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Monday October 11, 2010 2:43 pm
Apple TV review (2010): 5 Things We Like
We know you’ve been waiting for our Apple TV review, and we’ve been playing with Apple’s second try at a home theater set top box for about ten days now, and figured it was time to report back with our thoughts. The thing is, it really is a lot of the same in terms of usability and interface. There aren’t many changes (yet!) to that side of things, despite things being very different under the hood. The new Apple TV is a lot smaller, and runs iOS 4, and is priced at just $99. It’s centered around a focus on renting movies and TV shows rather than purchasing them. It’s also got Netflix integration and the new AirPlay functionality that allows you to fling video and audio content from your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch right to the Apple TV with ease.
Rather than go into this as a full review, we figured we’d focus instead on five aspects of the new Apple TV that we like, and five things about the Apple TV that we hate. So let’s jump into five things we like about the Apple TV:
The size. Seriously, the new Apple TV is tiny at 3.9-inches square. In fact, it’s not really much wider than it needs to be to fit all the ports on the back of the unit, and when opened up, even has a bit of empty space inside of it. You won’t have any trouble finding a place to put this thing. Even better? If you are going to visit the family or going away for a few days, it’s so small that it’s a no-brainer to just throw it in your travel bag with an HDMI cable.
Speed. As a day-one owner of the original Apple TV, I’ve gotta say that it definitely started showing its age over the past year or so in terms of sluggishness. The new one is powered by the same Apple A4 chip that you’d find in the iPhone 4 or iPad, and the speed when navigating around is vastly improved.
Home Sharing integration. When iTunes brought Home Sharing into the mix last year, it was a convenient way for multiple computers in a home to share and access an iTunes library, but at the time, the Apple TV wasn’t let in on that action. The second generation model, however, requires it. In order to pull and stream content from your iTunes library, you need to put your iTunes Home Sharing credentials into the device. The positive thing about that is that you do it once, and all your media is instantly available.
AirPlay. We actually think that people haven’t totally grasped just how big AirPlay is going to be. Apple introduced it as a minor feature for the Apple TV when the introduced it, but once it’s fully rolled out in iOS 4.2 and users are pushing videos they’ve recorded (or really, any H.264 content local or from the web) on their iPhones to their TV with the press of a button, we think people will sit up and take notice.
Cheap TV show rentals. It’s nice to have the option to rent a TV show for 99 cents in high definition than to have to buy the same show for $2.99, when in all likelihood, I’m only going to watch it once. Definitely a money-saver.
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