Apple TV Arrives

26 March 2007

Apple TV Preferences

I ordered mine within about 2 hours of its release. After over 2 1/2 months I finally got it.

I’m not going to repeat all the good coverage throughout the web. Read iLounge for the best articles.

Here are some things that, to my knowledge, haven’t been covered:

  1. Once you’ve paired it with a particular iTunes library, you can play anything in that library that is scheduled for sync, even if it hasn’t been synced yet. In this case, it streams the content.
  2. You might use the checkboxes in iTunes to control the items that are synced to your iPod. I do. That’s how I manage my video. Obviously I’m not going to be able to sync it all, so I’ve got “Only sync checked items” switched on for each iPod and I uncheck any content (like played podcasts or inactive TV shows) that I don’t want to sync. Apple TV doesn’t have this setting. You control what goes on it through the various tabs in its preferences. However, I’ve noticed that it will only look at items that are checked in iTunes.
  3. I synced a TV episode and watched it. When it was complete, Apple TV updated the play count and Last Played date in iTunes and deleted the episode from itself. I was delighted to see that this auditing was done. The biggest concern I had about it was whether it would do this very thing. If it didn’t, then my iPod wouldn’t realise that something had been played and it would show up again when not welcome.
  4. I played a TV episode that appeared in Apple TV’s menu, but hadn’t been synced yet (see point 1 above). When complete, it also updated the play count and Last Played date. I’m in heaven!
  5. TV episodes are listed in reverse order by episode number. For example, I’ve tagged my Dilbert episodes in production order, not original air date. They appear on the Apple TV in episode order, not air date. In other words, Apple TV ignores air date in sorting the list.
  6. I’ve had a few videos refuse to play when Apple TV was the source and they hadn’t been synced yet. Perhaps this was why they wouldn’t play. When I changed my source to the computer with the paired iTunes library, they played without issue.
  7. I’ve got a HD CRT TV capable of 1080i, which I’ve set it to. 16:9 content is cropped slightly on all four margins and 4:3 content is enlarged slightly and cropped on top and bottom. I have theory as to why. The screen of a CRT extends beyond the main image area because it’s a tube, thus requiring an additional margin to prevent loss of image area that would be hidden by the casing. LCDs don’t require this because their image area is absolutely defined by the screen size. If Apple TV thinks it’s attached to an LCD, it may be failing to compensate for the fact that my maximum image area goes behind the front case border. Just a theory.
  8. I was testing using wireless 11.g from computer to base station to Apple TV and it was agonisingly slow. It doesn’t help that when you use the device for anything but menu browsing, it stops syncing. I will be connecting my Apple TV with Ethernet in the future. You get used to iPods syncing at 480kbps.
  9. It was so slow to sync that I seriously considered using it as simply a streaming box, which it does remarkably well. Once you’ve paired it with a computer, you can change the source from Apple TV (internal drive) to that computer very quickly and have access to its entire library. For me, that means about 400Gb of material. If it updates the audit data on any of these files, as I imagine it should, then why would I sync anything? I leave my iTunes computer on all the time, so this would be workable for me.

More to come as I come across stuff that’s important to me or different to what others are saying.