Man was this easy! Of course, even though the Apple TV
box arrived at 10:15 AM, I didn't get to start to play with this until 9:30 that night. Work... kids...
But it was easy enough. Simple enough to hook up to the tv. It's default resolution showed up on the screen and then I reset it to 720p to match my Samsung DLP's native rez. It found my wireless network. I have mine locked off by mac address, but Apple nicely printed that info right on the outside of the box next to the serial number. So I could take the box upstairs and type it in. Back downstairs to confirm it joined the network. Then, one more trip up the stairs to punch in the magic 5 digit code and the Apple TV was paired to my iTunes on my Mac.
Syncing started instantly. I've got 9 GB of my CDs, 9.5 GB of photos from iPhoto, and a few free TV shows and movies from iTunes. It turns out you can even use it while the syncing happens in the background. I played around with it for a while and things looked very nice. Syncing happened overnight and by the time I woke up it was all done.
I picked up a extra Toslink cable and now have the sound running direct to the receiver. To my poor ears, the sound from iTunes is pretty much the same as if I had put a CD into my DVD player. Certainly good enough for running in the background at a party with a nice album art slide show.
The family photos are now 100% accessible on the TV. And my 5 megapixel shots look great from across the room. This will be a very nice way to share photos with relatives. A very 21st century approach to forcing people to view my latest vacation slides :-)
As for video, it looks nice. I have a few TV shows that I downloaded for free from iTunes. The two episodes of Battlestar Galactica
showed up in widescreen. This is nice since Comcast doesn't have an HD feed of Sci-Fi channel. So I've been watching it via my TiVo on the analog feed and then stretching it to fill the screen. So the 640 x 480ish episode looked just as good.
I need to sit down and really watch the one free Lost episode that I got. That show I record in High Def. So I can't imagine that it would look anywhere near as good. The real question is just how close will it be.
I did spend $1.99 on one of the Oscar winning short films. I was going to watch that on the computer but never got to it. So now I guess I get to watch it on the big screen. The first 30 seconds looked very nice in 1.78:1 widescreen. More on that when I watch it.
I do need to copy all our home movies into iTunes to have them available. I had been storing them in a separate location. It'd be nice if the Apple TV box could just find those DV files and play them since iMovie knows about that codec. But I'll just do the export/import thing this weekend.
It'll also force me to clean up the albums in iPhoto since they are a mess. And the playlists in iTunes. But hey.... I love to be organized anyway!
Click on the picture below to see the unboxing: