Tag Archives: apple tv

Will Apple Re-invent the TV too?

atv-logo

If reports from Engadget are correct,  Apple could be soon “re-inventing” the TV too. The new Apple TV could be announced on the next  Steve Jobs keynote on June 7th, together with the iPhone HD (not according to Engadget)

New Apple TV highlights, according to Engadget:

  • Very small device, with only power and Audio-Video ports. No display
  • Based on iPhone OS 4
  • A4 CPU, capable of displaying 1080p HD video
  • 16 GB of flash storage
  • Wifi-n
  • Price $99

Speculating on what it could also do:

  • Runs all iPhone and iPad Apps on the AppStore, plus an specific SDK for Apple TV Apps
  • Includes a Safari browser with HTML5 support
  • Plays any content from any iTunes library at home
  • Extend iAds to video
  • Can be controlled with a new iPhone-iPod Touch Remote App, that allows remote Multi-touch controls of the TV screen
  • The new iPhone HD (the one previewed by Gizmodo based on  a prototype)  will sell with a dock station to connect to a TV screen and behave just as the new Apple TV
  • Does not support Flash

Can you imagine all that for $99? Is the ultimate set-top-box finally arrived? Is GoogleTV dead-on-arrival ? Can you imagine the App Store model also on TV? Netflix, YouTube, all existing video apps, all games!, and all HTML5 online video that is coming…

Will Apple re-invent the TV too, based on the same iPhone OS that reinvented the phone and the tablet?

1984 might be closer than we ever thought…

iphone4_01

Digital Home options for PC2TV

Sony Vaio TP-1 Mac Mini Xbox 360
An effective architecture for the Digital Home requires two main elements: a centralized shared storage for media files, and a Media Player that connects to each of the displays at home: TVs, LCD, Plasma screens in different rooms.

We reviewed the shared storage for media, be it a NAS or a desktop PC, in a previous post. This one will show the Media Player alternatives to ‘connect’ our content from the storage to the TV set.

We will categorize the Media Player options in four:

– Home Theater PC (HTPC): Fiire (Linux MCE), Vaio TP-1 (Windows Media Center), Mac Mini (Apple Front Row)
Pros
Future proof solution. Support for any codec. Full control on sofware and hardware configuration.
Can use as PVR with a TV card (internal o external)
Can be used as shared storage with laptops or other Media players at home
Additional functionality on the TV (Web access, Video conference, home surveillance, games…)

Cons:
Higher cost

– Network Media Player: Linux MCE frontend, Kiss DVD Ethernet Player, D-Link Wireless Media Player, Apple TV
Pros:
Lower cost
Device optimized for specific use
Ease of use

Cons:
Lack of upgradeability. Limited codec support.
Apple TV only supports H.264
No PVR (Exception: KiSS models with PVR function)

– Game Console: Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3
Pros:
Hi-Def game console with great games!
Cost effective
You can install Linux on the PS3, and run as a Linux PC

Cons:
SW controlled by Microsoft or Sony
Limited support for codecs. Many of the files in your library will not play or will require transcoding with loss of quality

– Media Jukebox: TVIX
Pros:
Lower cost
Combined Storage with Media Player in one box
Device optimized for specific use

Cons:
No control on software for adding features or codec support
No distributed architecture with a shared storage

Note that any PC or laptop can work as a Media Player, but those are far from ideal to connect to a TV set: a laptop being mobile implies connect and disconnect cables, and a normal PC might not have HDMI, or SPIF audio, required for a full HD experience.

Other factors to consider for the election:

If you have a large library of XVD/DivX and rip DVDs or get your copies by P2P file sharing, a HTPC Linux MCE or Windows MCE are the preferred choices, unless you want to transcode your library to H.264 to get your content on Apple devices

Note for Apple Addicts:
Apple products are great: great stylish design, simple easy-to-use and high quality operation (it simply works).
Apple tends to design products their way, without compromises. That is, even if Windows Media, XVid and DivX formats have a wide acceptance, none of Apple products support these by default. Instead Apple selects high quality standars (H.264 for video and AAC for audio) and bring them to the masses.
Apple is creating a loyal clientelle of Applemaniacs, who do not mind to pay a higher price because , even if ‘locked’ with Apple choice of standards, all Apple products interwork nicely with each other. The user do not need to worry about technology. Apple takes care of that for you. Apple makes smooth even to pay for songs, videos or movie rentals.

Steve Jobs Keynote 2008

2008 Apple’s keynote has introduced great products: MacBook Air, iTunes Movie Rentals, AppleTV Take 2, new applications for iPhone and iTouch, and Time Capsule.

Keynote highlights in nine minutes from YouTube:

If you only have 60 seconds to view the 90 minutes keynote, click here.

For the full keynote go to events.apple.com

Video: Linux MCE vs Microsoft MCE and other alternatives

Two more impressive videos to enjoy with the possibilities of Linux MCE.

Many people will be reluctant to move to linux because of lack of official support. Yet you can get tons of support from the many Linux Forums.

On the other side, other options fighting to be the center of home entertainment have significant flaws:
– apart from the infamous red circle of death, the Xbox 360 does not support Xvid and Divx, so a big part of my media library in my PC can not be accessed from the Xbox 360 in the living room – unless trancoded, with loss of quality.
PS3. No support either from Xvid and DivX. The interesting alternative is to install Linux on the PS3, and use VLC to watch your media
Wii is not really an option as a Media Extender. You can only receive streamed video by installing ORB on your streaming PC, set videos to transcode to flash, and access them from the Opera browser in the Wii. Low quality video and no convenient access to library
KiSS Players. Not a bad option, but until recently the SW to install on your PC was not Vista compatible
Apple TV. No Xvid, nor DivX, and no games…Nice design but not open. Not taken seriously by Apple.

Linux MCE will let you easily record TV shows, rip your music and DVD to your media storage with no DRM issues, and on top it will integrate with Home Automation systems and Voice over IP providers (e.g. FWD) among other possibilities.