Apple TV – thoughts before I (possibly) buy

I haven’t bought a DVD in over seven years, nor have I bought a CD, unless it was by a local band that I really liked, in about ten.

I was a Napster kid.

I don’t have cable, nor do I subscribe to anything like Netflix, but my lady does. I don’t own a DVD or Blu-Ray player, nor do I plan on buying one. I do own a very nice TV, a 32″ LCD from Phillips that I bought from Best Buy a few years ago. It’s 720p, which seems pretty damn sharp to me.

For years, I attached a video iPod to my TV that I regularly synced with iTunes. I watch a combination of downloaded, ripped and converted TV shows and movies. After being given a 400 mhz G4 Tower, I tried to use that as my video storage unit, but connecting it to the TV never gave me the right aspect ratio. I solved that problem by again using the video iPod, which required constant syncing.

After using that for nearly three years, my girlfriend bought a Mac Mini, which she used for her personal computer and we used to watch shows with. It worked, but it required that she use the Phillips TV as her monitor, which wasn’t ideal.

And then came the new Apple TV. It’s small, it syncs only and it will play anything that I have in my iTunes library. Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Do I really need another gadget?
Not really, but this thing is small. Very, very small. And it will play songs from my iPhone, my MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini. Cool!

2. Is HDMI-only a problem?
Nope, at least not with my TV. I have two HDMI ports and I’m sure most modern TVs do as well. Oh, and don’t buy a Monster cable. Trust me.

3. Is DRM an issue?
No more than it is in iTunes. As long as I can play it there, and I can for anything ripped or converted with VisualHub, I’m good.

4. Does buying another gadget really simplify anything?

For me, yeah. I’m looking forward to being able to move the Mac Mini, and the four hard drives plugged into it, away from the TV. And because Remote works on both my iPad and iPhone, I can control my music and video from anywhere in my house.

5. Is $100 too much?
Seeing as how I haven’t heard or seen anything simpler, I’m going to go with no. I can’t say it’s a NECESSARY expense, but the ability to watch my movies, NetFlix and the occasional YouTube video is nice (‘though I’m not really big on watching blown up 320×240 videos on my TV).

(Writing this article, and receiving an unneeded new iPod Shuffle as a gift, convinced me to go grab my very own Apple TV. Expect a full review in the next few days.)