From January 2007
Opinion: So far I am not impressed with the Apple TV device
So far I am not impressed with the Apple TV device.
But I hear you cry "but you don't have one, how do you know..."
True, but at the end of the day I have looked at the technical specs and read quite a bit about it to be less than impressed and I am pretty sure I am not going to get one.
Don't get me wrong I think the concept for many people will be perfect.
For me, it isn't, my reasons that I won't be getting one are:
Reliance on iTunes for video
In the US iTunes Store you can purchase a whole range of video content, films, TV series, music videos and then some... In the UK we have a few music videos and the odd Pixar cartoon (well we did the last time I looked).
This means that any video I want to watch on an Apple TV needs to be converted for use on iTunes first. Most video on my Mac has been recorded using an EyeTV 410 device. This means it is in MPEG2 format, and to convert it to MPEG4 format means taking a few hours.
For me it is quicker to burn the recording to DVD and watch it that way on my TV.
This reliance on iTunes for video means that a lot of my video content won't be accessible by Apple TV which means I would need to use alternative ways of watching the video or a lot of converting.
As video content takes up a lot of space, to duplicate a lot of it in order to watch it via Apple TV means that I would need to get more storage.
Sadly Elgato seem to have withdrawn this device from the market (some refurbished versions are available in the US), however I am lucky to have one, this means I can stream my EyeTV recordings that way to my TV.
I can also use it for seeing photographs from iPhoto and play music from iTunes, however Apple TV does have one advantage over the EyeHome in that it can play Apple Lossless encoded music and protected AAC tracks (as downloaded from the iTunes Store) whereas the EyeHome can't.
Having said that I very rarely listen to music via my TV, so that is not really an issue for me...
Streams HD content
I know for many people this is a plus and the EyeHome can't stream HD content.
However I don't have an HDTV and won't for some time, as well as cost of a nice flat screen HDTV, there is also the fact that apart from Sky HD I can't get HDTV and I don't want a big satellite dish on the side of my house and pay £30 a month for the privilege. Freeview HD is been trailed in the London area, when that goes nationwide it might be a different story. However as I don't have HDTV now, I can't see the benefit of an Apple TV device streaming HD content to my standard non-HD TV.
I am guessing that in order to stream HD video smoothly you really need a 802.11n network, 802.11g probably is fine, but I would expect some issues in stuttering video.
So in order to get an 802.11n network I would need to replace my existing Airport base station with the new Airport Extreme base station and as I mentioned in a previous post
Will I get one, not sure as I don't think I can use all the functionality because of the location of my DSL connection.
What 802.11n means is an extra cost, something I need to think about if I was going to get an Apple TV.
Initially I liked the idea, having had time to think about it, I can't see myself getting one as there are too many negative reasons that means I can't justify the purchase.