Sunday, July 01, 2012

What Do You Think Of The Apple TV?

That was the question a friend asked me the other day. It was a loaded question because he’s a rabid Windows/Android user, and I’m a rabid Mac/iPhone user, which means that we usually don’t talk about computers or phone’s at all…it’s just easier that way.

The original Apple TV

But the Apple TV…was he thinking of getting one? And what did I think of the Apple TV anyway?

I’ve had the original Apple TV since it first came out, and to be honest, it’s been nothing like the iPhone and the iPad. The latter I don’t think I could ever give up, and the former has proved to be a very useful tool for meetings and for trips when I don’t want to take the MacBook along. I could live without the iPad, but that’s primarily because I also have an iPhone.

But the Apple TV? To be honest, I hardly use it. I do use it to rent movies, on those few occasions that I do rent movies. That’s probably once every two months. It works really well for that. It’s simple and easy to rent movies, and now that my local video store has closed, about the only way I can rent movies! The only downside is those occasions when they don’t have the title, OR, you can only buy a title; they don’t have it available to rent - which seems to happen to me a surprising number of times.

Perhaps the other thing I don’t like about it is using the little remote to type in the name of what you want to search for. It can get a little tedious. Now you can synch your iPhone to the Apple TV as a remote, but because I shut the Apple TV down between uses, I can’t be bothered going through the reconnecting steps required to do that! So the little remote is annoying, but not that annoying. If I was using it every day, I’d probably throw it through the window.

The old Apple TV does have a small hard drive in it. I thought that would be useful for storing video’s I want to watch, but because it has to sync with your Apple iTunes library, it proved a little more tedious that I thought it would. I guess that was true for everyone, as Apple did away with that feature with the Apple TV 2.

I had also thought I would use the Apple TV to watch my own video’s on the TV as a way of checking them. I find that I don’t do that as often as I thought I would; partly because most of the stuff I do now is only viewed on the computer - so I don’t need to review them on the TV - and partly because it was a little more involved than I had hoped (you have to copy the video into iTunes, then sync the Apple TV and your iTunes account.)

The Apple TV 2

A friend has the newer Apple TV 2 [$96.99 B & H], and uses it primarily to watch Netflix. She seems happy with it; as long as Netflix has the movie she wants to watch!

So as you can see, I have mixed feelings about the Apple TV

But what to tell my friend?; because he’d just use it against me. But I had to be honest too, and so I told him that I didn’t use it that much, but it was quite good for renting movies from iTunes.

I did also tell my friend that I’d seen rumors that Apple was going to add app support to the Apple TV, and if that were true, it was also very possible they would be updating the hardware at the same time. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to use apps on my TV (I have the iPhone and iPad for that!) but who knows…maybe there will be some kinds of apps that will make that worthwhile.

I also had to tell him that if I was going to buy anything at the moment, it might be the Roku box. Not so much because I was unhappy with the Apple TV, but because the Roku box could play back Amazon Prime movies. I have an Amazon Prime account and you get access to some old movies for free through that, and that could be a really useful feature for me, one that unfortunately the Apple TV does not support.

So I have mixed feelings about the Apple TV. It doesn’t do everything I wish it did - Amazon Prime - but it does work well for what it does; renting movies through iTunes. I just don’t do that a lot.

And that’s what I told my friend.

And he told me that he was only asking for a friend of his who was thinking about it. And that he loved his Roku [$76.00 Amazon]

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