Apple TV ‘Take 2′ – Post Upgrade Melancholy

For the past 24+ hours RSS readers around the globe have been awash with OS X 10.5.2 update news and notes on the ancillary side updates. The Cupertino software barrage continued today, including the Apple TV “Take 2″, which added access to iTunes rentals, Flickr/.Mac photos/movies and HD trailers.

I started the download before my evening run and it was ready to install when I finally had time to complete the upgrade. What followed was a series of very un-Apple events. From the point I told it to start the process to being greeted with the new main menu I received practically no useful feedback apart from the pretty silver-grey Apple logo and a progress bar. I experienced waiting through at least three reboots, had “static” appear (briefly) and was finally placed into a completely foreign menu system. Apple provided no verbiage on what was going on nor whether each step was truly successful, and there were no “go to apple.com/… to learn more about the update” prompts to help me prepare for the feature changes & additions. While I didn’t need those prompts, I suspect there were more than a few Apple TV users who would have really appreciated them since navigation is – in some places – radically different.

As far as the new features are concerned, Flickr & .Mac integration work very well (for as long as we have Flickr…sigh) and are easy to configure. I haven’t had the opportunity to try purchasing or renting anything from the integrated storefront (perhaps if they had managed to get Martian Child in on the Tuesday store update I would have had more reason to), but I suspect they made extra effort to get that right given how it sets up a nice, direct revenue stream for them. HD trailers, however, are just horrible. Wall•E (our two year old loves the trailer) stalled five times despite the Apple TV being hooked up via Ethernet and my Comcast link being very solid/speedy (contrast the trailer hiccups with the 180MB 10.5.2 update retrieval which downloaded in just under 2 minutes, though I realize it’s not a completely fair comparison).

So, overall, I was left a bit disappointed after the update, but look forward to being able to use the new features as Apple expands their video library and improves retrieval of HD content.

What’s your Apple TV ‘Take 2′ story and what are your thoughts on the update? If you’ve tried purchasing or renting directly from the Apple TV, how easy/seamless was it? Any hiccups with trailers, .Mac or Flickr? Share your experiences over at the Community or drop a note in the comments.

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