Is Apple TV for me? A newbie!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MacInTO, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. MacInTO, Sep 23, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014

    MacInTO macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #1
    I'm looking into Apple TV and I'm not sure if it can serve my purposes. I've read lots of posts, but I thought it would be probably easier if I posted what I do now and what I would like it to do. Maybe it will do something that I've not thought of and you can let me know! ;)

    I haven't owned a television since Seinfeld went off the air in 1998. Really. Since then, I have an older NEC (VT540) XGA LCD projector that I hook up to watch movies once in a while. All of the sound is channeled through an optical cable to my 5.1 receiver.

    I haven't watched network television until last year when I got an introductory deal with a cable company for Internet + TV. I watched TV on a 23" monitor that has a HDMI hookup.

    In the last year, I found I watched baseball games, tennis and golf (I managed to gain five pounds, but that's another story!). I watched some shows, but not many. Mainly Seinfeld reruns on CW and other older shows! I also watch some movies on demand - when I found one that I wanted to watch. I might watch more, but the selection wasn't the greatest. Most of the time I watched shows from the PVR because I could skip the commercials.

    My cable deal ends in a November and I'm not going to continue at full price because it's not good value for the amount I watch.

    This is when I thought about Apple TV or some of the other ones like from Amazon or Google.

    My Questions:

    1. Would Apple TV suit my needs based on what I wrote?
    2. Is there regular network programming available on Apple TV?
    3. Does apple have a PVR/DVR feature so I can watch live TV later?
    4. I see different versions (1, 2, 3, etc.). How are they different?
    5. I see Apple TV only has HDMI. How is HDMI to VGA quality - will I notice?
    6. Is there a US or Canadian version? I'm thinking I'm going to buy a used one off eBay or CL. But $100 isn't a lot new either.
    7. What are the advantages of the older versions? I see they can be hacked. Why would I want to do that?
    8. What's the on demand selection on Apple TV like?
    9. How does it compare to the other services like Chromecast, Fire TV and other services that I didn't mention?

    Thanks in advance! Since I'm Canadian, I'll apologize in advance if I asked something that is blatantly obvious, eh? :p
     
  2. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    #2
    Prob not..

    Apple TV has a good selection of TV networks. However, you must have a provider to watch these TV networks. Otherwise, you purchase TV and Movies from iTunes.

    No.

    As far as I now, Apple stores only sell the latest. Older versions didn't support 1080p, etc..

    HDMI is high-def - supports 1080p. Much better picture quality. HDMI also carries audio along with video.

    Not sure the variations of different models. I would just buy it at your local Apple store or reseller.

    To use different interfaces, remove restrictions imposed by Apple, etc..

     
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #3
    Before I answer your numbered questions, I need to point out that for someone who doesn't really watch live programming, the Apple TV is a pretty good device. I'm that someone.

    1. Would Apple TV suit my needs based on what I wrote?

    See what I wrote above. I'd say yes but that is ultimately up to you. Remember, you can always return it if you don't like it. Apple Store has 14 day return policy, no questions asked.
    2. Is there regular network programming available on Apple TV?
    If you mean live programming, then very little. I think some content is live like Bloomberg and some sports content (NFL Now?)
    3. Does apple have a PVR/DVR feature so I can watch live TV later?
    No. Most of the content is on-demand anyways.
    4. I see different versions (1, 2, 3, etc.). How are they different?
    1 is too old, don't get it. 2 is 720P only. 3 is 1080P.
    5. I see Apple TV only has HDMI. How is HDMI to VGA quality - will I notice?
    HDMI and VGA are both technically capable of 1080P. HDMI is digital. VGA is analog. Digital is better. Also, the HDMI standard supports 4K. The Apple TV itself does not support 4K content.
    6. Is there a US or Canadian version? I'm thinking I'm going to buy a used one off eBay or CL. But $100 isn't a lot new either.
    Like most Apple products, there is no region specific model in terms of function except maybe stuff like Apple keyboards which have different keys/layouts/etc.
    7. What are the advantages of the older versions? I see they can be hacked. Why would I want to do that?
    1 is too old. 2 can be hacked to use XBMC or Plex or other media center software. 3 cannot be hacked (yet).
    8. What's the on demand selection on Apple TV like?
    Lots of stuff added in the last year. A Fox channel was added today I think. You can look at the Apple page for Apple TV to get a list of all the different channels. Apple TV has "channels" but these are not always live channels. Think of channels as more like a certain content provider. Like the Bloomberg channel has both live Bloomberg feed AND on-demand Bloomberg videos. Netflix channel is basically a Netflix app or Netflix.com. Just making sure you don't get confused when Apple says channels since most people's mind equate channels with live programming channels.
    9. How does it compare to the other services like Chromecast, Fire TV and other services that I didn't mention?
    Chromecast doesn't have "channels" or apps by itself. This may have changed or will be changed in the future. Content must be streamed to it by some other device, like a smartphone streaming content to Chromecast which plugs into HDMI port of HDTV. Fire TV operates like the Apple TV and grants access to Amazon Instant Video and Amazon services like their music, movies, tv shows, etc. There is no Amazon channel on Apple TV. But I believe you can AirPlay the Amazon Instant Video app from your iDevice to Apple TV. I haven't tried this but I think it works. Roku has lots of apps you can install. But it tries to do too much and the overall experience is kind of a mess.

    If you have multiple iOS devices, the Apple TV is a good purchase. You can AirPlay virtually anything on your iOS device to your HDTV (or projector). And if you buy stuff from iTunes and/or use iTunes Match, all of your stuff will available for streaming on the Apple TV. Basically, for iOS users the Apple TV tends to be the best set top box. For everyone else, it's a hit or miss.
     
  4. MacInTO thread starter macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #4
    Thanks!

    That's good to know. I'm not a huge fan of live TV because of the commercials!

    I'll check it out. The 14 day return policy is also a good point.
     
  5. xp0z3d macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    #5
    I don`t think its for you. First of all to fully utilize Apple tv, you need to have cable subscription as most of the apps for channels need authentication from your tv provider. If you don`t have that then only things that you can do with it is, Netflix (again you need subscription), Youtube, Itunes media (if your purchased) and if you have your own ripped movies or videos etc then you can use Plex to stream them from your library. If you have use for these, then get ATv3 and it can easily be made to run Plex.

    If none of this is on your list of things to do, then only remaining thing left which you can use ATV is for airplaying from your Macs or Iphones.

    Also if you don`t like it , check our Roku or WDTV player
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    The above covers everything pretty well.

    If you are close enough to a city, you can probably put up an antenna to get your locals (maybe-to-probably in HD) for free.

    If you have broadband through a cable company that also offers a TV subscription, you may have some free channels (particularly, the same (local) ones you might be able to get with an antenna) in that cable even after you quit your cable subscription.

    :apple:TV misses a lot of your targets on its own. It sounds like you might want to try something with a TV tuner in it (like maybe a Tivo or similar) or products like the Elgato DVRs you use with a computer.

    I see :apple:TV as a solid augment to cable/satt. It's also a fantastic music player (better than any CD changer we've ever had), photo viewer, home movie player, podcast/vodcast player and so on. It has a large amount of commercial-free, on-demand video content but that's going to hit your wallet every time. If you have an iDevice, you can airplay video from that iDevice to it (so any video you can find online can be "thrown" to your TV through your :apple:TV
     
  7. MacInTO thread starter macrumors 65816

    MacInTO

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Canada, eh!
    #7
    Thanks for your reply!

    I don't understand when you state,

    Can you elaborate?

    I'm not going to renew my cable subscription when the contract runs out. I can do without Seinfeld and other TV. I'm sure I could find it on the Internet if I really want it. I'll just have to do without golf and tennis. MLB is available on Apple TV, so I think I'm okay there.

    I've just discovered Crackle, and I really like the content - especially, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee!

    I also read that Netflix delivers content in 5.1, which I like. I have not subscribed because of the lack of 5.1 output when I use it on the web browser with my Macbook.

    I also like Roku but I'll probably pass on WDTV. It doesn't seem robust enough.
     

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