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Old January 4th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Steve Q Steve Q is offline
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Apple TV integration with Homeseer

Santa got me an Apple TV (AppleTV) for Christmas and I have been playing with it to see how it works with Homeseer. I had been thinking about adding an AV box to my home theater setup for the past year and I finally decided to try the Apple TV. So far I am quite impressed!

Apple TV is essentially a mini Mac computer that interacts with iTunes to deliver Audio/Visual content to you HDTV.

Here is a summary of what I learned during setup:
  • Installation/setup of the box was incredibly easy. Within 5 minutes after plugging in the cables I was playing music and watching photos on my HDTV. No software installation was needed to get in working.
  • I used composite video cables to connect the HD video to my TV (1080p). Picture quality is excellent.
  • I used an optical audio cable (Toslink) to connect the audio to my Sony Surround sound system. Audio quality is very good. Vastly better than my "line level audio over CAT5 cable" that I was using to play music from iTunes in the past.
  • Syncing the iTunes content to the AppleTV 160G hard drive was very easy. Since it is done via WIFI it was somewhat slow but it happens totally in the background it is not noticeable.
  • I downloaded (rented) a High Def movie from the Apple Store. It took several hours to download the whole movie (I was using it for other things while it was downloading. But I could have started watching the movie about 15 minutes after the download started. I watched the movie a few days after downloading it. The movie video quality was excellent. The surround sound was fantastic! Not a single glitch.
  • iTunes will also stream audio to the Apple TV (via WIFI) which allows my home theater to act as a remote speaker for iTunes. So when Homeseer pauses iTunes for an announcement, it will also pause on my Home theater.
  • I also purchased and installed an add-on 3rd party Apple TV software package called AVTflash. This plug-in allows the Apple TV to connect directly to the internet and gives it access to internet based audio/video content. It is able to play Hulu programs and content from other major sources.
  • A really sweet capability is that Apple TV can go to my Homeseer web pages and I can completely control Homeseer from the AppleTV remote control. I can also view my security cameras as well as any of my custom web pages that I created for my iTouch.
  • A really great feature is that iTouch (iPhone) can be used as a remote control for AppleTV. This is built into the "Remote" app for the iTouch/iPhone. What is really sweet is that when using the iTouch as a controller to navigate the web, when you click on a text entry box, the ITouch keypad pops-up so you can enter the text (URL, etc) on the iTouch keypad then press enter to send it to the AppleTV.
  • I have added a stick-on IR sender to the front of the Apple TV and I have added a the IR commands to my Homeseer IR list. I have also added these commands to my "Turn ON Home Theater" Homeseer event.
  • I am currently setting up the following event: If the Home theater is ON, when motion is detected at the front or rear door, or either doorbell is pressed, bring up the TV split screen mode and display the video feed from the security camera. After 1 minute, return to full screen mode. Lots of other possibilities!
All in all, I think the Apple TV is an excellent addition to a home automation setup. It works very well. It has its limitations but so far I am completely satisfied.

Steve Q
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:13 PM
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Rupp Rupp is offline
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Steve, is this like the Sage TV units? Will it play your downloaded content and record tv as well?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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Steve Q Steve Q is offline
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Rupp, The device is playback only. It can't record anything. This is not an issue for me because I have a DVR built into my cable box.

I am not familiar with Sage TV other than reading about it a year or more ago.

Steve Q
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Old March 25th, 2010, 06:00 AM
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vic1743 vic1743 is offline
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re apple TV more info

hello Steve,

Looks nice!!

can you tell me if i can upload divx or mp4 or any supported media files type to the apple tv box ? Ive already got some movies on my pc and id like to trigger them from homeseer

thanks
vic1743
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Old March 25th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Steve Q Steve Q is offline
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Vic,

There is an accessory program for the Apple TV called ATVflash available at: http://www.appletvflash.com/ I have installed this and I have been trying to use it. It does allow you to play your own movies. And it offers some other nice features. However it is extremely buggy and always seems to lock up the Apple TV. This is a real pain because the Apple TV does not have an ON/OFF switch. You have to unplug it to reset it.

But I still really like the Apple TV. The picture and sound quality is supurb!

Steve Q
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