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computer devicesrecommendations sought


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#1 puppytreats

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:45 PM

Does anyone have any recommendations for electronic devices for use in watching streaming videos of ballet performances (e.g., from youtube)? I understand certain devices connect computers to television screens, and I am considering purchasing one of these to enable me to watch more ballet without being tied to my desk. Alternatively, I am considering buying an ipad or similar mobile device.

#2 Marcmomus

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 03:16 AM

Most modern TVs can act as a computer monitor, and a connected laptop can be controlled from across the room by a wireless keyboard and mouse. Some new TVs even allow direct internet access. The problem I have found is the resolution of the source image: many YouTube clips don't look so good on larger screens, especially against the quality of HD TV and BluRay. An I-Pad is the route I have taken for this kind of use.

#3 puppytreats

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:54 AM

Is an ipad preferable to any other brand device?

What about a smart phone?

#4 TenduTV

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 07:56 AM

There are a lot of great options. Just remember box on the market is an internet connection, software and a video out. Some boxes have added features, such as Blu-ray drives, hard drives, etc, but the basic components are all the same.

The thing is, there are some nuanced differences.

Question: what model TV are you thinking of attaching this to? You are going to want something with an HDMI connection, especially if you want to watch higher quality content off iTunes, like the wonderful performances that are currently available (shameless plug, yes, but... couldn't resist). The reason for this is more than just the video quality - as part of copy protection standards, can only connect HD content from one device to another via an HDMI connection. You're going to want other options to depend on other than YouTube.

1.) If you're looking for something to keep in the home and have a permanent connection - an AppleTV is a great attachment to your computer. Relatively inexpensive ($99) and very easy to use, it allows you to stream off your computer, stream direct to TV, and gives you access to iTunes, Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo. It's much more of a television experience.
2.) An iPad is also a great option, especially with this iPad to HDMI doc. Apple Store. Plus, you get to take it with you.
3.) A smart phone (eg. an iPhone or iPod) doesn't really have the processing power to power high quality big screen video. iTunes actually syncs SD, as opposed to HD versions.

Also - we're soon going to be delivering via the Playstation 3 or XBox Live/Zune Marketplace.

I would stay away from the GoogleTV devices, which you will likely find in ample quality and with low prices. They actually had negative sales in the last quarter, because no one bought them, and people that previously bought them returned them.

#5 PeggyR

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:03 AM

Is an ipad preferable to any other brand device?

What about a smart phone?


I had the same thought and regretted it (several hundred dollars later). Smart phones are great for many things, but watching videos and even surfing the net for any length of time, can be a real trial. Think small -- and I mean [size="1"]teeny, tiny small [/size]screen. If you're thinking of going in that direction, borrow one and see how you feel about watching the Bolshoi on a 3 1/2 inch (iPhone on the diagonal) display. The resolution is good, but I found it very tiring after a short time. Try before you buy.

I ended up going with an iPad and love it. It's usable both as a reader (and it allows you to buy books from both iTunes and Kindle, which has some things iTunes doesn't) and for web surfing. YouTube on my iPad is about 8 inches on the diagonal and quite watchable.

If you go with an iPad, given their high price, don't overbuy. I got the 16 gig, have loaded over a hundred books and about 30 apps and still have 11 gig remaining. For any of these devices, a good money saving trick is to wait for the introduction of the newest version and you can usually pick up the most recently obsoleted version at a savings.

Another thing to think about is the monthly cost if you watch a lot of YouTube. My iPad plan allows 2 gig download a month for $25 (not sure about the iPhone because I stopped using it for anything but mail checking and calls after a couple of weeks). I ran out after about 3 weeks and didn't want to pay for more capacity so had to cut back YouTube watching a lot for the last week. Whatever you device you choose, investigate the available carriers and be sure to get the best plan for your needs.

I second TenduTv's recommendation of Apple TV although I've yet to see Netflix provide any ballet videos for streaming.

Have fun!

#6 TenduTV

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:20 AM

Peggy brings up a great point that I hadn't considered: bandwidth costs. I have a wi-fi only iPad and download most iTunes purchases first to my computer and then sync to iPad. Our iTunes titles in standard definition are about 1.5 GB each and our HD titles are around 4GB, so if you have that kind of a cap, you might want to be more selective in choosing the time when you download because you'll burn your data cap pretty quickly. As a side note, when you purchase a title from iTunes in HD, you get both a SD and a HD version, and the SD version is what syncs to your iPhone/iPod.

In re: Netflix streaming of ballet. I can't speak for others in the space, but we are specifically not releasing any of our titles onto Netflix streaming, nor do we plan on doing so (at least in the USA). Whenever possible, we also block DVD availability. The reason for this is that the economics and anticipated demand, even for a very successful title, are not strong enough to warrant enough economic consideration to make such a deal worthwhile. Also, there are a lot of recordings that were never cleared for digital, so making them available would be practically impossible.

One other word of advice:

There are a lot of TVs that have some sort of streaming capability already built in. Prices continue to drop, but if you have two identical TVs, one with streaming and one without, it may be far less expensive to buy the one without and then get a separate streaming device, or even a streaming capable blu-ray player.

#7 emilienne

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 12:11 PM

I've had good luck with Western Digital's WDTV, which is a series of network media players, some of which come with hard drives. It allows for playing of computer movie files via USB disks and connected hard drives. The device also streams from Youtube and Netflix &tc. Best of all, it connects to the network via your home internet connection (and does wireless if you buy the optional adapter). It offers the gamut of connection options (HDMI, SPDIF, component, etc). A basic WDTV without a hard drive (and remember, you can connect external HDs to it) runs to less than 90 dollars on Amazon.

*HDMI port is version 1.3. It is not the most current version, but unless you want to share a network connection between two HDMI devices, have a quad HD setup or want to play stereoscopic 3D pictures, it's not a necessary feature.

#8 macnellie

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 08:10 PM

I would not get an Apple ipad. I love Apple products, however Apple won't allow the use of Adobe Flash on their iphones, ipods, ipads.This means you cannot access Amazon streaming which has wonderful films and documentaries which Netflix doesn't have. Plus many many dance web sites which have video, "Arte tv" for example, use Adobe flash so you can't see those films at all. I would opt for an Ibook which does allow adobe flash.

#9 emilienne

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:52 PM

I would opt for an Ibook which does allow adobe flash.


Just to clarify: isn't an iBook an obsolete Apple product?

#10 macnellie

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:04 AM


I would opt for an Ibook which does allow adobe flash.


Just to clarify: isn't an iBook an obsolete Apple product?

Not yet.

#11 PeggyR

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:36 AM

Macnellie is right about iPad not supporting Flash. That hasn't bothered me much, but it might be an issue for some. The other downside of the iPad is that while you can link a wireless keyboard via Bluetooth, it doesn't support linking a wireless mouse -- you still have to touch the screen to move around. Pain in the neck at times. And no USB connection in the current models, although there is speculation that iPad 3 might have one.

Has anyone used this: MOTOROLA XOOM Android Tablet (10.1-Inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi)? This was the other one I considered at purchase time; went with Apple instead only because all my stuff is Apple. But on Amazon, the Xoom gets a lot of positive reviews, and at under $500 for 32 gig, it sounds like a good buy. And it supports flash.

#12 TenduTV

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:50 AM

Apple stopped making iBooks in 2006. Do you mean Macbook?

For the record: even though I talk about iTunes alot, the fact is all of our titles are available on Amazon as well. In fact, we have more on Amazon than iTunes. I just don't talk about Amazon as much because it represents a very small portion of our overall sales.

To the original poster - you have a lot of options. Perhaps you can talk about some of the ways in which you would like to view the programming? At home, on the road, etc. The fact is you'll end up with more than one device eventually, even if you're only making a single purchase now.

#13 puppytreats

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:38 AM

Apple stopped making iBooks in 2006. Do you mean Macbook?

For the record: even though I talk about iTunes alot, the fact is all of our titles are available on Amazon as well. In fact, we have more on Amazon than iTunes. I just don't talk about Amazon as much because it represents a very small portion of our overall sales.

To the original poster - you have a lot of options. Perhaps you can talk about some of the ways in which you would like to view the programming? At home, on the road, etc. The fact is you'll end up with more than one device eventually, even if you're only making a single purchase now.


To answer your question, I want to exercise on the treadmill or exercise bike while watching ballet videos. Presently, I tend to watch videos and dvds on a television that is in front of my treadmill. I watch clips on youtube on my computer and documentaries on Netflix on my desk computer, and would like to be able to watch them while I exercise.

#14 TenduTV

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:42 AM

What is the make and model of the TV?

#15 puppytreats

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:50 AM

Old and cheap, maybe free.


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