Replacing these units with the Apple TV loses me my Squeezebox, with it's easy-to-read-from-the-sofa user interface, but allows me to keep one device powered up instead of two. And it'll play the songs I've purchased from the iTunes Music Store as well as the ripped ones.
I mentioned earlier that I'm not a HD TV owner. I'm not a big watcher of broadcast TV, so I'm waiting for true free-to-air HD before I ditch my 28in CRT. The Apple TV only has component-video and HDMI ports, none of which my telly posesses, but a quirk of the machine allows me to get a monochrome signal out of the green component channel and in through my TV's composite-video port.
It's no good for photo or video playback, but it works just fine for music selection. Apple TV supports PAL-friendly 576i and NTSC-ready 480i resolutions so it's easy to switch to a picture size that'll work on a standard-definition widescreen TV - and possibly a 4:3 ratio model too, if it has an option to compress the image vertically into 16:9.
One Apple TV owner, Mauricio Pastrana, recently posted a YouTube video apparently showing him fooling the device into outputting a colour signal via the green component video. If it's not a hoax - and the guy claims he doesn't know why it worked - the process involves clipping in an HDMI device to then quickly removing it. Why that should persuade the Apple TV to reformat the signal being sent out of the green component port is anyone's guess.
Mauricio Pastrana's YouTube video
Can't see the movie? The download Flash Player from Adobe.com
Here's the procedure:
- Plug your composite-video cable into the Apple TV's green component-video
- Go to Settings/TV Resolution
- Move the cursor onto 576p but don't press Play (OK) on the remote
- Unplug the composite cable
- Plug an HDMI-DVI adaptor that's connected to a DVI-VGA adaptor
- Now press Play (OK) on the remote and count to five
- Unplug the HDMI-DVI adaptor
- Reconnect the composite video cable
When the picture comes back, it should be in colour, or so Mauricio claimed.
There's also a way of tricking the Apple TV to produce the same effect using software, but I didn't try it - the Apple TV's not mine, and the software approach requires a lot of hackery. Instead, I decided to give the quick hardware hack a go.
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!