Laptop Mag reviews Apple TV: ‘The best digital media adapter yet,’ 4.5 out of 5 stars

Apple Store“Apple TV’s simple menu structure and eye-boggling graphics make trolling through the various features and content a joy. Videos from iTunes have a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, described by Apple as ‘near-DVD’ quality. The Apple TV upconverts this resolution to the native resolution of your HDTV. On our 50-inch 1080i Hitachi P50T501 HDTV, we saw mixed results for television shows; some were full 16:9 aspect ratio, some should have been but were just 4:3, and many looked to be barely VHS quality. But only the platinum-eyed will be able to tell the difference between a DVD and an iTunes movie. Along with your own content, you also get dozens of current movie trailers and music-video clips,” Stewart Wolpin reports for Laptop Magazine.

“But it’s what Apple TV does with your digital photos that’s worth the price of admission. Seeing your shots on a large-screen HDTV is a revelatory experience. The Apple TV automatically supplies your HD slideshow with a soundtrack from your iTunes library, often with eerily appropriate selections. You can choose from 13 transition effects and can select the amount of time each photo is on the screen. Your pictures also become an animated 3D sliding-tiles screen saver. The one caveat is that it’s hard to locate specific images. Apple TV doesn’t supply a thumbnail view or submenus, and it can’t stream photos, since images aren’t stored in iTunes. We hope this drawback will be addressed in the next software build,” Wolpin reports.

Wolpin reports, “We have a few other items on our wish list, including the ability to order new movies, TV shows, and music directly from the sofa (as opposed to your PC). Other than that, and as long as you’re content living and playing in an iTunes world, Apple TV more than lives up to its hype. It’s the most elegant digital media adapter yet, and one that we assume will only get better with age.”

Full review here.

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17 Comments

  1. “and many looked to be barely VHS quality.”

    Barely VHS quality? Even an Apple fan like myself has to wince at that one.
    I would be surprised (and disappointed) if Apple isn’t already working behind the scene to offer higher quality movies in the near future.

  2. TV uses whatever photos are on it for the screensaver. If you haven’t synced any, it’ll use its built-in gallery of nature images.

    And an iPod-like thumbnail view of photos would be nice. Good thing it’s a near-proper Mac so I expect us to get software updates. I predict that “rev B”, with new hardware features, won’t be out any time soon.

    If Apple comes up with significant software upgrades for TV, they will be rolled into iTunes upgrades. I wouldn’t mind paying, say, $19 for TV software v2.0, but I don’t think they’ll charge separately for it.

  3. “But it’s what Apple TV does with your digital photos that’s worth the price of admission. Seeing your shots on a large- screen HDTV is a revelatory experience.”

    This is sooooo true! I have over 8000 photos synced to my ATV, and it’s just awesome to have them all at my fingertips on the big screen!

  4. I want a DVR more than I want a streaming toaster. Sorry, but AppleTV … the very name tells you what it’s supposed to be all about. That it shows my iPhoto library on a big screen is fine as a suppliment, but it certainly isn’t going to get me to pay $300 for it. Neither is playing my music thru it – my $79 (used) APExpress does that just fine. And what am I supposed to do with my DVD collection? Please, do NOT tell me to rip it – I have better things to do with my time. A DVR and an upscaling DVD player are just too “no duh” to not have on it, AFAIK.

    I don’t care how many fawning ‘5 star’ reviews it gets. If Apple wants me to buy an AppleTV, then they have to make it do what any TV oriented device should do – what I want it to do – otherwise I’ll use their computers & their iPods, but their whole video scheme will not be a part of my house.

  5. I’ll second MacUser and go one more: It should play on regular SDTVs without a problem. And it should at least play non-HD content in a way that doesn’t make it look like total ass on an HDTV. Why should I buy a $1K TV just for the ‘privilege’ of streaming iTunes content that probably is gonna look like crap??? That’s $1300 better spent on a Tivo!

    These reviews are so ridiculous – 4.5 stars out of 5 despite it not being able to play on devices, or from source material, that is at SD resolution – the majority of what is out there. Stupid. I guess that makes my dad a 4.5 star male model, despite the fact that he’s 5’7″ and 25 lbs overwieght.

    Whatever.

  6. The neater solution would be to do away with the Apple TV altogether and just be able to stream stuff around your network wherever you want from screen to screen…. Apple TV is a kludge.

  7. JDog, you do not need an HDTV to use  TV. It works with a regular TV.

     TV would have what otherwise? 300,000 customers? 20,000 sales per Quarter?

    Let me guess: You seriously believe  TV *requires* an HDTV? LOL

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