the best thing since sliced bread

Before I write my post on how much I love my MacBook Air, I am going to write one on how much I am in love with my new Apple TV. Oh maw gawd, people. This thing simply rocks my world. In a way that I never imagined possible.

First off, I had zero expectations for the Apple TV. I bought it (as I do with most of my gadgets) on a complete whim. I have recently been reading several articles about how you can now rent HD movies on the Apple TV and start streaming them quickly. This sounded pretty cool, so while I was perusing the Apple store in Santa Monica I saw that the price of the Apple TV (cheap edition 40 gig) was only $229. Hey, low cost – I figured if I hated it I could sell it in the UK (where the price is $400).

I didn’t really understand what the Apple TV did. Other than I could stream my iTunes videos to the TV which sounded cool enough as it was.

So what the hell does it do?

Out of the box – which is beautifully packaged in Apple style – there is only the box (quite small), Apple Remote and a power cable. That is all. No video or audio cables. Guess it is up to you to figure out how to connect it. Easy enough.


I plugged it in and – guess what? It just worked. Set up took about 1 minute. And I was in. Yipee!

Great – now what?

The home menu is simple as can be. Movies, TV Shows, Music, Podcasts, Photos, You Tube and Settings.

I went in first to Photos and set up my Flickr account and some friends so I can view their photos. Fun already just to see my photos on the screen.

Next I went into Movies and started watching some HD trailers. One thing to note is that initially it was giving me UK Apple Store specific content. This essentially means that you have a scaled down version of fun things on the Apple TV. No movie rentals, crap selection of TV shows to buy, etc… I had to go into Settings and set the location to the US store and log in with my US account to unlock the full potential of content.

Moving on. Went to TV shows. Cool that I can preview everything.

Ended up in Podcasts. Let me preface this by saying that I had zero interest in Podcasts. I have tried a few times to subscribe to audio podcasts on my iPod, but never listened to them. Not sure why – guess it would take some time for me to train myself to do this. Anyways. I went to this section out of pure curiosity.

And I discovered possibly one of the coolest features of the Apple TV!

Video podcasts. Wow. Who knew there were so many these days? But alas, there are. And some great content in there. I got right up into TED keynotes and went on to Obama speeches and other fun stuff. Best of all, you don’t have to subscribe to them, you can just stream them directly and if you like them add them as a favourite. Totally underestimated this. There is a fantastic amount of content available. Awesome.

Moving on, went to the YouTube section. I was able to easily add my account. All my subscriptions show up and my favourites which was pretty cool and will probably encourage me to spend a little more time optimising my YouTube account so it will be better on the Apple TV.

I guess what I am trying to summarise to you folks is that the Apple TV rocks my world. It is beyond easy to set up and the functionality is amazing. Get stuck up in those video podcasts right away! My only regret is not having gotten the one with the bigger harddrive.

If you nerds are looking for cooler hacks for you Apple TV – here you go.