I’ll admit that I’m an Apple fan. You either love ’em or hate ’em. I’m a lover. When Netflix made its recent debut in Canada, I decided to purchase the Apple TV in order to stream movies from the service directly to our TV. It’s only one of numerous perks from the sleek little device which only costs around $100.
Apple TV arrived looking like a large hockey puck. It’s small, black, and sits almost hidden from view next to our TV. Consider the Apple TV to be media viewing device that delivers digital film/music/photo content to your TV. The device is primarily intended to allow users to view movies rented or purchased on iTunes but it does so much more.
Apple TV Offers Many Media Viewing Features
- Stream iTunes library (movies, music, photos) from your computer to the TV
- Instantly access & watch Netflix movies (if you subscribe to Netflix)
- Watch YouTube videos
- Listen to Podcasts
- Connect to your MobileMe account
- View Flickr photos
- Access Radio streaming from around the world
Canada vs. the US
Sadly, there are definite borders when it comes to using the Apple TV. It mostly is an issue with film/TV copyright. I visited Apple.com when researching the Apple TV and was pleased to find that it advertised both film and TV streaming.
However, after purchasing the device and subsequently looking at the Apple Canada website, it’s clear that TV streaming is not publicized in Canada (my mistake). The main reason is that television episodes are not readily sold in the Canadian iTunes store and therefore not available for streaming, which is why it’s not a publicized feature in Canada.
The issue here is that the content copyright for Canadian use has not been established and the products just aren’t available to Canadians. Anyone who’s tried to use Hulu or stream full episode from TV network sites from within Canada know’s what I mean. We’re blacklisted and it’s annoying.
With the release of Netflix Canada and Apple TV in Canada, it’s only a matter of time until a broader set of content is made available to Canada audiences. For now though, Canadian iTunes and Netflix content isn’t as robust as in the US.
Apple TV Installation
Like all Apple products, it’s a plug and play device. It required a special HDMI cable
to attach it to our TV that was not included. You just plug the cable into the Apple TV port and into the port on the TV. That’s it.
Before purchasing, make sure to review the full Apple TV Tech Specs to understand system requirements, connectors, and supported media formats.
Apple TV Downside
Although it’s not a deal breaker, you should be aware that streaming from your computer requires it to be on and open. While I normally keep our laptops tucked away on a shelf, to use the streaming feature our laptop needs to be open and turned on. I set the laptop on our coffee table while using the streaming feature.
I quickly discovered that the Apple TV remote also automatically controls the laptop. So, as I tried to control the Apple TV the remote was automatically opening movies files and adjusting the volume on my laptop. For a moment, I thought we had ghost or something. The issue can be resolved by moving the computer from being in range of the Apple TV remote.
Buying an Apple TV
Surprisingly, the Apple TV isn’t getting much press. It’s on the Apple website but it isn’t of the featured products listed along the top navigation. Heck, I had lunch with an Apple employee friend last week who asked me to tell her more about the product because she didn’t know what it was. Yikes!
The local Apple Store didn’t have the Apple TV’s in stock so I had to order online. The online store also had a 2-week delay in shipping so plan accordingly if you’re looking for a Christmas gift.
I think it’s an amazing and easy to use product that could be a big seller this holiday season. You can get Apple TV for less than $100 via Amazon.
For me, it was a smart purchase. I love watching movies and prefer to do so on our large screen TV. My iTunes collection is now easily accessed and viewed on our television, as is our extensive photo and music collections. I also like having access to iTunes movie rentals and Netflix. If they could integrate a service like Hulu, I’d be in heaven.
With so many options, I might just have to cancel our monthly cable subscription soon!