Will the new AppleTV be the gateway device to bring digital video to every living room ? Apple TV's design indubitably looks good in almost any home theater. The fit and finish lives up to Apple's reputation for solid hardware, and nothing feels cheesy. It's got a bold metal bezel and a strong feeling chassis.
Apple TV is designed to play and display on a widescreen family-room TV set all the music, video and photos stored on up to six computers around the house even if they are far from the TV, and even if they are all Windows PCs rather than Apple’s own Macintosh models. It can also pull a very limited amount of music and video directly off the Internet onto the TV. Like most of Apple’s products, it doesn’t try to do everything and thus become a mess of complexity. It can’t receive or record cable or satellite TV, so it isn’t meant as a replacement for your cable or satellite box, or for a digital video recorder like a TiVo. It can’t play DVDs, so it doesn’t replace your DVD player. Its sole function is to bring to the TV digital content stored on your computer or drawn from the Internet.
On the downside, the AppleTV has a few limitations. For instance, the device cannot access the internet directly (as of now). There are just a few options for encoding video for the Apple TV at the moment, the latest version of Quicktime Pro, now has a new export option for the
Apple TV, another program for Windows capable of exporting videos for the Apple Tv is Video Converter 2007.
As soon as the AppleTV was announced, I was curious as to how successfully it would solve my needs with the recently purchased HDTV. A Mac Mini seemed like a
better solution as it had a larger hard drive and the ability to surf using the TV as a monitor was enticing. The cost of $700 for the low end Mac Mini,
wireless keyboard and mouse, and cables made it less attractive…
I was looking to move about 50GB of music off an old computer, control it through my HDTV with a remote and enjoy carefully cultivated cover art and a bigger hard drive on the unit will have been great. Although I
had not purchased TV shows through iTunes, I imagined it might be a simple way to catch up on some programming I’d like to watch.
Bottom line, AppleTV is a very nice product. It’s very easy to setup and use and it works perfectly in general (also with a slower, non-802.11n wireless
network). You can share everything from iTunes to an AppleTV from up to five other computers in your home network.
Apple TV’s most famous competitor is the Xbox 360 game console from Microsoft, which, in addition to playing games, can also play back content from Windows
computers on a TV. Time will say who will be the winner.....
It will be very interesting to see what else Apple has planned for this device in the future.