I have AppleTV!

So, fresh back from my trip to New York, Washington DC, Maryland and New Jersey, I get a call from the Apple store here in Columbia that both my AppleTV and Airport Extreme had arrived.

Previously I was using a Linksys 54g router for the main networking and an Airport Express to stream music to my HK430 and Heresys.  It worked alright, though the Linksys didn’t really like the Airport Express.

Well, I unboxed the two and had them BOTH up and running full power within ten minutes.

The AppleTV is connected to the HDTV (42″ LCD) via component and to the HK430 through stereo RCA.  I couldn’t take advantage of the HDMI since my TV only has one HDMI input and it is through the HDTV DVR and since the HK430 doesn’t have a digital audio input…

The AppleTV works great, I started out just streaming the movies, music, tv shows, podcasts… from my computer.  The AppleTV only has a 40gb hard drive (32gb available) so there is no way it can hold it all.   At first I thought I would be upset with the limited hard drive space, but considering my iMac is on nearly 24/7 and the two are connected through 802.11n (super duper fast), that problem isn’t really a problem, for me at least.  In order for me to not have to worry about hard disk space, I would need at least 500gb on the AppleTV.  Right now I have around 400gb’s of media in iTunes and by the end of this year I will be beyond 1tb, there really isn’t a media center that even comes close to that that isn’t a stand alone computer type deal (and very expensive, although also very versatile).  Some people have already hacked the AppleTV to have 120gb hard drives, and larger.  If they ever make a slim enough 1tb or greater hard drive, maybe I will play with that.

The AppleTV sends out a 1080i signal which is more than any of the media it currently streams.  The sound quality and picture quality is fantastic.  I rip my DVD’s to iTunes through Mediafork at 1350kbps H.264 mp4.  Takes about 45 minutes to rip a DVD and the results are pretty great.  I have ripped only about 50 or so DVD’s so far and each and every one plays just perfectly on the AppleTV.

Playing music is an experience, the visuals are great, everything is classic Apple smooth.  Ridiculously smooth.  The pictures I take with my Nikon D80 are synced at their full 10.2mp resolution and jeeze, they POP on the screen.

Streaming from the iMac works really well.  It takes a while for the initial connection to be made but once you get it connected it is just as fast as navigation from the AppleTV’s hard drive.

Some gripes though (3).

You can’t shuffle music videos for parties.  That is ridiculous.  I have over 300 music videos purchased through the iTunes Music Store and to not be able to shuffle them for a party, only able to select a single song at a time, is just plain stupid.  Same goes for the Front Row software on all new Macs.  It really annoys me.

While the AppleTV remembers where you left off on your TV shows and movies (even if watched from iTunes or Front Row), it doesn’t remember where you left off in your Podcasts.  A one hour podcast like Keith and the Girl needs that.

Just as with a DVD player or CD player, you can’t change the volume of the programs playing.  I guess it wouldn’t be a problem is my amp had a remote control, but the HK430 doesn’t.  Anyone wanna modify it to do that for me? :)  I might finally be buying a new receiver, one that can handle a few more inputs and a remote control.

It is amazingly small and intelligent, the menus and quality are top notch.  Check on out sometime!

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