Early this week I got an Apple TV device through one of my friends who came from the USA. Before getting a Kinect I was using XBOX 360 in my Bedroom to access Digital Media. But once Kinect came I had to move the XBOX, Kinect & LED TV to my Study room. So I got Apple TV to fill this need.

The first impression you get after you open the package with the $99 device is how small & cute it is. The device on the sides came with Black Tape stuck all around, so for a few minutes I wondered why there were no ports or even a power socket. The remote is even smaller & unbelievably thinner. Hat’s off to Apple on the minimalist design.

Apple TV allows you to access YouTube Videos (Favourites & Most Popular), Movies & TV shows from iTunes & Digital Media (Photos, Music & Videos) that you have stored in your Home PC (or Mac) in iTunes libraries. The device has no hard disk or any other drive, so no noise or heating. The device runs iOS (as in iPhone & iPad), so Indic Language (like Tamil) file names appear legibly. You also get an iPhone app “Remote” that allows you to manage any iTunes Library including Apple TV from your iPhone – quite convenient and thoughtful. The app (unlike the Logitech Harmony app) is minimalist and easy to configure & use.

AppleTV - Tamil File Names Appear Legibly

AppleTV – Tamil File Names Appear Legibly

Accessing Music & Videos, the experience is great thanks to iTunes. But when it comes to Pictures, the experience nose-dives due to the same iTunes & its poor Picture management support. I have around 15,000 pictures on my PC, neatly organized into folders like Personal, Events, Travel, Family, Friends and so on, with each of them having sub-folders for each year in which the photos were taken.  It took a long time before Apple TV could show the first photo, then it displayed all the 15,000 photos in one go – how can you scroll through thousands of photos? There was no way for me to sort/group/search for a particular album or year or keyword. After some time I gave up the fruitless exercise and took my son to my PC where I showed the photos he wanted to see. I am at a loss at why even after 10 Versions iTunes doesn’t have proper features to add/delete/edit pictures, categorize them into folders/sub-folders and so on. If there is one thing I hate about iPhone & iTunes it is Pictures management.

My Pictures folder

My Pictures folder

Read about my experience with Google TV here.

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