2nd Gen AppleTV Review
The new 2nd Generation AppleTV is out. I picked one up earlier this week to replace one of the three first gen apple tv's i own. At $99 dollars it's a bit hard to belive since the old ones were running around $300. Let me start by saying i have been using the 1st gen since it came out and love it and so do my kids being able to connect to my office computer and stream all my media to any room in the house is awesome.
Allot of people have a misconception on what the AppleTV is. People call it a media center this is wrong, it is not. Your media center is your computer running Itunes. I would call the AppleTV a Media-Bridge it bridges your Itunes library with any TV in your home. Think of it this way if i had multiple tv's in my house i would not want to have multiple copies of my media at every location the idea is on only have your media in one location.
First thing we notice is how small the 2nd gen is compared to the first gen. This is due to the fact they removal of the hard-drive to me this is not a big deal i never used it anyway, as well as the component jacks removal and the switch to micro usb.
Second the remote has been changed so the aluminum version. Much better feels stronger and better in the hand. (FYI: up/down/left/right buttons are not scroll like the old Ipods)
Hardware Setup is fairly simple Plug in the power cord supplied, Connect HDMI, Optical and in my Case Ethernet (does include 802.11n but i have a cat6 cable why not use it)
On boot Up we notice is the 2nd Generation AppleTV display seems small on my TV. The TV format changes to 720P. With the 1st gen my format was 1080p with same TV and same Channel i am connecting to.
Note: Both AppleTv's only outputted 720p video however the 1st gen did do some kind of upconversion which is why my tv format was showing 1080 but this was not true 1080 just upscaled. But even still not sure why they are not doing this with the new one. and i could only imagine the next AppleTv will have to support 1080. but then again 720 is just as good with the right bitcoding behind it. However with my TV i was able to use the format 720p Zoom which in turn displayed things like the 1st gen AppleTV
Note: Pics are grainy Becasue of dark room not video quality
Software Setup was pretty straight forward The AppleTV detects if you have an ethernet cable connected or not which in turn will display settings for ethernet or wireless automatically
First Impressions i noticed the menus are way snappier then before hands down much more responsive.
Aswell as the menus are moved around in this version of iOS on 1st Gen models your Itunes moves would be listed on Move/MyMoves now they have created a new top lvl tab called Computers which have subdirectory of local network computers running Itunes then in there you have your menus for Mymovies etc.. I can see how this would benefit if you are running multiple computers with multiple Itunes but for me seems cumbersome to get to.
Netflix is a nice add to Itunes works as advertised video quality is decent. I do get the spinning ball a bit loading video's prob a good 30-60 seconds of black screen and ball
Conclusion: All in all nice product for the price. At $100 bucks its hard to beat. However anyone who is using 1st Generation would only benefit right now from Netflix and snappyer performance, Now when the next iOS release for the Iphone is out there is Airplay which might make this worth it. Airplay will let you push content from your phone to your Appletv.
For people who use Itunes hands down i would suggest AppleTv
For people using other media management software i would ask them to evaluate it for them self's
Will reviews to come when Airplay is released.