Me: “I got an Apple TV”
Andrew (roommate): “Woh, really?”
Me: “Yea, check it out”
Andrew: “Where is it?”
Me: “It’s the black box over there”
Andrew: “Ahhh… I thought you meant an actual TV”
And such is the normal response when I share with my friends that I recently bought an Apple TV. No, it’s not an actual television set (well these days TVs are 1/8″ sliver of hardware), it’s more like a router for digital media (music, videos, etc).
I’d like to walk you through my setup and my thoughts on one of the newer updates from Apple products. (you can skip to the conclusion; TLDR)
Before setting anything up, you’ll need to buy an HDMI cable. I bought this one: 6ft 24AWG CL2 High Speed HDMI® Cable w/ Net Jacket – Black. My friend/co-worker Will Burns recommended monoprice.com for affordable cables. So far I approve of the cable I got.
This part is pretty peezy, just find a cool placement for the Apple TV near your “actual” TV and hook the two up with the HDMI cable. Plug in the power source for the Apple TV and then make a network connection through ethernet or you can connect to your wireless router.
Then turn everything on and switch your TV input to the input you plugged the HDMI into. Follow the on-screen instructions and you’re pretty much set.
One of the reasons I wanted a new media router was because I don’t like the Sony Blu-Ray system interface that I currently have. Typing with the remote is a nightmare, my YouTube searches consist of: “scarpte” (scarlet), “mind your lbng…” (mind your language), etc. Apple TV still only uses a remote, but with minimal buttons and the keyboard is on-screen not on the remote.
Being an Apple product, you can take advantage of pretty much any iOS device you own. You can use your iPhone, iPad, MBP to control what is playing/streaming on the Apple TV and its rather seamless. You’ll have to turn on Home Sharing in iTunes on all your devices (Apple TV, iPhone, etc).
I wish Bluetooth devices like a keyboard could be used to interact with the Apple TV directly but this can’t be done. That being said, you can sync a wireless keyboard to your iOS device and then talk with the Apple TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVuwCIp3zyU).
Having had the product for almost a month now, I am happy with my purchase (except for the fact that ActionJake planted a seed a competitor product – Roku in my mind post-purchase and for days all I heard from friends was about how awesome Roku is).
I’m mostly glad that I can easily stream music through my audio system without having to hook up any cables or temporarily leave my iPhone out of reach.
- easy setup, minimal carbon footprint
- streaming music is easy (from iOS devices)
- syncs with iCloud
- obvious one is that iTunes is integrated well (so quick access to TV episodes, podcasts, etc)
- lazy couch listening – just kick off song in iTunes and select AirPlay
- lacks better bluetooth integration
- real TV, Apple TV, audio system all need to be on and on the right channels (I might be able to reduce it to audio system and have Apple TV stream headless)
- no Amazon support – c’mon Apple, open up the market to other streaming content providers, not all of us use NetFlix
An awesome extension would be to setup something like AirFlick – so I could basically stream everything from any source. I want to be able to be viewing a video on YouTube on my laptop in my room and then as I walk to the living room kick it off to the Apple TV. It’s doable but it will require some more effort and some hackery. For now I’m content with just using it as is.
This is my first post on the NathanJara.com blog. Thanks for your patience paps and hope this was helpful. Oh yea, and I’m not sure about the “celebrity” title.
- guest poster, Sam Tsai aka Workout Guy