My initial thoughts on the new Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by AppleFan360, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    I got my hands on the new Apple TV yesterday and thought I would post some of my initial observations.

    I have had an Apple TV with a 40GB hard drive for a few years now along with the ROKU box.

    My first impressions after playing around with the new Apple TV is somewhat positive. The interface is pretty much the same as the old Apple TV minus a few features. Quite frankly, I'm already starting to miss the onboard storage (hard drive). I had some movies stored on the old Apple TV just so I wouldn't have to turn on the computer to stream from iTunes. That functionality is pretty much gone. Not sure if that's good or bad and I'm not sure what Apple is thinking but I guess from a cost perspective, it was a good move. You can't purchase movies and TV shows from the new Apple TV either which is kind of puzzling. You can rent however.

    The picture quality on the new Apple TV is pretty good. I browsed HD trailers and YouTube HD videos. They actually looked better than on the new ROKU XD/S box (which I received last week). Watching video on Apple TV has always been a high quality experience and much better than any other streaming services out there. I would much rather watch good quality 720p than highly compressed 1080p full of artifacts. I'm also happy to see that Apple has included 8GB of storage in the new Apple TV which enables movies to buffer large amounts of data. That's a good thing. I was concerned that quality might be compromised as compared to the old Apple TV. The ROKU box doesn't have all that much storage so compression is a bit high.

    Movie selection is pretty good but TV content needs improvment. Only a few networks are available. The 99 cent rentals are a good idea but don't hold up against the Amazon 99 cent purchase model. The other day I purchased the entire first season of Glee for $20 on the ROKU box in HD and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Can't do that on the Apple TV. Only rent.

    The Netflix integration is pretty good. It looks and acts like you are using iTunes. You simply use your login information for Netflix and it hooks right up. No need to activate the device like on the ROKU box. The only thing I don't like is that you can't tell which movies are in HD. The Apple TV simply lists the movie and adjusts the data stream accordingly no matter if its SD or HD. I will try watching a Netflix HD movie on the Apple TV and then compare it to the ROKU XD/S box first chance I get.

    I haven't decided yet but I think I will probably use the new Apple TV in the home theater room for just a few weeks. Rent a couple of movies and play around a bit more. I will then probably move it to one of the bedrooms and put the old Apple TV back. I don't know what Apple has planned for this box but it needs more work. It almost seems like a downgrade right now. Guess we will see what the future holds.
  2. DotCom2 macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    Keep up the good work!
  3. thetruth1985 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2010
    What do you mean about the netflix HD part. When you browse on the xbox for example, there is a little HD symbol that tells you that the movie is in HD. Are you saying that the new apple tv does not show this symbol?
  4. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    No it does not. But like with any other Netflix streaming device, it will automatically decide whether to display HD or not, depending on your internet connection.

    Unlike Apple's HD rentals, they will buffer for as long as they need before it starts playing. So it always is HD no matter what.
  5. R94N macrumors 68020


    May 30, 2010
    I think that's just a matter of time once the Apple TV begins to take off. Remember, people are only just receiving the new models now :)

    Yeah, often Amazon is cheaper. Many people buy their music from there because it's quite often just a little bit cheaper than iTunes. However, I think Amazon changed their movie prices a few days after Apple announced their new pricing, to something cheaper.

    I wish we had Netflix in the UK! :( ;)

    I think they made it simpler to appeal to a wider range of people (for example, no storage because to the average user it can make it more complicated, rental only so less decisions etc). At least that's what I think :D
  6. dagomike macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    I agree with Netflix quality/hd issue. There is no indication of what's actually HD, nor what you're viewing. With the large on-board storage, I'd hope Netflix would cache for HD all the time. If it does, that's a huge plus for Apple TV. I watched most of Iron Man and some kids stuff last night. It worked really well.

    Apple TV is only for renting, at least right now. It would be nice if Apple would allow you to purchase and stream purchases from any device, anywhere, at any time. Maybe in the future.
  7. AppleFan360 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    OK so here is something interesting. This evening I was comparing the PQ on the Apple TV to the PQ on the ROKU XD/S. The HD movies look pretty much the same but the SD movies look better on the Apple TV. There is not as much grain and it looks like there isn't as much compression.

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