Is video played through the Media player transcoded or played natively?

A friend has bought aTV Flash (Black) and was showing me how easy it is to play avi video via the ‘Media’ menu once configured. It was definitely easy but the video looked a little rough to me and it scenes with camera panning there was noticeable jerkiness, whereas the same file played over XBMC on the same AppleTV was smooth and the picture quality better. There was also no noticable loading / buffering time on XBMC versus a few seconds through the media player.


What’s the story here - is the Media Player transcoding the files before it plays them? If so can the bitrate etc be adjusted to improve quality? Curious before I purchase - don’t really want to use XBMC if I don’t have to but.




If a video is encoded with h264 then it can be played without transcoding as the ATV2 has hardware support for that.  Anything else will need transcoding as far as I know.

Are there controls over the bitrate / quality of the transcode? Sorry, I don’t yet own it myself so can’t try it out. I have an app on my iPhone called AirVideo that transcodes video via a client on my Mac on-the-fly and streams it to an un-jailbroken AppleTV via AirPlay and that has settings to control the bit-rate. At 2Mbps and 720p res the video quality is near lossless and motion is very smooth. If I can replicate that level of quality with ATV Flash then I would buy it.

No control over the bit rate as far as I know.

However for 720p I tend to use .mkv files which do not need transcoding so they play fine. I also have no trouble with 1080p .mkv files, although they will be downgraded to 720p playback as that is the maximum the ATV2 supports.

I only use .avi files for lower resolution material and thee play fine for me.