After a lot of anticipation, the Apple TV has been available for purchase for almost two weeks now. I’ve been keeping my eye out for reviews because I was curious how it performs, and what people think of it. One of the first reviews to really catch my attention came from Peter Svensson from the Associated Press. The title of his article was enough to tell me that he was disappointed, but I was curious why.
He compares it to an iPod that sounds like a cassette player, and for $299, he says it falls short. Another problem he had was with the “teensy infrared remote that looks like a baby iPod.” In other words, you’ll probably spend more time searching for it than using it.
Overall, his biggest disappointment came with the quality of the content that was purchased on iTunes for viewing on the Apple TV considering the Apple TV essentially requires that users have a high definition TV with HDMI, DVI, or component video input. He says:
It’s surprising, then, that videos from Apple’s online iTunes store look horrible on an HDTV set. The movies and TV shows have the same nominal resolution as DVDs, but look much blurrier, approaching the look of standard-definition broadcast TV.
To make it worse, these barely watchable movies aren’t cheap. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” costs $15 on iTunes, almost as much as the DVD. TV episodes are more reasonably priced, at $2 each.
It’s possible to convert home footage shot with high-definition video cameras to play on the Apple TV, but not in their native resolution, known as 1080i, so some quality is lost even there.
And the talk around the web is, if you go into an Apple store, the demo that they have set-up looks just as Svensson describes it.
On the plus side, he points out the great, easy to use, intuitive interface which Apple is known for.
It looks like one of Apple’s priorities needs to be making HD content available from iTunes to download so that the Apple TV experience is truly high definition.
In other Apple TV news, rumor has it (according to Gizmodo) that another Apple TV may be coming. They point to the Apple TV “Buy Me” page which now says “Select your AppleTV.” This option is typically shown and used only when there are multiple models of one product. Hmmm… what could Apple have up its sleeve?