10/1/10
10:42 am

MacMost Now 458: Apple TV 2 First Look

Take a look at the new Apple TV. In addition to most of the features of the original, the new device includes Netflix streaming. The new iOS is masked behind an interface just like the original. But the possibility exists for future expansion with apps.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at the new Apple TV. So first, it is actually this small and light. You can compare it to an early generation iPod. Another thing is, it's pretty cool. As in it runs coolly. The original Apple TV was really hot. Anybody that owns it knows that. The connections are pretty simple. It's got HDMI out for audio and video, and it also has an optical audio out. And in addition it's got an Ethernet port in case you want to hook it up directly instead of using Wi-Fi. And it's got a USB port that we might see some future use for. It also has a power cord and it doesn't take a power brick it's just a straight power cord. The rest of the box doesn't have anything on it, not even a single button. There is a little light that lights up when it's awake and powered up.
And here's the remote that comes with the Apple TV. It's the larger, more modern, aluminum remote. Not the original small white remote that was so easy to lose with the original Apple TV. You can also use a free iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad app to control it and it's actually easier to type things in on the keyboard using one of those iOS devices. And it hooks up using Wi-Fi in your house and it works really well.
So a quick tour of the interface here. It looks a lot like the original Apple TV interface except of course it's a complete difference OS. You've got movies on the left, and then tv shows, internet, the computers that you've got hooked up, and then last is settings. Now let's take a closer look at movies here. You can go into top movies or genres or search. Any way you do it you end up with a list here and you can browse through it left and right, up and down. Just like the original Apple TV. You can select a movie and then view more information about that movie, see a preview of it or rent it right there. Now everybody's very interested in the Netflix ability so you go to internet, Netflix, and the first time you do this of course you have to enter the Netflix credentials. But then you can go browse through all the different movies and TV shows available. You can select one and it looks just like if you're renting something in iTunes actually, the same interface, except you go to play it and it will stream from Netflix again. If you have a Netflix streaming account which is not their lowest tier but second lowest, it's around nine dollars a month in the U.S. you can stream anything available.
Like the old Apple TV you have the ability also to view YouTube videos. And you can look at the most featured ones viewed, you can also search for a video. So let's search for MacMost here, and we'll see it appear as we type in the letters. I'm using my iPhone remote app to type them in, and you can see the MacMost videos appear, and you can watch them directly from YouTube.
You can also go to podcasts and browse the podcast directory, and look for podcasts and just watch them directly there. You don't really subscribe to them here. You just basically search through the genres and find a podcast you want to watch and you could see a list of episodes and select one to view. You could also listen to audio podcasts as well. So there's a list, and you can select one to watch, read about it, and play it.
One of my favorite features about the old Apple TV and this new one is the ability to be able to search through Flickr. So you could basically sit there in front of your TV, decide you want to see a picture of something and search for it to just find pictures of various things. Flickr has a huge database of photos. So for instance just search for waterfall and you can see just tons of photos come up and you can view any of them.
And of course you could also stream your music library once you have a computer set up with home sharing and your Apple TV set up for home sharing as well, then you can browse the music on your computer and stream it directly from that computer, so.
In addition to viewing your photos from your computer and Flickr photos, you could also view photos from Mobile Me galleries. Another big feature is Airplay. This allows you to say play music from iTunes on your computer through the speakers attached to your Apple TV. And I tested this out and it worked great. You simply turn on Airplay on iTunes and then select the Apple TV as your speakers at the bottom right corner of iTunes. You can also select multiple speakers, and select both your computer and Apple TV to play the same music, and believe it or not it syncs perfectly. You can actually have the Apple TV speakers and your computer speakers right next to each other and you don't hear any echo or difference.
So I should also point out that there are a lot of rumors around the fact that this uses the iOS, the same one on the iPhone, and has a very similar architecture to the iPad, which means there's a real possibility of future third party or Apple apps that could add functionality to it. So I have to see what the future holds. Hope you liked this first look at Apple TV, 'til next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 458: Apple TV 2 First Look”

    Jean Brunet
    10/7/10 @ 9:38 am

    Hi, can I see the whole internet with Apple TV, if not is there an alternative. Thanks.

      10/7/10 @ 9:40 am

      Do you mean does Apple TV have a Web browser? No.
      As for alternative, what do you mean? You can browse the Web with a computer and hook that up to a TV. There are some devices that allow you to surf the web (The Wii, for instance). It depends on exactly what you want.

    Frank
    10/7/10 @ 3:41 pm

    Hi. Sometimes I hook up my laptop with the TV to watch shows from like NBC online using the bigger TV as a monitor. Since I can listen to music or see photos from my mac over the (wireless) home network can I also watch this show over Apple TV?

      10/7/10 @ 4:05 pm

      No. Apple TV doesn’t work like that. It streams media files. It doesn’t currently work with any of those services.

    Terry
    10/7/10 @ 3:54 pm

    Hi Gary, great podcasts, may I mention though, the mac start up chime is not at concert pitch, I wish it was, so when you use it with other music it’s a musical car crash….. Keep up the good work. Regards. Terry.

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