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Discussion Starter #1
Got my Apple TV 2.0 from FedEx this morning. Here are my first impressions:

1. Its small. I mean really small.
2. It comes with a power cord and remote. You'll need you own HDMI and optical audio cable (if you want to hook it up to your receiver).
3. Interface/controls familiar if you have any apple product.
4. Loaded the apple remote app on my iPad. Makes navigation easy - but more importantly, makes data entry (like accounts/passwords) super easy as it you can use the keyboard that pops up on the iPad.
5. Netflix - looks good but I don't like the interface as much as on the iPad. I don't think it remembers where I left off watching a recording - not sure about this yet.
6. Turned on home sharing and was able to stream anything from my iTunes library (music, video, podcasts) to the TV.
7. You can watch youtube and podcasts (not from your iTunes library).
8. Tried listening to some internet radio - as I expected it to be.
9. Only movie rentals (looks like they are around $6) - you can preview and select SD or HD. No TV shows - but you could stream them from your iTunes library if you purchased TV shows there.

All in all I am quite impressed. Fast, easy to use. I just wish it allowed streaming from outside of iTunes.
 

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Larry, thanks for the feedback. I am interested in getting one. Did you have an older Apple TV that you could compare to?
 

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Sorry, no previous Apple TV - this is my first.

Update on Netflix - you can't tell which episodes of a TV series you have watched. When you select one, if you are in the middle it will ask if you want to resume watching or start from the beginning. Not as friendly as on the iPad, PC or PS3.

Tried out Flickr - very nice. Quick viewing of photos. With the iPad running Apple Remote, you can flick left and right to go through the photos.
 

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What I like about it is that it only uses 6 watts or so. The old Apple TV was about 30 or 35 watts even when in standby
 

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My new Apple TV arrived today. As usual for Apple products, it's pretty slick. I can even use my iPhone as the remote. This is useful for typing in user names, passwords or searching for movies. Using the virtual keyboard with the remote is little clunky. It streams movies and music from any computer that has iTunes with Home Sharing enabled.

I tried Netflix and it works pretty well. I have not yet encountered any buffering problems as I watched an episode of Mad Men in 720p. As others have said already, the selection of new movies are scarce. However, I do find the catalog of the older movies pretty good. It would be nice if the movie info pages would show which movie was in the HD. Right now, I have to check on the Netflix website.

The lack of TV rental is noticeable. I wonder if this is a temporary thing or not. For $120, I think it's pretty good.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
You can only stream what is in your iTunes library, including video, music, podcasts, pictures.

It accesses home share iTunes on any computer in your home - or you can enter a code and access iTunes libraries not in the home share. Can't access a NAS, unless of course the iTunes library points to a file on the NAS.

Netflix starts up pretty much immediately (like it does on all other devices). Watching a paid movie or trailer is slower to start - it buffers a bunch before starting - likely to keep the stream at a constant bit rate, like youtube. Quality looks good.

I haven't found any 5.1 audio yet...
 

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I never have video in iTunes; can you use formats outside of the Apple .mp4 or .m4v or .mov formats?

I'm guessing there's no way to stream an .avi or .mkv to it (yet)(?).

What's the Vegas line on the timeline for a jailbreak being announced? 10 days maybe?
 

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I was wondering if the new Apple TV has the floating photo screensaver when you play music? It's one of my favourite features of the old Apple TV.
 

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Yes, it does have the floating picture screen saver. If you play music, you can go to flickr and the music keeps playing as well. You have the choice of different photo display options, which kind of photos, including mobile me, iTunes, flickr, or stock photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Harmony setup for Apple TV

Just setup my harmony to work with Apple TV. Works like a charm.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm hoping that Airplay will allow streaming video from any application, not only from "Apple" applications.
 

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Well, I've had a few days now to play with my new ATV and compare it to my old ATV and I'll post up what I've found so far:

When I used to rent a movie on the old ATV it would buffer to the hard drive and was usually finished downloading before the movie was finished. EVERYTHING streams now on the ATV2 so if you start a movie and tell it you want to watch it later it simply stops streaming and picks up later. I'm worried this will be an issue if you have a flaky internet connection and I'm missing the "safety" of the hard drive in this case. Time will tell and our movie played perfectly last night.

Everything is shared currently/only via Home Sharing with ATV2 and full AirPlay functionality for IOS isn't here until November. Airplay will really make this thing shine I believe. I had to turn Home Sharing on with my iMac and you MUST have the new iTunes 10.0.1. Reboot your PC or Mac after turning on Home Sharing. Mine didn't work until I did that and then it was fine. Please note the new ATV2 will not show up in your iTunes like the old ATV as nothing is sync'd between the devices.

Video quality seems to be very good on an iTunes movie we rented last night and Dolby Digital worked just fine. There are NO video adjustments however on the ATV2. It's HDMI only and will output auto-detected 720P or 480P, that's it. 720P looks just fine so far though.

Screen saver has a lot more options now and can even stream pics from a Flickr account. This is pretty cool.

NO TV shows at this time in Canada. Looks like you'll have to deal with that on your Mac or PC and then stream them to the ATV2.

My existing ATV commands in my Harmony One are working flawlessly with the new ATV2 so no reprogramming required.

ATV2 has a new sleep mode that is programmable. The power draw on this thing though is very small and it seems to run pretty cool regardless especially compared to the toaster that was called the ATV.

There is a way to save favourites in the Internet radio same as the old ATV. Simply highlight the station you want and hold down the enter button on the remote and a menu pops up asking you if you want to save it. Works the same in reverse in the favourites menu to remove saved items.

I've seen a lot of complaints on the internet about wireless speed and stuttering with content streamed from your PC or Mac. I haven't seen any of that. It does seem to stream "differently" than the ATV but no problems for me so far. I'm using a new Airport Extreme and the ATV2 is locked on the 5ghz radio using "N" so no slowdowns. All my "G" traffic goes to the 2.4ghz radio. (on a side note: the Airport Extreme has seriously surprised me and has solved all my router complaints. Devices now stay attached and it even wakes up my wireless printer from sleep mode when I print. Love it! Anyone want to buy a slightly used Netgear WNDR3700 dual radio router?)

Now the big one....... NETFLIX! This is a really mixed bag so far on the ATV2. I have this on my PS/3 and it works perfectly so far on the PS/3 even over wireless "G". Movie information on the PS/3 clearly identifies if the movie is available in HD and some movies also show a 5.1 logo as well. The Scorpion King is an example with both and my receiver goes to DD5.1 from my PS/3 and the movie plays perfectly, other than a weird aspect ration problem with this particular movie but that seems to be a Netflix bug as the ATV2 stretched the movie as well.

I'm really liking the ATV2 Netflix interface, very Apple-like but it has some problems. First off it doesn't identify in the movie info if the movie is HD or 5.1. Second is video quality. It's very good and if you didn't have anything to compare it to you'd be fine but I honestly think the PS/3 looks slightly better with Netflix with colours being a little more saturated. Again, the ATV2 is fine and very sharp but it needs some firmware tweaking compared to the PS/3. Just a personal opinion though.

Biggest issue so far though with Netflix is NO DD5.1 support. I played The Scorpion King on the ATV2 and yup, Stereo only. I've tried every setting I could on the ATV2 for audio and no DD5.1 with Netflix. I've already called Apple and they're having a higher level Engineer check this out.

I may be wrong on this but I believe Netflix in the U.S. maybe doesn't offer 5.1 with their online offerings currently and may be doing an experimental rollout in Canada to test it. Maybe the Apple Netflix app is a U.S. version and isn't looking for 5.1 audio. Not sure on this one but I'm assuming it can be easily fixed with a firmware upgrade. Again, 5.1 on Netflix movies that offer it works perfectly on the Playstation.

That's it off the top of my head and apologies for the long post but hopefully this info is useful to some. Currently I have very mixed feelings comparing the old to the new one but I'm thinking I'll keep it for now and hope that it improves with firmware tweaks. The hardware is very powerful so I expect we'll see some serious improvements down the road. And heck, I've wasted a $119 bucks a lot worse than this before! :)

James
 

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James thanks for the thoughts.

I have considered ATV but the inability to play common video formats (xvid) stops me. I never started using my first gen ATV until I loaded ATV Flash on it.
 

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Hugh, I think it will be interesting to see the ATV2 down the road when they start making apps available on it that are ATV2 specific. VLC recently launched for the iPhone so I have to believe with the ATV2 being IOS based that we'll see similar apps on the device that increase the functionality. One can dream! Cheers!

James
 

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VLC recently launched for the iPhone
It has launched for the iPhone? I thought VLC only launched their mobile player for the iPad.

If ATV2 does in deed gets apps, then a good one would be the CineXPlayer. This allows me to play XVID files on my iPhone. It would be nice if i could move this functionality to the ATV2 too.
 
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