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★★★★☆

“iPod for your TV”

Written on: 06/04/2013 by WilliamMouritsen (6 reviews written)

I received the Apple TV as a gift and was skeptical it would be very useful. The launch of the 2.0 software with it’s movie rental capability has made the product much more useful. I’d still like to see new features being added more often than once a year but if you want a great internet movie rental machine this is it.

It automatically syncs my iPhoto library and makes it viewable on the HDTV. A great way to view photos with friends and family. Your photos become much more accessible and fun to share. The iTunes integration is nice for listening to your library over the home theater. It’s easy to listen to your favorite playlist while watching photos.
On the movie side, the experience of browsing for a movie, watching the trailer and then renting is nearly perfect. Downloading is quick and seamless with 7mb/sec internet. The movie selection is still thin but it's improving. No waiting for movies - select and download immediately. You can start watching within seconds depending on your internet speed. This device is very dependent on a fast internet connection. I cancelled my Netflix subscription after trying a couple movies on this device. I never felt like my Netflix subscription was fully used. With Apple TV you pay for only what you watch. HD content replaces the need to buy a Blu-Ray player and even the standard movies look as good or better than DVD.

The Apple TV could be much better with a way to browse the internet or enable iPhone apps. The YouTube content is ok but generally is very low resolution and looks bad on a TV. The television show store could also be improved with rentals or free content with some built in advertising. I have a hard time paying for a TV show when the networks let you watch free on the web. The only other improvement would be a sleep setting that puts the device in low power mode.

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