Santa brought me an Apple TV (ATV) in his bag this Christmas, and now that I’ve finished my holiday travels, I thought I’d hook it up and try it out. First, I’m truly amazed at how small it is! It comes with Apple’s elegant and minimalistic packaging, with the box, including its power cord, remote, startup manual, and iOS-based ATV unit itself measuring only 4.25 inches square and 2.5 inches thick. Its destination will be hooked to a TV at the beach, so today’s hookup was only temporary. However, Jan and I were soon talking about going to the Apple store to pick up another one. At $100, it’s a deal!
Setup was easy. I connected an HDMI cable, plugged in the power cord, and then it found my wifi and prompted for the password. I entered my Apple ID, and that’s the extent of the required setup. However, I also set up my Netflix account, my Mobile Me account, iTunes sharing (from my iMac) and checked other settings like the screensaver.
I played tunes from iTunes sharing, played video through iTunes sharing, played some smooth jazz streaming radio, tried Netflix (interface to Netflix is great, much better than the browser interface), pulled up some photos, and poked around. I used Airplay to stream Pandora from my iPad and that worked great! The ATV has a YouTube client of it’s own which I didn’t try, but I did use Airplay to send a YouTube video from my iPad, and that worked great.
All in all, I’d have to say I’m very pleased with the ATV. I’ve got a Mac Mini with some Bose Companion 5 speakers as my “media center” and I’ll keep that in place probably…though, it’s slow enough it can’t do HD video from Netflix, whereas the ATV has no problem with HD. If I had a more traditional audio/video receiver setup I think I’d switch, but it’s the cost of the receiver and home theater speakers that’s holding me back, not any issues with the ATV. It’s a helluva box, and I can see why Apple has sold a million of them!