Review: Apple TV

By Branko Miletic

  • Fast, easy and seamless set-up
  • Cheap and requires no plans or technicians
  • Gives rental access to thousands of movies

It has taken over our music listening, our phone time and our book reading. Now, the folks over at Apple look like they want to go even further- they want to take over our lounge rooms and control the way we watch movies.

Not that this is such a bad thing – looking at what the company has done with music, the thought of being able to access the latest movies in HD at a press of a button is quite appealing.

The company launched its latest version of Apple TV last week – a revamped and re-engineered version of the original, which was not taken up as much as Apple hoped.

This time, it says things will be different. Why? Well, first u, you can integrate the new Apple TV across a number of devices – TV, PC, Macbook, iPhone, iPad, iTouch, iPod. Second, the company claims that it has the largest collection by far of not just movies, but also access to Podcasts, TV and radio stations as well as the iTunes music library.

The module itself and the brushed aluminium remote control are like most things Apple; uber-stylish and can be set up in the time it takes to make a good coffee. And just like a good coffee, the new Apple TV won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth – once you have it going, you will want more.

You can only rent movies with Apple TV—you can’t keep them, and you only have 48 hours to watch them, which in some ways is a good thing as too many people these days have huge DVD collections that are just collecting dust.

But not just that,ou can show off your photos and videos on the big screen, stream your iTunes music library or listen to Internet radio through the best speakers in the house.

You can also upload you emails, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter posts to your TV, all from the comfort of your couch.

But the best thing about Apple TV is the fact you can do all this for $129, which is not only one-third of the price of the original Apple TV but also means no plans, no contracts and certainly no 2-year tie-ups with telcos.

And it gets better. There is also an App available that will allow you to control all this from your iPhone / iPad from anywhere in the world over IP. So in other words, for just $129 users will get a rudimentary home automation system, something that up until now would have cost at least 10 times as much and require hard wiring your home.

The new Apple TV module is quiet, energy efficient and some 80 percent smaller than the previous generation. It will fit next to any widescreen TV and comes with a remote control that works by line-of-site IR.

 

Although I am an Apple user, I am also at the same time very much a sceptic when it comes to setting up any form of new IT device. ‘Easy’,’simple’ and ‘straightforward’ are not terms I usually use when it comes to setting up any new home-based entertainment module.

 

However, the new Apple TV was not just easy and simple to set up – in fact it more or less set itself up- it was also fun to do, something that is a rarity with most IT devices.

 

In less than 5 minutes, I had access to thousands of movies, new, old and in-between that I could rent with just the push of a button – plug ’ n’ play at its finest.

 

So if Apple gets its marketing right, Apple TV may well soon become a standard feature in a lot of Australian homes.

Pros: relatively cheap, stylish, easy to use, access to tens of thousands of movies, can be used for other online work, no contracts or plans required, gives users access to a rudimentary form of home automation and is compatible with a range of devices.

Cons: no hard drive, can’t use it as your dedicated music server, only uses expensive HDMI or optical connection, hard to set up when it comesto  a multi-device environment and needs a broadband connection.

See www.apple.com.au

RRP:
$129

4 out of 5 Shacks

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