A couple of weeks ago I picked up my new Apple TV from a mate of mine who had managed to organize a few through a friend in the states. I had always wanted one, but was never at the top of my priority list, well, that was until I actually started using it. WOW !!!
The integration between the iPhone, iPad & the Apple TV is seamless and amazing. Using AirPlay you can watch almost any video/picture/song that you are currently seeing on the iDevice and watch it on the TV. So for example, using the AirVideo (iTunes link $2.99) app on my iPad, I can start watching the video on the Apple TV instantly, with just the tap of a button.
The Apple TV is a simple plug & play device which starts working as soon as you plug in the HDMI cable into your TV. If you have setup Home Sharing on your iTunes you can access your iTunes music & Video library wirelessly through the Apple TV. You can also opt to Jailbreak it, and install XBMC on it, which allows you to stream AVI’s from a shared folder on your wireless network. I did this when I got it, and while it is nice,honestly it’s not the be all & end all, as it is quite a mission to setup. I prefer to rather use AirPlay and stream an AVI I am already watching in AirVideo.
The best thing I have found so far is the fact that you can rent movies straight away from the iTunes store and they will start playing almost immediately. This means you can watch some of the latest US releases (provided you have a US iTunes account) at the cost of almost renting a DVD (yes, you also need to account for bandwidth, but if you have an uncapped account, this is negligible) Over the weekend I rented a movie for the kids, and within a few minutes it was streaming to my TV. Awesome !! The thing to remember is that the Apple TV relies heavily on wireless streaming, so you need to have a wireless setup at home as well as a decent ADSL line (1mb +)
If you have an iDevice and enjoy watching movies or have an awesome home theater setup, I highly recommend getting one of these devices.
Also, check out Jason Bagley’s latest post about his take on the Apple TV – http://www.jasonbagley.com/2011/06/27/apple-tv-in-south-africa/