Apple has TV appeal
Apple TV $
I like television. A lot. So I’ve been a Sky subscriber for years. But lately I feel like I’m just paying for re-runs of Relocation Relocation and Jersey Shore and they still inflict annoying adverts on me. Anything more interesting always seems to be on a premium channel. This isn’t a ‘‘happy place’’.
So at $170, Apple TV seemed a reasonably priced way to increase my home entertainment options by allowing me to get online content on my television.
Apple TV requires an HDready TV and an HDMI cable to connect the box to your television. You also, obviously, need a broadband connection.
The Apple TV itself is a small, black box with a teeny, silver remote with minimalist controls. In short, it’s the sleek design that you expect from Apple. You hardly notice it’s there.
Once plugged in, it detects your internet connection and does what it needs to do. You can connect it to the internet via wireless or an ethernet cable. But really, as the human, all you need to provide is your network password. It took us five minutes to get it working. And most of that was navigating up and down the on-screen keyboard with the remote. It’s a clunky way of entering data and becomes annoying when you want to search for Youtube videos and so forth.
The main menu presents you with internet and movies options as well as some settings stuff. Click on ‘‘internet’ and you can go to Youtube, Vimeo, WSJ Live, podcasts and radio stations.
Movies gives you a library of new releases ($7.99 rental) and a huge back catalogue ($5.99 rental). There’s no option to buy films – you can only rent. However, if you’ve got an itunes account on your home computer or other device, you can play content from your library by setting up home sharing.
If you’ve got an iphone 4 or an ipad 2 you can also stream content direct from these onto the TV. It’s a great way of sharing photos and home video.
I have a couple of grumbles. Firstly, we don’t have as much choice as viewers have overseas. US users get to rent some top TV series for as little as $1.99, for example. We can’t.
Secondly, Apple TV uses bandwidth. So if you have a 2GB limit on your broadband, you’ll quickly reach it.
Overall I love Apple TV. It’s simple and has given me more viewing options. But the little frustrations need to be ironed out before internet TV becomes a serious alternative to the mainstream. For now, Apple TV is a step in the right direction.