AppleTV 3.0 Review

Posted: July 17, 2015 by Mike Hubbartt in Hardware Reviews
Tags: , ,

By Mike Hubbartt, © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Vendor: Apple (www.apple.com)
Price: $99

We owned the 1.0 and 2.0 versions of the AppleTV, and like both of them as they were reasonably priced and functioned as we needed. We mainly used the Apple TV 1.0 to watch digital content we bought – as standalone or as part of a blu-ray movie, since streaming was not very good with our setup. We use the AppleTV 2 to stream movies from iTunes or Netflix, as well as watch digital content. The AppleTV 1.0 worked best with digital content stored on the AppleTV hard drive, whereas the AppleTV 2 streaming is far superior and so all content is streamed with few or no problems most of the time.

We were happy with our AppleTVs, but decided to buy the AppleTV 3.0 because we wanted the 1080p video resolution instead of the 720p offered by the AppleTV 2. We bought our new AppleTV at a local BestBuy store, brought it home and the installation was simple and fast. I added it to our main television, moved the AppleTV 2.0 to our second television, and retired the AppleTV 1.0 to the parts closet.

The higher resolution is better, but honestly not so great that we wanted to toss the AppleTV 2 and buy a second AppleTV 3. The video is good, and the streaming is also much better than the AppleTV 1.0, so it a good addition to our environment. I would recommend replacing an AppleTV 1, but don’t think I could recommend replacing an AppleTV 2.0 just for the video res improvement. If Apple adds more features, like gaming for example, I’d replace the remaining AppleTV 2 in a heartbeat.

The streaming with the AppleTV 2 and 3, from our in-house comparisons, seems to be the same. Since the AppleTV 2.0, Apple updates the devices, which can include patches or enhancements to services offered. One service I like is Apple Events, where you can stream WWDC (Developer Conferences) from this year as well as past conferences. Being able to see the sessions each year (keynote as well as information) is very educational for us developers without the time or money to travel to San Francisco to be there. To be honest, these sessions tend to be glitchy when streamed over the internet, so I prefer to download them in iTunes and then stream them locally.

Two other services Apple recently added are HBO GO and Showtime Anytime. Both allow people with out cable (me) to get HBO and ShowTime. We are going to subscribe, but have not yet, so I can’t give any performance info on either service yet, but will update this article once I try one out. I believe this move by Apple shows how networks may unbundle themselves from providers like cable companies, so we subscribers get to chose the channels we want to purchase, instead of taking many unused and unwanted channels for a few prime channels. Sounds liberating to me.

One last thing. The AppleTV 2 and 3 devices use the same remote (the newer one is slightly lighter than the older one) and so both remotes work with both AppleTVs, which is convenient. And both remotes have replaceable batteries, which is also nice. So far, I have only replaced the battery in the AppleTV 2 remote, so the battery life for both remotes is excellent.

OVERALL RESULTS

One negative comment: The reason we decided to upgrade from AppleTV 2 to AppleTV 3 was the enhanced video. We knew the 2.x version only supported 720p, so we wanted better quality. What we didn’t know, was that the AppleTV 3 supports 1080p, but NOT 1080i, which is the highest resolution of our current monitor. Not good, as we could not anything better than 720p even with the AppleTV3.

One positive comment: We have been using the AppleTV 3 since it was released, and Apple continues to update the device regularly. Being able to just get HBO and Showtime on demand, without needing cable, is a huge plus in my book. I had cable, a long time ago, and will never again as long as there are other options like Satellite or AppleTVs.

RECOMMENDATION

Buy the AppleTV 3.0 if you don’t own an AppleTV product, if you own an old AppleTV 1.0, or if you want the best resolution for your home theater.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s