Apple TV Review
When a close friend told me he got an Apple TV, my response was, “Wow, Apple is making televisions now?” Well, not exactly a television per se, as I found out. Apple TV is actually a media player that allows you to access movies, TV shows, live entertainment, music, photos and more from your high-definition television. But for users of other Apple iOS devices, a great selling point of the Apple TV is that you can stream games, music, videos, photos, web pages and other content stored on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to your HDTV using AirPlay. You can even stream content from your computers, whether Mac or PC. And the same holds true for whatever movies or TV shows you buy on Apple TV. They are stored in the iCloud, so you can also watch them on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC. For Apple users, this flexibility is well worth the investment in the Apple TV.
How It Works
If you have more than one TV in the house, you would need to buy separate Apple TV media players for each television because each unit has only one HDMI output. I suppose you could unplug the media player and use it on another TV as needed, or if you’re technically savvy, you could get an HDMI receiver that splits the HDMI signal to multiple TVs.
Using the Apple TV Streaming Media Player
Apple TV doesn’t get television channels like traditional cable TV. Rather, it features numerous built-in apps, such as Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, iTunes, etc., where you can choose the programming you want to view. You purchase shows individually and they are streamed online to your television through Apple TV. A new software feature to this generation of Apple TV is called Genius and it recommends movies based on the types of movies you previously purchased or rented. Genius, indeed, by saving significant browsing time!
I learned that an iCloud account is very important to have with an Apple TV media player because with it, you can purchase and stream media content directly to the Apple TV and any content you purchased also can be downloaded and viewed from your other Apple devices that are iCloud-enabled.
In terms of software, Apple TV uses 5.0 firmware. It’s responsible for the well organized and user-friendly home screen, iCloud, the Genius feature, built-in National Geographic screensaver photos and linking your Apple ID to conveniently register with Apple TV’s content partners.
Apple TV Shines in Quality and Functionality
- You have your pick from new or classic movies and commercial-free television shows.
- You can watch live sports.
- You can listen to Internet radio or Web podcasts.
- You can access multimedia content from Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo and other content providers right from your TV.
- You can link your iPhone, iPod, or iPad to the Apple TV and use whatever apps you have on them on your TV.
- You can stream whatever you purchased on your Apple TV to your computer, whether Mac or Windows based.
The unit is well constructed, runs silently, provides high quality performance and offers great integration with other Apple devices. AirPlay is particularly beneficial because you know a situation will arise when you’ll want to eventually stream videos, music and photos to the Apple TV media player from another computer or iOS device with AirPlay capability. With certain versions of iPad and iPhone, you can use AirPlay to mirror its display to your Apple TV, so you can view Web pages or play games on your television.
But the Apple TV media player has some limitations, especially when comparing it with other TV media players. For example, the number of multimedia channels is limited and the ability to install other third-party channels of your choice is lacking. I also would like to see a Web browser function and more usage from that USB port in terms of playing media. On other hand, if you use iTunes a lot, you’re going to get a lot of usage out of the Apple TV because the integration with iTunes is phenomenal.
To really enjoy the full functionality of the Apple TV media player, you should consider opening accounts with the following:
- Netflix for streaming its content;
- Hulu Plus for streaming its content;
- iTunes Store for renting or buying movies, buying television shows, streaming media from a PC or Mac, or home sharing;
- NHL Game Center Live for watching live or archived national hockey leagues games;
- MLB.TV for watching live or archived major league baseball games;
- NBA.com League Pass Broadband for watching live or archived national basketball association games.
What Others Are Saying
Among the many comments are:
- “This is an elegant and easy to use little box. The interface is pretty, setup is dead simple (took less than 10 minutes from start to finish), and it’s fairly intuitive to use.”
- “Streaming and buffering cause no delays or degradation of picture.”
- “Nearly a must have accessory for iOS and Mac users.”
- “This product changed my life. I don’t even need cable TV anymore, so I cancelled my cable subscription and saved $150 a month. Not bad, eh? If I want a show, I can buy it on Hulu. And I watch films on Netflix. And I can airplay from my MacBook Pro. What more could you want? Everyone needs an Apple TV.”
- “I just got an Apple TV and for the most part I love it. I would give it 5 stars if it had more apps like Pandora and Last.fm. Setup was simple and I love being able to connect my Mac.”
- “Nice interface, very easy to setup and connect with other Apple devices and services.”
- “The usability was truly better than what I expected. It allowed me to watch movies and listen to music from iTunes. I could also use my TV as an extension of my iPad which was an added bonus. This device will continue my use of Apple products for the time being.”
- “The Apple TV does everything it boasts about. When mirroring to my phone everything shows up on the TV. It’s outstanding. Movies from iTunes are awesome.”
Where Can I Buy the Apple TV Media Player?
Where Can I Read More Reviews for the Apple TV Media Player?