Life With Apple TV: The First 48 Hours

Remember how I said “I Want My Apple TV”? Well, it came. And I’ve been trying it out all weekend. After a false start on Friday, where I had tried to connect an HDMI cable from the Apple TV device to my TV set, only to find out the TV set didn’t have an HDMI connector option, causing me to go to Best Buy and pick up a set of audio and video cables, we got things going Friday evening, and have run the device through its paces.

And just for The Apple Blog, I have pictures of the device in action. Keep in mind I’m an amateur photographer at best, so any lack of quality in the photos is not the responsibility of Apple Computer, The Apple Blog or any other multinational corporation, but instead my own. Any concern over lack of quality in my TV shows and music choices is another matter. Feel free to dump on me in the comments.

First, I was most surprised by the Apple TV’s size. I had naively expected it was the exact same form factor as our new Airport Extreme. I had this image in my head of piling an Airport Extreme, and then a Mac Mini and then the Apple TV, one-two-three on top of each other, but the Apple TV is considerably larger in length and width.

Second, after connecting the Apple TV to power, audio and video, I selected it from my TV’s display option, chose English as the language, and saw its startup. I then connected to my wireless network.

Third, I was presented with the Apple TV as a device in my iTunes library, much like an iPod. After entering in a 5 digit code, which allowed me to connect to the Apple TV, I set up the synchronization options in iTunes, and it began syncing. Not the fastest in the world, as my PowerBook isn’t yet 802.11n enabled, but quick enough that I fairly rapidly had TV shows and music on the device. The only catch was that any time I chose to watch a show on the Apple TV, it would stop syncing. The best way to fill up the Apple TV fast, I learned? Leave the laptop open, stop using the Apple TV, and go do something else for awhile. After all, the data is impacting my network, and trying to surf the Web while syncing would be slow and make the laptop run hot.

But once all the media was on the Apple TV, it has been incredibly easy to use. The clarity of the videos and photos is better than I had expected, even with it converting iTunes video to a 42″ plasma screen. Only in some background elements of TV shows would I see any blurriness. Also, once the data was on the Apple TV, I didn’t need to keep the laptop open for streaming or anything else. The data was all local.

The Apple Remote may seem small enough to lose in a pants’ pocket or offer a choking hazard, but it does exactly what is advertised. Up/down, left/right, play/pause and menu. Nothing fancy. With it, I was able to select playlists, show photo albums, with accompanying music and skip backward within shows if I missed a line. Unlike our TiVo, however, skipping backward can take off 10 seconds to 4 minutes, depending on the length of the show. It’s not something I’ll be using to go back a sentence or two, for example.

But, as promised, I wanted to share with you what the Apple TV looks like in the wild, in a real person’s home, and not an Apple demo scenario, so I took a bunch of photos, for most aspects of the Apple TV. Enjoy. If you have requests I missed, put those in the comments too.

Apple TV Photos:

Via iTunes



TV Shows



  • Apple TV > Screensaver > Albums
  • Apple TV > Screensaver > Albums (Mid-Rotation)