[mythtv-users] Apple iTV - potentially great HD frontend

Ivan Kowalenko ivan.kowalenko at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 11:08:25 EDT 2006

Hash: SHA1

On Sep 12, 2006, at 17.32, Matt Porter wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 12, 2006 at 05:03:51PM -0400, Mike Frisch wrote:
>> On Tue, Sep 12, 2006 at 04:27:34PM -0400, A JM wrote:
>>>    I thought it already was concluded that HD via wireless is not  
>>> an option as there wasn't enough bandwidth???
>> The box could contain a hardware h.264 decoder, in which case I  
>> think there would be sufficient bandwidth for HD over wireless.
> Well, it has to...since they are selling h.264 videos.

I'm not totally convinced. Sure, Apple sells their videos using H. 
264, and H.264 HD would take up significantly less bandwidth than  
MPEG-2. However... see below.

> The other point
> is that the box is not going to be based on some x86 chipset like a
> full-blown mac. Not at a $299 price-point.

I'm not totally convinced of your logic. You're probably right, that  
it won't be built out of generic computer parts, but Dell seems to  
manage to sell x86 machines at $300. There's no reason Apple couldn't  
develop a box cheap enough to do this with an x86 chip.

> It's essentially going to have a bill of materials much like the  
> other network video appliances that are out now. It's just going to  
> be tuned around Apple's content delivery mechanism. Most likely  
> this means a Sigma Designs - based design... it's a small embedded  
> processor with hardware support for mpeg2 high profile decode and  
> mpeg4 (h.264) decode.

Ahh, alright. Now to what I was talking about above. H.264 decoding  
requires a good chunk of power. The iPod can do it because of the  
dedicated decoder chip. Fine. But that chip is only capable of a  
maximum of 768 Kbits/sec with 76,800 pixels. That's below DVD  
resolution. It takes a LOT of power to do 1080p H.264 according to  
Apple. >2 GHz on an x86 chip is what I think they were recommending.  
Do you think it's feasible that a dedicated decoder could do this and  
be inexpensive? (I'm asking this seriously! I have little experience  
with dedicated chips like this)

> BTW, the *only* reason to put HDMI on the box (with HDCP) is to  
> allow them to deliver HDTV content in the future. No one would add  
> that expense unless they planned to use it. The content providers  
> require that going forward to get HD quality content out of a box.

And here's hoping the system isn't too locked down because of them  
(content providers) that we can make use of it!

> Keep in mind that it has Ethernet too, so if they can't design for  
> someting better than 54G you can always stream nicely over that as  
> all of us with HDTV myth boxes do.
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