More on "iTV"

Commenter V M Respectable provides this link to Dan Eran’s speculation that Apple’s waiting until January for the 802.11n standard. He also seems to confirm the Macalope’s original speculation yesterday that 802.11b would be insufficient for streaming this kind of content and even says 802.11g would just barely be sufficient.

It’s possible Apple’s waiting for 802.11n, but we’d need some dongles to transmit to an “iTV” via 802.11n and Steve Jobs wasn’t showing us any of his dongles yesterday.

Not even when he bent over.

Of course, not everyone likes to get up on stage and wave their dongles around.

But 802.11n isn’t built-in, so we’d need to see some dongles.

OK, so the Macalope just likes saying “dongles.” That’s not such a crime.

  • What about 802.11a? Everyone’s talking about n, but there are several reports (I have not had opportunity to test this on my MacBook Pro) that the new Airport Extreme cards in the Intel Macs magically happens to be able to connect to 802.11a networks.

    Is there compatibility between n and b/g? Could it be maybe that n is also built in, but nobody knows it yet?

    What else is in this thing they haven’t told me about?

  • The iTunes store movies are 1.5 mbps, or 0.1875 Megabytes per second or 192 Kilobytes per second.

    Wireless G is plenty fast to do all of that now. If you have a clean signal you’ll be fine. If you don’t have a clean signal Wireless N wont help at all.

  • Nate:

    Go read everything at that link. I feel like I have a degree in knowing things about wireless now.

    802.11a is about as fast as 802.11g, it just hangs out in offices instead of coffee shops. Neither are fast enough to stream video at a good enough quality that Steve Jobs would stand behind it.

    802.11n is not compatible with a/b/g — in fact, the standard hasn’t even been nailed down all the way yet, which is what hints that Apple’s waiting. Some vendors have pre-n gear coming out now, with no real guarantees that it will work later. Ars Technica has had good coverage of the issue.

  • Mitch:

    It could also be that there are other reasons for delaying the “iTV”.. It’s obvious the whole show at the Special Event was about convincing both consumers and movie studios that this is the way to go. That’s why the progress from 5 TV shows to 200 was mentioned so often. They want to get things moving and more stuff to be available before they launch the product. And maybe they’re offering the studios a “trial period”. by this I mean that the next few months of “medium res” movies will show if there is real demand for the service. So that they can launch the “iTV” and at the same time up the resolution to HD next year. Why would anyone need a HDMI connector to view things at the current resolution? Doesn’t make much sense I think.

  • matt:

    I stream my EyeTV shows wirelessly to my Airport Extreme, which then uses a hard line to the EyeHome server (because a stream to the server is very choppy – not a clean signal as noted by another commenter). My EyeTV files are nearly 3 GB/hr, which breaks down to approximately 7 MBits/sec. Due to the inefficiency of the MPEG2 codec, this stream is A LOT larger than the stream Apple wants to send, though I would expect an HD stream to be about this size. 802.11g can stream this, but interference/relaying is a problem, which is why I have to hardwire to my server. Would 802.11n really fix the problem?

  • V M Respectable:

    As I understand the Macalope’s main concern, he’s worried that iTV will hit the scene, and no Macs will be able to stream to it because none of them will have 802.11n. I hadn’t thought of that. Now I’m entirely unsure what to think, since two of my favorite commentators are at odds.

    Fortunately, it won’t kill me to wait until Apple actually releases the product to find out.

    Also, that D.E.D. has another article up, and it seems to deal with some of your (refering to those who are not Macalope, naturally; he has shockingly little to say about dongles) points:

  • Gene:

    Am I correct in my understanding that the problem of bandwidth is based on the assumption that the iTV will simply be acting as a proxy to your iTunes movie collection? Is this necessary?

    If, once you selected a movie, the device buffered a certain percentage before playing (and continued downloading during bathroom/beer/munchie breaks) you (the viewer) would receive a complete viewing experience. Add in a fairly constant network bandwidth (as opposed to viewing video over the web) and video data that is not even DVD quality and you probably have a setup that is doable with current technologies.

    This is just my two cents but I gotta believe Apple isn’t going to put this on the consumer market when maybe 1 millionth of a percent of consumers can actually use it.

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