Why I am getting an AppleTV


I’ve been wanting to get an AppleTV for years, but I’ve never pulled the trigger until now.  The machines were always reported as hot (and I recollect reports of noise).  Worse, it probably wouldn’t have worked on our TV.  The final nail was that it was too expensive for the risk of not doing the job we wanted.

An  AppleTV is mainly a way to view your iTunes content on your TV.  Up until the new version, the AppleTV was a hard-drive based system that synced content to you main iTunes library on your computer.  The new (and much cheaper) version dumps the syncing and the hard drive and adds a few more outside connections like Netflix.  Furthermore, the new version is tiny and very quiet.

So, what changed my mind?

First, we decided to drop Cable TV.  We  spend way too much money on TV.  Given the shows we watch, we realized that most of what we want to see is on broadcast TV, Hulu, netflix, or other web sites.  The shows that aren’t freely available on the net are often easily purchased while still saving money over the cost of  Cable TV.  Thus, if we choose to buy, we would have an avenue to play the shows both on the computer and on TV (Amazon doesn’t work with macs, AFAIK, and thus gets ruled out).

Second, we made the move to HDTV.  It’s not much of a move; we sold our existing TV and are using my HD-capable computer monitor as an HDTV.  Interestingly, the size of this TV (24-inch) really shows the fact that 1080p is really only useful at 50 inches or large and that when we eventually upgrade (between 32-40 inches), 720p is enough.

Third, we have invested in the iTunes universe.

Forth, I want to minimize out-of-the-home networking.  Other boxes exist that can handle iTunes content, but understanding is the content is  pushed to outside servers and then to the box.  My internet provide does cap the amount of bandwidth I can use in a month (breaking that cap can lead to disconnection).  Thus, I don’t want any bandwidth wasted on that sort of thing.

Fifth, the AppleTV is not a computer.  When we made the decision to drop Cable TV, we reluctantly moved a computer in our family room to play iTunes content.  It is impossible to use as a computer, it’s really noisy, and takes way way too much power and space for the room.  We want it gone ASAP.

Sixth, the AppleTV is really small and has few cables.  There are many reasons this is good.  But a surprising one is that the simpler the set up, the easier it is to move into other rooms.  Eventually, we want a small HDTV in another room so easily moving the box would be great.

The AppleTV for use is a “No Brainer”.  The cost is relatively low risk if we decide we don’t like it (anything over $100 is getting up there, and anything over $200 is flat out of the picture - it’s just friggin TV after all).  The announcement of the new version shifted our focus from buying a blu-ray player (after all, the size of the TV we have wouldn’t do blu-ray justice anyway) and allows us to consider the possibility of replacing our TV with something a little larger.

I’ll report more once the device arrives.

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