It’s hard not to become enamored with Apple products.
Recently my family started using the new Apple TV—a little device for the wireless streaming of movies, television shows, some Internet content, even material on iTunes and iPhoto. We’ve been extremely happy with it so far. It’s priced right—$99—not counting the $20 needed for the HDMI cable by which it connects to your television. And it couldn’t be more user-friendly. Minutes after I had taken it out of the box (it looks like a square hockey puck), I had it hooked up and was streaming YouTube clips of Secretariat’s famous Triple Crown victory at Belmont in 1973 (we had just gone to see the new Disney movie, Secretariat, and I wanted to show the kids the real horse in action).
More particularly, here is what you get with Apple TV:
- Instant movie and TV show rentals. Currently only ABC and Fox have contracts with Apple TV, but more networks are sure to join in future. Television shows begin at 99 cents. HD movies start at $3.99, with first-run movies in HD only $4.99 (compare that to the price of two tickets and a bucket of popcorn down at the multiplex).
- But the best feature of Apple TV, from our point of view, is its ability to stream movies from our Netflix account. All of the movies in our “Instant Play” queue can now be watched on the big screen (including all of those great History Channel documentaries!) I would have bought it for this feature alone.
- Then, again, there is the ability to stream from YouTube, as well as from MobileMe and Flickr, and other Apple programs such as iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie. Podcasts, videocasts, music and photos can all be enjoyed on the big screen.
- Finally, all other Apple devices, whether laptops or the iPad, can be connected to and their content streamed through Apple TV.
Apple TV is a clever addition to our increasingly “on-demand” world of entertainment. And that’s what I like best about it. Amidst the dizzying (and too often nauseating) mishmash of entertainment options available today, Apple TV offers—especially to parents—not only control over what comes into the home, but now more variety as well.