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Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
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Discover New Music

  • The Life Pursuit

    • 8 out of 10
    • Belle & Sebastian
    • The Life Pursuit is a sort of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. You get Belle & Sebastian's peanut butter (its wistful, often irresistible pop) dipped in a 'Have A Nice Day!' and glam 70s chocol

  • 8:30

    • 10 out of 10
    • Weather Report
    • This is Weather Reports quintessential line-up captured live. Jaco Pastorious and Peter Erskine join Wayne Shorter and, of course, Joe Zawinul to create this masterpiece.
  • Spilt Milk

    • 10 out of 10
    • Jellyfish
    • The second and final album from this power-pop group makes me wish Jellyfish had been able to make just one more record together. The album is best enjoyed as a whole piece, flowing from one track to
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

    • 6 out of 10
    • U2
    • U2's latest entry is a mostly underwhelming collection of songs that does very little to sound any different from its equally pedestrian predecessor, 2000's "All That You Can't Leave Behind." While

  • Gimme Fiction

    • 10 out of 10
    • Spoon
    • Gimme Fiction by Spoon is a terrific album by an Austin band that I was lucky enough to catch on an Austin radio station during a Christmas visit.

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Integrating Your Apple Gear with HDTV

For those who are fortunate enough, this year, to be working with some new Apple gear or some high definition TV goodies, getting them working together can be a lot of fun. The Apple TV is straightforward, however, some of the other options will require some tinkering.

Apple TV. The most obvious method of getting content from iTunes on your Mac into the HDTV is with an Apple TV. You can beam the signal via Wi-Fi from the Mac to the Apple TV or use Ethernet.


Apple TV

Apple TV

You don't have to sync movies and TV shows you've purchased in iTunes in order to play them on the Apple TV. Just go to the TV Shows -> My TV Shows on the Apple TV to see what's available on your Mac. Remember that iTunes has to be running on the Mac for the Apple TV to see your library. Also, if you've bought something new, I've found that quitting and relaunching iTunes will update what the Apple TV sees.

Right now, if you want to watch HD movies, you'll have to stream them directly to the Apple TV and then on to the HDTV.

The Boxee project can provide added functionality to the Apple TV, at your own risk, and add things like Hulu and Netflix to the Apple TV. They have a blog that can fill you in. This could be a fun project for the holidays.

iPhone/iPods. If you don't have an Apple TV, and don't want one, you can still get content from your, say, iPhone into the HDTV. Apple sells a 30-pin to component video/audio cable that you can use to view SD movies and TV shows you've synced to your iPhone, iPod touch, 3G/4G nano or iPod Classic. The output is NTSC, so no high definition in this case. Two relevant settings are found on the iPhone at the bottom of Settings -> iPod.

If you have an upconverting A/V receiver driving your HDTV, plug the component cables into it -- the iPhone/iPod output will look slightly better. Modern A/V receivers that upconvert generally have better electronics than found it consumer HDTVs.

Component cable

 Component Cable for iPhone/iPod

Mac mini. The Mac mini has a DVI out and a combined optical digital audio output/headphone out (minijack). Some people have been successful in using a DVI to HDMI converter to get video from their Mac mini into an HDTV, either from the DVD player or iTunes. The are two problems, however. From what I've read, some HDTVs don't seem to display properly with that set up. If you do get the connection working properly, anything you've bought in iTunes will be viewable if you have the latest version of iTunes. You could also use this setup to watch Hulu or content from via Safari. However, if Apple allows users to buy HD movies at some point in iTunes, they won't play in this setup because DVI doesn't support HDCP.

There are rumors that a new Mac mini, to be introduced at Macworld, will add DisplayPort. If that happens, a DisplayPort to HDMI converter becomes a realistic option for protected content in the future.

Mac mini

Mac mini

DRM issues

Right now, it appears that Hollywood is enforcing High-bandwidth Copy Protection (HDCP) on theatrical movies, and that's why you need a closed ecosystem like the Apple TV to display HD movies.

For TV shows it's generally a mixed bag. I have some TV shows in HD that play fine via DVI to an Apple Cinema display. It seems to be up to the network on what the rules are applied, but, in general, US$2.99 TV shows in HD remain viewable via DVI to an external display.

Hollywood is much more restrictive with movies. That's why you still can't buy HD movies in iTunes but must stream them on Apple TV. The closed system, Apple TV + Internet connection + streaming + HDMI protects the content.

Apple is going through a transition now as they convert their display technology from DVI to DisplayPort. When that conversion is complete, I would expect that Apple will be allowed to sell HD movies, but they'll only play directly on MacBooks and iMacs with integrated screens. For external output, DisplayPort plus a DisplayPort-based external monitor will be required.

Third Party Products

Alternatively, Atlona in San Jose is working on a DisplayPort to HDMI converter box as well as a USB (plus audio) to HDMI box, the AT-HDPiX. The latter works with DisplayLink software and acts, essentially, as a second graphics card. TMO hopes to have one these for testing soon. That will make it fairly easy to connect any Mac to an HDTV via HDMI and maintain the necessary DRM. However, these Atlona devices are expensive: $179.

Atlona HDPiX

Atlona HDPiX

Bottom Line

For the average user, the easiest way to get iTunes content onto the HDTV, right now, is an Apple TV. It can output anything you can buy in iTunes on your Mac or PC onto the big HDTV screen and can also stream from a selection of about 700 movies in HD.

Connecting a Mac directly to an HDTV right now has some issues, and will require some additional science-fair-like tinkering to be successful. In addition, not many people want to do that for logistical reasons. The small, simple Apple TV can just sit there as a dedicated box. I'd recommend the less expensive Apple TV (with the smaller drive), buy everything via iTunes, stream it to the Apple TV, and back it all up with Time Machine if you're using a Mac.

3 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

jimothy said:

DVI supports HDCP, by the way.


John Martellaro said:

The hardware can support it, but it is not typically implemented.


The blakes said:

yea try this one


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