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First gen Apple TV--a robust media player?
April 26, 2012 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I have some questions on what a first-generation Apple TV can or can't do.

I have a 720p capable HDTV. I have a media player that connects via HDMI. On my iMac, I have various ripped (and otherwise) video files I play on the TV, in 720p. The media player can connect via network cable to my iMac, but that connection works only intermittently. There's also a USB port, so I usually copy video files from my iMac to a USB drive, then play it on the media player. Problem is for a 4 or 5 gig video file, it takes upwards of 30 minutes just to copy to the USB drive. It's a pain, so I'm looking for something less awkward. Incidentally, I do not have Wifi so that is not a factor with this at all.

I am considering buying an Apple TV (secondhand), but I wonder if it's a good choice. I have video files of various flavors--.mkv, .mp4, .mov, etc. Will a first generation Apple TV play all those files? Also, I need movies to play with Japanese subtitles--these are .srt files. Can Apple TV handle Japanese subtitles?

Ultimately, I want to know if the Apple TV can play in 720p resolution. From the research I've done, it looks like it can't, but the seller insists that it can--this is a potential craigslist purchase, btw. So I'm a little confused. Is jailbreaking an option? Any advice you can give would be really helpful.
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
First gen AppleTV does play in 720p. It won't play files of every type, so you'll likely want to jailbreak it. Once you've jailbroken it, you can play pretty much any file type and something like XBMC can handle the .srt files.
posted by inturnaround at 5:10 AM on April 26, 2012


Ultimately, I want to know if the Apple TV can play in 720p resolution.

Yes, it can, but no higher.

Is jailbreaking an option?

Yes. Very easy to do.

Will a first generation Apple TV play all those files?

Not natively, but putting XBMC on it is a fifteen minute task that is largely automated thanks to various tools you can find when you google around for instructions. I think you need a USB stick or cable to do it.

Also, I need movies to play with Japanese subtitles--these are .srt files. Can Apple TV handle Japanese subtitles?

Again, probably not with ATV but I'm sure there's a way to get XBMC to do it.

I love my ATV with XBMC. Easy to use, plays anything.
posted by bondcliff at 5:49 AM on April 26, 2012


The media player can connect via network cable to my iMac, but that connection works only intermittently.

What's going on here? Would your current setup be tolerable if this connection was reliable?
posted by rhizome at 7:30 AM on April 26, 2012


You want to jailbreak it as soon as you get it and install this.

It installs a whole bunch of stuff including XBMC and NES emulators, and makes the 1st gen ATV amazing.
posted by empath at 7:40 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me put in a plug for ATV Flash, which puts a nice, easy to use, easy to maintain wrapper around a bunch of open source utilities.
posted by mosk at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2012


rhizome, I wish I knew. I hook an ethernet line from iMac to the media player, but the media player (Buffalo LinkTheater) only "finds" the files on my computer at random times. I tried all sorts of rebooting, turning off/on, magical spells, etc. But it was so frustrating, I went back to the USB, which was not great to begin with.
posted by zardoz at 5:39 PM on April 26, 2012


If you've been taking a normal Ethernet cable and plugging one end into the iMac and the other in the Buffalo, you'll want to use a crossover cable (~$5). If you have a switch or hub in between, then a normal cable is what you'd use.
posted by rhizome at 6:09 PM on April 26, 2012


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