Computerworld reviews Apple TV 2.0: ‘a spectacular entertainment device’

“With deals in place with all major movie studios and the promise of HD and standard-content options, Apple seemed poised to deliver a user-friendly device that could be used to rent high-quality movies over the Internet and deliver them to a TV rather than to a computer,” Ryan Faas reports for Computerworld.

“That promise has still not been realized. Despite a commitment of 1,000 movie titles as rentals by the end of February in Steve Jobs’ Macworld keynote, a recent inventory conducted by Christopher Breen at Macworld indicated that fewer than 400 were actually available. Many of those are not available in HD,” Faas reports.

“For those movies that are offered in HD, the quality is rather good, as is the Dolby surround sound support. It may not quite reach the level of Blu-ray, but it does come close enough that most viewers won’t see a noticeable difference. It also tends to exceed the quality of many HD video offerings from cable providers,” Faas reports.

“While there might not yet be that much in the way of selection of movie rentals through iTunes, the mechanism for renting and watching movies from the Apple TV is as simple as everything else about the device. It is, in fact, easier than most cable on-demand services and features similar pricing and time limits. Of the choice between an iTunes rental over the Apple TV and video on demand from my cable company, I would choose Apple TV,” Faas reports.

“After renting movies, buying music and TV shows, picking through podcasts, and browsing photos of friends and friends of friends, I have to say that the new Apple TV has more than lived up to my early expectations and truly blew away my previous experiences. The iTunes Store integration (even with its small selection of movies) has brought Apple TV where it should have been from the get-go and has transformed it into both a spectacular entertainment device in its own right as well as an even better nexus of technology and entertainment,” Faas reports.

Much more in the full review here.


  1. With Comcast On Demand, once you are past the 24 hour mark, if you stop your movie it is gone. With the Apple TV, you can still pause and stop it after 24 hours as long as you don’t get through all the credits.

    That is one major bonus for the Apple TV.

  2. I only wish that TV wasn’t locked into using iPhoto for viewing photos.

    I prefer iView Media Pro, now Expression Media, because I have control over where and how my photos are stored. iPhoto takes control away.

    If anyone knows of a workaround…

  3. One little mentioned feature that I LOVE about it is the AirDisk support. Most people have their stereo system based in the living room connected to their TVs. Now you can play music from iTunes through that sound system (and any others connected directly to your Mac or indirectly via Airport Express) simultaneously and in perfect sync throughout your home!!!

    You can even control iTunes on your Mac from the Apple Remote via TV (if you set prefs accordingly).

    Very nice!!

  4. though i was among the first screaming zeder and mordio in february when it was clear apple will never reach that 1000 movies goal in time, they now have more than 400 movies to be fair. how much exactly? we dont know. they axed the possibility to actually count them because the “all rentals” list is gone from the apple tv and the genre-lists are inclomplete, missing a lot of the movies you find elsewhere (new to the store, search). the “all rentals” list on itunes has 398 movies though for instance three of the alien-movies are not in that list. you find them when you search for “alien”. so it’s a pretty mess. what kind of people are working there? otherwise an mazing device.

  5. Digital distribution is the future. To hell with shiny spinning disks.
    In the future people will store all their movies on ssds connected to their computer which will be connected to their tvs. The video store is obsolete and so is bluray. If the internet can kill cds it’ll do the same to dvds and bluray discs.

  6. The family and ‘i’ have enjoyed Apple TV tremendously! From streaming HD movies to our 1080p LCD panel, to streaming iTunes music and radio streams to our connected stereo system, to streaming YouTube video, to streaming video pod casts, to watching our own self-produced videos, to watching our photos one-by-one, or letting them float by in screen-saver mode, we have MORE than enough video content to keep us happy.

    Add to that mix “legacy” DVDs played on an up-converting DVD player, as well as HD broadcast TV received over the air.

    We don’t have cable TV though. Guess what? Don’t really need it! Don’t really miss it either. (Except, of course, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which is available for $2.00 per show. Still a bit pricey for us. How about subscription serial TV anyone?)

    So, yes, we thoroughly enjoy our Apple TV 2.0! What could version 3 bode? Streaming LIVE TV perhaps?
    Stay tuned. . .

  7. Apple has less content for sale now than before the re-launch. Most of the new movie content is RENT-ONLY. Why should I rent for 24 hours for $3-4 when I can buy for $10?

    Steve Jobs BS about people only watching movies once just will not fly. Explain Blockbuster, Netflix, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz, American Movie Classics, Turner Classic Movies, etc.

    It doesn’t add up.

    The truth is that Hollywood is holding out for RENTALS on Video and SUBSCRIPTION music. It’s heavy-handed cartel-like activity that wouldn’t be tolerated if we had a real Justice Department that wasn’t busy carrying BushCo’s water.

    BTW- The 2.0 interface sucks and I’m not the only one to notice. The sync method, more similar to an iPhone rather than an iPod also sucks very hard. Finally, the HW is sluggish.

  8. Not only have the movie studios not provided enough content, they are using AppleTV as a dumping ground for fifty years of cinematic lemons. Take a few minutes to browse the content and you’ll see a long list of Hollywood misses:

    The Golden Child
    Alien 3
    Speed 2
    Best Defense

    This is not to mention the list of truly awful content that even TNT won’t show on a rainy wednesday, like Sandy Duncan in “Star Spangled Girl” or almost any Ben Affleck movie.

    There is a lot of good content, too, but it seems like the studios are going to dump a lot of trash on us before we get a respectable iTunes film library. Maybe they want AppleTV to fail?

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