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MPEG 2 and the iTV

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blue_maffu_202

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Ok, I have 1.25TB (terabytes, not gigabytes) of MPEG 2 video content stored on hard drives here at home. I would LOVE to be able to pick up the iTV remote and scroll through them all and watch them so easily. BUT....

Will iTV play MPEG2 files? I know you can get a quicktime plugin to play MPEG2 but will that enable them to be loaded into iTunes?

If it only plays stuff in iTunes and i cannot play my MPEG2 files, iTV is useless to me.

Converting them all is not an option. I'm not willing to sacrifice the quality.
 

kornchild2002

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OK, I just have to say this: Apple TV. Apple changed the name of the iTV to Apple TV. It was referred to as iTV a couple of times in the keynote speech as iTV but its official name is Apple TV.

As far as file compatibility goes, it is totally unknown. This product isn't coming out until next month. Wait a couple of weeks and your question will probably be answered.

My guess is that the Apple TV isn't compatible with mepg-2 videos. Apple has been heavily pushing the mpeg-4 AVC (h.264) video format and mpeg-4 AAC audio format. I imagine that the Apple TV pretty much plays everything that iTunes and the iPod play. You could try downloading that mpeg-4 plug-in and see if iTunes can play mpeg-2 videos. I doubt it will work though as the Apple TV itself would also need to have its own mpeg-2 decoder provided by Apple. For example, my Xbox 360 acts the same way as the Apple TV. I can wireless stream videos, audio, and pictures to my Xbox 360. My Xbox 360 will also upscale everything to 720p (it will also upscale to 1080p but I don't have a 1080p TV). I have some mpeg-4 (xvid, divx, Nero, and QuickTime) videos that work just fine in Windows XP Media Center so they should work when being sent to my Xbox 360. These videos don't work simply because Microsoft has not made a mpeg-4 decoder for the Xbox 360. Hence, the Xbox 360 (or Apple TV) would need the proper decoders on the units themselves in order for content to work.

I can definately tell you that the Apple TV is compatible with standard mpeg-4 videos, mpeg-4 AVC (h.264) videos, mpeg-4 AAC audio, protected mpeg-4 AAC audio (from the iTunes store), jpg pictures, and mp3 audio.

You could convert your videos though without taking a noticeable hit in quality. Nero's mpeg-4 AVC and Apple's mpeg-4 AVC video encoders are both extremely efficient and offer high quality results. I can encode a 4GB mpeg-2 video (off of a DVD) to the mpeg-4 AVC format using Nero's software and squeeze the size down to about 1.5GB and the resulting mpeg-4 video does not look any different from the source mpeg-4 video.
 

blue_maffu_202

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That stinks. I hope they do end up supporting MPEG2, it is a popular format. And i know about the iTV its just a habbit now, lol.

IF...IF i did re-encode, i wouldn't be interested in reducing the file size, I don't care about that really, as long as i can keep the files at the quality they are now.

The reason I keep them in MPEG2 is because I regularly need to burn them on DVD and keeping them in that format allows me to not need any re-encoding.

I know for some formats that you can switch the file type without actually re-encoding the video (something about the encoder changing the heading on the file???not sure) I wonder if thats possible to do going to MPEG4.

I'm working on switching from windows to a Mac. Can iMovie burn DVDs easily using MPEG-4 without needing to re-encode? That would pretty much solve the problem I supose...
 

kornchild2002

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Don't worry about the iTV thing, I too called it iTV all day today. I guess someone already owns the trade mark to that name or Apple didn't want to fall into their whole iName fad.

Actually, mpeg-2 really isn't that popular. It is popular because every standard DVD out there (and the majority of blu-ray movies) are encoded using the mpeg-2 format. However, in the computer world, mpeg-4 is a lot more popular simply because it can give you smaller file sizes than mpeg-2 without sacrificing quality.

I understand where you are coming from and wanting to keep your videos in the mpeg-2 format so you won't have to go through that whole 10-15 minute procedure of re-encoding videos before burning them onto a DVD. Unfortunately, you can't add a new header or simply rename a mpeg-2 file to make it a mpeg-4 file. They are two completely different formats and containers. You can efficiently rename mp4 videos to m4v and they will still be played by iTunes and the iPod. This is because mp4 videos are mpeg-4 videos in a mpeg-4 container, just like m4v.

Anways, iMovie will have to re-encode mpeg-4 vidoes before burning them to a DVD video disc since DVD video uses the mpeg-2 container.

So, unless Apple TV supports mpeg-2, you are pretty much stuck with using mpeg-4. Apple might add mpeg-2 support, I don't really know. The Apple TV packs in a Intel processor which can decode mpeg-4 AVC (h.264) video so it would definately have the power to decode mpeg-2 video. The only problem is that Apple makes their own mpeg-4 AVC video encoder and mpeg-4 AAC audio encoder. Apple made the video format to go against mpeg-1, mpeg-2, other mpeg-4 encoders, WMV, divx, xvid, etc. Apple also made the mpeg-4 AAC audio format to go against mp3, WMA, OGG, etc. I know Apple will let the Apple TV play mp3 and AAC audio files but I just don't know about mepg-2.

I don't see Apple adding mpeg-2 support though. See, by locking out mpeg-2, Apple can sell their software to people (QuickTime pro) who want to convert their mpeg-2 videos to mpeg-4 so they can play on the Apple TV and iPod.

iMovie can easily burn mpeg-4 videos to a DVD video disc (kinda repetitive, DVD video disc) but you will have to wait about 10-20 minutes (depending on movie length) in order for it to encode those mpeg-4 videos to mpeg-2. It all really depends on the specs of your computer. If you have a new Apple Computer running the new Intel Core 2 Duo processors, then it really shouldn't take that much time as long as you have at least 1GB of RAM. My notebook (see specs in signature) can encode a 1 hour mpeg-4 AVC video to mpeg-2 video in about 8 minutes.

I guess you will have to wait and see. I am just guessing that, if iTunes/iPod don't play them, then Apple TV probably isn't going to play them.
 

blue_maffu_202

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Hmmm I think I'll wait until its released and then if I can't use my MPEG2 files I'll have to think of another way.

I was thinking, would it work if i bought a mac mini and connected my TV as the monitor and then used front row instead of the Apple TV? Does front row play MPEG2? I would assume it uses quicktime to play the files and if I have the MPEG2 plug-in for quick time (which is like $20) it would play, no?

I'm sure i'm not the only one who thought of a mac mini instead of the Apple TV. They are cheap and come to think about it, i could use it for internet and everything else like a regular computer, something the Apple TV lacks...

Hmmm something to think about.
 

kornchild2002

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Again, Apple may have locked Front Row to play only files that iTunes is compatible with. In fact, Front Row uses iTunes to play things and iTunes uses QuickTime to play things. However, some one with a Apple computer (Mac Mini, iMac, etc.) can answer this question if they have invested in the mpeg-2 plug-in. If worst comes to worst, you could always just use QuickTime to play your videos back.

However, it would be a pain to keep having to copy over your mpeg-2 videos to your Mac Mini unless there was some way to network your main computer and the Mac Mini to share videos (I know a way to do this between Windows XP/Vista machines but not Apple computers).
 

kornchild2002

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I just got done watching Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote speech. I really don't think the Apple TV will play mpeg-2 videos since it uses iTunes to stream and download content to it just like an iPod. If iTunes isn't compatible then I doubt Apple TV is.
 

blue_maffu_202

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The more I think of it, I think the Mac mini is a better option.

From what I read Front Row seems to be just a front end program to give you acess via the remote to iTunes, Quicktime, iPhoto, and DVD player. So if I have the MPEG-2 plugin for quicktime, i should be good

This is taken from Wikipedia.
"Front Row is a software application for Apple's Macintosh computers that acts as a front-end for QuickTime, DVD Player and the iTunes and iPhoto libraries and allows for users to browse media on their computers using the Apple Remote."
 
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