Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apple TV

Got an Apple TV box recently.

In case you aren't familiar with Apple TV, it's a little box that you hook up to your TV that allows you to send content to your TV.

Apple is pushing their movie and TV rentals, although that's not what attracted me to the device. I have been buying content from Amazon.com and feeding it to my TiVo device.

They're making a big deal about its Netflix integration, but that's not a selling point for me. I already have that with Tivo.

The playing of iTunes content on the TV is what sold it for me. I've been wanting to be able to do that. And Wife wanted to do that. And, with Apple TV, we can. Wirelessly.

To do that, you have to turn on the Home Sharing feature. Where it was cumbersome is that Wife has one iTunes account and I have another. So, it took a bit to figure out that she can be signed in on her iTunes account but signed in to Home Sharing on my account, and we can share content with each other and with the Apple TV.

Now, the other things -- Netflix, YouTube, movie and TV rentals -- weren't a selling point for me. But, I do like the Netflix interface on Apple TV better than the one on TiVo. On my TiVo HD (I don't have the new Premiere, so I don't know how well it works) the only thing I can do with Netflix is play what's in my Streaming Queue. And I have to manage it on my computer. But, on the Apple TV, I can manage it from the menu. Not as easy as I can on the computer, but at least I don't have to go to the computer to manage it unless I want to; with Tivo, I have to.

TV rentals may come into play later. I'm looking at the cost of taking all my content from the Internet and dropping cable and TiVo. If I did that today, I'd save $171.04 a year, but I'd lose some programs: six network shows, local programming, and all live sports.

Let me add that I'm talking about watching on the TV, not through a browser. I'm talking about a full TV experience: content on the big screen where everyone in the living room can see it. So, watching online (Hulu standard, ESPN, etc.) isn't a viable solution.

Still, talking about Apple TV, I can sum it up in one word: I like it. Okay, that's three words. But that's how much I like it.

The content is clear, much clearer than through the TiVo for similar content. Probably because it connectes via HDMI connection, and not the component connection as the TiVo does. In fact, the only way Apple TV connects is via HDMI. And, setup is rather easy. The only issue was, as I mentioned, when you try to Home Share with multiple computers on multiple iTunes accounts.

It's worth the $99 it cost.

What about and alternative device? Like the Roku?

I can't say. I don't have one.


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