Saturday, May 28, 2011

Apple TV (First Impressions)

Apple TV
The Apple TV (Apple TV MC572LL/A (2010)) arrived in our home a few hours back. I wanted to document some early impressions.

It's tiny. The box it comes in is just a bit bigger than the ones that business cards often come in. The unit itself is much smaller with the rest of the space being taken up by the power cord, documentation and remote. Setup was very easy. All we had to do is plug it in and log into our iTunes account. We did a bit of extra work to get the remote control features via the iPad working but that only took a few minutes and I didn't have to resort to looking at the documentation or doing a quick web search.

In the process of setting it up I finally got around to setting up AirPlay. I'll admit that I'd heard of it but didn't fully understand what it was capable of. Being able to remotely listen to songs in our library was very nice, as was the ability to browse.

The remote control app is great. You can use the on screen keyboard of the iPad to more quickly enter text for searches and do anything else that the simple remote that comes with the Apple TV is capable of. The lag between doing things on the remote app and seeing the results on the Apple TV is very minimal and doesn't impact the quality of the experience.

The device itself seems to be very responsive though I have seen reports of some people having issues with the display quality. In theory I believe the latest software update takes care of that issue.

Speaking of software updates, our unit prompted us soon after being turned on about an available update. After we confirmed we wanted to update the whole process was automated and only took a few minutes.

Audio quality is as good as the source material allows. Our whole library is MP3 at good but not great quality.

We played a few videos via YouTube and the playback was flawless.

For $99 this device appears to be a great deal. You will need a HD TV of some sort since the only video output is HDMI and I believe it requires at least 720P to work.

So, first impressions are very positive. I'll post again if that changes.

One online source pegs the cost of the the current generation Apple TV at $64 so Apple is making a few bucks on the hardware alone. Additional traffic to their iTunes store will account for even more revenue.

Edit 5/29/2011: Further research reveals that the Apple TV is capable of 720P maximum resolution. So far this hasn't been a problem. Our TV is 48 inches and video has appeared crisp. Given the price and features I still weigh in very much on the positive side.

Image by yum9me via Flickr
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