Just Got New Apple TV 2 - Putting it Through its Paces

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Irishman, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    My beautiful wife gave it to me as a birthday present, and we installed it late Saturday night.

    It took all of 5 minutes to run through the setup menus. Apple really does idiot-proof installation on this product. We entered our Netflix account info and got that up and running. The last thing we did was enter the iTunes login and passcode info for iTunes Home Sharing. In case you're not familiar with what Home Sharing is, it lets you access iTunes content that you've purchased and store locally on a PC or Mac on your home network (over the much better speakers in your Home Theater, in our case).

    A quick note about our internet connection. You mileage may vary, but we're pretty lucky compared to some unfortunate souls whose horror stories have single digit download speeds (Mb/sec). We have Roadrunner via TWC, and routinely get 11Mbps up to 14 Mbps, depending on time of day and how many neighbors are on TWC.

    Now, basic functionality and capabilities:

    1. There is a standardized white text on black background GUI that Apple puts over the whole experience, and the different services take but mere single digit seconds to load, and you've got service specific functions and labels there as well as a logo to remind someone who might come into the living room later, so they know what service you're in.

    2. About iTunes HD Content - Our experience so far has been limited to watching HD movie trailers, but so far I've got to say, my expectations were low due to nitpicking I've read from others who suggested that the PS3 steaming video quality was substantially better. For what it was (streaming, 720p video) it looked VERY good. I have looked at probably looked at a dozen or so HD trailers and haven't seen any artifacts that would detract me from the immersion or remind me I was watching this wirelessly. 5.1 sound was as engaging as lossy audio can be. I was pleasantly surprised.

    3. About Netflix HD Content - The whole family sat down and watched a 30 minute Disney Channel show "Good Luck, Charlie", that I didn't even know was available in HD. I've got to say, even with Netflix's adaptive streaming, it never got soft, and looked as good as DirecTV HD. I watched the mini-series of Battlestar Galactica, which was awesome to watch again, now being aware of who all the secret Cylons were. That said, some of the shots WERE soft, but I didn't have the Blu-Ray on hand to compare it to (except for "The Plan", which came years after season 1 and wouldn't be a fair comparison).
    I watched a French subtitled horror movie by David Morley called "Mutants" that was listed as "HD", but it seemed soft to me, barely better than upconverted SD.

    4. About YouTube HD Content - The impressive part of this experience hasn't come so much from studio HD or demos (although the TRON Legacy trailer was pretty solid pq-wise and the aq was quite dynamic), but actually the video content that users have shot themselves. I saw a Ducati video that was rock-solid, and an Aston Martin video that was very detailed and sounded amazing when he wound up the car's engine). Some iMac user unboxings were pretty satisfying to watch.

    5. An aside - One pleasant thing I found was that, in the iTunes store part of it, they have a HUGE section devoted to podcasts, many of which I already subscribe to (including HD videos of Apple Stevenotes of the past). I was glad I didn't have to turn on iTunes Home Sharing to access those. They were available to stream, both audio and video versions of many, without having to have my PC on.

    Which brings me to another gripe some have leveled at the Apple TV 2 - that you have to leave your PC on for it to work. That isn't true. You only need your PC on for the initial setup to make sure iTunes Home Sharing is turned on both the Apple TV and the PC with your iTunes account on it. OR if you want to pull your music or videos or photos from iTunes. Otherwise, all it needs is access to your WiFi router.

    Next, I'll be setting up and playing with Apple's Remote App, and using Airplay to and from a 4th Generation iPod Touch. Later, we'll mess around with Internet Radio and accessing your Flickr account via Apple TV.
  2. From A Buick 8 macrumors 68040

    From A Buick 8

    Sep 16, 2010
    Ky Close to CinCinnati
    We have two up and running, have been since October. I had a personal collection of DVD's (600 movies and about 10 tv season box sets), I have ripped them all to my iMac and encoded with Handbrake for iTunes. This part along with all of the features you talked about have allowed us to cut out a $60.00 a month cable bill.
  3. Irishman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    I'm a big Star Trek geek, and I just heard NF is adding all 5 ST series to its roster.

    Every season, every episode.

    The Remastered TOS and the last couple of seasons of Enterprise will be in HD!

    Hits in June, along with a bunch of other CBS catalog shows.

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