Mi hermano emailed me a few minutes ago asking if I had purchased an Apple TV and, if so, what were my thoughts?
So far I’m happy with it, though the process of converting my existing media — which I purchased using money — is more difficult than I had hoped.
First off, Netflix works better than expected. Not to go off on a rant, but before I bought the ATV I had four Netflix-capable platforms, and none of them got the job done.
XBOX 360: Life got in the way, and I didn’t have time for a lot of multiplayer gaming anymore, so I cancelled XBOX Live. This meant that I could not longer stream Netflix movies via my 360. So that we’re all clear, I have to pay Microsoft approx $4 a month for the privilege of using a service I pay $10 a month for on a machine I paid a few hundred dollars for. Got it. So that’s out.
TiVo HD: The video doesn’t sync with the audio. Apparently it’s a known issue with Netflix on TiVo, and TiVo doesn’t give enough of a rats ass to fix it. So that’s out.
Wii: This works well enough for standard definition but the Wii can’t output high def, so that’s out.
Regular PC: Come on. Who wants to watch a two-and-a-half hour movie sitting in front of Internet Explorer?
Thus, I’m delighted that Netflix works as expected, and that I can stream movies from them with minimal artifacts, glitches, or pauses, and in high definition. Besides that, the next best feature is the cooperation between iPhone 4 and ATV. I can sit on the couch and send persona photos and videos from my iPhone up to the large plasma. Even YouTube videos can be redirected from my iPhone, though the ATV itself has YouTube capability.
My other primary goal for ATV was to be able to stream my existing DVD’s. Sure, this meant ripping the disks to a network drive and teeing them up in iTunes, but I was prepared for that. After some trial-and-error, I managed to work out a deal between DVD Shrink and Handbrake so that my legally purchased DVD’s would lose their copy protection and end up in a format suitable for streaming. Sure, it takes hours and hours, but at the end of my ripping process I end up with a piece of media — that I already own — that can be consumed on any device in my home network.
I have yet to rent a movie or TV show through the device, but already I’m disappointed that NBC shows are unavailable for rent. I’ll find a labor-intensive workaround, but they’re missing an opportunity to make a few bucks a month from me. Their loss; I’m sure they know what they’re doing (*cough*).
That’s the nutshell. Any questions?