Have the ATV1. Will a ATV3 be any better?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Woodcrest64, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Woodcrest64 macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    I currently have the original Apple TV and I'm wondering if there is any benefit for me to get the latest Apple TV.

    My TV only supports 720p so I can't use the 1080p resolution and I just a sound bar. I'm just wondering if there are any features I'm missing.

    I have a Boxee Box with and Playstation 3. The only benefit I can see is the Airplay for my Macbook but that's about it.
  2. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Oh hell yes. I've got an original that loves to just not play videos at times. I get some stupid "invalid format" message even though it might've just played the video.

    The newer Apple TVs mean you get software updates. AirPlay, yes. But you also get access to Photostreams, apps such as Hulu Plus, and more power under the hood.

    I have a pair of third-gen Apple TVs and can't think of a thing I miss from the first-gen model.
  3. HobeSoundDarryl, Jan 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    For your situation (OP), there is not that much upside to making the change. I clung to the "1" until Apple finally went 1080p because I had had a 1080p set for a very long time at that point. I'm fairly happy with the change but only for that reason.

    Airplay? Almost never use it myself
    Netflix? Hulu? Never use it (but also had it as apps in the TV itself while I still had the "1")
    Maybe these features are important to you? But then you have Boxee and Playstation to cover those latter ones.

    I still think the "1" has the better UI (your own "movies" are in "movies" not "computers", your own "tv shows" are in "tv shows" not "computers" and so on). In fact, I'd most like to see Apple release the last incarnation of the "1"s UI as a new "front row" and then I would probably just get a Mac Mini to replace my "3".

    Yours is also capable of several things the new one can't do. For instance, I really miss sync. Store a good number of movies on the device and turn off that computer. Or take it on vacation with you but leave the master Mac at home.

    You can also apply some hacks so that you can attach at least 2TB of local storage for syncing.

    If you wanted 1080p, you can add a hardware hack to get there too.

    Yours is also the only one on which you could pop your own popcorn or fry an egg (the spare hotplate/space heater advantage is gone with the "3").

    In my perfect :apple:TV dream, the last UI for the "1" would be fully brought to the more modern hardware of the "4". For those that want to sync, the handicapped USB port would be turned into a fully functional (hook up whatever local storage you want for syncing), an audio stereo out jack would be added for "zone 2" receiver purposes, it would support 24fps and 60fps along with 30fps native, and it would fully match BD in terms of video and audio codec playback so that BD has no tangible advantages over :apple:TV. There would be an app store so that other companies could bring the features to it that Apple seems too distracted- or in no hurry- to bring themselves.

    If you are going to stick with that 720p HDTV for several more years but you see something you want in the newer :apple:TV, consider a used "2" as it is just as capable as the "3" for your TV and it can be hacked for some added functionality if you want more than Apple gives you. Used "2"s can be had for pretty cheap. Maybe pair a used "2" with your "1" for the best of both worlds?
  4. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    Nice post, HobeSoundDarryl, as usual. As an ATV2 user who never owned an ATV1, I do wish Apple would let us put "My" Content front and center instead of shamelessly forcing us to put their itunes store content at the front of the experience. On the latest software update, you can re-arrange most of the icons on the screen to re-prioritize, but the top row (including the iTunes Store content) can NOT be changed. Having the separate "computers" category only makes sense to me if you have more than one iTunes Library on your home network.

    That said, that difference in UI is fairly minor and easy to get past, IMO. The cost of owning/upgrading/hacking the ATV1 (both in terms of $ and time) is higher than that required to get what you want out of an ATV2. Or at least, it used to be until ATV2's prices got inflated due to the ATV3's lack of jailbreak ability.

    To quantify that, you can get an Apple TV 2 on ebay for approximately:

    $150 (not-already jailbroken)
    $200 (already jailbroken)


    Note you can get an Apple TV 3 refurbished from Apple for $85 plus shipping. Roughly half the price of an Apple TV2, simply due to the fact that you can jailbreak a 2 but not a 3.
  5. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Ebay is not the only store in town. Try craigslist and similar.

    As to the UI, there sure are a lot of UI niceties I miss from "1" to "3". Get over them? Yes, but miss nonetheless.

    For example, the kiddie animations could be "Show" tagged "Animations" and they would be in a single list in the "movie" list. Now they're just mixed in with the rest. Serial movies (Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, etc) could all be in a single line item (folder) in "1" instead of listed out as separate line items in "3". And so on. I'd still much rather have that final "1" UI than the latest UI for "3".
  6. BigAudio macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2009
    Don't forget the other advantage of an ATV1. Room Heater/ Coffee Pot Warmer!

    I agree that I liked some of the UI on the ATV1. I have an old first gen 40 gig, that when I do a restore on it, it boots to the damn near front row interface. Problem is, once updated to current, it wont stay running. I personally wouldnt keep a piece of hardware around that apple hasn't supported in 3 years..
  7. Woodcrest64 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Aug 14, 2006
    Thank you very much for your in-depth answer. I really appreciate it. I think I may stay with the ATV 1 for now. There is talks about a ATV3,2 with a A6X processor coming out this year. Not sure what the better graphics will allow us... I will just have to wait and see.

  8. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    No problem. If you've been around here long, you know I'm pretty passionate about :apple:TV- what it has been, what it is, and what it should become. I think it could be a monster product if Apple would either A) give it the passionate attention they give the other iDevices and Macs and/or B) give it an app store and normalized USB so that third parties could extend it into becoming what more of us want from it.

    The new rumored one is interesting in that it could mean Apple is still seeing some hardware-improvement opportunities for this little box. I will offer that the "3" is really good in terms of 1080p- especially if you make your own instead of just buying iTunes 1080p (which is much more compressed than the :apple:TV can handle). My main advice for you sticking with the "1" is that you reference a TV limited to 720p. If you didn't say that (if you had a 1080p TV), I'd have suggested the upgrade with the caveats of losing certain niceties that only the "1" has.

    When you get into the window of upgrading your TV (maybe a year or two out), you should more seriously consider buying the newest :apple:TV model at that time. That way, you could start accumulating 1080p content in anticipation for the time that you replace your set. It will downscale 1080p content for a 720p HDTV with no issue between it's purchase and when the new HDTV actually arrives.

    What could come in that new hardware rumor? Maybe 60fps and 24fps native support instead of just 30fps? Maybe 4K "Ultra HD" but that seems doubtful this early. Maybe H.265 hardware but that seems a bit early too. My best guess is that Apple is running out of spare reject A5 chips and is simply adopting the rejects of the A6 line. But I'll hope for even better than that.

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