Ap­ple has TV ap­peal

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE - PAT­TIE PEGLER

Ap­ple TV $

170

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.

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