PC Magazine reviews Apple TV 2.0: Now an even better deal

“Apple has released Version 2.0, adding a nifty feature that was sorely missed in the first iteration: the ability to rent movies and buy music and TVshows from your couch. You no longer need a PC or Mac to get Apple TV’s content,”Tim Gideon and Joel Santo Domingo report for PC Magazine. “If you already own an Apple TV, this free firmware update makes it an even better deal.”

“The basic concept behind Apple TV is straightforward: It lets you play iTunes content on your TV. This includes music, TV shows, even high-definition movies. You can wirelessly stream content from the iTunes libraries of up to six computers (five shared, plus a “host” PC or Mac) or play files directly from the device’s 40GB or 160GB hard drive,” Gideon and Santo Domingo report.

“Version 2.0 of the Apple TV offers some significant interface advances. For example, the main Apple TV menu now floats on top of whatever you’re viewing. You bring up the menu by holding down the menu button on the remote for a couple of seconds. This is a big improvement over the old main menu that the Apple TV shared with Front Row 2.0, which made you navigate back to the main home screen or stumble through a bunch of submenus. It takes a little while to get used to the new interface if you’re an Apple 1.x user or a Front Row fan, but after an hour or two into the review I was jumping back and forth between shared movies and my rentals with ease,” Gideon and Santo Domingo report.

“Videos purchased or rented from iTunes were clear and pleasant to watch. Purchased video and SD movie files are optimized for 480p displays, and HD movie rentals are delivered at 720p… The HD movie’s quality was comparable to 720p broadcasts on digital cable… If you’re really picky about your HD video, get a Blu-ray player (and a high-quality display). If you want to enjoy a better-than-SD-quality movie in a casual environment, the Apple TV will do you fine,” Gideon and Santo Domingo report.

Full review here.

20 Comments

  1. “Just wish we could use the damn USB port to plug in another HD or something.”

    The USB port is intriguing and does offer opportunity for some kind of expansion, but I don’t think storage is the “best” opportunity. Drives aren’t are not a welcome addition to an entertainment area because of size, noise and heat. With the built-in WiFi, TV offers the much better solution of hiding your mass storage off in another room, like an office area where the computer and other networking gear is kept. I’ve got a 3TB NAS tucked away behind the iMac in my office. It offers a great way to store all the music, pics and movies you might have and makes them available to everyone on the network, including the TV.

  2. MDN said it best:

    Apple TV is not meant to be your central media storage unit… Your storage is located elsewhere (accessible by your Apple TV(s), your Mac(s) and/or, Jobs forbid, your PC). Apple TV wirelessly streams your iTunes content; that drive inside is really best reserved for your temporary movies rentals. That’s what Apple TV’s drive has been waiting for since the device’s release.

    http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog/comments/16401/

    MDN MW: “right,” as in: MDN is “right,” as usual.

  3. Personally, I’d like to see a wireless USB or BT iSight camera to connect to the ATV to do iChat sessions from my couch.

    Or even better, get the same iSight cameras to display manufacturers to install in their panels.

  4. “Personally, I’d like to see a wireless USB or BT iSight camera to connect to the ATV …”

    Yes, indeed and also because some of use are really happy with our 4 year old cinema displays and dont want to pay 250 freakin dollars for a used iSight off eBay.

  5. I suppose it’s better if you plan to rent movies. Seems Apple TV has so much potential and a lot was overlooked after almost a year of waiting.

    E.g. You still can’t play music videos continuously. Sort of a disappointment that this was overlooked. Seems like an easy fix as the iPods already support this feature.

  6. I have been looking at Apple TV for, what, a year now? I am almost sure it was the same four units on the shelf at my local Best Buy, dust and all.

    Last Friday I happily go out to finally get one. I was in another town, with a larger BB, and an Apple center. Sold out. They call the other store in town. Sold out. The next day, I am in another town, stop by a BB. Sold out.

    They told me they can’t keep them on the shelf.

    Maybe Apple let the supply run short to get the “old” units moved.

    Looks like I will have to order online. I hope this signals success.

  7. Great idea but oh so buggy. It constantly loses the network. Randomly shows in iTunes “devices” list. Does not play sound via HDMI anymore… And frankly, not enough movies to rent yet.
    I do love my TV but I can’t wait for the next bug fix update so it works as advertised.

  8. gRen says: “Great idea but oh so buggy. It constantly loses the network. Randomly shows in iTunes “devices” list. Does not play sound via HDMI anymore… And frankly, not enough movies to rent yet.
    I do love my TV but I can’t wait for the next bug fix update so it works as advertised.”
    ======================

    It’s a bit buggy right now, but my experience with 2.0 hasn’t been as bad as yours. My AppleTV has only lost the network once. It gets stuck now and then but works it way out. My HDMI audio works just fine, as does the optical audio out.

    I agree that the movie selection is pretty pathetic right now. Hope that ramps up soon.

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