Testing out the Apple TV

I picked up an Apple TV this weekend. I had been holding out for quite awhile because I just couldn’t rationalize the cost without there being the content to watch. However, on friday night I discovered that MIT was integrating their open courses into ITunes along with a lot of other schools, Cal Berkely, Stanford, Michigan Tech, …. This alone was enough to warrant the purchase price for me. I haven’t been able to find the time to watch things like this, except when I’m on a plane, but with it integrated into the tv like a tivo the barrier to learning just got a whole lot lower.

The next test involves starting to get content from ITunes that I normally would get from DirectTv. Our satellite bill has gotten a bit out of hand lately, higher than I really want to pay, especially to a company like DirectTv. So I’m going to try purchasing Dexter and Weeds from ITunes and canceling Showtime. ITunes offers the shows at 480p while DirectTv offers some form of HD, it’s hard to tell with their bandwidth shaving if you’re getting a full channel, but ShowtimeHD has had issues for us with the sound being out of sync. It’s the only channel that it happens with and it’s a minor thing but it can really be annoying.

So far, Apple TV gets a big thumbs up. Very easy to setup. Offers HDMI and digital audio connections. A minor quibble is that the remote is minuscule, I’m going to lose it or the dog is going to eat it.

I asked the Apple sales person if there was any reason to get the 160Gb model for $100 more than the 40Gb model. The unit essentially acts as a proxy for your computer over wifi. It slurps content over so that there aren’t problems with playback. With a decent wifi network setting though I had no problem playing video that hadn’t finished syncing so I can’t see any reason to get the larger model. Also if you have trouble with a wifi connection it offers straight ethernet as well.

Now I’ve just got to catch up on my MIT classes and my Google EngEdu videos (I’m SO happy that they’re now offering the ability to download an mp4 instead of the proprietary Google player junk).