Apple TV Review 2011 UK Edition – Overview
If you asked a group of people to explain the Apple TV, I’d place a good bet that not even half of them could accurately describe it. “You watch TV on it”, wrong! Instead, the main feature of Apple TV is to rent on demand movies, like those you can rent on Sky, Virgin and other subscription TV services… so what purpose does this product really serve? In this Apple TV review 2011 we attempt to find out what this mysterious device really is.
Steve Jobs always referred to Apple TV as merely a ‘hobby’, it has never really been what we’d consider a main product from this giant company – look, it’s even listed under iPod on the Apple website. The first generation Apple TV was big, clunky and overly expensive for what it offered. People knew this, so even after updates to the interface, price cuts and plenty of promotion, it still didn’t take the world by storm.
The second generation Apple TV that we’ll be reviewing today was released in September 2010. After Apple realised they needed to rescue this player, they’ve made a sleeker, quieter and more purposeful product, with a much more understandable price tag of just £100.
Walk into an Apple retail store and try and find the Apple TV. It’s a tough challenge, its not because they don’t hold stock (possible), but the box is tiny! Especially if you were familiar with the size of the 1st generation product, you’ll need help, go and ask a rep, “You’re looking for the Apple whaaaa?” Ok I digress, but upon finding the small white box, you’ll notice its styled in true Apple form, minimalistic appearance, key details listed and a couple of photos.
Cracking the lid open reveals the Apple TV sitting on a shelf in the upper half of the box and a bunch of familiar accessories resting below: setup guide, information guide and stickers to spam across your work mates back. Also included is a power cord with a nice long lead and a sleek aluminium remote control.
I know the saying, bigger is better. But believe me, the size of the Apple TV will still satisfy the wife. It’s tiny! Measuring under 10cm in length on both sides and a few over 2cm in height, it will fit any position within your TV stand.
Okay so design, definitely an improvement over the predecessor. It features glossy sides, a matte black top and the Apple TV logo etched into the top, all contained in a sharp rounded design (like the iPhone 4).
The base is completely rubber and is swallowed outwards at the middle, which sort of gives the illusion that the device is floating. Slightly confusing when you try and shift the device, it grips very well, so no, you haven’t gone mad – the device doesn’t float.
You know those instructions that were included? I bet you haven’t read them, there’s no need, a good product shouldn’t need instructions telling you how to set it up and use it. Patience is a virtue, but when we’re talking tech, no one likes waiting. Fortunately the Apple TV is dead simple to connect up, plug the power cord in, connect your TV through HDMI and connect your amplifier via optical (optional). If you don’t have a WiFi network, there’s no need to feel old, Apple have provided an Ethernet connection. There’s also a mini USB port, which is for support/troubleshooting only.
Apple like to keep things simple, the remote reflects this. It’s constructed from solid aluminium and uses only navigation buttons, Menu and Play/Pause. No Power button? Hold the centre navigation button to turn on/off the device, much alike an iPod. An app is available from Apple for iPod/ iPhone and iPad that acts as a remote control.