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Is there anything apple tv can do that an HTPC can't?

post #1 of 111
Thread Starter 
My Mac friends are trying to sell me into getting an Apple TV 2 and jailbreak it for my bedroom vs using my laptop.

On my HTPC I'm using it purely to watch Youtube video and other video hosting sites as well as the streamed media from my main HTPC in the living room.

What I hear about jailbroken ATV2 that really got me thinking is the capability of watching cable contents (can someone confirm this?)

I have XMBC on the laptop in the BR but only use it as a front end to watch the media on my LAN. Everything else I just go to the browser and watch it from there.

I'm cable bill with HBO and Showtime is getting expensive, if I can watch HBO/Showtime and other premium stations via the ATV2 then I think it's a winner.
post #2 of 111
Jailbroken ATV2 was really buggy for me with large libraries and high bitrate. No substitute at all for a properly built and setup HTPC.

And ATV2s are about $250 right now on ebay.

BTW I have one for sale in mint condition and only used it to make a guide. Anyone PM me if interested.
post #3 of 111
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't call my PC anything powerful but definitely over built HTPC. core i7 2600 and 16gb rams smile.gif

Can I get the mention channels on a properly setup HTPC? Any guidance?
post #4 of 111
I don't think there is any legal way to watch HBO/Showtime online without a cable subscription.
post #5 of 111
No, there isn't. Sure would be nice if they let you subscribe to a show of interest rather than a bunch of other junk.
post #6 of 111
Quote:
Is there anything apple tv can do that an HTPC can't?
Cost more because you're locked into the 'Apple EcoSystem' and have to buy shows from iTunes?
post #7 of 111
I didn't even get into a proper comparison. Just not worth all the backlash.
post #8 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannieboiz View Post

I'm cable bill with HBO and Showtime is getting expensive, if I can watch HBO/Showtime and other premium stations via the ATV2 then I think it's a winner.

You can do that with an HTPC as well. You won't lose the bill unless you plan on doing it illegally, at which point you can still do it on the HTPC.

Only reason to go with ATV2 is if you're firmly in the "just works" crowd and have no intention of ever trying to do anything more with it than what it currently does.
post #9 of 111

The only reason I can think of is you own an Apple device already (Macbook, iPhone, iPad) and then you can use AirPlay which is quite a neat feature.

post #10 of 111
In a nut shell... NOPE!

You can even run OSX better then a genuine mac too if you wanted, with a little attention paid to component selection. biggrin.gif
post #11 of 111
Talk about apples and oranges...
post #12 of 111
Looks like most HBO and Showtime shows are $30 to $40/season on itunes ($1 per epsidoe less for SD). Could be worth your while if you only watch 1 or 2 shows on each channel.

Looks like Amazon is a bit cheaper, plus you already have all you need for it.
post #13 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Jailbroken ATV2 was really buggy for me with large libraries and high bitrate. No substitute at all for a properly built and setup HTPC.
And ATV2s are about $250 right now on ebay.
BTW I have one for sale in mint condition and only used it to make a guide. Anyone PM me if interested.

I'm really confused about this. Why are they so steep? I never thought to look as I have a jailbroken ATV2 that is just sitting on my desk and hasn't been used since I built the HTPCs.

Interesting...
post #14 of 111
Yes there is, no HTPC can do Netflix in surround sound, audio on a PC in general is just horrible. Hulu+ content is also extremely limited on PC to the point of being useless. All the other streaming services like Amazon are also probably crap on PC compared to a standalone device.
post #15 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

Yes there is, no HTPC can do Netflix in surround sound, audio on a PC in general is just horrible. Hulu+ content is also extremely limited on PC to the point of being useless. All the other streaming services like Amazon are also probably crap on PC compared to a standalone device.

Huh?

Don't need streaming as it is all crap IMHO. I shelled out some bucks for a 1080p HDTV and AVR to decode HD Audio. I don't want to watch highly compressed crap on it and listen to DD5.1 while at it.

The only time it is acceptable is when watching LiveTV because DD5.1 is the best that is available there but when watching a blu-ray rip HD Audio is a must.
post #16 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

audio on a PC in general is just horrible.

What? rolleyes.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

All the other streaming services like Amazon are also probably crap on PC compared to a standalone device.

So, you don't actually own an HTPC and have never tried it, have you?
post #17 of 111
Good call!
post #18 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Huh?
Don't need streaming as it is all crap IMHO. I shelled out some bucks for a 1080p HDTV and AVR to decode HD Audio. I don't want to watch highly compressed crap on it and listen to DD5.1 while at it.
The only time it is acceptable is when watching LiveTV because DD5.1 is the best that is available there but when watching a blu-ray rip HD Audio is a must.
your needs are completely irrelevant to the question, millions of people use Netflix and Netflix features are gimped on PC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

What? rolleyes.gif
So, you don't actually own an HTPC and have never tried it, have you?
Youd have to be deaf to think the audio on Netflix through the PC is any good, its garbage, worse than a 64kbps mp3. And yes I have used an HTPC for streaming, obviously you havent or youd know about the studios not allowing a lot of their content to be streamed in HD on PCs (or sometimes at all), why should it be any different on Amazon?
post #19 of 111
Whatever. But you can't make the blanket statement, "audio on a PC in general is just horrible" because it isn't true, in general.
post #20 of 111
I think the question should be what can HTPC do that Apple "so called" TV can't.

Apple appliance should be just called an "Overpriced Roku for the gullible"

Apple TV, despite the TV in its name CAN NOT do any TV, broadcast, nor cable.

So, if you are looking for an appliance that will play on-line content, then $80 WD, Roku, or Google TV appliance is for you.

If you are going to go the length to jail break an Apple TV and load it with something else, then you are not looking for "just works ouf of the box" experience, and will be better served by a purpose built HTPC at fraction of the cost.
post #21 of 111
I was talking about Netflix audio on a PC
post #22 of 111
That is specific, not general.
post #23 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

your needs are completely irrelevant to the question, millions of people use Netflix and Netflix features are gimped on PC
Youd have to be deaf to think the audio on Netflix through the PC is any good, its garbage, worse than a 64kbps mp3. And yes I have used an HTPC for streaming, obviously you havent or youd know about the studios not allowing a lot of their content to be streamed in HD on PCs (or sometimes at all), why should it be any different on Amazon?

In other words you've never tried streaming Amazon and don't know.

And since I have never used Netflix and have no interest in Netflix, I don't care a bit about Netflix audio.

But you made the statement that "audio on a PC in general is just horrible" which is utter nonsense.

Next time if you mean to say "NETFLIX audio on a PC in general is just horrible", then say so.
post #24 of 111
you are really grasping at straws trying to win an argument here, I was talking about netflix in the sentence that I said that in and twisting words isnt going to change that, and why would anyone care if you have an interest in Netflix? What does that prove?
post #25 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

you are really grasping at straws trying to win an argument here, I was talking about netflix in the sentence that I said that in and twisting words isnt going to change that, and why would anyone care if you have an interest in Netflix? What does that prove?

It's hardly grasping at straws. You made a blanket statement that is only valid for Netflix - a tiny portion of what ATV/HTPC users are running. If you can't recognize that difference, perhaps you need to reevaluate how you say things.
post #26 of 111
I already clarified that I was talking about Netflix and they continue to argue like I meant all audio on PCs, that is grasping for straws since they are trying to win an argument that never existed.
post #27 of 111

I have an HTPC (not used recently) and also an Xbox which I use for Netflix streaming (and I find Netflix very valuable, but that's besides the point). So Netflix from HTPC will not have surround sound? This is news to me. Is this because Netflix restricts that to standalone, much like they less HD content via pc?

post #28 of 111
Quote:
Is there anything apple tv can do that an HTPC can't?

Yes, it's primary function is to bring the iTunes store and your home iTunes library to your TV. For that purpose it is excellent and rock solid and an HTPC falls very flat in comparison for that. Having had experience with both an AppleTV (I don't own one but use one regularly at a friend's) and an HTPC (which I do own) I can also say it does Netflix and Hulu+ much better than an HTPC in both quality and selection. If you've got a large music or music video collection in iTunes it's also better than an HTPC IMO. It's also pretty much instant on like a TV.

However, it only does 29.970fps and it does not do HD audio. If you've got BD rips (muxed into .m4v container with the audio mixed down to AC3 5.1) it will play them but not nearly as good as a good HTPC does. You can get better UIs for HTPCs although the AppleTV's is pretty good. For a video or audiophile it's not really a choice.

Of course, for the 99% wink.gif it is more than good enough for their flat panel they've left with the factory settings as is on.
post #29 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannieboiz View Post

Is there anything apple tv can do that an HTPC can't?
Yep. Airplay.

If anybody knows of a non-Apple solution that works as easily as Airplay, I'll consider investing in new equipment to do it. But so far Airplay is unmatched by anything else I've tried for streaming music or video from your pocket to your main system.
post #30 of 111
Video? What resolution and does it support mkv with HD Audio and VC-1?

I can stream music from my network storage and the internet to my AVR using my android but it is a little likeWindows 3.1.
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