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Apple TV ‘Take 2’ – Post Upgrade Melancholy

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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… 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.

6 Responses to “Apple TV ‘Take 2’ – Post Upgrade Melancholy”

  1. The update went OK, albeit with the different reboots and no information. BUT – the new versions is clearly not bug-free, I have to reboot my AppleTV at least once per day (pull out power plug), I get either green screens instead of blue, wrong screen size or just NO menu at all no matter how long I wait – ie the AppleTV has crashed.

    Seriously hope for a version 2.01 SOON!

  2. Yes, the update took a little while and rebooted a few times, but hey, it’s a software update taking place…

    Watched HS trailers with no trouble, and rented an HD movie which looked great, but took a while to fully download on my DSL.

    Overall I love the new features, but I’m just bothered that my wife (who shares our Mac and our TV) isn’t able to use any of the new features really.

    A streamed iTunes user can’t rent, purchase or download without it being charged to the synced iTunes user and going into their iTunes library.

    So maybe Apple needs to work on making the new features a little more “family friendly” since we’re being asked to hook it up to our living room TV.

    Think different Apple, think Family. :)

  3. Your mileage will obviously vary, but I watched probably 8-10 high def trailers yesterday and they all started playing within about 5-10 seconds, were clearly superior to regular DVD on my 32″ 720p LCD TV, and never skipped.

    That’s over an N-only Airport Extreme network with a standard Comcast cable internet connection.

  4. My upgrade was smooth. No hiccups that I noticed, but, then again, I switched my TV to another input until I saw the light stop blinking. I also watched the Wall-E trailer, It took about 10 seconds to load and ran without a hitch, and I have a G network.
    I was a little lost without “sources’ on the new menu since I have three Macs streaming to mine. It took a minute to figure out that they are consolidated into a single “shared” item. Now you switch media types instead of sources. A little overview or some guidance would have been nice.