Finally I gave in and bought an Apple TV. I didn’t realize what I have been missing and didn’t want one just to watch rented movies. I have many devices that can watch Netflix. Virtually everything can play Netflix and YouTube. I did a review of the WD Media player and love that it can play anything from anywhere. So why would I want an Apple TV?
I have been watching the Apple TV for a while now but never wanted to use it mainly because you need to copy your movies to iTunes. While I like iTunes and how it keeps everything organized for you movies GB of movies would fill my hard disk. i now have all my movies, pictures and music storied on a 4GB external hard disk (with a duplicate backup) . With the Western Digital Media Player I can watch movies stored anywhere by browsing the folders.
So what changed my mind? I was watching the Apple keynote on the new features in OSX 10, showing that you can use Apple TV to be a second monitor for your laptop. Not a mirror or projection of your laptop screen but a second monitor. You can have different programs on each screen. WOW, that is cool. A monitor and no wire to tie you down! So I thought I would try it knowing that currently it only supports mirroring your monitor ( just showing what is on your screen).
First impression of the Apple TV is wow this is fast. My main complain with many other media players is that the processor is too slow and make the interface sluggish. The Apple TV is VERY responsive not only with navigating through menus but everything.
Size: I though my WD media player was small. The Apple TV is even smaller. It is almost the same size as a hockey puck but square. It’s 3.9 inches by 3.9 inches and .9 inches high.
AirPlay: Once you have an Apple Tv all your devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod and laptops) automatically have a new icon. People ask why I use Apple products, this is why. No install, no registry issues and it just works. I didn’t have to do anything and a new icon appeared on my devices. When you click the Airplay icon on any of these devices the video is immediately and I mean immediately sent to the TV. No delay. Anything you view on the device is sent to the TV, pictures, video and games. They all look great. When I think of all the time I spent in boardrooms trying to get the laptop to talk to the projector and set the resolution. Hours and hours and with Apple it took just seconds. This alone is worth the price of the device.
Netflix: I have Netflix on my laptop, X-box, PS3, Wii, iPad, iPhone etc etc. I seen it or I though I seen it. It’s so responsive on the Apple TV. My PS3 is also very responsive but just looks more impressive on the Apple TV. I would not buy Apple TV just for Netflix but it is a nice version.
Renting Movies: I usually don’t rent movies any more. I like to watch the movie on the BIG screen. After that I can buy the DVD or Blue-ray once the price is reasonable. Let face it you can buy last years movies for $5 on DVD now. But for the night when it’s raining and you want to watch a movie, Apple makes it easy to watch anything.
I remember when I purchased my first DVD player ($900 and only played DVD’s). I asked Block busters every week if they would be renting DVD’s. The response ever week was we are evaluating the viability . Weeks than months before they added DVD’s . We can see why they went down the tubes. If you can’t see what’s new and get on the band wagon your doomed.
iTunes: It’s always the timings you were not expecting that impress you the most. I have a few movies on my iTunes library on my old laptop that I use for a media server to the PS3 and WD media player so I though I would see how they played. These are just a few downloaded movies I had. WOW!. When I browsed the movies the DVD cover popped up with the movies rating and summary of the movie. This lead me to check on how to have your iTunes library on an external disk drive. All you have to do is click preference and select an external drive for your library. Nothing could be easier. No I think I will scan all my DVD’s into the iTunes library. What a great way to organize a large number of movies. Now I have work to do.
Photos: No matter what device I tried they can never seem to be able to show photos quickly. They are slow to load and switching to the next picture takes forever. Not on the Apple TV. It does not matter if you beam it using AirPlay from your iPad or from your iPhoto library directly from Apple TV, the pictures are fast and responsive.
Remote: It’s a nice small remote but I found I was always hitting the wrong button. The good news is you can use your iPhone or iPad as a remote. This makes it easier when you need to type in anything. Using your iPhone you can control the Apple TV from anywhere in the house.
- Apple single-core A5 chip
- Wi-Fi (802.11a, b, g or n)
- Optical audio
- 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
- Built-in IR receiver
- Micro-USB (for service and support)
- Built-in 6-watt universal power supply (no bulky adapters)
H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels in .avi file format
Bottom line: For only $109 this is a great media player, very responsive and for any one with an iOS device it makes sharing pictures or video very easy. Normally when we wanted to watch a video or pictures we had taken we would huddle around the laptop or copy the files to the media server then watch then on the TV. Now we just use Air Play and watch them on Apple TV directly from the iPhone.