Apple TV and why I want one

I causally mentioned to my friend at work who is also an Apple user that I may get the Apple TV when it is finally out. His reaction was, "What? Why would you want to watch video blow up?"

I explained to him that I want to watch my video podcasts on the TV instead of in front of my computer, despite the fact I have a very nice 24" LCD monitor. My friend just rephrased his question and wanted to know why I would want to watch low resolutions video on my 46" HDTV.

Then I realised that he thought all the video podcasts on iTunes are sized for the video iPod. He did not know some video podcasts are in hi-def, such as MacBreak which is in glorious 1080p. Others such as Diggnation and Merlin Show are in decent quality 480p which should scale OK on the big screen. But the most important of all are the TV shows that we've bought from iTunes: Smith, NOVA, etc. which we would not watch unless it is easy to put onto the big TV.

Yes, there are cheaper ways to get video from our macs to the TV but Apple TV takes the hassle out of the whole equation. Do I really want to figure out how to stream video from my Mac Pro to my PowerBook (probably using VLC), then onto the TV using S-Video (i.e. no HD)? How would I control the playback? Certainly not through a remote control and an onscreen display that Apple TV would provide. Do all these worth $299? To me definitely, probably not for most of you geeks out there. But then, I just want to watch video from my computer on my HDTV, not doing my annual geek certification exam.

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2 comments

  1. Benjamin Higginbotham

    Most videocasts are not HD and in reality while MacBreak is shot in 1080p (4:4:4 no less) it's not distributed in 1080p that I have been able to find. Seems that they push the resolution down to 540p or 1/2 the resoution of 1080p or not that much better than 480p. Yes it's also the type of camera, glass and compression settings, but it's no HD either. In fact, I'm hard pressed to find any HD content in the iTunes Store, even from Apple themselves. Usually I find DVD quality or a bit lower.I hope this changes and I firmly believe that the Internet can distribute 1080p content to the masses (be it through iTunes, Democracy, FireAnt, etc.) I also see your friends point in that there's not a whole lot of content that can take advantage of the 720p output of AppleTV and that even seems like a top gap before Apple can deliver 1080p output.AppleTV is a good first step and I hope that more videocasters will start to distribute in true HD because of it. I fear that it will be a lackluster success and really only used for those who want to sling the movie they purchased from iTunes to their HD set.

  2. Alex

    If you follow the link in my post, you will see that it is for the HD version of MacBreak. On TWiT they have the behind the scene video podcasts that show how they made MacBreak in 1080p using Sony 950 camera.Behind the scene ep 1aBehind the scene ep 1bBehind the scene ep 1c

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