Would you pay a salesman to live in your home and pitch his products to you? No? Then why would you purchase an Apple TV?
Apple TV (not to be confused with its failed prototype predecessor, produced in the 1990’s) is a network device designed to deliver iTunes media to your television. Trouble is, that’s all it does. In fact, there’s a lot of iTunes material it won’t play. Despite the fact that Apple states that the digital media is best delivered to an HDTV, the media is not High Definition. On the contrary, it looks even worse on a big screen TV than it does on your computer. Also, if you have a standard television, the video generally doesn’t display properly, becoming distorted in some of its dimensions. The iTunes music performs somewhat better, with an uninspiring video display. Also, you can’t play Dolby Digital or 5.1 Surround Sound on the Apple TV.
So why all the fuss? Essentially this is just more marketing hype. It sounds fun. It looks sleek and streamlined, with a lot of fancy features. But the bottom line is that you can’t really use the device unless you purchase iTunes media. Worse, you can’t purchase the media directly from the Apple TV box; you have to purchase it on your computer, then sync it to the device.
The upside is that it has a 40 GB hard drive. It will also play streaming media, from your wireless connection, direct from your computer. However, I’m beginning to feel that this Apple TV has a lot in common with its failed predecessor; it simply isn’t going to deliver on its promises.
The marketing of this device is simply premature. If they advertise that it will deliver content to an HDTV, then the content should quite simply be in HD. Anyway, not all “new” inventions are a good idea. Remember 8 track tapes?
The Apple TV doesn’t strike me as a great money saver. On the contrary, I think you’re much better off with a good quality satellite TV service, or a large collection of second hand DVDs and CDs. In the end, this is going to be less expensive, easier, and you will be much more satisfied with the overall quality of the media playback. Also, there are other media extenders which are available for $150 or less, including the ADS Media Link, The Prismiq MediaPlayer, and The Actiontec Wireless Digital Media Player.
Uncredited, “Apple Interactive Television Box.” Wikipedia. URL: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Interactive_Television_Box)
Uncredited, “Apple TV.” Wikipedia. URL: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_TV)
Jacqui Cheng, Clint Ecker, “Apple TV: an in-depth review.” Ars Technica. URL: (http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/appletv.ars)
Chris Tew, “Alternatives to the Apple iTV – Media Extenders.” PVRWIRE. URL: (http://www.pvrwire.com/2006/11/30/alternatives-to-the-apple-itv/)