The AppleTV is Pretty Good! But…

I purchased an AppleTV. I did it on a whim. I was impressed, and I was disappointed. I think I see the next step for the product, though. You’ll like it!

The Good:

– The GUI (graphical user interface) is simple and efficient.
– Configuration is easy!
– Image quality is superb!
– iTunes integration is great; it  just works! Great!
– Airplay works – it just Works!
– Photoflow integration is great – it, too, just works!
– The remote commands the Apple TV through obstacles!
– My bluetooth keyboard works, too!
– It’s compact!  And no wallwort!

The Awkward:

– The top level interface is configurable by Parental Controls – huh…
– Not many free media choices. YouTube, iTunes podcasts and Trailers.
– Hulu Plus works fine, but not the free Hulu service – WHY NOT?
– Search text entry is arduous with the remote – get a keyboard.

The Bad:

– Image aspect ratio is fixed.
– Some media sources use HDCP (copy protection) – grrr.
– No way to browse the web.
– No way to install an iOS app.

At home, where we are not quite in the “modern World”, I need a gadget. At home, our TVs do not have HDMI interfaces (we also do not have a BluRay disc player). A burglar would just pass us by – our TV set weighs more than 100 KG and barely fits through the door. So, I have a simple gadget to satisfy the HDCP feature and convert the AppleTV’s HDMI output into an S-video output or an RF output depending which archaic device I want to plug into and watch. All is well with this gadget. It is a Sabrent DA-HDRC Converter for $50 from Amazon.

The remote is amazing. I swear that it commands the AppleTV around corners and through obstacles. JC says it must be UV, and not (or not just) IR. It bounces off of walls and furniture.

The AppleTV is great in a hotel. I take my Airport Express (another great product) and  AppleTV with me when I travel, and I plug the AppleTV into the TV in the room. It works anywhere in the world. If bandwidth is good enough, which it sadly may not be, I have entertainment! Not so bad…

But, I want more – I want to participate in WebEx video conferences (I don’t need a camera). I want my bluetooth headset to be supported by the AppleTV. I want my on-line ATT Uverse service. I want news channels like CNN, MSNBC, FOX, C-Span. I want access to more free media sources!

I want to be able to adjust the image aspect ratio – to stretch the image a little – a little more – a LOT more! The variety of media sources and display devices needs some accommodation in the AppleTV.

I want to be able to bring other video sources into the AppleTV. If  only it had a USB interface. I want to be able to watch a DVD – if only I could plug Apple’s nifty, slim DVD drive into the Apple TV. How about plugging an ElGato EyeTV USB TV tuner into the Apple TV. There are great possibilities, here!

I believe that the AppleTV will be transformed in the near future – give it two years… You just wait! Just as the Mac mini is an iMac without a display, the AppleTV will be an iPod without a display. Just you wait…

In the mean time, the Apple TV is pretty good! But…

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