Posted by pete on January 10th, 2007
Part the first: TiVo
Our series 3 TiVo arrived yesterday. It shipped much quicker than we thought it would. After Lis sent to bed, I set it up: no need for her to see this sausage made. <beep> <boop> <bong!> Oh joy! We got our TiVo back and it’s looking sweet. I can’t wait to play with it when the cable cards are installed, which should be this evening. After we’re sure the cable cards are working, the hated Cox DVR will be banished from our house!
Part the second: Apple TV
*sigh* We’re such gadget and Apple freaks these days. While the iPhone sure looks nice, our Cingular contract isn’t up until November and it’s freaking expensive: $599 with a 2 year commitment to Cingular for the 8GB version. I’m sure we’ll get iPhones at some time, but most likely not any time soon after they’re released in June. I’ll wait for Grumpy (who, apparently, seems to have stopped blogging…) and Dave to be the first movers on this.
On the other hand, I’m very interested in Apple TV. So much so, we’ve already ordered one. I’ve hooked my Macbook Pro into our home theater system before, but it’s been awkward and not a great experience. Most of that’s because of our setup, but it’s still our setup and something we have to deal with every time we want to display something from the computer on the TV. The Apple TV device should work nicely with our media and should make things very simple. It should ship in February. I’m sure I’ll be writing something about it once we get it.
Part the third: Receivers
The Apple TV (ATV) does seem to be complicating one thing though. It’s got two video output methods: HDMI (digital video and audio) and component (analog video) with either optical (digital) or RCA (analog) audio. The max resolution pushed by the ATV is 720p, which is easily reached by our TV.
The problem is, we got our home theater system in mid-2000, before any of these digital connections where anywhere near popular (and quite possibly not even commercially available). Our TV has only analog inputs, including only one component input. Our receiver has only two component inputs and two optical inputs. (Well, it’s got other, lesser-quality analog inputs too.) We currently connect the receiver’s component output to the TV’s component input. This leaves us two component video inputs and two optical audio inputs on the receiver. One component and one optical input is used by the DVR player. The other component and optical inputs are used by the Cox DVR (boo! hiss!) and, soon, the TiVo (the crowd goes wild!).
Where’s the Apple TV to go? I could downgrade one of the other devices to an S-video connection with analog audio: probably the DVR. Honestly, I doubt the video or audio quality will be noticeable, but, unfortunately, I’ll know and I know my OCD-light brain will be bothered to no end by it.
I’ve been casually looking at new receivers. The problem with this is that, in order to take full advantage of all the digital inputs, I’ll need to use a digital output and that means also replacing the TV. (Many devices won’t output signal received via a digital input to the analog output. If they do, it’s usually intentionally degraded. Just another wonderful aspect of media and electronics companies treating their honest customers like thieves.) There’s a TV I’ve been eyeing for a while, but there’s been too much spending lately and this cascade of upgrades needs to be arrested some. I think the best move right now is to deal with our current receiver and TV for a while; I’ll do my best to ignore that nagging voice.