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  1. #1

    AppleTV and SlimServer/SqueezeCenter

    Does anyone know if AppleTV will stream internet radio and thus accept stream.mp3 from SlimServer/SqueezeCenter? I know a lot of audiophiles talk about having no interest in having video pollute their audio stuff, but I'm very interested in having the SlimServer ecosystem available to my home theater. With the announcement of the various upgrades to AppleTV today at MacWorld, the AppleTV is suddenly very interesting to me and I wonder if I could leverage my existing software stack on it.

    Anyone know?

  2. #2
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    Wow yea I was just watching that AppleTV advert over at apple.com. Amazing that for the less that the price of the new duet plus remote you get the whole 160Gb apple tv system. It looks really really strong. Pro audio people will want multiple high quality audio only units with no dependence on a tv set, but for the mass market it's the way to go. Once they add music subscription to the video on demand it's a done deal. And with the tv as your interface all the hassles of small screen guis are gone. The cover chooser browsing by genre looks awesome. I am blown away - I think I have seen the future and I am bit gutted that it's apple.
    Last edited by willyhoops; 2008-01-15 at 16:11.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CardinalFang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willyhoops View Post
    I am blown away - I think I have seen the future and I am bit gutted that it's apple.
    I was actually disappointed. The movie rental side is great, but you still need to buy a TV even if you just want an audio player, so for audio fans like me the total cost is way higher. There were rumours of there being a new model with a built-in display, which really would have been cool. The killer blow though is the links to all the major studios for movie rental. That makes it a must have for people who use rental stores a lot.

    On the pricing side though, I think it reflects the mass market nature of the product. Although Logitech might have mass market aims with the Duet, the pricing is still way too high for that, no matter how fair we might think it is. So it's still in the region of carefully researched first time network audiophile players alongside the Sonos, not an impulse purchase like a DAB radio.

    At CES there seemed to be a lot more going on from the high end, this web site covered a ton of stuff, http://www.computeraudiophile.com/. Now that more high end players are entering the fray, I think Sonos has become the B&O of network players, but I can't think of an equivalent for Slim! Perhaps NAD? Great sounding, but not quite high end?


    EDIT: Just a thought, but if B&O ever do enter the network player market, Sonos would suffer greatly IMO.
    Last edited by CardinalFang; 2008-01-15 at 23:46.

  4. #4
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardinalFang View Post
    EDIT: Just a thought, but if B&O ever do enter the network player market, Sonos would suffer greatly IMO.
    I'm not entirely clear on their various offerings, but it looks like B&O is already into the network player market: http://www.bang-olufsen.com/page.asp?id=12

  5. #5
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    Apple TV set to dominate

    You could always pick up a tiny 10 inch monitor if all you wanted was audio and it would have the advantage of a nice big interface. Remember the HDMI output means sound quality is unlimited.

    The global movie rental deal with all the studios really shows Apple's power. Clearly they can and will put together a subscription service for audio as well. Then, for a flat month fee, you could play any CD in the world and copy anything you fancy onto your ipod (which would refuse to play it if your subscription expires). That's the dream that will change the music world, and it solves that pesky competition problem with Amazon as well! With this Apple could dominate both Video and Audio and go on to be one of the most poweful companies in the word.

    The problem anyone will have in competing with apple is getting the same content offerings (eg I can't get Rhapsody in the UK), the economies of scale in equipment costs ($325 for 160Gb Apple TV vs $400 for simple duet + remote), and the extreme difficulty of writing software sexy enough to compete with Apple (slimserver vs itunes).

    You mention Sonos - I think it will die; but if there is a lesson in the popularity of that, I think it's that slimdevices have been too focused on the people on this site who like to hack and play with degrees in geek. The key to software development is to reign in the geeks and focus pragmatically on the real user. But even Sonos has missed with no built in hard drive and you can not seriously recommend the qnap to the mass market. The hard drive is key, as Steve Jobs summed up: "[up till now] we've all missed... we are back with Apple TV Take 2 - NO COMPUTER REQUIRED".

    PS I am gutted because I dislike Apple, who claim superiority but actually sell a tinny sounding ipod, a proprietary drm to lock people in, and an underpowered itunes. Personally I would rather have seen Microsoft do it, but they don't have the focus of the one man religion which Apple has become. Trying and failing to ape Apple, Microsoft’s latest GUI designs are unusable, also their diversions into search and xbox spread the creativity too thin, and great innovation (eg blackberry) usually requires you own the hardware. Anyway, at the end of day you have to be long apple shares - this is a monumental moment in history. And hats off to best best CEO in the world, even if he is full of it.
    Last edited by willyhoops; 2008-01-16 at 08:46.

  6. #6
    Senior Member radish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willyhoops View Post
    Remember the HDMI output means sound quality is unlimited.
    Only if you have an HDMI capable DAC. Outside of home theater I'm not aware of too many of those.

    Then you could play any CD in the world and move anything you fancy onto your ipod all for a flat monthy fee.
    I'll believe that when I see it. 50% (rough guess) of the music I buy isn't even on iTunes for sale yet, never mind rental. Recently we've seen more pushing against Apple from the major labels, and Amazon are making very good ground. Interesting times.

    $325 for 160Gb Apple TV vs $400 for simple duet + remote
    The duet is far from "simple" - particularly compared to the AppleTV. The level of functionality and convenience (for audio, obviously) is far higher IMHO.

    I think it's that slimdevices have been too focused on the people on this site who like to hack and play with degrees in geeek.
    When you have a community-built product it tends to become a community-focussed product. I find that refreshing and it's obviously a key part of what makes the product line so successful. And yes, IMHO you can be considered successful without selling 100m units.

    The key to software development is to reign in the geeks and focus pragmatically on the real user.
    Actually the key is to first identify your users, then identify what they want, and then get the best geeks you can to build it for them. As a user, AppleTV doesn't do what I want, neither does Sonos. Maybe that puts me in a minority, fine, so be it. I'm happy to have the option to get the product which does do what I want - diversity is a good thing

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by willyhoops View Post
    Remember the HDMI output means sound quality is unlimited.
    From what I understand it's not much better than S/PDIF. Higher bandwidth but no bi-directional mechanism for clock synch for jitter reduction. HDMI is primarily for video, audio is an afterthought, a matter of convenience. Until recently (HDMI 1.3) HDMI didn't even support the new HD audio codecs, while the video standards have been supported since day one.

    This is an old article (2005) but nothing has changed in the standard with respect to jitter reduction:

    http://hiddenwires.co.uk/resourcesar...051201-02.html

    Quote Originally Posted by HiddenWires
    Using current implementations, HDMI audio appears to have a relatively poor jitter performance meaning that, although mainstream consumers will find the resulting sound quality rather good, it is unlikely to satisfy audiophiles.
    Current: SB2, Boom (PQP3 - late beta, PQP1 - early beta), SBC (early beta), Squeezebox Radio (PB1 - early beta), Squeezebox Touch (late beta)
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    Sold: SB3, Duet

  8. #8
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    I'm sure it'll get addressed in an AppleTV firmware update, but for now searching and browsing for songs on a SB3 is a lot more fun than on an AppleTV.

    My friend's got an AppleTV with a VAST music collection attached, and it makes my eyeballs go disco-crazy scrolling through it all. Plus, as and when they add a search function to AppleTV for anything other than YouTube, you'll still be entering it on the screen via the Apple remote; whereas for me i just type it into my SB3 remote - ah, the joys of LazySearch!

  9. #9
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    Yes on HDMI, but the potential is there with buffering. Apple TV is close to the be all and end all of video on demand, but a few more things are needed before they take audio. Still I think the future is clear and if they play their cards right they can take it. Quite an amazing thing and with the shares at $160 right now i think it's a buy even if the p/e is pretty high.
    Last edited by willyhoops; 2008-01-16 at 09:36.

  10. #10
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    Oh for sure. It's a great piece of kit notwithstanding my comments; and I have to say when I move house it's going to replace the SB3 in our living room; that way I just have my DVB-T PVR (and let's face it, they're already an 'old-fashioned' way of watching TV!!) and an AppleTV.

    And I guess like most things Apple they'll find a way to do effective searches using a remote with only 6 buttons that my poor little brain ould never come up with ;-)

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