I have been playing around with my new Apple TV from Apple. A small black box which plugs in to your TV with a hdmi cable (not in the box) and allows you to stream your iTunes content to your telly. In comparison with some other Apple products it is as cheap as chips; at £99 this plastic box device maybe diminutive in size, but packs a wicked kick. As you kick-back and recline in front of your TV, you can watch and listen to all your lovely media; iPhotos, iTunes, movies and podcasts are only a click or two away. You can even buy or rent HD movies to watch. Not as cheap as Blockbuster but saves going out in the rain and back again to drop them off.
The Apple TV comes with a minimalistic remote, which works well, but is not Bluetooth, which means you need to be in the same room as your Apple TV. But if you have a iOS device like your iPhone or iPad you can use the Remote App to put you in control. This beats any other remote I have ever tried, even jaw dropping dear B&O models are eclipsed by this coolness. And this is the thing, the Apple TV on its own is about as useful as door stop. However when you integrate it into your digital lifestyle, it becomes like a great band; something even greater than the sum of the individual parts.
I like the fact that there are no fans, ugly great big wall warts to plug in and think the digital audio output is cool too. I love the fact that it is powered by Apple’s own A4 chip, like the iPad and iPhone 4 which makes it fast and responsive. It comes with an ethernet port, but I have only used it via my home Wi-Fi connection, which worked a treat. It would be nice if it played BBC iPlayer content directly, but maybe that will come in a future software revision? iMovies play without any anti-aliasing artefacts like sometimes show in your home produced DVD movies too. Which is a huge step-forward.
Overall, this is a killer little black box. Tiny but effective like a can of Tennants Super or a Bruce Lee finger jab. Terrific.