My recent upgrade experience with Apple TV was fraught with problems. I may be in the minority, in fact, I hope I am.
The download and installation went fine. I then settled back to enjoy the new features. It kept locking up (failing to register button presses) at many places in the interface. Internet content (thumbnails, previews, trailers) was slow to download, but I’ve got a 24Mbit/ps connection and it shouldn’t be that slow. It restarted itself about 4 times. I eventually worked out that it would most often crash when being synced. On at least one occasion I wasn’t doing anything when this happened, but it seems that doing any internet activity while iTunes continually tries to jump in and sync gave it a lot of problems. Letting it start to sync then stopping it in iTunes made iTunes stop trying for an extended time and I was able to do some browsing.
The iTunes Store looked good, but I wasn’t able to buy anything! I kept getting the error message “The iTunes Store could not be contacted.” This is despite being able to buy content with my two Macs and the iPod Touch. I rang Apple on this and was put through to the hardware department (I couldn’t decide if it was a hardware or iTunes Store issue). They couldn’t help because it was outside its 90-day phone support period! I was pretty annoyed about this. This is an unusual situation–isn’t 2.0 essentially a new device, even though the hardware isn’t new? That’s how I saw it.
As a possible solution, I restored it to factory settings. I didn’t realise that this meant version 1.0! Think about that–it means that 1.0 is still living on the drive, with the software update taking up additional room. I completely expected 2.0 to overwrite 1.0. I guess this means that if you wanted to roll back to whatever version came with it, you could restore and achieve this same effect.
So I had to download the 2.0 again and install it again. Luckily, it hasn’t crashed since the second installation. I let it sync everything first before using it so that it wouldn’t get interrupted. Syncing still causes glitches. If I start playing a video and iTunes decides to check at that point to see if it needs syncing, the video will choke. Doesn’t happen all the time, but iTunes sure is a spanner in the works. I really wish Apple would now pour their attention into the performance of the hardware. When the swoosh of the main menu giving way to a sub menu halts midway, then jerkily completes the animation, or repeated button pressing to simply move the cursor results in no response, it’s a bad experience.
It’s clear that Apple is getting more serious about Apple TV, with this major update, HD content and rentals, so I’m confident that these issues can be addressed and my beloved device won’t fade into obscurity. It’s our responsibility as Apple TV owners to continue to give Apple feedback so they know what isn’t working. Don’t forget to give them some praise sometimes.
Update: It’s been a lot better since the restore. Hasn’t crashed. It does choke near the beginning of every second or third video I play, which it never did before, even with the same files. The video sticks and the remote becomes unresponsive, like it’s trying to catch up. Perhaps it’s a buffering situation. Anyway, I can backtrack a few seconds when it comes alive again and view the choked section. I can hardly ring up Apple and tell them that my ripped DVD tracks aren’t playing properly!