Apple TV – First Impression

I’ve decided for the family and I to finally take the big plunge.  I am getting rid of cable television except for the very basic local channels package.  Keeping the basic package actually gives us a discount on the Internet, which in turn pays for itself.

In preparation for the change, I picked up the Apple TV.  All three of my little girls shows may be purchased.  My son’s shows as well.  My wife isn’t going to miss any of the popular reality shows.  I will miss my favorite Discovery channel, but I am sure to find their content available.

We are doing this for several reasons.  First, last week my wife and I wanted to watch Prison Break, but the Comcast HD DVR was having issues playing back the video OR the video which was recorded was poor at the time of the recording.  Since it has been happening to several recordings across HD and SD channels, my best guess is the DVR was failing.

Second, almost half the time someone wants to either watch a movie or purchase a rental (usually when four or five kids are seated in the living room with popcorn) ON DEMAND does not work.  Or it works, but as soon as you select to rent it, up pops a message that says the service is not currently available.

And last but not least, I no longer believe in the model which TV is based on.  I would rather pay $40 for an HBO mini-series, than to pay $10 a month for a year hoping HBO comes out with the next big hit.  But its not about just paid channels like HBO.  I would rather pay for each episode of SpongeBob once than to keep paying month after month for the same content.

TV is changing.  The DVR is just a band-aid to the change.  Consumers want their media content in a form that best suits them, and be able to take it with them when they want, where they want.  Still not sure? Look at music.

I was in Bestbuy today (buying my Apple TV), when I walked with my kids past the aisles of CD’s.  I even made a comment to my children…buy the music online.  You don’t have to worry about scratches, and grabbing the music off the CD for your MP3 players.  Ever notice the CD Music section in any store seems to keep shrinking year after year in stores?

Back to Apple and its Apple TV.  I’m impressed.  In as little as 15 minutes, walking through the first steps in configuring the Apple TV, I was up and ready to go.  This little bugger is sitting in my living room right next to the Time Capsule.

I was able to sync it with my iTunes client on my desktop in my office.  I quickly set it up to like to my MobileME account to view recently taken pictures of my kids.  While watching the slideshow, background music was automatically added for a pleasing watching experience.

Next up is converting preexisting content (AVI’s) so I can watch them on Apple TV.  Apple TV and iTunes does not support the AVI file format.  (The Apple TV does have several hack available, which I may get into eventually.  iTunes can have codecs added on the Mac to play a lot more audio/video formats)

If this little device does as well as I think it will.  My wife read my mind.  We will consider a second one, up in the play room for the kids.  So they can watch a movie with friends.  The great thing is I can configure it with Parental Control locked down and choose what media content I want to even allow them to have up there!

I heard about the Apple Remote application from co-workers.  So I decided to install it on my iPhone 3G, and link it to my Apple TV.  All I have to say is WOW! It was not what I was expecting.  I was able to navigate content that my Apple TV has, pick something and play/pause it! It was not a simple replacement for up/down arrows that one might expect.

Stay tuned…I’m sure I’ll post more…


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