(note: this is a revised version of an earlier post.)
So I picked up an [amazon_link id=”B001FA1NK0″ target=”_blank” ]Apple TV version 2[/amazon_link].
The first thing to note is that it’s small. Really, really small. Go get a half-gallon of milk, and that’s the footprint on the entertainment center. A good hardback book laid down is taller than this device.
The second thing is the setup. Very easy. Plug in power cord (no wall-wart), plug in HDMI cable (no other output for video, although there is an optical output for audio), plug HDMI into TV. Get the remote, turn it on. The hardest part of the setup for us here was the insanely long password we had on our wifi connection.
Once we got that going, I associated it with my machine’s Home Sharing, and then set up the Netflix Streaming, and boom, done.
My roommates, one of whom is a self-describe Luddite, was able to easily pick a cheesy horror movie with Netflix and start watching it. She doesn’t really like intense technology, and she was able to get things running right away. (I don’t know the movie; I’m not big into horror.)
Then, just to see how it worked, I took it over remotely. I was watching a movie (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) on my iPad, and I just tapped the screen and AirPlay tossed it right over.
And as a final test, I pulled up something from my YouTube playlist and did the exact same thing. And with only a small delay to load (no more than would be normal), what I was watching on my iPad appeared on the TV. As you might expect, the better the quality of the video on YouTube, the better it appears on the screen; don’t expect a nine-year-old 320×240 video to look suddenly like a 1080i Blu-Ray image just because you’re using the AppleTV to view it on a 1080i TV.
The one downside I’ve encountered so far is the input mode. You cannot synch a Bluetooth keyboard to it, so searches and entering passwords require you to maneuver around an onscreen keyboard. For long entries, this can become rather tiresome.
The other very small downside is that the remote is very small, and rounded, and seems to love to fall between couch cushions.
So: unobtrusive, easy to set up, easy to use, and AirPlay on both the iPad and the iPhone works just fine with it. I highly recommend the device.