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WSJ reviews AppleTV: "simple and elegant"

updated 02:05 am EDT, Wed March 21, 2007

WSJ reviews AppleTV

The Wall Street Journal has the first review of Apple TV, the company's wireless set-top box that began shipping earlier this week, concluding that "Apple TV performed perfectly in Walt's house over a standard Wi-Fi wireless network with a Pioneer plasma TV and six different computers -- three Windows machines from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and three Apple Macs." The device, which connects wirelessly to up to six home computers and then with a cable to a widescreen TV, runs a modified version of Mac OS X, with a "carefully limited set of functions" and has the most notable limitation of not being able to download content directly from the internet, according to the review. It also notes that users cannot adjust volume from Apple's simple remote and that it only supports televisions with Component or HDMI inputs. [subscription required]

"In our tests, it worked great, and we can easily recommend it for people who are yearning for a simple way to show on their big TVs all that stuff trapped on their computers. We tried it with various combinations of Windows and Mac computers, with movies, photos, TV shows, video clips and music. And we didn't even use the fastest wireless network it can handle. It performed flawlessly. However, it won't work with older TVs unless they can display widescreen-formatted content and accept some newer types of cables."

However, tech guru Walt Mossberg, after testing the device for 10 days, says that the device isn't for everyone because it has a limited set of functions that simply the process of transferring content from a Mac or PC to television, but faces competition from devices like Microsoft's Xbox 360, which unlike Apple TV, can download content directly from the internet.

"Apple TV isn't for that small slice of techies who buy a full-blown computer and plug it directly into a TV, or for gamers who prefer to do it all through a game console," he wrote. "And it's not for people who are content to watch downloaded TV shows and movies directly on a computer screen. Instead, it's for the much larger group of people who want to keep their home computers where they are and yet enjoy their downloaded media on their widescreen TVs."

Mossberg also notes Apple TV worked well with 802.11g networks, even though it also has the ability to work with faster 802.11n networks, but said that Apple TV did not support streaming of photos, but claimed that Apple would enable the feature in the future.

"In our tests, streaming worked just as well as playing content from the Apple TV's own hard disk," the report said. "Even though Walt's Wi-Fi network is of the older "G" variety, and the Apple TV can handle newer, faster "N" variety networks, every single movie, TV show and song streamed without interruption from both Windows and Mac computers. That even included older or slower computers. This was an impressive feat."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ruperts

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    it's a great device

    but i just seems a bit expensive for what it does

  1. jonbwfc1

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    volume...

    You don't atler the volume on the AppleTV, you alter it on whatever device is actually playing the sound i.e. a TV or amplifier. Sheesh.

    Jon

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: volume

    Agreed but the volume buttons are present on the remote supplied with the Apple TV and they work on iPod hifi's and computers connected to a TV. Its worth noting in the article.

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    compatible

    I wonder if the full article gives more info about compatible TVs. I've owned several "regular" TVs with component inputs and none of them would have been compatible with ?TV, contrary to what the first paragraph seems to say. I just fear that Apple's going to be seeing a lot of returns.

  1. dweebert

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: Volume

    It is worth noting. It is also worth noting that the volume is not controllable in FrontRow either, when you are connected through the digital audio output.

    I think this is what one would expect from a component in their system -- that the volume be controlled by the receiver -- and frankly, I would be a bit disappointed if the volume were controllable from the device itself (unless it had a setting to turn off the feature). It would be nice if the up/down buttons on the remote did something useful, though. (Maybe in Front Row 2.0?)

  1. zac4mac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    "Component" input is not

    the same as Composite(RCA). Older TVs had Composite or S-Video.

    Z

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: volume

    I think this is what one would expect from a component in their system -- that the volume be controlled by the receiver -- and frankly, I would be a bit disappointed if the volume were controllable from the device itself (unless it had a setting to turn off the feature). It would be nice if the up/down buttons on the remote did something useful, though. (Maybe in Front Row 2.0?)

    Why would you be "disappointed"? Is there something intrinsic about your media center that, if any device actually tried to control the sound, it would put you into a state of depression and/or disappointment? I mean, you might be annoyed, but diappointed?

    And I agree with all about the inclusion of the item. People see a volume control on a remote, they actually might think, I don't know, it controls the volume or something. In fact, if it actually has absolutely no use (i.e. it doesn't control the volume in ANY circumstance), then what in the h*** is it there for? They tout apple as being elegant and thinking things through, and then they throw in a remote where two of six buttons have no purpose (and this on a remote that's already extremely limted in its abilities).

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    component ? composite

    component: Red, Green, Blue for video, white and red for audio

    conposite: Yellow for video, white and red for audio

  1. heedlix

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    connecting to older tv's

    These days, most av receivers worth their salt can also consolidate video connections. A quick search at Circuit City reveals several choices for $200 and under that have composite in AND out.

    Many options.

  1. GORDYmac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    For the record,...

    ...the Apple remote doesn't explicitly say "Volume". And it's stupid to expect the player to control volume...does your DVD player? What about your cable box?

    I'd love to integrate the Apple remote's buttons into my cable box's universal remote. Maybe I'll just buy a one remote to rule them all.

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