The new Apple TV has certainly streamlined my media system. Instead of attaching a Mac Mini with three hard drives to my LCD TV via an DVI to HDMI cable, I now have one Apple TV and one HDMI cable. My girlfriend was quite excited when I told her we could move all that hardware out of sight.
After a few weeks of ownership, I’m noticing a few quirks that just don’t make any sense to me, especially if the Apple TV is meant to be a part of an integrated media center experience. They’re annoying and there’s really no way for me to fix them. Color me frustrated.
1. MobileMe screen saver looks terrible
Apple TV has a few screen saver options and after watching flowers for four weeks, I decided to try the MobileMe album option. What a cool way to show off pictures of me, my friends and my family, right? Not really. Something is messed up in the resizing process and the pictures, which of course look great in iPhoto, are sized improperly, cropped terribly and are horrible, horrible quality. I’m sure that’s because they are resized when uploaded through iPhoto, but WTF, man? Fix that. I’m NOT going to resize every damn photo to unknown dimensions.
2. Mark as watched often resets Apple TV
I use the unwatched menu to pick movies and TV shows from. After watching them, I hold the button down to bring up the mark as watched screen. More often than not, this restarts Apple TV and I have to go to iTunes to mark the TV show. Very lame, Apple. Also, while I realize if I watch a show or movie COMPLETELY through it will automatically mark it as watched, why isn’t Apple TV smart enough to realize the last four minutes are credits?
3. Apple TV can only be used be one person at a time
This pisses me off the most. If I watch a TV show, complete it and don’t exit completely out to the main menu, I can’t initiate media from iTunes or iPhone, so I have to go back to the TV, grab the Apple TV remote, exit all the way out, back to my laptop in the other room and start it again. There’s no way an Apple product should be this stupid.
4. Can’t play my own movies or pictures via AirPlay
If I shoot a short video, I can’t play it back through my Apple TV. I know this is because the bit rate is much higher than normal videos in iTunes (double), but I have an 802.11n network (Airport Extreme), a phone that can shoot and edit HD video and a receiver that can play it. What is the issue here preventing this from working? Also, I thought I’d be able to play slideshows via iPhone to Apple TV. If I can, I haven’t figured it out yet. Lame.
5. YouTube works, but who cares?
I’ve never understood the need to watch YouTube on a TV screen. The videos are short, usually not great quality and are amateur crap we could see anywhere else. While AirPlay allows it to work, I can’t help but think there’s plenty of other features, like being able to override the existing Apple TV user, that need work.
How’s your Apple TV? How do you like iOS 4.2 and Apple TV 4.1?