It took me ages to think of the title of this post. Yesterday I went and had my first ever play around with Apple TV. And I have to say it almost shut me up. Not quite, but almost. I was in the Apple store in Regent Street, London and I was waiting for someone, so I thought I would wait behind someone who was trying it out for the first time, huffing and sighing until they moved along and let me have a go.
So the remote is exactly the same as the one you get with a new mac these days, the only downside being you can’t control the volume of a TV with the remote, so those two buttons are a bit pointless and maybe that idea was a bit rushed. the interface is like a much more polished version of Front Row if that is possible. Pictures look very nice displayed in HD as you can imagine, but I can’t see much value in slideshows, maybe others can. Anyway, the Wii can do music slideshows so there. It also plays all your iTunes music with crystal clear Album Art, but that isn’t why you bought it either.
Getting to the TV section, and there was no TV stored locally on the machine, or available to stream over the network. They do have handy “iTunes top 10” feature that will let you watch 30 seconds of any of the current chart-topping shows. the quality is about as good as the fullscreen version on an imac. Nothing to show off on your new LCD, but as good as a normal freeview or cable channel broadcast over the air. As soon as iTunes start selling content at 720p, it will be very interesting.
Right now the only HD content are podcasts from The Washington Post, and some (no indication to which) of the trailers in the movies section. and of course, DivX, Xvid and Mkv files are a no-no out of the box, although hackers have found a way around this. When it doesn’t involve opening the box up and messing with the insides, you will find one of these babies under my bravia.