Product Type: Apple receivers
Newest Review: ... a dealbreaker. By far the most impressive feature is it's integration with other Apple products. I have a MacBook Pro running Mountain ... more
Basic but with huge potential
Apple TV MC572B/A
Member Name: mng70
Apple TV MC572B/A
Advantages: Tiny, quick and reasonable priced
Disadvantages: No onboard storage, HDMI only, not much to do out of the box, tied to iTunes
The Apple TV has often been referred to as Apple's hobby project and I can see why. It is clear that Apple aren't 100% behind the device as it's functions demonstrate. The first Apple TV (see my other review) was a bit of a dark horse. On the surface it was simply an extension to Apple's iTunes ecosystem. But the device was laid bare when hackers were able to break the security and found out that this little box of tricks is more than a one trick pony. Under the hood was basically a Mac Mini with a scaled down operating system. By installing applications such as Boxee and XBMC, opened the device up and showed it's true colours. It was fantastic.
This is Apple's second version of the Apple TV. It's a quarter of the size of the original one and doesn't have any on board storage. So this is basically a streaming device that connects to iTunes on your wired or wireless network. The device has Wireless N and an Ethernet port along with HDMI and optical out ports at the back. With the device being so small it does look a little strange next to your large TV and at first glance you believe it to not being as capable as it really is. It's also really simply to set up, just plug in, enter your Apple account details and you're away.
Once you switch it on it is clear that Apple haven't spent much time modifying the user experience as it's very similar to the original. However, the device does perform faster and does run on Apple's IOS 4 platform. The menus are simply to navigate by clicking the remote left and right to select a category and up and down to select an option. Playback is also of good quality. The output is limited to 720p although the device can take a 1080p signal and downscale accordingly. Sound is also top notch and running through optical to a receiver sounds excellent.
The proof of all this is down to the content and this is where it falls a little. The US version has extra features such as Netflix and Last.FM. Subscribers across the pond can relish in all that is good about the Apple TV. Here in the UK is slightly different. We can rent movies through the menus, watch youtube videos, stream our iTunes content and run various other little applications on it. That's about it! However, as in the first Apple TV there is light at the end of the tunnel. The hackers have returned and XBMC has just been ported. This will require the user to jailbreak the Apple TV but I firmly believe that this functionality should have been out of the box to begin with.
I like the Apple TV but I feel I will love it as soon as I start to run XBMC on it. At £100 I feel it priced correctly but only once you have broken the seal.
Summary: Great potential
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