Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple TV

I often like to play back video I’ve edited on an HD television that’s down the hall from my editing suite (that sounds a bit pretentious; the suite is a Mac in my office.) In the past I’ve been burning HD content onto an anamorphic DVD, which works fine – even if it takes a bit of time – though there is some noticeable resolution loss.

For ages, I’d been thinking that if I had a Blu-ray burner and player then it would provide a higher-resolution solution. But the failure of Apple to deliver on Blu-ray support has caused me to reconsider my options, and perhaps come up with a better solution.

Apple TV

Okay, so the Apple TV is no Blu-ray. In fact, it’s highest resolution is 720p; 1280 x 720 @ 24 fps 5 mpbs, or 960 x 540 @ 30 fps 5 mbps.

That’s not Blu-ray resolution, but it’s a bit better than an anamorphic DVD. And there’s other advantages too; most noticeably the savings in time compressing and burning, and also the savings in not burning as many DVDs. I’ll also include the ease of finding stuff; no more misplaced discs!

I just got the 40GB version yesterday, and so far it looks to have been a good choice. Setup was very easy (I already use iTunes with my iPhone) though it took about three hours to transfer my iTunes library to the Apple TV over Wi-Fi (and that’s mostly music.)

I did a couple of test transfers using the QuickTime Pro player to export short HDV clips. Both were at 960 x 540 with different compression rates. They worked without trouble; though I need to experiment to see the best settings, and whether 1280 x 720 is really limited to 24fps!!

One surprise; there’s no off button on the Apple TV. I have to decide whether to leave it on, or turn it off at the wall...


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