don't get out of hand?

It's been reported (if they exist) 1080p uses no more bandwidth than 720p. As users with 6Mbps get the same PS3 display (stream rate description) for 720p and the alleged 1080p titles (those with 5.1 DD). The highest bandwidth is some where around 4.8Mbps for (normal) HD and if the PS3 was getting something higher it would not fit into the 5.2Mbps (at best) the 6Mbps DSL affords. The Video Download Services and Hardware forum has endless topics on such...
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post #553 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

Truly the Apple TV is a marvel of technological achievement, and it is an absolute pleasure to use. But I guess it is asking too much for this little A4 box to compete with the PS3's computational power.

Do you have a 1080p display? If so, did you set the PS3 to 720p? Other wise if you are comparing the PS3 and Apple TV you are really comparing the upscaling of the PS3 to your TV's upscaling (or scaler). My guess is most of the differences would be in the set (the scaling) not the two sources.
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post #554 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 07:08 AM
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OK, I couldn't resist chiming in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

It's been reported (if they exist) 1080p uses no more bandwidth than 720p. As users with 6Mbps get the same PS3 display (stream rate description) for 720p and the alleged 1080p titles (those with 5.1 DD). The highest bandwidth is some where around 4.8Mbps for (normal) HD and if the PS3 was getting something higher it would not fit into the 5.2Mbps (at best) the 6Mbps DSL affords. The Video Download Services and Hardware forum has endless topics on such...

For those people with a higher speed connection, there are streams that are higher bitrate than those listed above. Netflix doesn't have two versions of the same codec at different resolutions. If you have a ps3, you get one version. If you have another device, you get the other version. The resolution of the playback device has no effect on the stream that is delivered.

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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

Do you have a 1080p display? If so, did you set the PS3 to 720p? Other wise if you are comparing the PS3 and Apple TV you are really comparing the upscaling of the PS3 to your TV's upscaling (or scaler). My guess is most of the differences would be in the set (the scaling) not the two sources.

The scaling differences are trivial. What really matters is that the atv2 is receiving a completely different streaming codec and at a lower bitrate.
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post #555 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dfiler View Post

What really matters is that the atv2 is receiving a completely different streaming codec

Do you mean literally completely different as in Netflix has invented an alternative to AVC/VC1/MPEG2? I suppose it's possible but in general companies are looking for ways to leverage their hardware* and I'd be surprised if the the hardware has acceleration for other than the big three (or some DCT thing). Naturally with an emphasis on H.264 (AVC).


*although Apple has had a history of being opposed to companies like Adobe using the GPU to accelerate things like Flash.
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post #556 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 08:24 AM
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For those sharper on the subject than I, can you either explain or point me in the right direction to where I could learn why resampling from 44.1 to 48 as the apple tv does could degrade SQ?

And as an aside, perhaps an explanation as well as to why it's done in the first place? Must be something going on as the ATV1 did NOT do this, correct?

As I mentioned a few pages back, I needed an ATV2 to stream Rhapsody, as Airfoil was very poor, for me.

Well, ATV2 has relieved ALL of the issues I was having with AF, so it'd suck if I was unfortunately losing a little fidelity due to resampling.

I've yet to do any serious listneing, but I'll prolly get into it tonight. I'm of the school BTW, that it only matters if I can detect it...i.e. as it's awfully difficult for me to discern 320 mp3s from lossless on 95% of recorded material, I don't sweat the 320's inherent "loss of fidelity" too much.

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post #557 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:17 AM
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FIRST GEN APPLE TVS NOW ABLE TO RUN AIRPLAY (hacked of course ):

http://blog.firecore.com/3631

James

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post #558 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

It's been reported (if they exist) 1080p uses no more bandwidth than 720p. As users with 6Mbps get the same PS3 display (stream rate description) for 720p and the alleged 1080p titles (those with 5.1 DD). The highest bandwidth is some where around 4.8Mbps for (normal) HD and if the PS3 was getting something higher it would not fit into the 5.2Mbps (at best) the 6Mbps DSL affords. The Video Download Services and Hardware forum has endless topics on such...

If 1080p uses no more bandwidth than 720p then it will be no better quality.

Since these are both streamed in highly compressed formats already, the number of bits is a rough indication of picture "information". If they don't give you more bits per second in the 1080 stream it won't look any better.

UNless of course 1080p is going to use some revolutionary new codec.
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post #559 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

... why resampling ... could degrade SQ?

Any transform can degrade quality if done poorly. Resampling audio is a special case. Properly sampled audio can be used to perfectly reconstruct the (bandwidth limited) source so it can be exactly resampled. You can't change the resolution but you can change the sample rate. By the way -- this can be done without your knowledge inside the audio processing system.

Quote:


And as an aside, perhaps an explanation as well as to why it's done in the first place? Must be something going on as the ATV1 did NOT do this, correct?

The ATV-1g does resample -- to 44.1. Perhaps dropping analog out lead to an alternate solution.

Quote:


... it's awfully difficult for me to discern 320 mp3s from lossless on 95% of recorded material

Convert to AAC rather than MP3 unless you're exporting to a non-Apple device that doesn't do AAC (some, like the Denon, do AAC).
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post #560 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

Do you have a 1080p display? If so, did you set the PS3 to 720p? Other wise if you are comparing the PS3 and Apple TV you are really comparing the upscaling of the PS3 to your TV's upscaling (or scaler). My guess is most of the differences would be in the set (the scaling) not the two sources.

Charles, This is a perfectly valid question. I will take a closer look tonight and try to determine how much of the PQ improvement is due to where the scaling is done, i.e., in the PS3 vs my TV.

In the long run though, it is only the whole package that matters. If it turns out that the PQ looks better because the 720->1080 scaling, or noise reduction, or detail enhancement are implemented better in the PS3 than in my TV, that still makes the PS3 a better choice for me. I would imagine that the PS3 has better video processing in this regard than most TVs, because it is expensive to do this stuff well.
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post #561 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bodosom View Post

Do you mean literally completely different as in Netflix has invented an alternative to AVC/VC1/MPEG2? I suppose it's possible but in general companies are looking for ways to leverage their hardware* and I'd be surprised if the the hardware has acceleration for other than the big three (or some DCT thing). Naturally with an emphasis on H.264 (AVC).


*although Apple has had a history of being opposed to companies like Adobe using the GPU to accelerate things like Flash.

Hmmm, I can't seem to find the info on their encodings anymore. You're probably right though, in that describing it as a "completely different codec" is overstating the difference. The audio is allegedly DD+ now but can only be played as DD currently. That's different but the video is a bit of a gray area. The new streaming technology is quite a bit different but I can't find the details right now. It isn't simply a higher bitrate stream though. Does anyone have a link to better info?
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post #562 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

In the long run though, it is only the whole package that matters. If it turns out that the PQ looks better because the 720->1080 scaling, or noise reduction, or detail enhancement are implemented better in the PS3 than in my TV, that still makes the PS3 a better choice for me.

I agree completely. I have never been impressed with my TV's scaling and blamed it more than the PS3 when I wasn't impressed with the PS3 compared to other streamers. So when the PS3 started upscaling I tried it again hoping it had improved... after comparing it to two or three other streamers I still found it wanting. History wise the initial PS3 was thought to have below average scaling (using DVDs) and if it has improved over the years I couldn't say.
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post #563 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 11:50 AM
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Weighing in on AppleTV netflix vs. other mediums:

The app itself on appleTV is a bit underdeveloped in my opinion. I do however like the ability to view multiple cover art when compared to xbox360.

Video Quality: Definitely notice diminished quality when comparing to xbox360. Can't put my finger on it exactly but perhaps colors a bit washed.

Sound Quality: Biggest difference between xbox360. Sound quality on AppleTV is sub par in my experience.

Hey, it's new. It'll get better I hope. Airplay is simply awesome.

To my question: I backup my dvd collection as ISO files and stream them without any encoding. I have current equipment to handle this but I'm wondering if there is a way to keep 1:1 quality meaning full file size, AND going to MP4 format? Any help is appreciated. Goal is to get my iso files playing on my appletv. I understand they would need to be mp4 just wondering if I can get there without encoding and thus losing quality.
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post #564 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mizuno21 View Post

To my question: I backup my dvd collection as ISO files and stream them without any encoding. I have current equipment to handle this but I'm wondering if there is a way to keep 1:1 quality meaning full file size, AND going to MP4 format? Any help is appreciated. Goal is to get my iso files playing on my appletv. I understand they would need to be mp4 just wondering if I can get there without encoding and thus losing quality.

My ATV's handle Netflix with no buffeting, stuttering, etc ... The picture quality is great compared to the version on my Mac Mini, but I guess that's apples and oranges. I also like the way it is integrated with the Finder or whatever it is called. No experience with the game machines unfortunately.

DVD is mpeg2. You will have to encode it, using Handbrake for example. There is bound to be some loss though perhaps very minimal?

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post #565 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 02:38 PM
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FIRST GEN APPLE TVS NOW ABLE TO RUN AIRPLAY (hacked of course ):

http://blog.firecore.com/3631

James

I run it. It uses RemoteHD installed on the ATV. It is still limited at this point. Neat though. I don't know what to say about the ATV1G. Mine has that Crystal HD card and it really is very impressive under Linux. Less reliable under OSX, and you miss out on a lot running it under Linux. It essentially becomes an XBMC player.
The future is with the ATV2 though. You can feel things ramping down for the ATV1. Still an impressive player though.

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post #566 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizuno21 View Post

The app itself on appleTV is a bit underdeveloped in my opinion.

As far as I can tell the UI is just like everything else on the ATV -- as you'd expect. It's certainly possible for Apple to continue to change/improve the interface but all the components will have common ergonomics. Except the photo viewer. I'd also expect the ATV to continue to not look like a PS3 or Xbox. For various design reasons.
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post #567 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

My ATV's handle Netflix with no buffeting, stuttering, etc ... The picture quality is great compared to the version on my Mac Mini, but I guess that's apples and oranges. I also like the way it is integrated with the Finder or whatever it is called. No experience with the game machines unfortunately.

DVD is mpeg2. You will have to encode it, using Handbrake for example. There is bound to be some loss though perhaps very minimal?

Philip

Thanks for the info. I figured as much. Very familiar with handbrake and when encoding for devices such as ipad/iphone there is no noticeable quality loss in my experience. However, my frustratingly sensitive eyes and ears notice quality drops in larger screens/sound systems. Just trying to condense hardware and systems by getting to an apple household solely. Thanks again.
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post #568 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bodosom View Post

As far as I can tell the UI is just like everything else on the ATV -- as you'd expect. It's certainly possible for Apple to continue to change/improve the interface but all the components will have common ergonomics. Except the photo viewer. I'd also expect the ATV to continue to not look like a PS3 or Xbox. For various design reasons.

Apple does one thing really well in my opinion and that is UI. I just felt the overall UI, while functional, wasn't as.... flashy I suppose, as I had expected. The netflix app carried this theme. But, like I said, it'll improve. Really do like ATV.
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post #569 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 04:52 PM
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Well i'm going to have to bash the ATV2 a bit with iTunes as a video server. For Audio and controllability for the price nothing touches it but ripping DVDs/BDs to iTunes is just waaay to unpredictable and a hassle. I'll be lovin my i products for audio but video libraries i'll begin to explore other options.
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post #570 of 3109 Old 01-11-2011, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rpauls View Post

If 1080p uses no more bandwidth than 720p then it will be no better quality.

Since these are both streamed in highly compressed formats already, the number of bits is a rough indication of picture "information". If they don't give you more bits per second in the 1080 stream it won't look any better.

UNless of course 1080p is going to use some revolutionary new codec.

1080p doesn't use more bandwidth? I read several places the whole reason Apple did 720p instead was because they were concerned w/ bandwidth issues. Now I'm confused...

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