Pros Great concept, nice design and interface. Although not perfect - it is better than most out there right now.
Cons Way too limited for what is supposed to be the complete solution
Summary It still amazes me how companies like Microsoft, Apple and Sony have not even come close to developing what I and what most people want. In the industry, they call it the Holy Grail - the complete media center solution. I think the answer is pretty straight forward but these companies have not even come close - but Apple is the closest at the moment.
I, like a lot of people, have over 200 DVDs. I want to store them all onto a hard drive. You are looking at around 1TB of DVD data taking up too much physical storage space. I want all of that data to be on a hard drive.
Also, I have 100s of CDs - I want all of that data stored "LOSSLESS" on a drive too - that is another 200-300gb of data. Not to mention all of my photos, videos and future HD content that I want to store.
Bottom line - I need 2TB of storage to feel future proof.
OK, so lets say I buy the hard drive. Now, I want to hook it up to a good quality DAC (Digital Analog Converter) that has good software to organize my media and has a pleasant interface.
So lets take the Apple. It doesn't handle all of the formats necessary - so an instant failure. It ONLY talks to iTunes. It doesn't support 1080p and I doubt whether it is capable of pumping out good quality 5.1 surround sound.
What I also find annoying is that you cannot stream a DVD which is playing on your PC to the AppleTv. Which still means you need to have a DVD player/recorder and tuner.
I like the idea of the media streaming from your desktop or laptop. I could use my laptop to organize my media and then use the remote to navigate through it on the TV.
I recently bought a PS3 and am very dissapointed with its claims of being a "media center". PS3 and Xbox360 are not comprehensive enough to really work as media centers.
If Apple was smart, they should have designed a device that can handle streamed data in every media format AND from your laptop's DVD player. They should have included a tuner.
I also don't know if you will be able to connect an external hard drive to the unit and play the media on that as well.
Bottom Line: Apple is on the right track here. BUT their first product is very dissapointing - it could have truly been the Holy Grail of home media entertainment.
Pros Great looks, quality design, decent price for features, HD output
Cons Small Internal HD (not a decision maker) and GigE
Summary I've been reading the reviews and I'm ashamed of PC and Mac users alike. 99.9% of the reviews of people who don't own or use the iTV. WHY ARE YOU REVIEWING??
A couple of TiVo comparisons were made by an ignorant jackass who doesn't know a DVR (TV program recorder) from a media extender type product that streams media from a computer system, just like the XBox 360, which is ALSO a media center extender and REQUIRES ZUNE to work - these are not media centers!
If a device takes direct television signals, it's a DVR - iTV only takes digital media from a computer or other storage device and displays it on a TV. Why is that so hard to understand??
Others have condemned the iTV due it's lack of Divx and support for other formats. Does Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition offer support for Divx or other formats? NO! Even PS3 owners aren't happy with the media experience, so nobody is a winner on this one. Every company seems to be sticking with their proprietary formats, so cry about all the products and review them as you will, but rate them equally.
Also, what's the big deal about the small internal hard drive? This is, as I've stated already, NOT a media center. You have to use a computer to stream the media to the iTV, so why would they put a 1TB drive in it and bump the price up to over $1,000? That's rediculous when you can attach 5 external hard disks to your computer system via USB and store the same amount of data for half the price. It's not a storage solution, people - it's a media extender that streams music, pictures and movies to your TV from your computer system(s) and attached storage devices.
I'm sick of reading reviews by people who are either against all Apple products or who are too ignorant to understand what a product does. This is why our country is a joke because the education levels are so low that people can't understand what products do and slam them without owning or using them or they're just too damn lazy to READ (maybe they can't) the tech specs.
This is a great product and for those who bought it after reading and learning about it, you will also be pleased with it's performance as I am. Have a great day.Updated
The Apple TV is still going strong. Even though it has ran hot (passive heatsink and non-vented internal fan) it still performs like a champ. The HDMI output is very clean - purchased a cable from the Apple online store for $20.
Syncing the Apple TV with 2GB+ movies from an iMac on wirless to the wireless ATV is simple and works great although slow sometimes (expected from wirless-to-wirless). I'd like to try it in a wired environment to test the transfer speeds.
The video quality of an encoded DVD is outstanding - truly don't notice a difference @ 2,500/3,000 bitrates. Being able to stream (or sync) my most watched movies directly to the drive make selecting films extremely easy.
A sort feature was added to the TV shows, but not available for Movies. I forsee this as an addition to upcoming software updates.
No problems with the remote control - my iMac is about 30 feet from the TV and I've paired the remote with the ATV. Very easy to use (like Front Row) event though some of the operations are a little different.
Picture streaming is great - resolution is outstanding, but again depends on the quality of your shots. It won't "magically" make your bad shot look good - it will just be very large.
The HD space is small, but I truly don't plan on using it until I upgrade to a much larger internal drive.
I'm exremely pleased with the purchase and highly recommend the Apple TV to anyone interested in streaming media to their HDTV.
Pros Easy setup; Great interface; Wirelessly streams iTunes content from multiple PCs; Enjoy iTunes content and photos on your home entertainment system.
Cons No HD content available on iTunes Music Store.
Summary AppleTV has a lot going for itself. Apple's goal was to simply offer its millions of iTunes customers an opportunity to bring the iTunes content trapped in their iPods and PCs to their home entertainment systems. And for that I truly believe this product delivers.
Like the overall form factor, the onscreen menu is very slick and easy to navigate in typical Apple fashion. Setup was painless. I got up and running in minutes.
My biggest issue is the fact that video quality is poor, but that is an iTunes issue, not AppleTV. I'd have to expect Apple to address this issue by making HD video content available soon. In a way I feel almost misled because all of the press releases suggested video playback to be "upconverted" to 720P HD, which is probably true, but the video quality is unfortunately optimized for the little Video iPod screen. That being said, sync'd photos and album art look stunning, however.
If I could make any recommendations about the actual product itself, I would increase the harddrive capacity (I'd even pay extra for that) and/or allow for exandability with the USB port. Also, I'd like more custom menu/display options -- colors, screensavers, how photo/album art is diplayed, etc.
The price point I think is fair if you're looking at the overall package and not just the $/megabytes. I'm sure they'll make some improvements in future models, but this version is worth checking out. Especially when you can download HD content on iTunes.
Pros Attractive design and interface. Apple quality.
Cons Overpriced with limited features
Summary A very small market (Mac users only) should even consider the Apple TV. The crippled features is almost appalling when compared to SlingMedia's upcoming SlingCatcher. With Apple TV you can only stream video through iTunes? Yikes, that's weak. When in comparison, the SlingCatcher allows you to stream any content from your computer (or another TV or whatever) to your TV. You can also stream popular flash videos (like the free videos on popular sites like YouTube, etc). So, the SlingCatcher does everything the Apple TV does, and more. Plus, it is $200 instead of Apple TV's $300. SlingPlayer has won so many awards for their previous products that I am sure the quality will be just as high with their new SlingCathcer. I am not sure how the Mac support is from SlingMedia though, so there might be a concern there for Mac users. For the rest of us, do yourself a favor a watch this CNET video...
I'm sure the Apple TV will be a rock solid solution for what it does. But, it seems to be very limited in features compared to the competition, and it costs more. That why I am giving it an average rating (5/10). Of course I don't feel it is fair to rate something before it comes out, but it just seems with this product they are aspiring for mediocrity.Updated
I never said it was for a small market. If you read the review you would see I said only a small market should consider the product, because there is a better solution for most of us. Obviously iTunes is on the Windows platform, but when you have a cheaper solution that does the same thing and more, I would consider that the better option. That's all I am trying to say here. Many people haven't heard of SlingCatcher because SlingMedia doesn't have the advertising resources that Apple does, I was trying to let people that might not be as tech-savvy know about this cool upcoming product. I thought this was a good place to compare the two products since they will be rivaling each other in the years to come.
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Pros Small and looks pretty
Cons codec support? device support? all crap
Summary First let me state, I am not a republican, I am not a democrat. I vote for who has the best ideas to fit the situation. I do not like Microsoft, I do not like Apple, I buy from whoever makes the best product (and who doesn't try to rip the consumer off in the process.)
Now then. The Apple Tv. Well, its another solution from another company to sell THEIR line of products. When it comes to hardware, the world needs a standard. That is, we need a standard video format, we need a standard streaming solution, we need a standard ability to choose our source of content. WE DONT need a new microsoft trying to sell us their wma over mp3, WE DONT need another non removable internet explorer, and we certainly DONT need someone forcing us to stick to their one solution for video.
In order for the home to truly become a digital media fortress, we are going to need vast amounts of storage. We are going to need a central server that can be accessed from the TV, from the Desktop, from the laptop, heck, even from the phone (one day maybe). The solution you ask? NAS - network area storage. A little box that holds a few terrabytes of data, and is fully redundant- so you dont have to worry about losing your collection. Maybe I wanna rip my DVDs to a NAS and watch them on my tv. Maybe my CDs. Who knows, maybe even pay apple or Micro$oft for a season of 24.
But IN ANY EVENT, hardware manufacturers need to stay in their lane. When I buy a mouse, I expect that mouse to work on my PC as is, to work on Windows, OSX, and Red Hat. I DONT expect logitec to sell me a special card to install into my box because they decided to change the mouse plug. Someone needs to come up with a product that just accepts the video. They need to come up with a product that accepts the STANDARD video formats. And they need, DAG NABBIT, to make it work on ALL SYSTEMS. Can it really be that hard?Updated
If you're looking for a REAL media player for the house try out the helios x5000: