Why you should get AppleTV

Michael Markman has the best reason that I should be pushing Apple TV. Sold me! I’m getting one anyway.

Oh, and lots of broadcasts are done in 1080i. Yeah, no one is broadcasting in 1080p yet, but the difference between the two is very small (I can tell the difference between 720p and 1080i, but it’s a lot harder to see the difference between 1080i and 1080p).

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Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. hey, why don’t you have an image anywhere in your rss feed? i’m trying to make a nice looking news-reader, but when it gets to your feed, it gags when searching every rss element and attribute known to man. please, man. just a head shot. thanks~

  2. hey, why don’t you have an image anywhere in your rss feed? i’m trying to make a nice looking news-reader, but when it gets to your feed, it gags when searching every rss element and attribute known to man. please, man. just a head shot. thanks~

  3. Kevin, shouldn’t you make your newsreader work with all feeds instead of getting the blog author to add an image? Otherwise, what’s going to happen when you subscribe to another feed which doesn’t have an image anywhere in the RSS feed?

    Just a thought. Don’t mean to be rude :-)

  4. Kevin, shouldn’t you make your newsreader work with all feeds instead of getting the blog author to add an image? Otherwise, what’s going to happen when you subscribe to another feed which doesn’t have an image anywhere in the RSS feed?

    Just a thought. Don’t mean to be rude :-)

  5. I agree! All I want/need is something that will play my iTunes content on my TV. DL.TV, ScobleShow (with ever improving sound I hope), Diggnation, Hak5.org, and all my other favorites!!! I am sure there will be a hack to play other video formats in the future but for now I am okay with Apple’s.

  6. I agree! All I want/need is something that will play my iTunes content on my TV. DL.TV, ScobleShow (with ever improving sound I hope), Diggnation, Hak5.org, and all my other favorites!!! I am sure there will be a hack to play other video formats in the future but for now I am okay with Apple’s.

  7. Heh … OK, Let’s get Robert to push a few more Apple products.

    Video iPod – Cause I want to take my Scoble show on the road.

    24″ iMac / MacBook / Cinema Displays – Cause the Scoble show looks so much kewler on a Mac than a PC / Windows Laptop.

    iPhone – So I can call or email Robert when I am on the road AND not miss out on the Scoble show. Plus read this blog.

    Airport extreme – So I can stream the Scoble show over my home network at 802.11n speeds.

    Anyone want to make the case for OSX 10.5?

    :-)

    C’mon folks .. I know y’all can come up with more/better stuff. We can’t always be serious on these boads. Need to have fun sometimes.

    Hash

  8. Heh … OK, Let’s get Robert to push a few more Apple products.

    Video iPod – Cause I want to take my Scoble show on the road.

    24″ iMac / MacBook / Cinema Displays – Cause the Scoble show looks so much kewler on a Mac than a PC / Windows Laptop.

    iPhone – So I can call or email Robert when I am on the road AND not miss out on the Scoble show. Plus read this blog.

    Airport extreme – So I can stream the Scoble show over my home network at 802.11n speeds.

    Anyone want to make the case for OSX 10.5?

    :-)

    C’mon folks .. I know y’all can come up with more/better stuff. We can’t always be serious on these boads. Need to have fun sometimes.

    Hash

  9. I didn’t think the i/p matters for broadcast. The video comes down at resolution X, the interlaced and non-interlaced is the way the video is displayed on the screen (two scans per single frame, or one).
    Reality distortion again?

  10. I didn’t think the i/p matters for broadcast. The video comes down at resolution X, the interlaced and non-interlaced is the way the video is displayed on the screen (two scans per single frame, or one).
    Reality distortion again?

  11. Michael: I know that is true technically, but Discovery Channel is 1080i and I never had a problem following a cheetah chasing down a zebra and eating it.

    And football in 1080i is better than 720p.

    Translation: resolution trumps refresh rate.

  12. Michael: I know that is true technically, but Discovery Channel is 1080i and I never had a problem following a cheetah chasing down a zebra and eating it.

    And football in 1080i is better than 720p.

    Translation: resolution trumps refresh rate.

  13. I’ve read a lot of comments to the Scoble posts regarding Apple TV. The strangest thing is that nobody noticed Apple TV can play 1080i just like XBox. Not 1080p, but 1080i yes.

    from Apple Tv specs on apple.com
    TV compatibility
    * Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz

  14. I’ve read a lot of comments to the Scoble posts regarding Apple TV. The strangest thing is that nobody noticed Apple TV can play 1080i just like XBox. Not 1080p, but 1080i yes.

    from Apple Tv specs on apple.com
    TV compatibility
    * Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz

  15. My debate now is now a Mac Mini v. Apple TV. Sure there is double the cost, but I was thinking of having the Mac Mini perform some other scripts and tasks while not playing home movies. I’m assuming both will have about the same capabilities (Macs need about 2ghz to push 1080p so I read somewhere so both the mini and Apple tv won’t cut it).

  16. My debate now is now a Mac Mini v. Apple TV. Sure there is double the cost, but I was thinking of having the Mac Mini perform some other scripts and tasks while not playing home movies. I’m assuming both will have about the same capabilities (Macs need about 2ghz to push 1080p so I read somewhere so both the mini and Apple tv won’t cut it).

  17. Oh and BTW Scoble, there will not be broadcast 1080p for many, many years as it’s not part of the ATSC standard. You may be able to download 1080p shows but even then, we’ll need way better bandwidth than we have today.

    I thought you’d know something of ATSC.

  18. Oh and BTW Scoble, there will not be broadcast 1080p for many, many years as it’s not part of the ATSC standard. You may be able to download 1080p shows but even then, we’ll need way better bandwidth than we have today.

    I thought you’d know something of ATSC.

  19. Someone pointed that out in the other thread. Though this is in large part an argument of theory as most items published on either platform right now is and will be 720.

  20. Someone pointed that out in the other thread. Though this is in large part an argument of theory as most items published on either platform right now is and will be 720.

  21. @#9 “… following a cheetah chasing down a zebra and eating it.”

    Cough … Cheetahs normally chase Antelopes. Hence the need for speed. Zebras are too big for ‘em. Lions chase Zebras.

    Robert has been watching Discovery but not paying attention. :-p

  22. @#9 “… following a cheetah chasing down a zebra and eating it.”

    Cough … Cheetahs normally chase Antelopes. Hence the need for speed. Zebras are too big for ‘em. Lions chase Zebras.

    Robert has been watching Discovery but not paying attention. :-p

  23. How big of a difference do you see when watching football (720p vs. 1080i), Robert? Please realize that ESPN HD is in 720p, unlike what you’ve stated before. Just like the majority of content on Xbox Live, unlike what you’ve stated before. I just find it hard to believe that in a fast-moving sport like football, you actually think an interlaced picture (1080i) looks better than progressive (720p).

    It’s amazing that the most experts and sports networks like ESPN, recognize that progressive is better for fast-moving action, but you somehow believe that 1080i looks better. Brilliant.

  24. How big of a difference do you see when watching football (720p vs. 1080i), Robert? Please realize that ESPN HD is in 720p, unlike what you’ve stated before. Just like the majority of content on Xbox Live, unlike what you’ve stated before. I just find it hard to believe that in a fast-moving sport like football, you actually think an interlaced picture (1080i) looks better than progressive (720p).

    It’s amazing that the most experts and sports networks like ESPN, recognize that progressive is better for fast-moving action, but you somehow believe that 1080i looks better. Brilliant.

  25. its the iTunes feed into your TV that will make the difference. I will make sure and reformat all my projects on iTunes for AppleTV. Windows Media Center could work remotely, but this will make it easy and popular, just like the iPod did with MP3s.

    And now I can lay back with some popcorn and enjoy some Scoble Shows.

  26. its the iTunes feed into your TV that will make the difference. I will make sure and reformat all my projects on iTunes for AppleTV. Windows Media Center could work remotely, but this will make it easy and popular, just like the iPod did with MP3s.

    And now I can lay back with some popcorn and enjoy some Scoble Shows.

  27. Uggh. Not more blogosphere echo chamber stuff where “A list” bloggers get off talking back and forth with each other…

  28. Uggh. Not more blogosphere echo chamber stuff where “A list” bloggers get off talking back and forth with each other…

  29. “from Apple Tv specs on apple.com
    TV compatibility
    * Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz”
    That doesn’t imply the unit will handle 1080i content, just that it will work with that kind of TV

    This is what formats it supports
    Video formats supported:
    H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): 640 by 480, 30 fps
    LC version of Baseline Profile; 320 by 240, 30 fps
    Baseline profile up to Level 1.3; 1280 by 720, 24 fps
    Progressive Main Profile. MPEG-4: 640 by 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile

    Otherwise, 1080 display is an up-converted image. Most good HDTVs have this feature built in. The best you will get is 24FPS 720P.

  30. “from Apple Tv specs on apple.com
    TV compatibility
    * Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz”
    That doesn’t imply the unit will handle 1080i content, just that it will work with that kind of TV

    This is what formats it supports
    Video formats supported:
    H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): 640 by 480, 30 fps
    LC version of Baseline Profile; 320 by 240, 30 fps
    Baseline profile up to Level 1.3; 1280 by 720, 24 fps
    Progressive Main Profile. MPEG-4: 640 by 480, 30 fps, Simple Profile

    Otherwise, 1080 display is an up-converted image. Most good HDTVs have this feature built in. The best you will get is 24FPS 720P.

  31. I love how Scoble claims to be such an HD expert and connoisser, but he’s WRONG the majority of the time.

    “ESPNHD along with sister network ABCHD use the 720p HD line standard because the ABC executives proposed a progressive ‘p’ signal resolves fluid and high speed motion in sports better, particurally during slow motion replays.”

  32. I love how Scoble claims to be such an HD expert and connoisser, but he’s WRONG the majority of the time.

    “ESPNHD along with sister network ABCHD use the 720p HD line standard because the ABC executives proposed a progressive ‘p’ signal resolves fluid and high speed motion in sports better, particurally during slow motion replays.”

  33. I’ve never understood why they even decided to even create a 1080i standard. Only CRT’s can display an interlaced signal, all fixed pixel devices have to de-intelace it, basically meaning convert the interlaced signal to a progressive one. It both degrades the picture even further and is processor intensive.

    Though I do agree that a max res of 720p is pretty weak.

  34. I’ve never understood why they even decided to even create a 1080i standard. Only CRT’s can display an interlaced signal, all fixed pixel devices have to de-intelace it, basically meaning convert the interlaced signal to a progressive one. It both degrades the picture even further and is processor intensive.

    Though I do agree that a max res of 720p is pretty weak.

  35. Goebbels: I was wrong. Thanks. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some football games in 1080. Now I’m wondering.

    Certainly explains why Discovery Channel looks so stunning.

  36. Goebbels: I was wrong. Thanks. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some football games in 1080. Now I’m wondering.

    Certainly explains why Discovery Channel looks so stunning.

  37. And the only football game I’ve seen in 1080 (last year’s Super Bowl… my friends thought they were showing off their new TV — I, a football nut, was pissed!) looked like shit in comparison to what is on CBS (when they are HD) and ESPN.

  38. And the only football game I’ve seen in 1080 (last year’s Super Bowl… my friends thought they were showing off their new TV — I, a football nut, was pissed!) looked like shit in comparison to what is on CBS (when they are HD) and ESPN.

  39. Oops, don’t want to cause confusion.

    I mean I prefer ABC’s and ESPN’s use of 720p. 1080i (CBS and NBC) definitely looks crappier. (And it’s CBS who doesn’t broadcast all games in HD at all.)

    “Certainly explains why Discovery Channel looks so stunning.”

    How does the fact that you aren’t sure about it and CAN’T actually tell the difference explain its “stunning”? You make me laugh. I don’t have an HDTV, but I have watched plenty of sports and blurring, strobing, and delacing can be apparent in 10801. I would imagine any highspeed or slow motion Discovery content would be equally affected… if you could actually tell. Ha, ha, ha.

  40. Oops, don’t want to cause confusion.

    I mean I prefer ABC’s and ESPN’s use of 720p. 1080i (CBS and NBC) definitely looks crappier. (And it’s CBS who doesn’t broadcast all games in HD at all.)

    “Certainly explains why Discovery Channel looks so stunning.”

    How does the fact that you aren’t sure about it and CAN’T actually tell the difference explain its “stunning”? You make me laugh. I don’t have an HDTV, but I have watched plenty of sports and blurring, strobing, and delacing can be apparent in 10801. I would imagine any highspeed or slow motion Discovery content would be equally affected… if you could actually tell. Ha, ha, ha.

  41. I don’t watch video podcasts, so for me it’s a non-issue. Music and videos…..I prefer to use WMP vs iTunes just due to the silo approach (ala AOL) mentioned above. I have much more freedom by NOT using iTunes and its walled off world. For me, using a media center extender (or XBOX 360) works a lot better for me.

  42. I don’t watch video podcasts, so for me it’s a non-issue. Music and videos…..I prefer to use WMP vs iTunes just due to the silo approach (ala AOL) mentioned above. I have much more freedom by NOT using iTunes and its walled off world. For me, using a media center extender (or XBOX 360) works a lot better for me.

  43. I definately think that this device has the potential to do very well in the market and I think it will be a much more impactful one than the iPhone.Its the perfect extension of their iPod metaphor, will leverage that strucure and is facing an underdeveloped market at the time when technology has finally come together for such devices. I think technically its an inferior setup when compared to an Xbox 360 married to a PC (never mind one coupled with a Media Center)but that wont matter in the present environment. Apple has a much better marketing group and Microsoft can’t get its story together, at least for now. So I think they will see deep penetration in the market with this if they execute well against it which I anticipate they will.

  44. I definately think that this device has the potential to do very well in the market and I think it will be a much more impactful one than the iPhone.Its the perfect extension of their iPod metaphor, will leverage that strucure and is facing an underdeveloped market at the time when technology has finally come together for such devices. I think technically its an inferior setup when compared to an Xbox 360 married to a PC (never mind one coupled with a Media Center)but that wont matter in the present environment. Apple has a much better marketing group and Microsoft can’t get its story together, at least for now. So I think they will see deep penetration in the market with this if they execute well against it which I anticipate they will.

  45. Robert: 720p being more desirable than 1080i is one of the major reasons people are frustrated with the PlayStation 3. I’m [finally] an HDTV owner. I have a fantastic Vizio that I settled on after months of research, but it only does up to 1080i (very limited budget).

    Now, when I put a Blu-Ray movie into the PS3, which I normally keep set on 720p for my games, it chokes on it, sputters a bit, and then downgrades the signal to 480p. It’s got no scaler. Obviously, I’ll take 1080i over 480p, but it’s quite annoying to have to play with the display settings. And it’s something literally hundreds of thousands of PS3 owners are coping with right now because most HDTVs out there can’t do 1080p and most informed consumers (of which many PS3 early adopters are) know that 720p is preferable to 1080i.

    I’m sure you don’t need any more justification for 360 over PS3, but there you go ;)

  46. Robert: 720p being more desirable than 1080i is one of the major reasons people are frustrated with the PlayStation 3. I’m [finally] an HDTV owner. I have a fantastic Vizio that I settled on after months of research, but it only does up to 1080i (very limited budget).

    Now, when I put a Blu-Ray movie into the PS3, which I normally keep set on 720p for my games, it chokes on it, sputters a bit, and then downgrades the signal to 480p. It’s got no scaler. Obviously, I’ll take 1080i over 480p, but it’s quite annoying to have to play with the display settings. And it’s something literally hundreds of thousands of PS3 owners are coping with right now because most HDTVs out there can’t do 1080p and most informed consumers (of which many PS3 early adopters are) know that 720p is preferable to 1080i.

    I’m sure you don’t need any more justification for 360 over PS3, but there you go ;)

  47. You can see the difference between 1080i and 1080p when you are watching a fast-moving film or playing video games, since p is basically double the refresh-rate of i

  48. The nicest thing about 1080i is that it can be deinterlaced into true 1080p. However, most screen sizes at most viewing distances don’t make for a “spectacular” jump in quality. Certainly not enough for the price. 1080p is /technically/ better, and will eventually be the standard, but I give it another 3-5 years, until then 720p is more then good enough.

  49. The nicest thing about 1080i is that it can be deinterlaced into true 1080p. However, most screen sizes at most viewing distances don’t make for a “spectacular” jump in quality. Certainly not enough for the price. 1080p is /technically/ better, and will eventually be the standard, but I give it another 3-5 years, until then 720p is more then good enough.

  50. Personally, I greatly prefer football on NBC, CBS and NFL Network (all 1080i) to Fox and ABC/ESPN (720p). Despite ABC/ESPN’s marketing verbiage, Fox and ABC/ESPN use 720p because the broadcast costs for 720p are less than for 1080i. And for several years, Fox only broadcast it’s digital signals in 480p.

    Many 1280×720 (and 1024×768) max tv sets use an interpolation method known as ‘bob’ that converts a 1080i60 image into a 540p60 image before upconverting that to 720p60, instead of properly reconstructing a 1080p30 image and then doubling and downconverting that to 720p60. Film-based sources are what really suffer with this conversion method, as a 1080i film source can be converted to 1080p by reversing 3:2 pulldown.

    Of course, all of this is academic when discussing Apple TV, which is not capable of 720p60 anyway, but only a max of 720p24, which removes any motion/temporal advantage 720p60 has over 1080i60.

    Oh, and 1080p24 is part of the ATSC standard; however, no one is broadcasting it, nor have I heard any plans for anyone to use it.

  51. Personally, I greatly prefer football on NBC, CBS and NFL Network (all 1080i) to Fox and ABC/ESPN (720p). Despite ABC/ESPN’s marketing verbiage, Fox and ABC/ESPN use 720p because the broadcast costs for 720p are less than for 1080i. And for several years, Fox only broadcast it’s digital signals in 480p.

    Many 1280×720 (and 1024×768) max tv sets use an interpolation method known as ‘bob’ that converts a 1080i60 image into a 540p60 image before upconverting that to 720p60, instead of properly reconstructing a 1080p30 image and then doubling and downconverting that to 720p60. Film-based sources are what really suffer with this conversion method, as a 1080i film source can be converted to 1080p by reversing 3:2 pulldown.

    Of course, all of this is academic when discussing Apple TV, which is not capable of 720p60 anyway, but only a max of 720p24, which removes any motion/temporal advantage 720p60 has over 1080i60.

    Oh, and 1080p24 is part of the ATSC standard; however, no one is broadcasting it, nor have I heard any plans for anyone to use it.

  52. Robert, I enjoy your blog a lot, but when you delve into this kind of a territory, I think you are a little out of your normal turf.

    First, most HDTV experts (as in, those who work in the industry) cannot easily peg the difference between 720p and 1080i visually. It’s very hard for most people with most content.

    Second, most HD cable/satellite boxes do a great job with their upscalers (better than most TVs do in fact), making the difference even less noticable.

    Third, there is almost no announced broadcast content for 1080p at present, making the current push to 1080p more a marketing issue than a content/quality issue. In fact, DirecTV’s CTO announced during their press conference at CES that they were explicitly not support the format at present. http://www.livedigitally.com/2007/01/13/a-tale-of-two-satellite-press-conferences-part-2/

    Bottom line is the majority of consumers should expect to enjoy their 720p and 1080i content (the most important aspect here, by the way, is the native resolution capability of your display, and nothing else) for a long time. It is, in fact, possible to see 1080p get skipped as a “mainstream” format as companies such as Hitachi are working on resolutions with over 4000 lines already!

  53. Robert, I enjoy your blog a lot, but when you delve into this kind of a territory, I think you are a little out of your normal turf.

    First, most HDTV experts (as in, those who work in the industry) cannot easily peg the difference between 720p and 1080i visually. It’s very hard for most people with most content.

    Second, most HD cable/satellite boxes do a great job with their upscalers (better than most TVs do in fact), making the difference even less noticable.

    Third, there is almost no announced broadcast content for 1080p at present, making the current push to 1080p more a marketing issue than a content/quality issue. In fact, DirecTV’s CTO announced during their press conference at CES that they were explicitly not support the format at present. http://www.livedigitally.com/2007/01/13/a-tale-of-two-satellite-press-conferences-part-2/

    Bottom line is the majority of consumers should expect to enjoy their 720p and 1080i content (the most important aspect here, by the way, is the native resolution capability of your display, and nothing else) for a long time. It is, in fact, possible to see 1080p get skipped as a “mainstream” format as companies such as Hitachi are working on resolutions with over 4000 lines already!

  54. I keep hearing most of the comments – it does not matter that it does not support 1080p as the content isnt there. I would add a VERY important word to the end of this “yet”. I bought my 720p/1080i Sanyo Z4 projector only 12 months ago and at the time I was thinking – 1080p content is a long way off. Well as we know a year in tech terms is nothing and now I’m wishing I had a 1080p capable projector. I still believe not going for 1080p support is a big mistake – not enough to hit too many sales but for future proofing (and by that I mean 12 months) its a mistake. Will I get one ? Nah, I have the media center PC hooked up to the PJ and do all my video podcasts on thay. Now my biggest question (slightly un-related) is how I do video podcasts on the move. I dont yet own a video ipod and I think that would be the simplist, but perhpas the latest generation of Archos (Ive always been an archos man) is the way to go.

    Nige

  55. I keep hearing most of the comments – it does not matter that it does not support 1080p as the content isnt there. I would add a VERY important word to the end of this “yet”. I bought my 720p/1080i Sanyo Z4 projector only 12 months ago and at the time I was thinking – 1080p content is a long way off. Well as we know a year in tech terms is nothing and now I’m wishing I had a 1080p capable projector. I still believe not going for 1080p support is a big mistake – not enough to hit too many sales but for future proofing (and by that I mean 12 months) its a mistake. Will I get one ? Nah, I have the media center PC hooked up to the PJ and do all my video podcasts on thay. Now my biggest question (slightly un-related) is how I do video podcasts on the move. I dont yet own a video ipod and I think that would be the simplist, but perhpas the latest generation of Archos (Ive always been an archos man) is the way to go.

    Nige