Apple TV: I’m not crazy about it
Up until a few months ago, I had been hooking up my Macbook Pro via DVI -> HDMI to my TV. This solution, for the most part, worked well, in spite of the work involved in hooking it up, and then ‘losing’ my laptop for the duration of whatever I was watching. Not ideal, but it worked.
After the update of the Apple TV (ATV) to the v2.0 software, The ATV became far more compelling, and thus I decided to pull the trigger and try it out. I’d like to delay my conclusion no further. I’m disappointed in my purchase.
You see, I was torn between a Mac mini, which would allow for the use of iTunes in the same exact way as it operated on my laptop, and an ATV which was much cheaper, and basically would do 98% of what I’d task the Mac Mini with, that is, multimedia.
The problem with the Apple TV, though, is that it isn’t a parallel to iTunes. Let me explain.
I have used Handbrake in the past to take DVDs I’ve authored and rip them. I’m always selected options that maximize quality, and they have always been viewable by iTunes. However, at least 50% of what I own is no longer viewable via the Apple TV because there is only one codec that the Apple TV will support, in spite of iTunes being able to support more.
What’s the point in having devices that synchronize with the master hub, but which are not capable of playing all the material that is playable by the master hub? This makes no sense!
Ok, for some of you, particularly those that have never used handbrake, or for those of you that just buy media from iTunes, I can see where this would not be an issue for you, but things get worse.
The other things that annoy me about the Apple TV, even with the latest post-Mobileme update (2.0.1) are:
1) The skipping that can sometimes happen when playing media
2) The delay in response that can sometimes happen between clicks on the remote and when the Apple TV responds
3) The fact that although you have access to Flickr and mobileme pictures, you can’t actually log into these services via the ATV to see all of your pictures, only the externally viewable (public) ones are accesible. Useless.
4) Ocassional hang ups and reboots
5) The redundant files that sometimes are created when you buy something on the ATV and then iTunes attempts to download as well.
6) Lack of extensability – they really should do more with this platform, games, or something!
To me, the ATV right now feels like a sub-par product. I can’t believe that it can’t even do the things it is supposed to do right. If the picture quality and playback were flawless, then I’d be happy, but I can’t say that is the case. Between the lagging interface and having to hit start several times to get a damn movie or show going, I feel like I should have gone with the Mac Mini instead. Oh well. You live and you learn.