|AppleTV - Take 2|
|Home Theater Media Servers Home Theater/Media Center PCs|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Saturday, 01 November 2008|
Page 3 of 3
While I’ve grown to love AppleTVs and use them in abundance throughout my home, I still have a few bones to pick with the slick media extender. First, I still don’t like that it comes with no cables to get you started or that it features none of the necessary connection options to better integrate it into a custom installation, i.e., RS 232 support. It still gets remarkably hot to the touch and is prone to going “offline” when not in use for extended periods of time. I’ve never experienced a system crash while watching or listening to streamed content, but it’s not uncommon for the AppleTV to need a reboot if unused for a couple of days.
On the software and interface side of things, manual searching using the remote is still a chore. The remote itself is still wildly overly directional and not strong enough for moderate to long distances.
I don’t like that you can’t transfer HD rentals to other AppleTVs, or that you can’t rent HD material on anything but an AppleTV. While you can purchase HD television content now, I have to knock Apple for not making the same available in the film realm. I suppose it’s only a matter of time. Who knows, by the time this review is published, they may allow HD movie purchases.
Lastly, the sound quality is adequate, but improves with movies and HD rentals quite a bit. This said, I don’t know why SD films come standard in stereo and in Dolby Digital. Clearly, they can do it and offer it on HD rentals, so why not improve the value of their lesser SD material by at least offering it with multi-channel audio?
With a lower price and improved features, the AppleTV Take 2 is not so much a new product as it is a step towards becoming the product we all knew it could be. The fact that the AppleTV Take 2 no longer requires the use of a home computer is huge in terms of gaining market share. It also makes the AppleTV more of a standalone product than a glorified media extender. It’s a worthwhile product with a stellar interface packed with convenience and content that would satisfy even the most jaded music and movie enthusiast. Unlike the latest crop of Blu-ray releases to hit store shelves, Apple updates their library daily with new and archived releases, making each experience novel and exciting. The SD imagery is greatly improved, but it’s the inclusion of HD content, if only in rental form, that shows the true potential of the AppleTV Take 2. I consider it to be a viable source and one I’m glad I’ve stuck with, for after attending this year’s CEDIA show, I have found there are plenty of other companies offering the same performance and strikingly similar interface for way more money. While I couldn’t recommended the AppleTV in its original incarnation, I can wholeheartedly endorse it now (flaws and all), for it just fits my lifestyle and offers me a level of usability and entertainment I want in my home.
Thank you, Apple, for realizing you’re not perfect and for righting a wrong in making the AppleTV better the second time around.