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Cheat Sheet

Apple TV For Dummies

From Apple TV For Dummies by Mark L. Chambers

To set up an Apple TV — or any home theater system — that you love, it helps to understand the various TV display technologies and TV resolution limitations before you shop. Knowing which type of media files does what will help you locate the right files quickly, and be sure to know the difference between syncing content versus streaming content when your Apple TV is up and running.

Home Theater Display Technologies Compared

What kind of TV will you choose for your home theater? You can spend as much or as little on a televion as you wish. You could log into eBay or Craigslist and find a used CRT TV for around $50, or you could spend several thousand dollars on a top-line plasma TV — the choice is yours. The following table goes through the various home theater technologies with some basic specs for each.

Technology Name Relative Cost Typical Maximum Size Pros Cons
CRT Very inexpensive 40 inches Great color quality, no viewing angle problems, can display 1080i HDTV Bulky, mediocre image detail
LCD Average to high 52 inches Thin, lightweight, low power, good image detail, handles most HDTV signals Mediocre color quality, limited viewing angle, blurring or ghosting on cheaper sets
Plasma Very expensive 70 inches Thin, lightweight, great image detail, great color quality, handles all HDTV signals Fragile, slight chance of burn-in, brightness degradation, sensitive to high altitudes, limited viewing angle
Rear-projection Average to high 60 inches Good to great image detail, good to great color quality, handles most HDTV signals Bulky, may require adjustment and maintenance, limited viewing angle, requires a dark room
Front-projection Average 200 inches Good color quality, handles most HDTV signals Requires a separate wall or screen, mediocre image quality, requires a dark room

TV Resolutions in a Nutshell

The following table gives you a rundown of the resolution, aspect ratio, and number of scan lines for the three types of television (standard-definition TV, digital TV, and high-definition TV).

Name Signal Type Number of Scan Lines Aspect Ratio Resolution
SDTV Analog 480 4:3 720 x 480
DTV Digital 480 4:3 or 16:9 704 x 480 or 640 x 480
HDTV Digital 1080i (interlaced) or 720p (progressive) 16:9 1920 x 1080i (interlaced) or 1280 x 720p (progressive)

Common Multimedia Format Guide

The various extensions on a media file can tell you a lot about what kind of file it is (audio, video, photograph/image, or archive) and what the file does (or doesn't do). The following table runs through the file extensions you're likely to encounter.

Name or Extension Type of File Good For
AIFF Audio Sound effects and archival audio in Mac OS X
AVI Video Playing video clips in Windows
M4A Audio Tracks you've ripped from audio CDs using the default iTunes settings
M4P Audio Playing music from the Apple iTunes Music Store
BMP Image Archival storage of images on CD or DVD
JPEG Image Sending photos in e-mail or displaying on the Web
MOV Video Playing video clips on PCs and Macs
MP3 Audio Playing music on your hard drive or MP3 player
MPEG Video Playing video on PCs, Macs, and Linux computers
OGG Audio Sharing music on PCs, Macs and Linux computers
PDF Document Sharing and printing high-quality documents online
PNG Image Displaying images on a Web page
RAR Archive Archiving and compressing multiple files into one file
TIFF Image Sharing images on PCs, Macs, and Linux computers
WAV Audio Sound effects and archival audio in Windows XP
WMA Audio Playing music on your hard drive or MP3 player
WMV Video Playing video clips in Windows
ZIP Archive Archiving and compressing multiple files into one file

Apple TV Syncing Versus Streaming

You have two ways to get iTunes content from your computer to a first- generation Apple TV: syncing and streaming. The following table helps you understand the differences between syncing and streaming.

Method Library Stored on Apple TV Hard Drive 802.11b Support Source Computer Must Stay On Photo Features Buffering Pauses Capacity
Syncing 1 Yes All media No Yes No 32GB maximum
Streaming Up to 5 No No video Yes No Yes Unlimited browsing
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