|apple tv annoy 1|
So I'm playing around with the Apple TV now, and it's a mixed bag, especially compared to the much more flexible [email protected]. It's hard to consider them on even terms, they are different beasts, doing the same sort of task, but in radically different ways. The play@ has a PC do all the heavy lifting, and just has to display a simple MPEG stream. Anything you've got a direct show filter for, it can stream. Of course, Itunes tv-shows don't have a direct show filter, so if you want to watch them on a tv, you're stuck with the apple tv. It's approach is different. It can do a streaming mode, important if your media collection is anywhere over 30gb, but the default mode is much like an ipod, with itunes syncing content it thinks you'll like, to the appleTV's local storage. The upside is you don't have to have a mostly dedicated media server PC. But if you've got over 30gb in media, chances are you do anyways, and it sits mostly idle except for fileserving anyways. The downside to this is the order of media-sync preference is video,audio,pictures. Thankfully I let it sync a few photos before I added music to my library, otherwise I don't think it'd have very many pics local to the appleTV( the streaming mode doesn't do pictures, according to the docs).
The interface is prettier on the apple, but I can do full file-system navigation from the play@. I don't have to keep everything in it's library feature, something I despise about the apple/itunes synchronicity.
Overall, the appleTV comes out looking pretty poor against the play@, even more so when I consider play@ hasn't had a software release since 2004. If it weren't for the stupid vista bogus security feature of locking down/removing the all-users directories it requires, the play@ would work under vista even. In apple's favor, I suspect they will update it alot, make use of the usb port for some sort of expansion, all the stuff that comes from a big name company milking a gravy train.