Apple TV, the impressive impulse purchase

One more excuse to be unproductive and lazy, I took home the Apple TV. Yes, that’s right, I succumbed to the alluring draw of one more shiny Apple gadget. The net is full of recent reviews and I do not plan on spending much time doing the same (that would take away from entertaining myself away from the computer).

Apple TV

I will, however, state how ridiculously easy it is to go from shrink wrap to Apple goodness on the widescreen. Apple’s simplicity and ability to integrate with an existing home network is amazing.

  • Remove Apple TV & remote from Styrofoam
  • Ignore the fact that Apple includes a manual
  • Connect [composite or HDMI] & power cable
  • Turn-on television and select appropriate video source
  • Enjoy opening credits
  • Enter wireless network password
  • Be lazy

You need to register a specific computer for syncing, but I skipped that step only because streaming sounded more convenient. Load time for video content was incredibly quick. Most likely due to the fact that the Airport Extreme Base Station has that N-goodness. Streaming television downloads from my Mac Pro loaded in about 1.5 seconds and movies 3-5. I am enjoying the fact that 98% of my video content consists of .mp4’s.

I wish all television related remotes were as simple as Apple’s. I only wish I could somehow control the volume on the television without needing to find the actual TV remote.

Discuss - 22 Comments

  1. Derek says:

    Not sure if I need to do the hack. Most of my video content plays back.

  2. Andre says:

    I think you have too much money on your hands. Seriously.

  3. Damn you Derek. Super jealous.

    Anywho, gonna get that Perian hack on there?

  4. zzap says:

    I’d do the hack anyways — easier if just ‘one day’ you need it, you’ve already got it and you don’t need to go messing around.

  5. Derek says:

    Not sure if I’m understanding the need for Dropshear mentioned in the forum. Paul, can you provide more detail? The Perian trick does look simple enough but I still question whether I need it if I routinely drop video files into VisualHub before going into iTunes.

  6. Yes I agree, hack ++. =) Also, like you said, I find streaming easier than syncing.. i have all my media on my computer anyways, no need to have half of it on the apple tv and half on the computer that’s on 24/7 anyways.

  7. Danny Trinh says:

    If 98% of your collection is MP4, I doubt the hack is really worth it for you. (Also, how’d that happen? iTunes purchases only?)

    My main gripe with the Perian hack is that you have to make reference movies to everything you want to watch. Even if the process is automated, that’s going to be a load of extra files.

    About your other question: Dropbear is used, at the moment, to help get SSH access to the atv. By “help”, I mean, act as a replacement ssh server on the box.

    As Awkward said in the original post, “It is likely you can get the system’s built-in SSH working correctly. We were in a hurry, and after running into a kink we were like “gently caress it” and threw dropbear up because it was a pretty instant win.”

    Anyways, hope you enjoy your ATV

  8. Jack says:

    I would go for the hack too! Why not give it a shot?

    I’ve been seeing a lot of “meh” reviews. hopefully your experience will be better! What bugs me the most is the 2 minute startup time that gizmodo(? I think) reported. My computer starts up faster!

  9. Congrats Derek, I’m toying with getting one, but I think I need a better TV first.

  10. Derek says:

    [quote comment=”47600″]If 98% of your collection is MP4, I doubt the hack is really worth it for you. (Also, how’d that happen? iTunes purchases only?)[/quote]

    Mediafork / Visualhub are two apps that most of my content passes through before importing into iTunes.

  11. Noah says:

    Congrats on the Apple TV. If I hadn’t already done a Mac mini HTPC, I would have been all over this baby. I find hilarious that so many commenters on the web bitch about its format support even when this thing is *sold* as “have iTunes on your TV” not “have all internet video everywhere on your TV”. Ah, the wants of the geek extreme.

    And as for the startup time — Why would you ever turn it off?
    Have you ever seen the bootup time of a TiVo? Same thing — long-ish bootup time, but you never completely turn off the device.

  12. Derek says:

    I’m not even sure why anyone would need to turn it off. For the record, the initial boot for mine did not take 2 minutes.

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  14. Meh, I’d rather just get a Mac mini + EyeTV.

  15. SHANMAC says:

    Sounds like a nice product. I wouldn’t feel guilty about getting it. I’m sure you will be spending more time on your couch now.

  16. Chad says:

    You might want to turn if off so as not to waste that thing called electricity which actually causes a great deal of harm to the environment to produce, doh!

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  19. Chris Daniels says:

    [quote comment=”47774″]You might want to turn if off so as not to waste that thing called electricity which actually causes a great deal of harm to the environment to produce, doh![/quote]
    The Apple TV doesn’t have an Off switch!
    For PCs (including Macs!) Energy-saver extensions help a great deal. Turning a computer on-and-off might actually decrease its lifespan since you’re subjecting the components to cooling off and warming up, while keeping it on keeps the temp more constant.
    Back in the Day, this topic was debated endlessly among admins in charge of hundreds of computers. M$, Apple and others created energy saving features like Sleep mode, so that now its better for large offices to leave the things on 24/7. CRT monitors use a lot more electricity than CPUs did, and that may still be true.

  20. Derek says:

    Actually, I believe that if you hold down the Menu button, the unit will power down. Don’t quote me on that though. I’m basing this off of memory. I believe at one point I was curious to play with different button combinations and ended up pressing the Menu button until the white light on the front of the unit turned off.