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Apple TV owners' thread. - Page 9

post #241 of 3001
I just got mine. The high points are as most of the posters here have identified.

Clearly the low point is video format compatability. What formats can this thing play? Apple seems to have this sketchy support post:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1532

About video formats
If you can't add or play a movie in iTunes or QuickTime Player, then you won't be able to convert it to play on Apple TV. Some examples of movies you can't add or play include WMV, AVI, DivX, RealMedia (rm), and Flash format files. Some third-party utilities may be able to convert these types of movies to a format compatible with iTunes and Apple TV.

So it seems quicktime Pro can convert - but where are this "third party utilities" that can convert AVI and WMV files? Anyone experiement with this?
post #242 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyca View Post

I just got mine. The high points are as most of the posters here have identified.

Clearly the low point is video format compatability. What formats can this thing play? Apple seems to have this sketchy support post:

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1532

About video formats
If you can't add or play a movie in iTunes or QuickTime Player, then you won't be able to convert it to play on Apple TV. Some examples of movies you can't add or play include WMV, AVI, DivX, RealMedia (rm), and Flash format files. Some third-party utilities may be able to convert these types of movies to a format compatible with iTunes and Apple TV.

So it seems quicktime Pro can convert - but where are this "third party utilities" that can convert AVI and WMV files? Anyone experiement with this?


I think we are seeing the end of the zillion codecs' world and that is a good thing in my opinion.

There are of course many players that specialize in playing every codec available. The ATV isn't one of them. It seems to me that someone wanting to do this is not going to be happy with the ATV. That being said, there are many approaches to playing old codec files. The easiest on the iPad is to use Air Video. Since there isn't an app on the ATV for that yet that's not going to work.

You want to avoid transcoding video. It's a long process and you risk losing a bit of the quality.

Quicktime Pro will do much of what use say if you have Perian installed. That is transcoding.

A fast way of going avi to mp4 is to get an ElGato Turbo H.264 HD. It wil also handle anything that Perian can display.

There are ways of going from containers with h.264 to mp4 without transcoding.

I view the inability to directly play a variety of codecs as a good thing. It allows for Apple to focus on inter-connectivity of the ATV with the iDevice world. That is where things are going and not backwards to divx.

philip
post #243 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyca View Post

So it seems quicktime Pro can convert - but where are this "third party utilities" that can convert AVI and WMV files? Anyone experiement with this?

I can't speak to those specific two formats, but Handbrake is probably the most popular tool out there for converting various video formats to .mp4/.m4v, which are formats/containers that the Apple TV supports. I've used it to convert .mkv files to .m4v. As pcmd stated, this is transcoding, so some loss in quality may result, but it's possible that you won't even notice the loss. I've converted 1080p uncompressed Blu-ray rips to a 720p .m4v file and found the quality to be very, very good. This was a high quality CGI source (Monsters vs Aliens), and with a lower quality source (e.g., older film print with a lot of grain), you may get more macroblocking issues, etc., though you can increase the quality level to minimize that.

On that note, does anyone here know of a particularly "good" test movie to use which will exhibit these types of issues? I've heard that the dark underwater scene at the beginning of The Bourne Identity could exhibit blocking issues (in the post I read in the Handbrake forums, the user noted seeing improvements in this scene in the past when using Handbrake's "No-fast-pskip" option).
post #244 of 3001
Agree with most of your points pmcd- the lack of codec support doesn't bother me too much as everything seems to be going to h264 anyways.. What wears me out though is their continued decision to ignore "full hd".. I hate that I have to have a double copy of a bluray movie.. One that's full on 1080p lossless video/audio in all its glory, then a "apple approved" low res version which has not only down res'd my resolution but taken me from something like dts-ma audio to two channel aac..

I just have to keep reminding myself that I bought this thing to be the "wife and kid" video streamer for its ease of use.. Just wish it suited my needs as well so I could get the clunky htpc out of the living room.
post #245 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

...not only down res'd my resolution but taken me from something like dts-ma audio to two channel aac..

It it's any consolation, Hagfish, the ATV2 can pass through AC3 (Dolby Digital) 5.1.

I'm still waiting to find out the right Handbrake settings so I can have the 5.1 track for when I'm playing on the ATV2 and then the stereo track for playing on the iPod.
post #246 of 3001
Be sure to let me know when you do- that's the same kind of setup I'm looking for
post #247 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

Agree with most of your points pmcd- the lack of codec support doesn't bother me too much as everything seems to be going to h264 anyways.. What wears me out though is their continued decision to ignore "full hd".. I hate that I have to have a double copy of a bluray movie.. One that's full on 1080p lossless video/audio in all its glory, then a "apple approved" low res version which has not only down res'd my resolution but taken me from something like dts-ma audio to two channel aac..

I just have to keep reminding myself that I bought this thing to be the "wife and kid" video streamer for its ease of use.. Just wish it suited my needs as well so I could get the clunky htpc out of the living room.


It would be nice if it could do both. Apple is juggling a lot of different things. They are dealing with content providers who don't want disk rips at all, limitations with streaming bandwidth and their own objectives to move away from disks. So you are probably not high on their priority list. I've played around with a lot of media players over the past year. I think they still can't come close to an htpc for what you want.

Philip
post #248 of 3001
Well- I use my htpc pretty much strictly for playback of bd movies- so I'm not really asking too much more from the aTV I think.. Just to be able to do what my less expensive wdtv live (bedroom) can do quite easily (play 1080p vids w/ core audio)..
post #249 of 3001
I want to be an owner, but as mentioned a few pages back I will not be until and if they support pulling supported codecs from a NAS and not an always on PC.

Having said that, I don't get the 1080P vs 720P thing. I'm 48yrs old and am fortunately still 20/20 uncorrected. I absolutely cannot tell the difference between the two on my 1080P pioneer 151 and 720P pioneer 5080 from more than 3 or 4 feet. And yes I've had them side by side to compare.

I totally understand if someone has a projector and huge screen or a specific situation that requires them to sit really close to the display. I just doubt there's many people in that situation.

As for passing Hi Rez audio, I completely understand that line of thinking.

If NAS support comes along then I'm an owner as soon as it happens.
post #250 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by nlpearman View Post

It it's any consolation, Hagfish, the ATV2 can pass through AC3 (Dolby Digital) 5.1.

I'm still waiting to find out the right Handbrake settings so I can have the 5.1 track for when I'm playing on the ATV2 and then the stereo track for playing on the iPod.


The Apple TV preset in Handbrake allows you to create file that includes both a 5.1 track and a stereo track. Works just as you would expect. Playing the rip on your Apple TV gives you full 5.1 Dolby Digital AC3 surround sound and playing the same file on your Iphone/iPod/iPad gives you the AAC stereo sound.

However, the current ATV preset was done for the old Apple TV and limits the max bitrate a bit. The new model can handle pretty much any bitrate at 720p you can throw at it so if you download the latest Handbrake nightly, choose the High Profile setting, and set the resolution up to 1280, you can get a higher quality file out of it.
post #251 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup View Post


Having said that, I don't get the 1080P vs 720P thing. I'm 48yrs old and am fortunately still 20/20 uncorrected. I absolutely cannot tell the difference between the two on my 1080P pioneer 151 and 720P pioneer 5080 from more than 3 or 4 feet. And yes I've had them side by side to compare.

Here's the problem.. If it *played* that 1080p content perfect w/o judders then I actually wouldn't have that big of a problem with the 720p output limit, but in my limited testing with trying to play uncompressed 1080p it fails pretty bad.. So, that means another step of having to run a vid through handbrake and getting it down to 720p. My htpc and wdtv live play the 1080p content no problem, the aTV requires another step and a considerable amount of time to have it ready to go..

I get the fact that they don't really care about folks like me who want to use it more for local home streaming than renting (paying) for content on itunes, etc.. I just don't like it.. That said, still glad to have it as the wife has already learned to control it with her iphone pretty easily.. I just hate having to encode vids twice..
post #252 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

I get the fact that they don't really care about folks like me who want to use it more for local home streaming than renting (paying) for content on itunes, etc.. I just don't like it.. That said, still glad to have it as the wife has already learned to control it with her iphone pretty easily.. I just hate having to encode vids twice..

I'm sort of in the same boat, but I knew what I was getting myself into and decided to do it anyway. I'm not so much interested in creating two separate files, and am fine having only one 720p file, but the process of downconverting a 1080p uncompressed Blu-ray rip is time-consuming. Right now, I'm still in the experimental phase of figuring out what the ideal Handbrake RF setting is. This is another complication because I believe there's no *one* answer, and it really depends on the source material. I believe that if you're using a high quality Blu-ray source, and the movie is a cartoon or all-CGI affair, then you can use a much higher (higher compression) RF value, but if you're encoding a live-action movie (and to add another wrinkle, an older or DVD source), then you need to use a lower (lower compression) RF value in order to reduce downconversion artifacts. IOW, garbage in, garbage out. So if you're working with "garbage", you need to use a better quality setting (and end up with a larger filesize), in order to make it look any worse than it already was.

The rather large conversion times are one thing, but needing to spend too much time thinking about what the optimal settings might need to be, is an even bigger issue, IMO. Then there are the issues of DTS and subtitles. DTS, thankfully, may now be solved with recent nightly builds of Handbrake. Up until just a couple of weeks ago, you would have needed to use another interim tool to convert DTS to AC3, prior to downconverting the movie with Handbrake. Fortunately, that functionality has just (very) recently been added to Handbrake.

Subtitles are another headache. With Blu-ray discs, the subtitles are stored using a newer format, but Handbrake can't yet deal with those. So you need to use an interim chain of tools to rip the subtitle data, then convert it to something Handbrake *can* deal with, then mux that data back into the source file (e.g., .mkv), which you'll then use as the "source" file for Handbrake.

This is all such a horrible pain in the butt. But I'm endeavoring to go through all of that, because I like everything else that the Apple TV brings to the table. I can live without 1080p and lossless audio, but the added manual hand-holding, and significant time increase for ripping/converting a movie, is the bigger pain.

Hopefully once AirPlay is released and they start advertising the Apple TV via TV commercials, they'll sell millions of them, and then they'll use their leverage to get day-and-date movie releases, and offer $2/night movie rentals. Then maybe I'll give up on converting my movies altogether and just go all-rental.

Closing out my rant...I will say that the Handbrake dev team is apparently working on getting Blu-ray subtitle support built-in (it won't be ready this year, so they say), so in 6 months or so it will probably all be less of a headache. And I'll probably upgrade my "ripping/downconverting" computer to something more capable, which can "process" a Blu-ray disc in under 3 hours.

I know that pcmd has commented previously that my situation is essentially abnormal and that if you're looking to do what I'm looking to do, there are better devices out there. But I also look at it from the perspective that you're going to pay the price somewhere. I could buy full-blown HTPC's that can play back 1080p Blu-ray rips wth lossless audio, but I'd need four of them (for multiple rooms in my house), so the cost would be prohibitive, and they probably wouldn't be as reliable or wife-friendly as the Apple TV.

With my approach, I have to suffer more up-front in terms of perhaps buying a single powerful PC to rip/downconvert the movies as fast as possible (and it will still be slower than if I was just ripping as-is to an .mkv with no compression and lossless audio intact), and I'll lose PQ and AQ with my approach, but the end result will also be files which are much, much smaller (so I can fit more of them on my hard drive, can easily transport them, can play them on an iPhone, can stream them over the Apple TV's built-in 802.11n without worrying about pauses or stuttering, etc.), and frankly I don't think I'll miss the added resolution or lossless audio. And this is coming from someone with a projector paired with a 92" diagonal screen. I've been around a while. Long enough to be part of the AVS community that owned a huge CRT front projector, paired with a 480p or worse source (e.g., laserdisc). And there were people who would use VHS (or at least S-VHS), which was of even worse PQ. And we still loved it. IMO, being immersed in a very large projected image trumps resolution, at least when coupled with a *decent* movie.

OK, I've rambled on long enough.
post #253 of 3001
Thread Starter 
I foolishly assumed that all the shows on Fox available for sale would be available for rent. That's an irksome defect.
post #254 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodosom View Post

I foolishly assumed that all the shows on Fox available for sale would be available for rent. That's an irksome defect.

Yeah, there's a really weird and annoying aspect to the whole experience whereby there are movies available for rent, but not for sale, and vice versa. Sometimes the movie is available for sale in standard-def, but not HD. Then, as you've indicated, there are TV shows available for sale but not for rent (and possibly vice versa). What a confusing mess. Of course, I blame the networks, and not Apple, for this, as I can't imagine any reason why Apple would *choose* to do any of that.
post #255 of 3001
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

What a confusing mess. Of course, I blame the networks, and not Apple, for this, as I can't imagine any reason why Apple would *choose* to do any of that.

Indeed. However I'm particularly annoyed that Apple would sign off on any of the three (main) rental sources (ABC/Fox/BBCA) withholding current season material that they sell. I'm quite happy blaming CBS/NBC (and their many holdings) for not renting at all but I blame Apple for the inconsistent offerings.
post #256 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by debpub View Post

The Apple TV preset in Handbrake allows you to create file that includes both a 5.1 track and a stereo track. Works just as you would expect. Playing the rip on your Apple TV gives you full 5.1 Dolby Digital AC3 surround sound and playing the same file on your Iphone/iPod/iPad gives you the AAC stereo sound.

However, the current ATV preset was done for the old Apple TV and limits the max bitrate a bit. The new model can handle pretty much any bitrate at 720p you can throw at it so if you download the latest Handbrake nightly, choose the High Profile setting, and set the resolution up to 1280, you can get a higher quality file out of it.

Thanks for that, depub. I found similar answers on the Handbrake forum.

Do I need to set the resolution up to 1280 for DVD's?

I encoded Shrek last night and the AC3 passthrough works. I almost danced a jig. My Apple TV meets my needs nearly perfectly. Apps would put it over the top.
post #257 of 3001
Did shrek have a dts track and if so handbrake converted to ac3? Also, did you try the same file on iphone/ipad etc to check to the 2 ch audio?
post #258 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by nlpearman View Post

Thanks for that, depub. I found similar answers on the Handbrake forum.

Do I need to set the resolution up to 1280 for DVD's?

I encoded Shrek last night and the AC3 passthrough works. I almost danced a jig. My Apple TV meets my needs nearly perfectly. Apps would put it over the top.

you won't be able to "upconvert" dvds with handbrake.

for dvds, just use the full resolution of 720x480. it most likely will default at that resolution.
post #259 of 3001
Is anyone else's unit powering itself on? For the last two days, I found my unit apparently switched on (front panel LED on). It wasn't displaying anything to the television when I turn the set on. Is there any option in this thing that can cause it to power on by itself?
post #260 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

Did shrek have a dts track and if so handbrake converted to ac3? Also, did you try the same file on iphone/ipad etc to check to the 2 ch audio?

Shrek does have a DTS track but I used the AC3 one. I'll re-encode tonight with the DTS track and I'll check to see if it runs on the iPod. I don't have an iPad, unfortunately.
post #261 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpatky View Post

you won't be able to "upconvert" dvds with handbrake.

for dvds, just use the full resolution of 720x480. it most likely will default at that resolution.

Thanks!
post #262 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by nlpearman View Post

Shrek does have a DTS track but I used the AC3 one. I'll re-encode tonight with the DTS track and I'll check to see if it runs on the iPod. I don't have an iPad, unfortunately.

I'm confused- it has ac3 (dd) and dts?
post #263 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

I'm confused- it has ac3 (dd) and dts?

If I'm not mistaken, most DVD's that have DTS also have DD.

After re-encoding overnight, I confirmed this morning that the handbrake DTS to AC3 Passthru conversion works on the ATV2. I have yet to sync the movie onto my iPod Touch to test the 2-channel.
post #264 of 3001
Is it a bluray? If so maybe it's the DTS Master (hidef) audio w/ an ac3 track also on there..
post #265 of 3001
So got one the other day as a gift. Very slick interface and am liking what it can do so far. Hopefully more to come!

Has anyone had trouble pairing an iTouch to it, or more specifically, getting home sharing to work with it?

I tried pairing my device using the "Remote" app in combination with iTunes 10 and when I enter the 4 digit passcode, it says "Verifying Passcode" for a minute or so then clears. It never seems to recognize the device.

Anyone had similar issues? Was interested to see how controlling the ATV would be with the iTouch.
post #266 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slates View Post

So got one the other day as a gift. Very slick interface and am liking what it can do so far. Hopefully more to come!

Has anyone had trouble pairing an iTouch to it, or more specifically, getting home sharing to work with it?

I tried pairing my device using the "Remote" app in combination with iTunes 10 and when I enter the 4 digit passcode, it says "Verifying Passcode" for a minute or so then clears. It never seems to recognize the device.

Anyone had similar issues? Was interested to see how controlling the ATV would be with the iTouch.

Hmm ... I don't recall having to pair it. That was with the 1st G ATG. This one just requires logging into home sharing. Which version of iTunes are you using? You have to upgrade to the latest version.

Philip
post #267 of 3001
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagfish View Post

I'm confused- it has ac3 (dd) and dts?

A DVD is required to have a non-DTS track (DVD predates DTS). Although it doesn't have to be AC-3 (there are two other choices) I've never seen a DTS DVD that didn't use AC-3 for core audio.
post #268 of 3001
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodosom View Post

A DVD is required to have a non-DTS track (DVD predates DTS). Although it doesn't have to be AC-3 (there are two other choices) I've never seen a DTS DVD that didn't use AC-3 for core audio.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe this is the case anymore with Blu-ray. I believe that Blu-ray discs can have Dolby Digital *or* DTS soundtracks. Fortunately, Handbrake recently added support for converting DTS soundtracks to AC3 (Dolby Digital) soundtracks. Once they add support for Blu-ray subtitles, life should be perfect.
post #269 of 3001
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slates View Post

I tried pairing my device using the "Remote" app in combination with iTunes 10 and when I enter the 4 digit passcode, it says "Verifying Passcode" for a minute or so then clears. It never seems to recognize the device.

Are you running an old version of Remote? You need version 2.0 or newer.
post #270 of 3001
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

I don't believe this is the case anymore with Blu-ray. I believe that Blu-ray discs can have Dolby Digital *or* DTS soundtracks.

BD never required AC-3 (any one of the three mandatory audio formats is acceptable) but my understanding was we were talking about the Shrek DVD.
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