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Apple TV vs. WMC - Apple wins  

post #1 of 118
Thread Starter 
I am no expert, but this certainly seems like a pretty logical and well-documented argument to me.
post #2 of 118
Ha. Logical is the one thing it is not. Full of bad comparisons it is.

HP DEC - $1,000 vs Apple TV $299. That's a good one, except you still need a Mac or a PC to use Apple TV. That's about the worst comparison I have never seen. The majority of Mac's sell for more than $1,000 (as does the DEC).

"Windows Media Center PCs aren't flying off the shelves." - I guess that's despite that fact that Windows XP Media Center Edition ships in place of XP Pro or XP Home on 90% of machines. And that Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate both include Media Center. There are currently over 30 million MCE out there.

"That's often a bad assumption, because PCs running Windows are not all that great at being general purpose computers. " - Maketshare seems not to agree.

"Existing Windows users can't upgrade to new hardware and buy the software off the shelf, they have to buy a whole new PC." - Unless they buy Vista, then there is no reason they can't.

"Microsoft hates competition, and for good reason. It's a poor competitor." - Says someone reviewing an Apple product late to the table after a dozen other companies who have been making digital media adapters for the past 5 years.

"Why buy a whole new PC just to play video, photos, and music from a computer on a living room TV? Why not just buy a simple media extender relay device?" - Great idea, sounds like Media Center w/ Extenders. He makes it seem like Apple TV works without a PC/Mac.

"And why not throw in a hard drive, so users can spool their content to the TV and watch it without any streaming interruptions?" - 802.11n is more than fast enough to stream without any interruptions. I'm going to assume that the author of the article has never attempted to stream video to anything.

"Apple TV fits the same needs as a Windows Media Center PC, but at a much lower price point: under $300 rather than around $1000." - Again, you still need a PC/Mac for it for work. And if you want to compare Apple TV vs. Media Center, you compare it to the Xbox 360 as an Extender. Xbox 360 Core is the same price as Apple TV. You can download content to your PC, stream it to your Xbox 360, record HDTV (even CableCARD w/ a new Vista PC), have a dozen tuners, etc, etc.

"In addition to getting video, photos, and music from a PC library, it's also integrated with iTunes, so users can download what they want to watch rather than fishing from a stream of paid subscription content." - I can stream my iTunes songs (purchased) to my Xbox 360 Extender using MCETunes.

"With cable plans commonly $50-100 per month, Apple TV offers an alternative of downloading movies and TV programs Ã* la carte for less, with no monthly commitment and no charge when nothing is watched." - And that can end up costing you more depending on how many series you watch. He forgets to note that.

"There are several models for Macs, from little USB dongles that catch and record TV over the air to fancy Firewire boxes that can capture in HD." - But it's not integrated, something that Apple is known for.

Apple TV will be great for some, but this review is full of crap. Someone needed to do a little research beforehand.

Chris
post #3 of 118
Alan Couger stopped the "Why Vista DRM is bad for you" thread and perhaps rightfully so because it had nothing to do with the "Mac OS". I know Further also supports the "Mac OS only" policy.

So why post a link to a comparison between Apple TV and Windows MCE? When referring to XP/Vista, is it permissible on this forum to only post opinions and arguments that XP/Vista is worse than Apple products?
post #4 of 118
While I agree that roughlydrafted's analysis is poor (this seems to be common for them, the articles I have read there take great pains to justify Apple's position on everything, regardless of logic), Chris's response seems to be the inverse / Windows version of the same thing.

One big difference in the AppleTV is the hard drive. Apple's laptops are their best sellers. Having a drive in the AppleTV allows them to cache the media content, so the laptop doesn't need to be running, or even present, for the AppleTV to be used.

Another big difference between AppleTV and MCE is the whole Apple ecosystem. The AppleTV will benefit from all the things that made the iPod successful. The great integration of iTunes for media management and simple purchasing of additional content, is a game changer. From what I have seen of MCE, it looks like it parallels the Windows MP3 player situation, the management software is just inferior. I would never expect my parents to be able to set up and use MCE. But, AppleTV will be very easy for them to manage.

The roughlydrafted article dismisses the limited codec support in the AppleTV. For me, this is a big deal, no MPEG2, no home video playback, etc. ( it can be done, if you convert everything to H.264 format, which is time consuming, and can be problematic).


Personally, I think the AppleTV will work extremely well for people who get all their content via iTMS, and will be especially great for Mac users - with the iPhoto integration and iMovie/iDVD ability to do H.264 export. People deviating from that narrow profile (e.g. trying to play my existing home video, archived as MPEG2 DVD format, or trying to show everybody a video from YouTube) will be a bit frustrated.
post #5 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by tji View Post

Chris's response seems to be the inverse / Windows version of the same thing....Personally, I think the AppleTV will work extremely well for people who get all their content via iTMS, and will be especially great for Mac users...

While I did push Windows over Apple, I try to see both sides of the story. Thus, you can't compare a $300 Apple TV to a $1000 Media Center PC. That's $300 Apple TV still needs the Mac/PC to work. It can basically be assumed that anyone buying an Apple TV already has a Mac/PC, so that's shouldn't be a review point at all.

However, Microsoft has been doing the same concept with Media Center for the past few years. Linksys and HP both had v1 Media Center Extenders, which with the Media Center PC the user already has works with the same concept as Apple TV. The review doesn't take note of several facts, and instead takes the route most likely to put Apple on top. 30 million MCE PC's is quite a lot, and saying that it "didn't catch on" ignores the numbers. PVR use might not have caught on as a lot of the numbers ship without tuners, but again a moot point since Apple doesn't ship their machines with tuners nor does the Apple TV include PVR functions.

If the reviewer wanted to do a little better, he would have compared Apple TV vs. Xbox 360 as Media Center Extender. Both are the same price, and both have similar feature sets. However, Apple TV can do a number of things the Xbox 360 can't (H.264 native playback, native iTunes playback, cache on hard drive, etc), while the Xbox 360 can do a number of things the Apple TV can't (full PVR [CableCARD option], WMV9 native playback, works with dozens of online services, etc).

It's no big secret that I'm a Media Center user (search my posts, 99% of them come in Microsoft/Media Center threads).

Overall, the review is everything but logical. BTW, I agree with your iTunes Store consensus, that's what I see Apple TV as great for.

Yes, I'm a Media Center user and also happen to be a Microsoft MVP. I don't get a paycheck from Microsoft, I don't work for them, I have no vested interested in any of their products, etc, etc. I'm also not a Mac hater, I just don't see Apple's vision the way others do.

Chris
post #6 of 118
Thread Starter 
Well, Chris, I see that this is one of your few, if not only postings in the Mac forum. I also see that you are a "professional"(?) Windows media person. Fair enough. However, since you make statements without any source to back them up, I can't take your comments very seriously.

One of the big "problems" with these forums is that most of the people here are not typical computer users. I suspect that is even more true on the Windows side than the Mac side, but that's just my guess.

IAC, the demands that many people here make (Windows or Mac) -- play this format or do it this way -- are probably not very representative of the general computer public. The fact that the early WMC pcs were a big failure is proof of that. I think it is precisely those people (the people not especially interested in a htpc) who are the target of the Apple TV. And, considering how often questions about matching resolution between a Mini and TV display come up here, I suspect the Apple TV will be aimed at these people too.

And, I think this review, while not perhaps to the taste or standards of everyone here, does make quite few valid points for the vast majority of computer users who just want something to work.

And finally, Jimwesternguy, since you clearly don't like the Mac OS, I wonder why you bother posting here? I don't like Windows, but I don't go into that forum and say how awful this or that is. How about extending us the same courtesy?
post #7 of 118
Well, you're honest, that's better than most people feeling anonymous on the Internet. A windows MCE "MVP" proselytizing in a Mac forum.. good luck with that.
post #8 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

Yes, I'm a Media Center user and also happen to be a Microsoft MVP. I don't get a paycheck from Microsoft, I don't work for them, I have no vested interested in any of their products, etc, etc. I'm also not a Mac hater, I just don't see Apple's vision the way others do.

You may not be paid by Microsoft, but wouldn't it be fair to say that without them you wouldn't have a job (or income)? Your post did not come across as a Mac hater at all, however, it was certainly in your commercial interest. I appreciate your openness and wonder why you bothered to post here at all?
post #9 of 118
I own a mac mini and, yes, I do on occasion use OSX I have as much right as anyone else to be here....this includes you, Further.
post #10 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

Well, Chris, I see that this is one of your few, if not only postings in the Mac forum. I also see that you are a "professional"(?) Windows media person. Fair enough. However, since you make statements without any source to back them up, I can't take your comments very seriously.

I'm not sure what you mean. An MVP is just a award for volunteers, don't think to much into it. Exactly what statements did I make without a source that warrant one? Since you want a source for something, how can you say the article posted was logical when he doesn't state a source for his information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

IAC, the demands that many people here make (Windows or Mac) -- play this format or do it this way -- are probably not very representative of the general computer public. The fact that the early WMC pcs were a big failure is proof of that. I think it is precisely those people (the people not especially interested in a htpc) who are the target of the Apple TV. And, considering how often questions about matching resolution between a Mini and TV display come up here, I suspect the Apple TV will be aimed at these people too.

Again, I would like to know how over 30 million units is a failure.

What people want with format support is everything. If they have a file they want it to play. Neither Apple TV or Media Center Extender's currently do this. They don't care what format it is, but they know it plays on their PC/Mac so it should play on their other devices too. This has yet to happen for Apple TV (or MCX's).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

And, I think this review, while not perhaps to the taste or standards of everyone here, does make quite few valid points for the vast majority of computer users who just want something to work.

That's actually the last thing I took away from the article. The main point that article is trying to make is MCE vs. Apple TV using price as one of the main feature. And it does so by using incorrect comparisons and faulty numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tji View Post

Well, you're honest, that's better than most people feeling anonymous on the Internet. A windows MCE "MVP" proselytizing in a Mac forum.. good luck with that.

Again, just an award. Doesn't stop me from support all the non-Microsoft products I want. I've owned an iPod and loved it (until the battery kicked out). I will never purchase a Zune. I don't use Internet Explorer and never will. I'm not running Vista even though I have several copies. I've used Linux since the last 90's. And I'll buy a Mac (mini most likely) for one of my next computers (GF wants one, and would I).

However, I do see reason to use Media Center. CableCARD now, D*, and E* support later. SideShow will bring amazing remotes and in-wall control. Pika (v2 Extenders) are built on Sigma chips, able to decode MPEG-2, MPEG-4 ASP (DivX, XviD), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), and much more. It's not where near perfect, but I don't want to buy content from iTunes in waterdowned resolutions and could end up costing me more than cable/sat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

You may not be paid by Microsoft, but wouldn't it be fair to say that without them you wouldn't have a job (or income)? Your post did not come across as a Mac hater at all, however, it was certainly in your commercial interest. I appreciate your openness and wonder why you bothered to post here at all?

Well, I have no real source of income with or without Microsoft. I'm currently a college student. I make a few bucks from AdSense on my blog, nothing that is going to pay bills.

I post here because I find Apple TV (and Mac/PC/HTPC/everything) interesting. I do like to argue, but I also like to try and get the other side of the story that I might not see. IMHO, this is something the author of that article should have done, and didn't.

Chris
post #11 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimwesternguy View Post

I own a mac mini and, yes, I do on occasion use OSX I have as much right as anyone else to be here....this includes you, Further.

That's very nice, but why don't you respond to what I wrote instead instead of what you seem to think I wrote?
post #12 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

Ha. Logical is the one thing it is not. Full of bad comparisons it is.

As is your rebuttal.

Quote:
HP DEC - $1,000 vs Apple TV $299. That's a good one, except you still need a Mac or a PC to use Apple TV. That's about the worst comparison I have never seen. The majority of Mac's sell for more than $1,000 (as does the DEC).

A Mac Mini for $599 does the job just fine. No need to inflate the price of the Mac to make a point.

Quote:
There are currently over 30 million MCE out there.

And how many of them are being used as such? How many are actually hooked up to a living room display directly or via a media extender? I'd say 90% + of the MCE computers I see in the home aren't used as such. I get support calls from my clients all the time asking the stupidist questions like: "How can I use this removable hard drive to transfer my Word documents to my laptop?" This being the most use they get out of any of the MCE capabilities. MCE is nothing but market-speak for "Windows Home Version with all of the multimedia pieces you should have gotten in the first place for free."

Quote:
"Existing Windows users can't upgrade to new hardware and buy the software off the shelf, they have to buy a whole new PC." - Unless they buy Vista, then there is no reason they can't.

Having to resort to purchasing Vista to do so is enough reason not to.

Quote:
"Why buy a whole new PC just to play video, photos, and music from a computer on a living room TV? Why not just buy a simple media extender relay device?" - Great idea, sounds like Media Center w/ Extenders. He makes it seem like Apple TV works without a PC/Mac.

His point is that you can't upgrade XP to MCE. You have to buy the machine with MCE pre-installed. Big expense. And buying Vista is not a viable alternative for many, both because of hardware problems and lack of desire to want to invest in Vista's vision of DRM.

Quote:
802.11n is more than fast enough to stream without any interruptions. I'm going to assume that the author of the article has never attempted to stream video to anything.

Assuming you are limiting yourself to one stream of HD or less. Put severalstreams of HD on (n) and it will congest and stall.

Quote:
"Apple TV fits the same needs as a Windows Media Center PC, but at a much lower price point: under $300 rather than around $1000." - Again, you still need a PC/Mac for it for work. And if you want to compare Apple TV vs. Media Center, you compare it to the Xbox 360 as an Extender.

And why should I do that? The xBox 360 is nothing but a subsidized money loser for Microsoft. A pawn in a gamble to win control of the high def wars. The two products will end up in two totally different living rooms.

Quote:
"With cable plans commonly $50-100 per month, Apple TV offers an alternative of downloading movies and TV programs Ã* la carte for less, with no monthly commitment and no charge when nothing is watched." - And that can end up costing you more depending on how many series you watch. He forgets to note that.

And you forget to mention that you waste dozens of hours a month watching commercials via cable. Time is money to some.

Quote:
"There are several models for Macs, from little USB dongles that catch and record TV over the air to fancy Firewire boxes that can capture in HD." - But it's not integrated, something that Apple is known for.

And many, many people could care less about having tuners. My HD stb pvr, rented for $5.00/month does a great job. Why should I waste my time and money trying to replicate what my pvr does with a monstrosity of a computer and OS???

Quote:
Apple TV will be great for some, but this review is full of crap. Someone needed to do a little research beforehand.

Chris

As do you if you are going to come into the Mac forum and and spout a bunch of pro MCE crap. While I'm no apologist for Eran at Roughly Drafted--he is a novice at trying to figure out the HD world--your opinions carry little weight here, either.
post #13 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

Again, I would like to know how over 30 million units is a failure.

It's a failure because the vast majority of them are not used for their intended purpose. It's only a success in that Microsoft has managed to wrangle a bunch of money out of people for a computer and OS that they will never understand or use. And create the illusion that they have a 30 million person market, when in fact, they don't. appleTV, on the other hand has one specific purpose: to hook up to the big screen in the living room. You can be assured that 100% of them will do that, as there is no other reason to buy one.
post #14 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

A Mac Mini for $599 does the job just fine. No need to inflate the price of the Mac to make a point.

I said "The majority of Mac's sell for more than $1,000 (as does the DEC)." Please don't confuse things here. Yes, I know the Mac Mini is less than $1,000, but the majority of Mac (as I said) are at least $1,000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

And how many of them are being used as such? How many are actually hooked up to a living room display directly or via a media extender? I'd say 90% + of the MCE computers I see in the home aren't used as such. I get support calls from my clients all the time asking the stupidist questions like: "How can I use this removable hard drive to transfer my Word documents to my laptop?" This being the most use they get out of any of the MCE capabilities. MCE is nothing but market-speak for "Windows Home Version with all of the multimedia pieces you should have gotten in the first place for free."

I can't give you numbers of how many, but same how many Mac users will buy an Apple TV and take advantage of it? How many Mac users actually use Front Row?

Equal comparison is a must. You can't just say no one uses MCE without applying the same to OS X.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

Having to resort to purchasing Vista to do so is enough reason not to.

Why? Don't you need a certain version of OS X to run things like FrontRow? IIRC it's not even officially supported on PowerPC Mac Mini's, which means those who want it actually need to buy a whole new PC (run pirate it/run unoffically copy from third party sources).

His point is that you can't upgrade XP to MCE. You have to buy the machine with MCE pre-installed. Big expense. And buying Vista is not a viable alternative for many, both because of hardware problems and lack of desire to want to invest in Vista's vision of DRM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

Assuming you are limiting yourself to one stream of HD or less. Put severalstreams of HD on (n) and it will congest and stall.

So you are suggesting that even 802.11n should actually be replaced by hardwire?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

And why should I do that? The xBox 360 is nothing but a subsidized money loser for Microsoft. A pawn in a gamble to win control of the high def wars. The two products will end up in two totally different living rooms.

Yes, I can see how the Xbox 360 that doesn't ship with an HD DVD drive is a pawn in a gamble. Of course, then we could talk about Apple having support for HD DVD burning for the past year in their software, and yet they are on the BDA. You must be talking about Sony and the PS3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

And you forget to mention that you waste dozens of hours a month watching commercials via cable. Time is money to some

I have my Media Center PC setup to use ComSkip. It's free, so I don't watch commericals. Works on Extenders like the Xbox 360 too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

And many, many people could care less about having tuners. My HD stb pvr, rented for $5.00/month does a great job. Why should I waste my time and money trying to replicate what my pvr does with a monstrosity of a computer and OS???

No HD PVR can currently extend content to several rooms. Media Center is the first PVR to be able to extend recorded CableCARD content to up to 5 rooms.

You might only pay $5 a month per STB, but add all those up over the years and see how much you are actually paying for hardware you don't own. It might be fine, you might only have a single STB. That's cool, your choice. You might also want to purchase from iTunes and save on cable/sat, I'm not saying that is wrong, it's just not what I want to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

As do you if you are going to come into the Mac forum and and spout a bunch of pro MCE crap. While I'm no apologist for Eran at Roughly Drafted--he is a novice at trying to figure out the HD world--your opinions carry little weight here, either.

I'm sorry that you are not interested in my thoughts. Please feel free to block me, but I'm not going to leave unless a Mod asks me to, and since I have done nothing to attack anyone, I don't see why that should happen.

Chris
post #15 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

It's a failure because the vast majority of them are not used for their intended purpose. It's only a success in that Microsoft has managed to wrangle a bunch of money out of people for a computer and OS that they will never understand or use. And create the illusion that they have a 30 million person market, when in fact, they don't. appleTV, on the other hand has one specific purpose: to hook up to the big screen in the living room. You can be assured that 100% of them will do that, as there is no other reason to buy one.

Read my reply above, if you are interesting in that game we could also talk about Apple and Front Row.

Apple TV might have a single purpose, but that does it can't be a failure too. Apple might sale 60 million of them, but they could sit in the living room never being used.

I'm positive that all 30+ million are not being used as true Media Center's or even have an Extender connected. However, when the Xbox 360 and/or Media Center PC just happen to find each other on the network, just think about how many people can unlock what's already there.

BTW, I don't believe that Microsoft will take over the world with Media Center. It will continue to be for those who want a bit extra, more than what they can do with a standard STB. It's not going to replace the average person's cable/sat STB. I also believe that Apple TV will not replace the average person's cable/sat STB. It's for people who want more, or different ways of consuming their media.

Chris
post #16 of 118
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

I'm sorry that you are not interested in my thoughts. Please feel free to block me, but I'm not going to leave unless a Mod asks me to, and since I have done nothing to attack anyone, I don't see why that should happen.

I for one don't have a problem with your posts, especially since you were honest enough to include your background. Nevertheless, I wonder "what is the point"? All of us here at least have Mac hardware, which does not run WMC, and so far, few of us seem like candidates to dump our Macs in favour of a PC.

No offense, but I really find your arguments quite underwhelming. The article was not perfect, but, OTOH, he included a lot of very interesting history of Microsoft and media, most of which I had read about years ago. Your points, OTOH, suffered from some lack of logic. As Wildrock as already pointed out, for example, you claimed that $1000 for a computer was needed in either case, but a Mac Mini, which many of us are using, is almost half of that price. Secondly, Microsoft selling software is very different from people actually using that software, while someone spending $300 to buy a piece of hardware is far less likely to buy it then not use it.

Just in case you don't already know it, many of the people here, though, of course, not all, are refugees from Windows, not candidates for Windows.
post #17 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

I am no expert, but this certainly seems like a pretty logical and well-documented argument to me.

Further, I've been following Eran at RD for a while, and while I believe him to be trying to get to the root of some basic points in the PC vs. Mac debate (among others), he not always makes the right argument. I find myself wandering around in his historical ruminations, just to get to the point of his articles. And his articles intertwine and oft repeat themselves. In short, he needs a good technical editor (having worked as one for a decade, I can safely say this).

But his points have merit. Here are a few points that I glean from this article:

* The basic problem is that when Microsoft visualizes a solution to a problem, it's always a PC running Windows.
* Home users have to go out of their way to buy the relatively expensive Windows Media Center PC.
* It therefore does not appear to be a problem that the Apple TV lacks a TV tuner. In fact, it positions it as complementary to cable boxes, rather than competing.
* the Apple TV doesn't need a DVD player, since users who watch DVDs... presumably already have a DVD player hooked up to their TV
* That means that--big surprise--Apple TV is designed for content from iTunes [on Mac or PC].
* While iTunes isn't the only source for content for the Apple TV, it's obviously a main driver for the device.

So, after walking around the issue for a while, and showing his novice knowlege of the high def world, Eran gets to the point that the appleTV is an inexpensive, easily understood and worked solution to get iTunes content to the living room big screen. The same discussion that we've had in many threads here, though in greater detail and with better understanding. And the other point is that it is a better solution for the average home consumer that has XP, and is faced with the choice between buying Vista, a new computer with MCE, or an appleTV, if what you want to do is extend the iTunes experience to your home big screen and watch downloaded video. Simple as that. Though I would add the obvious 4th solution: a Mac Mini directly connected to the display, for comparison's sake.

But I must grouse about Eran's next article about iTS movie quality where he becomes an apologist for Apple not moving directly forward with 720p and DD videos from the iTS. He wouldn't last a second in this forum trying to justify why Apple won't do so for years down the road. He may be right in suggesting that Apple won't move to 720p right away, but not for the reasons he puts out.
post #18 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

Read my reply above, if you are interesting in that game we could also talk about Apple and Front Row.

What game? That Apple installs Front Row for free on most of its shipping computers now (and a remote)? And that XP and Vista strip out this basic functionality and then attempt to sell it back to you in an "upgrade." It's no wonder that us Mac users have been spoiled by Apple's only having one desktop product, reducing confusion and maximizing productivity. Microsoft's model of dividing up the desktop market and compartmentalizing features and applications into nonsensical bundles only serves to maximize revenue, and frustrate consumers who can't do what they want without side-grading to a different version of Vista. Nonsensical, if you ask me. It's a huge reason why there are "Switchers" and why Mac faithful remain so.
post #19 of 118
Hey Chris. Are you Chris P. from the DirectX Audio forum?
You give great advice, know your stuff.
Get a Mac!
And get on Core Audio mail list.
We could use you.
post #20 of 118
Thread Starter 
I agree with most everything you say. Actually, I found the article from this site, which is run by someone who posts here quite a bit.

I don't think the article is perfect either, but considering how often people like Ryan and Jim tell us how much better WMC is than Front Row or Mac OS, I thought that this article provides a pretty nice counter argument. I don't think either one is perfect, but Microsoft has been at this for years, while Apple only started recently. Beside, for the WMC you have to run Windows. That's reason enough for me not to use it.
post #21 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL01 View Post

However, when the Xbox 360 and/or Media Center PC just happen to find each other on the network, just think about how many people can unlock what's already there.

Happy, happy, joy, joy. Gamer orgasm.

Why anyone would want to buy an xBox to play or stream HD if they aren't a gamer is beyond me. I think that it is the epitome of what is wrong with Microsoft when their entrance into the world of HD content is via a game box. Talk about marginalizing the vast majority of your potential customer base, and missing the point of the new HD format.
post #22 of 118
While I'm as diametrically opposed to the Windows/MCE fanboys amongst us as possible, like them I just don't understand what anyone finds special about this supposed Roughlydrafted "analysis." His aTV versus MCE is gloss and bluster, poorly argued and when I've dropped into his site at other times, what I've found too often is simplistic, self-evident or invalid.

Chris and tji, I think you both make many good points, I personally think it's best to focus on the article, now that I've read through it I wish I could have those 5 minutes back.

Quote:
I just don't see Apple's vision the way others do.

Chris, many of us here disagree all the time over "Apple's vision"--this forum is actually quite diverse--so have no worries discussing it here. There's no admission test, at least I hope there isn't. Somehow I've been let in.

You already covered that the aTV isn't just $300, it's $300 plus the cost of your Mac or PC, and existing home network, and useless without it. Well, not really useless as tji points out--you can cache and then disconnect your Mac--the point initially glossed over, for some inexplicable reason, is TCO, total cost of operation: you also have to have that PC running iTunes, or that Mac "ecosystem" in place. Yes, wildrock, the mini can be had for less than $599, the Macbook $699, the thing I find objectionable is if Roughlydrafted is gonna make monetary arguments, he should be approaching aTV like it's just one part of the larger ecosystem that has to also include a Mac like the mini--and that opens the door to the Xbox 360 as add-on to the PC with MCE ecosystem. Fair is fair. (It also makes me wonder if any of these nascent bloggers actually DO anything in their home theaters--have none of them actually hooked a modern PC or Mac, even a cheap Mac like a Macbook or a mini, up to their HDTV? Where have they been?)

Don't they realize that once most normal people get an HDTV home, the elephant in the room instantly and forevermore becomes getting their hands on high def programming (and perhaps trying to upscale dvds, if they can ever figure out what upscaling means) so stuff actually looks good on that multi-thousand-dollar purchase? SD on most HDTVs looks, well, I'll just say underwhelming to be kind. Don't your parents and relatives instantly notice how much worse the analog and SD stuff they previously tolerated now looks like crap on their HD sets?

And, in the near term, aTV will offer scant relief in this regard.

Quote:
"With cable plans commonly $50-100 per month, Apple TV offers an alternative of downloading movies and TV programs Ã* la carte for less, with no monthly commitment and no charge when nothing is watched."

And that can end up costing you more depending on how many series you watch. He forgets to note that.

But, why even muddy the waters with this? The waters are already muddied enough. aTV shouldn't even really be compared to basic cable (cheap) or OTA (free) because not only is it not HD, and not upscaled dvd, it's not even "Apple dvd player app" quality, which most of us feel underwhelms if you have a display larger than 30". That's right, aTV content will be even more muddled and soft than Apple dvd player.

Better, don't you think, to just call a spade a spade up front: just say it's a low res alternative if you don't care about what you watch? I'm already tired of the self-serving "I don't really care about the quality when I watch a TV show because, you know, it's just a TV show" justification--but, if you want to be the friendly neighborhood aTV acolyte, fine, just lose the doublethink and stop pretending black is white. It's not, in terms of clarity and quality; while you may choose to de-emphasize video quality at the expense of prioritizing something else like seamless wireless transport, just realize blackisnotwhite.

Roughlydrafted gives the impression he's still watching analog cable at home, and using something like a Series 2 Tivo for frame of reference. Wouldn't it be better to be up front about the watered down iTMS resolutions--and then make the case that here's why you should still care?

Another weak and/or invalid excuse: that we already have standalone dvd players so don't really need our Mac or aTV to handle this either? Only someone who still pops discs in and out one at a time could understand that perspective.

This is another good one:

Quote:
Apple TV is designed for content from iTunes. However, because those formats are common and open, it is trivial to convert most existing video to play it back.

Trivial? This for the same person supposedly too clueless technically to direct connect a computer to their TV? It can take forever to transcode stuff--and that's even with the newest Intel Macs--let alone the older equipment the author is pre-supposing his readers still have.

Quote:
The roughlydrafted article dismisses the limited codec support in the AppleTV. For me, this is a big deal, no MPEG2, no home video playback, etc. ( it can be done, if you convert everything to H.264 format, which is time consuming, and can be problematic).

Right, why dabble in actual details. I found this frustrating as well.

Then there's this little gotcha sticking out as well:

Quote:
That includes DVDs, which can be ripped under fair use

They can? In which country? Certainly not the good old US of A. There's no fair use or DMCA exemption for backing up a personal dvd collection. And even if someone at home does rip it--as we all do--and then convert it into an acceptable aTV format, it's still noticeably inferior to the actual dvd.

Which brings us back to how flawed the piece is: Is aTV still so convenient if you plan to transcode and import the stuff you already have? Not so sure I'd agree. "Just works?" Again, not so sure I'd agree. aTV will improve quality and offer convenience for some, especially complete novices, or dopes whose home theater experience has been limited to hooking a video iPod up to a TV. But again, it's best to avoid the doublethink, black is not white.

Now, I'm less interested in debating the merits or sales of MCE, but among most people who do actually use MCE on their PCs for home theater tasks--rather than as general purpose PCs--in addition to handling music, they seem to do so because of 1) the front end, 2) because they can upscale their vast dvd collection with various Windows processing software to achieve something greater than standard dvd playback, and 3) because they can record some HD. None of which the aTV does, helps to do or supplants.

At the moment.

Would it have been so hard for this guy to write a few paragraphs saying that the aTV is an integrated, inexpensive, easy to understand way for Mac users to get their lower res iTunes content to their living room TV? No apologies for having to conform, with an eye kept open toward the future?
post #23 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

Would it have been so hard for this guy to write a few paragraphs saying that the aTV is an integrated, inexpensive, easy to understand way for Mac [and PC] users to get their lower res iTunes content to their living room TV? No apologies for having to conform, with an eye kept open toward the future?

Unfortunately, it's not his style. Like I lined out the six points above to reach the same conclusion that you did. Unfortunately we have to experience Eran's never-ending desire to impress us with his knowledge of PC history, in order to pick out the salient points that direct us to his murky conclusions. Now that he is drifting off into topics of AVS expertiese, he should come here and do some ressearch before he posts his articles. I find him to be less than receptive to comments on his blog that try to point him in the right direction.
post #24 of 118
I own a Mac and even though it is nice. I have never met a more delusional and biased group of people than Mac users.
post #25 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbo View Post

I own a Mac and even though it is nice. I have never met a more delusional and biased group of people than Mac users.

Have you spent any time in the HTPC-PC forum?
post #26 of 118
You can record HD TV with a Apple TV device? You can use multiple tuners inside an Apple TV device? To me this is what MCE is for and where it begins. Through Sideshow it will be able to control a myriad of devices in the whole household. Why is AppleTV even compared to this?

AppleTV = XBox360 w/out the gameplaying and HDTV streaming capability. Of course Apple(smartly and rightly so) will market the heck out of the AppleTV and make the general public think nothing like it has never existed. Microsoft will(stupidly) sit back and never tell the millions of Xbox360 and Xbox owners that they have the same capability.

For those that don't use it, the Xbox and 360 are great media extenders. Why M$ is not more vocal about this, I will never know. There are millions of Media Center PCs out there and most have no clue about any of this. Apple will not have this problem.
post #27 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Further View Post

I for one don't have a problem with your posts, especially since you were honest enough to include your background. Nevertheless, I wonder "what is the point"? All of us here at least have Mac hardware, which does not run WMC, and so far, few of us seem like candidates to dump our Macs in favour of a PC.

No offense, but I really find your arguments quite underwhelming. The article was not perfect, but, OTOH, he included a lot of very interesting history of Microsoft and media, most of which I had read about years ago. Your points, OTOH, suffered from some lack of logic. As Wildrock as already pointed out, for example, you claimed that $1000 for a computer was needed in either case, but a Mac Mini, which many of us are using, is almost half of that price. Secondly, Microsoft selling software is very different from people actually using that software, while someone spending $300 to buy a piece of hardware is far less likely to buy it then not use it.

Just in case you don't already know it, many of the people here, though, of course, not all, are refugees from Windows, not candidates for Windows.

I do find it interesting that you are asking what the point is after you posted the article that was basically comparing Media Center vs. Apple TV. The point is just that, and I saw some incorrect information in the article that was presented as "logical". I thought different, so I replied.

If the topic is just about Apple TV or Mac, then the article shouldn't have been posted in the form it was.

I'm not trying to convert anyone, just presenting a different side to the arguements here and in the article. I thougt it was a bad article, yet most here are replying saying "it's not perfect, but it's ok". Well, it may be ok, but the fact that is a number of the points are either not true or could be argued.

And as I said above, the price should have been left out. You need either a PC or a Mac to use both Apple TV and Media Center. The fact that you can get a Mac for before $1,000 doesn't matter. You still need one, and you can get a PC for much less than a Mac Mini.

The article would have been much better if it had compared Media Center w/ an Extender to a Mac w/ Apple TV. Both require the purcahse of a computer beforehand. Then, both require purcahsed of an additional device which happen to be the same price.

If you want to compare Media Center PC vs. Mac w/ Front Row, you would use the costs of two different computers, not the cost of a $600 Mac Mini and then $1,500 Windows PC. You would use a $600 Mac Mini and a $600 PC.

It must be an equal comparison. Part of the good thing (to me) about an Xbox 360 is that it is just that. Not only do I get a Media Center Extender, but I get a full Xbox 360 as well for the same price of just an Apple TV that (as we have established) does just one thing. This might not be a big deal for everyone, but value is value.

Chris
post #28 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildrock View Post

What game? That Apple installs Front Row for free on most of its shipping computers now (and a remote)? And that XP and Vista strip out this basic functionality and then attempt to sell it back to you in an "upgrade." It's no wonder that us Mac users have been spoiled by Apple's only having one desktop product, reducing confusion and maximizing productivity. Microsoft's model of dividing up the desktop market and compartmentalizing features and applications into nonsensical bundles only serves to maximize revenue, and frustrate consumers who can't do what they want without side-grading to a different version of Vista. Nonsensical, if you ask me. It's a huge reason why there are "Switchers" and why Mac faithful remain so.

Just as Apple installs Front Row for free, Vista include Media Center for free in Home Premium and Ultimate. Home Premium is sold on most PC's over $600, the same price as a Mac Mini, the cheapest Mac.

I can tell you are no Windows user, I'm not trying to convert you just presenting the other side.

Chris
post #29 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by replaybob View Post

Hey Chris. Are you Chris P. from the DirectX Audio forum?
You give great advice, know your stuff.
Get a Mac!
And get on Core Audio mail list.
We could use you.

No, that's not me.

Chris
post #30 of 118
chefklc, thanks for your thoughts! You managed to hit on some of my points about the article itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rantanamo View Post

You can record HD TV with a Apple TV device? You can use multiple tuners inside an Apple TV device? To me this is what MCE is for and where it begins. Through Sideshow it will be able to control a myriad of devices in the whole household. Why is AppleTV even compared to this? Its a simple device made to sell Apple's content. To compare a control system to a box for selling media(Ipod for your TV) is ridiculous.

No, Apple TV is not a PVR. And again that's a problem I have either the article. You have to make the best comparison between the two as you can.

Apple TV is not a Media Center PC
A Media Center PC is not Apple TV
A Media Center Extender most relates to Apple TV, but has several differences (I talked about them above).
You need a PC to use both, so you can't compare Apple TV to the price of a Media Center PC.

The article makes flaws with this and more. I see that most here are just trying to attack my person thoughts, but please stick to the article. If you can tell that the comparison in the article was far and makes sense, please do. However, it isn't a good comparison and is flawed in several other ways.

Chris
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