I’ve written about Apple TV before, but I think it’s a subject that bears revisiting. There’s a lot of people who could get a huge bang for their buck with this unit, just like I’m doing.
Do you have an HD television?
Do you have a home WiFi network?
Do you have a Netflix subscription?
Do you have one or more iOS devices such as an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?
Do you have a computer with iTunes on it?
If you’re answering yes to these questions, go immediately to your local Apple retail store and get Apple TV. Here’s a few scenarios describing how I use mine.
Netflix Instant Watch. If you’re still fishing red DVD envelopes out of your mailbox every few days, wake up! With your DVD-in-the-mail subscription you also get unlimited streaming. There’s thousands of movies and television shows for you to choose from. And while the selection isn’t everything you could possibly want, it’s plenty large enough to be worthwhile. In fact, I find it so worthwhile that I opted for a streaming-only subscription to Netflix. No more DVDs for me. What do I do when I want a just-released blockbuster that isn’t available to stream on Netflix? Read on.
Have you seen the latest viral Youtube video? Of course you have. But wouldn’t it be nice to watch it on TV so you could enjoy it with your friends and family? Definitely. Apple TV does Youtube. (Incidentally, the Honey Badger is my animal spirit guide.)
Supposing I’m going to hang in the kitchen, cooking or doing dishes, and I want some music? I can reach into my pocket, pull out my iPhone, fire up my favorite music and AirPlay it right to my TV and out it comes through my surround sound speakers. If a clunker comes up on random? I can use the phone to skip it. Or pause it or whatever. And if my phone rings? The music fades out for me to hear it, then comes back up once I’m done talking. Remote music through the entertainment center speakers is a thing that also works with my iPad and with my computer. I think the phone is just handier.
Netflix streaming and YouTube are fine and dandy, but what do you do on a Friday night when you really want to see that hot movie just released for home video? In a bygone era, you’d have to drive to Blockbuster (hope you get there early and remember to return it on time). More recently, you could (if you had the foresight to do so) put it on your Netflix DVD queue and hope it arrives on time. I suppose some people just go to a Redbox machine or something. Me, I rent from iTunes. Yeah, it’s like $3-$4. But it works beautifully, I don’t have to leave my couch, there’s nothing to return and no late fees.
Remember when home WiFi was a new thing? And laptops didn’t all come with WiFi radios inside them? I remember having to convince people that the addition of WiFi into their homes would make their laptop so much more useful. I feel the same way now about Apple TV. It makes things like your Netflix subscription and your iOS devices much cooler than before. And for only a Benjamin!
Some will want to point out that Apple’s not the only game in town. Roku and Google TV and others are in this market as well. I don’t think any of them have gotten it just right, though. Apple’s is the solution I recommend.