Apple TV Summary:
For any Apple fan, the NEW Apple TV
is a must-have media player due to its tight integration with existing Apple products.
For those who have not jumped on the Apple bandwagon, the Apple TV does not offer quite as much as some other comparable products but is still worthy of consideration.
Pros: Typically amazing Apple design, attractive price and interface to existing Apple products especially via the brilliant Airplay. Finally supports 1080p with the new version.
Cons: Limited somewhat to the Apple Ecosystem, Apple products don’t like to play with other media sources. If you are happy keeping everything in iTunes or on iCloud, then you will be fine.
What we like about Apple TV:
- Online services: The ease of access to iTunes store will be continuing comfort to existing Apple customers, and the addition of Netflix removes any accusations of restrictive viewing. The Netflix interface has been updated to look very iTunes-like, but amusingly appears under “Internet” on the Apple TV home screen whereas iTunes is shown under “Movies”.
- Design and size: The Apple people are masters of design and the Apple TV is incredible, literally fitting in the palm of your hand. It does not require a power transformer so the whole package will not intrude into your existing home theater set up.
- High speed wireless network: Fast Wireless N networking is built in to the Apple TV with a simple to use interface.
- Airplay: The Airplay App allows you to instantly transfer content from your iPhone or iPad to your TV set via the Apple TV. This includes music, TV shows and other video content except (strangely) video recorded on the iPhone camera.
- Home Sharing network: When activated within iTunes, Home Sharing will allow you to stream purchased (not rented) iTunes content from your PC to the Apple TV.
- Remote App: Perhaps to make up for the substandard remote control (see below), the free Remote App lets you use your iPhone as a remote control with a lot more of the features you would expect in a remote control. It is also possible to use smart phone gestures (swipe, pinch etc) to assist with on-screen navigation of the Apple TV.
- Low price: Historically Apple has been known to charge a premium for its trend setting products, but the Apple TV is a pleasant surprise at $99.
What we dislike about Apple TV:
- Limited TV show content: There is only limited access to TV network shows and these can only be rented at 99 cents an episode (this can add up over time). There is no Amazon Video on Demand service or Hulu which would address this issue.
- Lack of music services: Perhaps in order to protect iTunes store, there is no access to Rhapsody or Pandora.
- No input connections: A micro USB port is included but Apple states this is for “service and support”. There are no other input connections – no USB, no SD card reader – streaming only.
- Only HDMI output: For the connection to your TV only HDMI is provided. Whilst most TVs now have a HDMI connection, those that do not will require an additional adapter.
- Only streams content: As stated already, Apple TV is purely a media streamer which limits playback options somewhat. Needless to say, there is no hard disk (either internal or that can be connected) so there is heavy reliance on the outside world.
- Limited video formats: This is where the proprietary nature of Apple can be annoying. Any video you want to stream from your PC or Mac must be in iTunes video format which means the likes of AVI, DivX and MKV videos will need to be converted first.
- Limited high definition: Apple TV only supports 720p, and no HDMI cable is provided.
- Minimalist remote: The Apple TV remote control may look great with its minimalist styling but it also provides minimalist functionality. This is not a huge deal due to the Remote App for the iPhone mentioned earlier.
In a Nutshell:
If you love Apple then you cannot afford to be without Apple TV.
Product Details at a Glance – Apple TV