How to get colour composite-video from an Apple TV
Got a standard def 16:9 telly? Now you too can use an Apple TV
Updated I've been playing with Apple's Apple TV set-top box this week, and I have to say I like it. But Apple's missing a trick by not allowing those of us - me included - without HD TVs to make the most of the device. No matter: a simple hardware trick solves the problem.
I've found Apple TV to be a great way of getting content not simply from a computer onto a TV, but for taking the computer (almost) out of the equation. My approach isn't for everyone - plenty of Register Hardware readers have way more downloaded music and video content, in a broader array of formats than I have, but I like to keep things simple.
Apple's Apple TV: complete with remote - but no cables
I currently have around 25GB of music on my MacBook Pro, along with 2GB of photos. I've got some H.264 video, in standard definition, maybe 5GB or so, largely ye olde 1970s TV shows I've digitised off VHS tapes that were never re-released on DVD. I used to have a lot more music until I realised I was largely keeping it because I couldn't bring myself to delete any of it, hoarding for hoarding's sake, even though so much of it hasn't been listened to for years, even when it was my CD collection.
One major spring cleaning later, and I've a pared down library of stuff I like to listen to regularly and some material I listen to once in a blue moon but don't want to erase just yet.
I keep most of this on my laptop, most so I can transfer it to my first-generation iPod Nano. But Apple TV has allowed me to copy it all over to the small box's 40GB hard drive and select songs using the on-screen UI. Now I can listen to any track I own in my living room, not just on the move.
Apple's Apple TV: HDTV-friendly ports... and SD too?
Up until now, I'd been using a Logitech Squeezebox III, acquired long before developer Slim Devices was bought by the mouse maker, connected over the network to a Samsung Q1 UMPC. Why use a UMPC as a media server? Two reasons: first, it's small and, second, what the heck else was I going to use the machine for? The battery life's not good enough for full-day mobility, and the screen's too cramped for a decent web browsing experience.
The reason you're mystified by all of this is because you don't realise that a) SCART/Peritel is a European notion invented by Philips and b) most CE devices are designed for the US market principally and then adapted for the rest of the world IF we're lucky. Yankee-doodlers don't use SCART - they DID use S-Video (which is why the S-Video input on so many TVs gives the best picture...) and they DO use component. Apple designs things in California, which is a subset of the USA.
We're lucky the the Apple TV isn't locked at 29.97fps from the get go.
If you're the kind of person who wants to watch things in composite video, you're probably not the kind of person who spends £250 on a living room iPod. If, on the other hand, you're a wannabe geek who has the ambition but none of the technical know-how to save money by bodging a well designed gadget into a nightmare of adapters and hastily lashed-up wiring, then go right ahead and perform this ridiculous 'hack' (don't bother using a component - SCART RGB adapter, that might actually give you a decent picture).
Christ on a Raleigh Chopper.
@Ian K Rolfe
The point is, "component" video using the red, green and blue audio plugs *ISN'T* RGB; it's Y/R-Y/B-Y (where Y = 0.6G + 0.3R + 0.1B + S and is basically a mono composite signal). SCART uses RGB and timing.
What's unusual about this is that it didn't just have a normal SCART socket from the word go. One cable to plug in, and it works with anything: composite or RGB, stereo or mono audio, and even self-switching (well, at least until you remove pin 8 with a pair of wire cutters, on account of the annoying way some tellies refuse to display a picture from any other source). Really, it's a no-brainer. Think about it: when was the last time you saw a TV set without a SCART socket?
The real mystery, as far as I'm concerned, is why is everyone moving to Y/R-Y/B-Y component? It's a horrible kludge that only ever made sense for one purpose: broadcasting colour pictures in a way that could be displayed on existing mono sets. Nowadays, all sets are colour; and since the signals are digital anyway, it's little extra work to generate a mono signal (for that matter, the Y component is exactly just a mono video signal). RGB is the "native" format used by both CRTs and LCDs; so why couldn't we just adapt the existing SCART connector (which has always been able to carry RGB signals) to work with high-def analogue pictures? (Probably use the data pins to attempt to exchange resolution information and if nothing is forthcoming, default to a low-definition, 625-line picture)
Why not just spend $10 on a component-to-scart cable and plug it in the back? If your TV scart socket doesn't support RGB component video, then it's not a huge amount to get a convertor.
Or you could just jiggle the plugs every time you switch on.... Naaah!