Impressions of Apple TV and AirPlay

I have recently bought an Apple TV and last week I updated my iPad to iOS 4.2. Now it’s time to share my first impressions of Apple TV and especially AirPlay, the main reason why I bought the Apple TV.

Key Impressions

  • Setup is easy but it takes a while to enter your WiFi and Apple credentials via the remote – hopefully you’ll only need to do it once.
  • To use Airplay Apple TV (does not disclose the version) and iPad (to 4.2) needed a software update.
  • HDMI issue: I needed to directly connect my Apple TV to my TV. It did not work to connect it via HDMI switcher or my HDMI capable amplifier / receiver. However this is not necessarily the Apple TV’s fault. HDMI handshakes can cause issues. This is not ideal but I can live with it.
  • Very simple to share content from your PC (or Mac):
    In fact with all the streaming clients and media players I have tried and used in the living room so far, it took the least amount of time until I could access media (from my main PC’s iTunes library).
  • Great video podcast integration: basically everything available via iTunes can be streamed.
  • Also streams from Flickr and YouTube.
  • Streaming interface works well:
    Both when browsing through available video podcasts (either on your PC or for iTunes streaming) and surprisingly even YouTube.
  • The Apple TV has no real off switch, which I think is unfortunate as I do not always use the Apple TV when I use my TV.
  • AirPlay works very well. Within the iPad video app, you press on the Airplay icon and choose the iDevice you want to stream to. After a short pause the video starts playing on the TV.
    A nice bonus that I did not expect: you can not only control the video fron the iPad, but also with the remote of the Apple TV.

Final Thoughts

As with most Apple products, the scope is limited (only streams from iTunes and iDevices locally, only iTunes online media, only compatible with media types supported by iTunes), but what it does, it does extremely well.
Looks like it was money well spent.

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