“The update to the Apple TV was achieved through the writing of code, not the soldering of transistors. That means that early adopters aren’t left out in the cold,” Jonathan M. Gitlin reports for Ars Technica.
“As a replacement for leaving the house and going to the video store, the Apple TV works well. Sure, you won’t find as diverse an array of content as you would at a good independent or with NetFlix, but if you’re looking for mainstream movies that have been on recently, you’ve got a fairly good chance of finding what you’re looking for. HD content is a little more sparse, but it’s there too,” Gitlin reports.
“Downloading content is as easy as pressing the play button, and once a small percentage of the file has downloaded to your Apple TV hard drive, you can begin playback… The HD files, encoded to a resolution of 720p, only weigh in at about 4GB; far less than you’d get on an HD DVD or Blu-Ray disc (one hopes). And you’ll notice dithering and compression artifacts, commonly when the scene’s background is broadly one color, such as open sky or deep space,” Gitlin reports.
“But conversely, scenes with lots of detail show up great, at least as good as those displayed by my upconverting Oppo DVD player, and better than 480p. In reality, though, image quality is going to be in the hands of the studio who performed the transfer, and just like the DVD market, some will do this with more care and attention than others. Playback from the Apple TV itself was always stutter-free when viewing content on the device’s HD,” Gitlin reports.
Gitlin reports, “If you rent a lot of movies and are too lazy to visit your local rental store, or even to put your NetFlix envelopes back in the mail, and you want a device that lets you view HD content, then the Apple TV should be on your short list.”
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