My Experience with the Apple TV

I've only been using the Apple TV for a few days now, but I have used it enough to jot down a few first impressions. I'll likely do a full-on review at some point in the future.

Apple TV (2010 - Black)

Some of the things I really, really like about the ATV (I have the black/2010 model):

  • Disappearing act: This thing is tiny, and it's black. I hate seeing anything besides my speakers and my TV, and the Apple TV is much better at hiding in my cabinet than my now-RROD Xbox 360. Oh, and it's silent.
  • Surround Sound, HD, Effortless: It's awesome to finally be able to stream all my movies (HD or not) from my Mac with 5.1 digital surround. So awesome. (See my article on how to rip Blu-Rays and DVDs and get them to work with the Apple TV and other devices).
  • Speed, Wireless N: Since I have an AirPort Express with 802.11n networking and a decent Internet connection, everything is fast—watching videos on YouTube, popping around the system, browsing my computer's movie and music library. Awesome.

Some things I don't like all that much, but will definitely live with:

  • You have to have iTunes and your Mac on at all times to share to the Apple TV: Hopefully Apple will find a way to sell me another device to store all my content off-Mac so I'm not burning an extra 100W when my computer is serving up content.
  • No 1080p: Not a deal-breaker for me, as I have a 720p 42" TV, but someday, I'll upgrade, and want those extra pixels.
  • Harmony Remotes don't work out-of-the-box with the Apple TV: Still takes some time to have to program the remote manually if you want everything to work correctly. Ah well.