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Apple TV 2 Review

I’ve had the Apple TV 2 for a few days now, after having upgraded from the original ATV1. I just wanted to jot down some notes on what’s good and what’s not so good.

Firstly why did I bother upgrading? Well it was mostly for Airplay – the ATV1 doesn’t do Airplay (it does sound only), and so I wanted to be able to load up a youtube video or things like that on the iPad (which I also bought), and have them play on the TV. I also just wanted to see what the latest version was like, and for $110 (CAD) it is a great price.

My biggest gripe is that despite the software version being the same as what I had on the old ATV, the user interface has changed for the worse. The ATV2 no longer syncs from my iTunes, it only does “Home Sharing”. Previously it would sync the playlist (I didn’t have it copy things over – just the playlist) and have a Movies menu containing my movies, a TV Shows menu showing my TV Shows, and a Music menu showing my music. It would also give me direct access to the most recently added items in there.

The new version however has the “Computers” menu, which shows my iMac iTunes share, so you go in there, click on Movies, and it syncs the list of movies right then (it’s not too slow, but it takes a couple of seconds), and then just shows them all. No access to the most recently added movies, though technically I could make a playlist for this I guess.

Furthermore, the TV Shows are no longer grouped by TV Show, but by TV Show Series. So for something like Dexter and How I Met Your Mother I now have 6+ entries in the list to scroll through. This makes the list of TV Shows way too long.

Since watching movies that I have on my iMac iTunes share is my primary use of this device, this has been a disappointing experience.

Of course that’s not how Apple wants you to use the device any more. They want you to rent movies and TV Shows on it from the iTunes Store, or use Netflix. I haven’t signed up for Netflix yet, so I can’t describe how good that interface is yet.

Pros:

  • Airplay – seems to work well for youtube/vimeo videos on the iPad.
  • Smaller, runs cooler, no hard drive to go wrong.
  • Rewinding and ffwding movies seems to work better.
  • Netflix access.

Cons:

  • Airplay doesn’t seem to work with music videos on the iPad. WTF? I mean I can access them directly on the ATV itself (via the horrible menu system I described above), but why not Just Work? It transfers the sound only. This may be an iPad issue though.
  • The lack of Sync and interface to Home Sharing is crap
  • Not much of an update really – the UI should be much fancier
  • No ability to sign up for Netflix or any of the other services on there via the ATV itself. Not a huge deal, but goes against the grain

Overall I’m going to keep with it for a while, and see if subscribing to Netflix helps things out.

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2 thoughts on “Apple TV 2 Review

  1. Hi,

    thanks for the good read. There are other things that Apple TV has, both good and bad that I would like to add.

    For one, entering pass codes is a complete pain in the butt! This is something Apple better fix otherwise i think they run the risk of losing a lot of potential business if word gets out to much.

    One of the better qualities is that you really only need to pay for what you intend on watching. With cable, you are paying this massive cable bill and end up not watching 90% of the stuff on there, so you are basically paying for stuff you dont care about.

    Just my 2 cents. Thanks!

    • Ah yes, ironically this is another area that got worse, especially if you have a mixed-case password. Before it was all on one page, now you have to page through multiple pages of letters/numbers to enter your password. And it still doesn’t remember it for the next purchase – annoying!

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