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Archive for February, 2008

Apple TV 2.0

I have a scratch that I need itched. My roommate and I have a bit over 100 GB of music, I have a bit over 300 GB of Movies and TV Shows (in various formats), and I have tons of photos and images (National Geographic, NASA, Salvador Dali, etc) that I’d like to have available for enjoying in my living room. On top of that, I’d like to be able to review menus of local restaurants and have a file server available to everyone on our wireless network. Since Apple announced the Apple TV 2.0, I’ve dreamt that it’s the piece of technology to scratch that itch, but reviews I’ve read recently leave me unconvinced that it will do everything I want it to do. My concerns boil down to the following:

  • Re-encoding all of my movies/TV shows
  • Maxing out the Apple TV’s built-in storage and not being able to expand it easily
  • Resorting to physical hacks in order to get network services on it (SSH, Samba, AFP, etc)

I could spend a few hundred more dollars and get a Mac Mini, but then I don’t think I’ll be able to use the remote to rent movies very easily. At $299, it’s probably worth it for what it will bring to the table. If it can’t be easily hacked to take a larger hard drive, it might be worth it for me to get a beefier NAS (drobo, anyone?) device to live someplace where I don’t care about noise (my closet) and then sync stuff from that onto the Apple TV using my computer, though I’d rather avoid needing an intermediate computer for this. By far, the most worrisome part of the Apple TV is that it simply can’t (and won’t) be able to fit all of my media. For anyone else who’s been thinking along these lines also, here are some links to Apple TV 2.0 reviews that I’ve collected:

UPDATE [03/12/08]

Ars Technica has released their ‘Mano a Mano‘ shootout between the XBox 360 and the Apple TV. It’s a great review, but sadly doesn’t really leave me with a solution that I’m happy with. I’m still leaning towards the Apple TV, and some software hacks for it would be very welcomed. I’ll research more and post later about it.