Thursday, January 17, 2013

Recommendation: Apple TV

I have been accused before of being a shill for the Apple company, and I admit those accusations have some validity. I own a lot of Apple products, and I really enjoy them. And while I know that Apple doesn't need my help, I'd like to make a case for the Apple TV, particularly if anyone is trying to decide whether to get one.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Apple TV, it is not a "TV" in the sense that it has a screen and you watch it. Rather, it is a small box that hooks up to your TV and does wondrous things. Primarily streaming. Exclusively streaming. But it's still wondrous!

Here are a few of the things that the Apple TV streams:

  • Hulu Plus
  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • Select sporting events
  • Content from the iTunes store

But that's not all!

It also links to your computer and allows you to stream content wirelessly from said computer to your television. This is great if, like me, you have lots of movies loaded onto your hard drive that you would like to watch without having to connect your computer directly to your TV. And it doesn't just stream your movies. It can access your iTunes library and, if you've activated Photo Stream in the Cloud, your photos.

Plus, using AirPlay, it can play things from your phone or mirror whatever is on your phone's screen, which is nice if you want to show someone something you were looking at from Twitter or something. I don't know what you look at on your phone.

Ok, so it streams lots of things. Why is that so great?

  1. First of all, I would much rather take in all this media on my big living room TV than on my laptop. 
  2. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it's very easy to use, which means that for the first time, my mom is accessing Netflix on a regular basis. 
I have a Wii that also streams Netflix, but neither of my parents like to use it because they don't understand the Wii-mote. The Apple TV remote has buttons and does not require excessive arm waving. So now I keep the Wii in our back room, where all the gaming takes place and where we can stash my niece and nephew when they need to watch My Little Pony, and the Apple TV stays in the living room, where we can have family movie night. Or where my mom can watch 8 episodes of Downton Abbey in a row. That said, the Apple TV might not be for you.

Reasons you might not want to get an Apple TV:
  • If you have a Roku box
    • The Roku box, as I understand it, does most of the same things as the Apple TV, making a new device redundant.
  • If you have an Xbox 
    • The same could be said for the Xbox, except that it works with Windows Media Player. If you have a Mac, the Apple TV is probably going to be easier to set up and use out of the box for streaming stuff from your computer. But as Xbox users know, it will stream Netflix and Hulu Plus and the like, so if you're like me, you might want to keep the Xbox hooked up where you play most of your games and hook up an Apple TV where you watch most of your media, if they're different places.
  • If you don't own any other Apple products
    • Apple TV works with iTunes and at least one of the benefits involves linking it to your iPhone. If you don't use iTunes and/or don't have an iDevice to link it to, then you won't get the most out of the Apple TV.
But me, I love it. I've been wanting one for a long time, and it has more than lived up to my expectations. And at less than $100, it's a pretty good deal. So there you go. Apple TV.

Apple, give me a cut of every one of these you sell from now on.

1 comment:

  1. Rock on, Kimber, Apple TV is indeed awesome. It's one of those devices that isn't fully appreciated until you take the plunge and get one. (we have three of them!)