So you took advantage of Black Friday and picked up a sweet 50 inch HDTV, a Angry Birds-toting Roku 2 XS and a great Xbox bundle. But what good are all these new toys if the audio coming out of them is flat, boring and anemic?
In November, I received an email from the people at Kanto Speakers asking me if I would be interested in reviewing their new speaker system. It’s called the Kanto Yaro, a two-channel audio system, made especially for owners of streaming setup boxes like the Apple TV, utilizing audio technology by the venerable Bang & Olufsen (the makers of beautiful speaker systems I could never dream of affording). I of course said “YES!”
Kanto Yaro digital stereo system
The Yaro is a breeze to setup, dramatically improves on the stock audio from your television and does it with panache. But does its performance match the $330 price tag?
You might remember, since it was my last post, that when I updated my iTunes to 7.7.1, it crashed my iTunes Library. I had to start from scratch. One reader posted a question in my comments. ZC asked, did I really have the music, why would I have that much media, is it all legal/illegal; etc etc.
I most certainly do have that much music, or I did before the crash. Some numbers have dropped but I retained about 95% of my media.
Why so much? Well, I don’t pay for cable/satellite and I live in an area where picking up HD over the air is not very feasible. I got tired of paying for HD-DVR Cable a few years ago and when the AppleTV came out, I was done with it.
Since I was in high school I had the habit of buying lots of CD‘s from Warehouse Music. The store near my house was going out of business, for four years, and I took advantage of its slow, slow death.
I had a great job working in a chemical company’s laboratory and doing IT work, since I only had classes half of the day, I spent the last year of high school working and really racking up a large library of music.
When iTunes was released for the PC, I went berzerk. The first thing I purchased, sadly, was Mama Mia; I was hitting on someone who wanted a copy of the CD.
Anyways, the seed was born and I put about $100/month into my iTunes account though it wasn’t uncommon for me to buy 10 CD’s from a new/used music store in a day.
I did this not only to fulfill my love of music, I did it also because I lived with four to six other people who also loved music; I had money, they did not. I would buy music and let them stream it onto their iTunes in our home. We had large parties at least once a week, it was college after all, and those parties required vast quantities of high quality, popular music.
Later, I would tire of paying for cable and DVR. The whole idea of paying to watch something once was stupid to me. Almost worse was paying to record something only to have to delete it sometime later.
Remember that episode of The OC when what’s-her-face gets drunk and makes out with who’s-that-ho?
I decided I wanted to start buying my television shows and watching them on my schedule. Going to school, working full time, watching tv, doesn’t work.
I got the AppleTV the day it came out. I got an iPod video, the day it came out. I watched my television at the gym, I listened to my music and podcasts in the car.
When the AppleTV finally arrived, I was able to put these movies onto our 46″ plasma screen and off of my tiny iPod screen or my 24″ iMac screen. That was amazing to me.
I bought more and more television this week. I considered my cable tv bill of $70/month to be my allowance for buying television shows on iTunes/AppleTV.
Eventually I filled up the 500gb hard drive of my iMac and bought two 1TB externals, one for Time Machine and one for iTunes.
Now I have a 55″ HDTV in my apartment and a 42″ HDTV at our condo. The 55″ HDTV is powered by my AppleTV, the 42″ is done so by my MacBook Pro through DVI/HDMI.
I am never stranded without some form of entertainment from my iPod, my iPhones (Edge and 3G versions), my iMac, my MacBook Pro or my AppleTV. It allows me to workout longer and harder. It keeps plane rides and bus trips barable and to me is a worthy investment.
Friends come over all the time to watch old seasons of Weeds or Damages, just like you would if you had the series on DVD. Only now we can just click through the AppleTV and don’t have to deal with CD’s and DVD’s all over the place.
Some might think I’m crazy and some people have hundreds and thousands of more titles than I do. It is not a bragging thing, it is just me loving media and entertainment and consuming it on my time, on my rules when I want to do it.
Being the Apple fan boy that I am, when iTunes 7.7.1 came out yesterday, I hopped right on it. Supposedly it fixed some bugs and stability issues. I installed it through Software Update, went smoothly, usual, blah blah.
Then it started to sync my iPhone 3G. It reinstalled every application, even those I had requested to not be installed onto the iPhone.
Then it said there were updates for all 24 applications. I had them download and then install.
First off, let’s complain that iTunes keeps every version of every application, it never just deletes the old buggy ones. So you end up with 1, 2, 3, 8+ versions of applications.
Oh and it loses them, or at least iTunes 7.7.1 did. Do you see a problem here?
One hour later, still installing and then it froze. I restarted the computer, then started the sync again.
Warning, 11 files could not be synced because they could not be found.
Warning, 100 files could not be synced because they could not be found.
Meanwhile, only 600mb+ songs synced out of the previous, um, 12gb of music.
Did a check… Apparently some 10-90% of my music was moved to my Time Machine, as far as the library was concered.
10-90% because it would only show up if I tried to play or sync them and the vast majority of my synced songs didn’t sync… So thinking that might extend throughout the Library… yeah…
Not only iTunes 7.7.1 “move” files from my 1tb MyBook external and into my other 1tb MyBook external which is my Time Machine, and not just to there, to inside of email account archives. WHAT THE F*CK?!
So guess what I get to do? I get to reload my entire iTunes Library. Anyone that knows me probably knows that I have quite the iTunes Library of music, movies, television shows, applications, podcasts, games, audiobooks and then some; we are talking over 700gb of data.
Now I have no stats on my music, no play counts, skip counts, ratings…
Now I cannot sync to AppleTV or to my iPods or iPhones because I can’t do smart playlists. I cannot say pick the newest 5gb, I can’t say choose the Top 1,000 Played, I can’t say pick the Top 5gb Top Rated…
I had stats on over 35,000 songs and over 1,400 television shows and 80 movies…
So now what? Now I call Apple, first thing in the morning and bitch bitch bitch.
Never have I hated Apple, but this is really getting me close to that point.
Moreover, I have more stuff to bitch about. iTunes refuses to Sync my Microsoft Exchange accounts from Mail to my iPhone 3G. It also doesn’t store my iPhone Apps on the proper drive, they go to my Macintosh HD not my iTunes drive.
So much of this could be prevented by iTunes storing song ratings and play counts within the files just as MediaJukebox did.