I’ve had an AppleTV for a while, and I was amused by New Media Minute‘s video report that is almost entirely positive on the AppleTV except for some criticism of the the manual search process (source: webvideoreport).
Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy my AppleTV (Amazon carries the 40GB for $224, 160GB for $324… yes I put in an affiliate link, so sue me). But I only started using it after it was a desk ornament for months.
The bottom line is that if you’re an avid iTunes user (music and movies) and a YouTube junkie, you’ll wonder how you survived without this puppy. If not, you may want to buy a used one (not too less expensive), or wait for a future version which will presumably offer more functionality, content and certainly more storage and speed.
What I dig:
- Groovin’ with the concept of a device that feeds on existing broadband without another annoying monthly charge. It gives me access to my downstairs Mac via my bedroom television! My wife is not as excited that I’m watching my favorite YouTubers before dozing off.
- I find the interface quite elegant (albeit spartan), and a recent redesign improved it and addressed some of my previous criticisms. I chew the remote, though, so I’d like one that was a little more sturdy.
- I love laying down while I catch up on YouTube videos, but I mostly resign to surfing the “highest rated” section because it’s so much easier than digging into my favorite creators through the clunky account options. The “top rated” section of YouTube is unfortunately also loaded with a lot of music videos that are simply ads for cell phone ringers, and the animated parodies seem to represent 50% of the top 70 list (oddly it doesn’t list the top 100).
Here’s what AppleTV needs to do before I’d recommend it for broader use…
- Make it easier to synch. I’m fairly computer literate but it doesn’t seem to pick up a lot of my media.
- Start the clock on my rentals when I start the movie. Not when I rent it.
- Improve the selection of movies for sale (it’s as robust as that of a fish & bait store in a small Southern town). I was at a lousy hotel in Nashville Saturday night, and the pay-per-view selection was dramatically better. Mac: Integrate with Netflix or Blockbuster and you’ll have a gem (okay- tough one to work out, but a girl can dream).
- YouTube via AppleTV needs a lot of work… four key considerations:
- Allow me subscribe to more than a dozen or so creators. Show me their videos in thumbnails, and sort them by most recent. Keep these populated without as many errors (it’s buggy). To track my favorite creators I needed to set up a new account called appletvofnalts. I’m missing a lot of my favorite creators unfortunately.
- I’d like to comment. I’m not crazy about the remote/keyboard, but I’d like the option. And I’d like to enlarge descriptions of videos so I can read them without sitting up.
- Give the search functionality (and “related videos”) the same juice that YouTube gives it on the site. It appears these features are “watered down” for AppleTV.
- When I find a good creator I want to subscribe. I can’t, so I end up favoriting the video in hopes I’ll remember to subscribe when I’m at my desktop.
AppleTV won’t yet replace your DVR or your cable TV, but it’s a nice alternative when you’re sick of the overcomplicated and slow Verizon Fios media box that doesn’t want to play any of the shows you recorded on the media base that’s downstairs because the poor man’s unit upstairs can’t handle HDTV. I love the access to YouTube, which represents about 80 percent of my use (followed by an occasional movie or television show).
Please take this seriously, Mac. There are a lot of us that want to see this model proliferate, and we’re ready to promote it to our YouTube audiences (for a modest price, naturally… we can’t live on food alone). More users means more content, and I look forward to being able to share recommendations and preferences with friends.