After Hours

Unboxing and testing the Apple TV

Apple TV box contents

Those who purchase and watch television shows, movies, and music videos through iTunes are no longer tied to their 20-inch computer monitors or 2.5-inch iPod screens. The Apple TV allows iTunes users to watch content from their iTunes library on a widescreen television.

To find out if this experience was really worth $299 and find out what was inside this Apple device, we purchased an Apple TV. Before cracking open the case, we gave it a test run.



By Bill Detwiler

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

13 comments
usabrit
usabrit

Great site - Excited by subject title, fraustrated by review format. In an age when people want a simple and concise means to info; this is not it! Deliver the message with ref. pics, then allow people to access more pics if they so desire.

CashewNut
CashewNut

Thanks for not having too many pictures and being details enough to give me a feel for how the Apple TV works. However, I would have loved to have know if it works with anything besides iTunes? Like Windows Media Connect or Nero's Mediahome? Both are uPnP servers, with the Nero being able to serve up H.264 material. I currently have about 50 movies that I own converted to Nero Digital H.264 AVC format that I would like to see in that format on my HDTV. I currently use a DLink DSM-520 to stream that material to my HDTV which works very good except that it doesn't play the H.264 format. So I have to have Nero Mediahome convert it on the fly to MPEG2 so that the DSM-520 can play it. I was looking at the Apply TV as a replacement for the DSM-520 because Apple said it could play H.264 AVC LC-AAC (low complexity audio). Which still might not help me since Nero Digital H.264 is AVC HE-AAC by default, but can encode LC-AAC if specified. BTW, a 1.5 hour movie in Nero H.264 is about 1GB and it looks very good on my 60" Sony through the DSM-520 - even in MPEG2 format. I figure it would look fantastic in full H.264 format! Oh well, that's my 2 cents.

El Guapo
El Guapo

Clearly, this appliance is for people that hardly venture outside, much less get out from their couch. C'mon people! Get out, get a tan and allow your skin to synthesize some vitamin D!

wrgriffjr
wrgriffjr

Really good job of reviewing a new product. Easy for me, weak on networking, to understand. Thanks

PSer
PSer

Don't stay in the sun to long ... skin cancer is a killer. However, pertaining to the "Apple TV" review (agree with the bad format posts) I don't see the point for many reasons. All of the negatives mentioned in the review can be resolved easily enough. Spend an extra $300.00 and by a Mac mini. You'll have all that this little device gives you and much more, a functioning computer. I've had my Mac hooked up to my 40" LCD/HDTV for awhile now. I can do anything mentioned in the review and Sooooo much more! Plus, way more disk space, 40 gig for an A/V Media device in this day and age ... Apple puulease! To answer your question lmunday, it does not give you anything you can't get with a Mac/PC hooked up to your HDTV. Worried about space, get the mini ... it's all good. All in all though ... thanks for the review. My wife will be pleased to know that I don't have to run out and buy yet more "must have" new technology!:) Of course, by my response, this is NOT a "must have". Have a nice day!

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Agreed - too many pictures, but after reading the whole review, I still don't know what benefit this box gives me over connecting my PC (loaded with iTunes) directly to my TV. Since I don't know what iTunes actually does, it is difficult to assess what the box is actually doing. What are we getting for our $300? Les.

techrepublic
techrepublic

I really don't need to click through 76 pages to get one pages worth of text. There may have been some good information in there, but after six pages, I gave up. Please reconsider the way these articles are presented.

info
info

For every naysayer out there, just don't read the review if you don't like the format! I personally think that these picture reviews are fantastic because now I don't have to go buy the product just to SEE how it works. Maybe to appease the impatient ones, the reviews can have a "text only" version?? But don't remove the pictures for those of us relying on seeing how technology works so when the question from a client is asked "...do you know anything about the new Apple TV?" we can confidently say, "Yes, I know its operation in detail..."

mbmiller
mbmiller

While I appreciated the photos of what's inside the Apple TV, it tried my patience to read the review spread over so many pages. I don't think I'll be checking your reviews of a product if this practice is to continue.

mbmiller
mbmiller

While I appreciated the photos of what's inside the Apple TV, it tried my patience to read the review spread over so many pages. I don't think I'll be checking your reviews of a product if this practice is to continue.

rebecca.baker
rebecca.baker

While the pictures are somewhat interesting, I would much prefer the review presented in whole with the option to step through photos.

adam
adam

I gave up too and thought the forum here may have the "readme" version. Pictures are great, woth 1k words not 1k clicks. How about just a full review page with a link to the pretty picts....

techrepublic
techrepublic

I don't think anyone is saying to get rid of the pictures. They serve a purpose. The key was not to have to click through 76 pages of pictures to be able to read the article. For those of us that don't need to examine every resistor, it's troublesome. In agreement with your suggestion, I didn't complete the article.