Apple TV with Infuse Pro or HTPC with madVR ?

ng4ever

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Which one would be better, have higher picture quality, and more reliable + supported ? I know which one is cheaper.
 

westrock2000

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Apple TV is great if you have an Apple Ecosystem. Phones automatically trigger search boxes when you go to search. Can airplay easily (like if you want to show someone a picture or YouTube video). The interface is sooo smooth and responsive.

But if you aren't willing to use the ecosystem (like having an iTunes server) then you might not find it that enjoyable. Videos must be in MP4 format with either AAC stereo or Dolby Digital (or both). It wont play DTS, or any HD audio. If you rip your own movies, you will want to use Handbrake. If you get movies from online sources than you will need to repackage the video from AVI to M4V. I use Subler on a Mac to do this since it's specifically designed to do this job, not sure what a Windows equivalent would be.

I have a collection of about 1400 movies on a iTunes server and have a pretty good work flow for ripping movies or sourcing online. So it's not an issue for me and I'm used to it. But you aren't going to be able to just dump whatever media you want into iTunes and it just work. You MUST curate your library.

Apple TV will play h265 4K content that you may find online. Again though, you will have to at the very least transcode the audio into 640Kb/s 5.1 Dolby Digital or you can keep E-AC3 if the file has it.....which is rare. I then use Subler and combine the original video stream from the file and replace the original audio with the transcoded audio (a 2channel AAC stream and a 5.1 Dolby Digital stream).

I like Apple TV, we have 3 in the house. But in order to do all that it does, you have to supply it with consistency. The HTPC and other stuff will give you freedom to do whatever, but at the expense of not being as streamlined.

I also have Plex running on my Mac in order to feed our Roku TV's in the house as well as to watch movies away from home, and Plex is totally inferior to iTunes (in my experience...Plex fans feel free to rebut).
 

westrock2000

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Sorry, I didn't register the Infuse Pro part of the title. I have not used this. Dolby Digital has been fine for me, I have a disc player if I really want to enjoy a movie. And iTunes will natively stream 4K local files (that didn't come from iTunes store), so I didn't have a reason to get Infuse Pro.

The HD audio seemed to be the only reason to go with Infuse Pro, and with 4K files being 50-60GB, I haven't downloaded too many.

I also use Handbrake to add some dynamic range compression and also increase the audio volume by +5db. This has eliminated any problems of having to jack up the volume or keeping the volume control in hand to go between whisper scenes and action scenes. Since Handbrake only supports Dolby Digital, even on 4K movies I have downloaded, the HD audio issue wasn't an issue for me.
 

Liver

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Oct 24, 2005
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I have not had a single problem with Infuse Pro over the last several revisions (about 4-5 years).

It’s dead easy to use on the TV, iPads, iPhones, I have nothing to compare it to.

I have a 4K AppleTV.
 

Fritzz

Gawd
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Feb 11, 2008
Messages
778
Apple TV is great if you have an Apple Ecosystem. Phones automatically trigger search boxes when you go to search. Can airplay easily (like if you want to show someone a picture or YouTube video). The interface is sooo smooth and responsive.

But if you aren't willing to use the ecosystem (like having an iTunes server) then you might not find it that enjoyable. Videos must be in MP4 format with either AAC stereo or Dolby Digital (or both). It wont play DTS, or any HD audio. If you rip your own movies, you will want to use Handbrake. If you get movies from online sources than you will need to repackage the video from AVI to M4V. I use Subler on a Mac to do this since it's specifically designed to do this job, not sure what a Windows equivalent would be.

I have a collection of about 1400 movies on a iTunes server and have a pretty good work flow for ripping movies or sourcing online. So it's not an issue for me and I'm used to it. But you aren't going to be able to just dump whatever media you want into iTunes and it just work. You MUST curate your library.

Apple TV will play h265 4K content that you may find online. Again though, you will have to at the very least transcode the audio into 640Kb/s 5.1 Dolby Digital or you can keep E-AC3 if the file has it.....which is rare. I then use Subler and combine the original video stream from the file and replace the original audio with the transcoded audio (a 2channel AAC stream and a 5.1 Dolby Digital stream).

I like Apple TV, we have 3 in the house. But in order to do all that it does, you have to supply it with consistency. The HTPC and other stuff will give you freedom to do whatever, but at the expense of not being as streamlined.

I also have Plex running on my Mac in order to feed our Roku TV's in the house as well as to watch movies away from home, and Plex is totally inferior to iTunes (in my experience...Plex fans feel free to rebut).
I know we are talking about Infuse Pro here, but wanted to drop in my experience as a Plex fan.

I believe a lot of it comes down to what folks have gotten used to. In the beginning I went down the road of iTunes and Handbrake, but didn't refine my settings as much as westrock2000 has. I think if I had spent the time to learn the software, curate my default settings and spend the time transcoding I would be in the same boat aka Team iTunes. I personally was looking for a one stop shop to drop content into, be able to watch it on the Apple ecosystem and not have to go back and re-encode a bunch of content. My original setup was using an AppleTV 3, using PlexConnet to hijack the trailers app to be able to watch locally stored content. As soon as the ATV 4 was announce and Plex had an app available I jumped all over it.

I chose Plex for ease of use and additional features available. With Plex I can add content to a directory, it will download all the metadata, add it to the proper location and allow me to watch it on any device Apple or not. Add in the ability to watch and record local OTA channels with an HDHomerun and it starts checking more boxes for me. Plex has recently added in it's own player, which is now allowing direct play to Apple devices without having to do on the fly transcoding. I can easily convert my large files to much smaller files(Plex Sync) to be stored locally on a phone or iPad, which is great for the kids and not needing to have a WiFi connection to watch things remotely. There's locally stored music options, which you have with iTunes. Music streaming service with Tiday, again something you can have with iTunes. Picture browsing, tagging and automatic upload to the Plex server, still nothing new compared to Apple. All of these examples show that Plex has come a long way and offers many features. Some of them the same as iTunes and some as additional capabilities.

Having an iTunes server does exactly what westrock2000 said. Puts you smack dab in the middle of the ecosystem. There's no need to go into another app the watch your content, everything is just there and just works. With Plex I can browse my content on the phone, pick content and choose what device to play it on, but the one hangup is the Plex app has to be open on the ATV. With iTunes you just Airplay it.

I wouldn't say one is inferior to the other, IMO it comes down to how much effort you want to put into it and what features are important.

We have:
2 - ATV 4
2 - iPhones
2 - iPad Mini 2
1 - iPad Mini 4
1 - iPad gen 2
2 - Windows PCs
1 - Windows 10 Server that acts as the Plex server, network storage and data redundancy.
 
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westrock2000

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I wouldn't say one is inferior to the other, IMO it comes down to how much effort you want to put into it and what features are important.
Appreciate the rebuttal.

Looking back at the statement I made, it was too broad, and was harsh. I meant in regards to the UI. In capability, PLEX is pretty amazing and surpasses iTunes in several ways. When I log in to the PLEX server it has all kinds of random playlists that I don't want and they in turn show up on the clients. I also really like the Smart Playlist function on iTunes that allows for nested conditional statements....I personally haven't come across any software that matches that yet.

An example, I add comments to my music files with something like "4 Star, 90's". And then I create a Smart Playlist called 90's that says add anything with 4 star in comments and 90's in comments. And it auto updates as I add/remove songs or update comments. And then any time I rebuild the server or library, I can instantly recreate my playlists without having to rely on like/star database.

Of course, we'll see if Apple can screw all this up with the upcoming overhaul of iTunes and breaking it up (for MacOS at least).
 
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Fritzz

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Feb 11, 2008
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778
Appreciate the rebuttal.
Happy to give another point of view. I basically said I was too lazy to do it the iTunes way ;)

I also find it refreshing that folks can have a discussion about differing products without taking it to the gutter.

Looking back at the statement I made, it was too broad, and was harsh. I meant in regards to the UI. In capability, PLEX is pretty amazing and surpasses iTunes in several ways. When I log in to the PLEX server it has all kinds of random playlists that I don't want and they in turn show up on the clients. I also really like the Smart Playlist function on iTunes that allows for nested conditional statements....I personally haven't come across any software that matches that yet.

An example, I add comments to my music files with something like "4 Star, 90's". And then I create a Smart Playlist called 90's that says add anything with 4 star in comments and 90's in comments. And it auto updates as I add/remove songs or update comments. And then any time I rebuild the server or library, I can instantly recreate my playlists without having to rely on like/star database.
I have yet to add my local music to Plex, for me it's easier to use the Apple Music subscription and AirPlay to my devices. Side note I really wish the ATV 3 would get AirPlay 2 since I use one for my second zone in the garage and can't add it to the multi-device playback feature.

Overall sounds like my laziness has limited my knowledge of iTunes. That and the daunting task of correcting many years of collected music with the correct metadata.

Of course, we'll see if Apple can screw all this up with the upcoming overhaul of iTunes and breaking it up (for MacOS at least).
This did cross my mind while writing out my response. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
 

isp

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Mar 15, 2002
Messages
3,059
Really enjoying the Apple TV 4k with infuse pro6. I use Plex on the back end.

I don't have any other Apple products so ...wouldn't say I'm part of any ecosystem.
Don't plan on buying much from their store either.

The clean interface, dolbyvision support, nice remote, and gigabit ethernet are the primary reasons why I bought it. The aerial screensavers were a nice bonus...they look great and help protect my tv from burn in.

I was trying to think of some downsides but I haven't found any for my use case so far. Some people say they have issues finding a quality HDMI cable for the apple tv 4k. If this is a player specific issue or not I don't know. Handshake issues seem common if you don't have a high quality cable.


Nver heard of mad vR, I'll check it out
 
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w1retap

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Jul 17, 2006
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Nice remote? You're the first person I heard say nice remote about the Apple TV. I can't stand mine -- (1) feels like you get carpal tunnel in your thumb after using it for a while because it is so thin. (2) random disconnects from the remote all the time, even re-pairing it doesn't help. (3) the touchpad doesn't register properly if you have any form of callouses, rough or dry skin on your thumbs -- works fine for my wife, but not me. (4) it is slippery as hell and won't stay on any slanted surface (i.e. couch arm, your lap) unless you put an anti-slip rubber pad on the back.

If I could change anything about the Apple TV, it would be the terribly engineered remote.
 
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