The AppleTV

We were at a party on Saturday night and the host had just bought an AppleTV and so I had a look at it. The only thing I did not like in it was the fact that when you move out of the artists menu and you go back in, the focus is on the start of the list again instead of where you were left browsing before (the iPod “remembers” where you were before moving out of that menu). Other than that, I was cool with the AppleTV.

The rest of the people there though had other concerns, for example, you can only browse one “media server source” at a time, you can’t record from the TV etc.

Personally, I was a bit indifferent about the AppleTV while checking it out, until the moment I stumbled on a digicam-shot video from some vacations the owner had taken. Then, it was clear to me that I would like an AppleTV just for my personal videos rather than commercial movies and music. You see, I got a camcorder and all, but it takes absolutely ages to encode in mp4 or h.264 a 2 hour movie straight from DV. While if you are cool with just small snaps of videos from your digicam and maybe your mp4/qvga-capable cellphone, you will only need to transcode a video. For example, our Panasonic LX2 camera can shoot EDTV video at 852×480 as a .mov motion-jpeg video. All I need to do is get the clips from the SD card, transcode them to mp4 using QuickTime (so they take less space while retaining the original quality/resolution) and then put them on iTunes and get them sync with the AppleTV. This procedure is much faster than trying to pull the DV video and then edit and then encode and then maybe burn DVDs. Sure, if you instead need animations and menus and subtitles and stuff, you go the camcorder/iMovie route, but if you are cool with just some clips in the right order, you go with the digicam/Quicktime route instead.

One nice addition would be Dashboard support in the AppleTV btw, because it would look really nice on a 720p TV.

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