Apple TV – Review

We have a first generation Apple TV and we have been thrilled with it. I liked the fact that it had a hard drive and you could actually store media on it. You could also use it to sync stuff directly from your computer. We always found lots of content to purchase from the iTunes store. Overall, I have been happy with the Apple TV although it has many bugs.

Setting up the original Apple TV was a little tricky. It had to be paired with a computer iTunes account. If the host computer was turned off then you could only watch what had actually been transferred to the unit. Renting movies was the worst part of the first generation Apple TV. In order to rent a movie you have to download it, then transfer it to the Apple TV. Downloading and transferring could take anywhere from 40 minutes to a couple of hours. While movies were transferring, you could not use the Apple TV. If there was a blip in the wireless, then it would stop and you would have to start all over again.

I set up my mother’s new Apple TV and was immediately surprised at how seamlessly everything went. After it found the network and the computer it was pretty much up and ready to go. You can rent movies from iTunes on the computer where it will stream directly to the Apple TV. The computer has to remain on with iTunes open. What was even better though was renting a movie directly from the Apple TV. It seemed like the movie downloaded very quickly and was ready to play.

The new Apple TV also opens up other avenues for obtaining content. What really made me happy was to see that Netflix was available through it. We may look into getting a subscription to Netflix in the next little bit.

A review of the new Apple TV would not be complete if I didn’t talk about its size. It is so freaking tiny! It is smaller than a slice of bread and about an inch thick.

Seeing as how we bought my mother two Apple TVs, one for each of her houses, and we now know the other TV is way too old we are going to keep the new one and use both. Now, if I can just get it programmed into my Logitech Harmony Remote…

*Pic of Apple TV from Wikipedia

Other Shows I am Watching

I have been watching a whole bunch of other shows on Apple TV. I still have the first generation Apple TV – you know the one with a hard drive. Some of the shows I get on Apple TV are available on the regular networks but we end up with a problem when we try to record too many shows at a time. Here is the Apple TV list:

  1. Breakout Kings – I think this show is on A & E but I am not sure. The premise of the show is silly. Basically a desk-jockey US Marshall and another US Marshall, who is in a half-way house, get to put together a group of inmates who will help them catch escaped fugitives. If they catch the fugitive then they get a month off of their sentences. While they are working on the team they are transferred to a minimum-security prison. The one catch is that if any one of them tries to escape while out on a case then they all go back to their maximum-security prison digs. So once you suspend disbelief the show itself is pretty good. My favourite episode so far is when they used an old Prison Break character, T-Bag, as an escapee. It was a great episode!
  2. Dragon’s Den – I have never watched this show on CBC. I decided to watch it after seeing an episode of the Shark Tank. I enjoyed seeing all of the dumb ideas people can come up with. The one thing that really got on my nerves though was how they all treated Arlene Dickson the only female ‘Dragon.’ Kevin O’Leary is by far the worst of the misogynists. However, every single one of the other Dragons has also said horribly misogynistic things to Arlene. Even the people pitching their
  3. The Good Wife – I was watching this on TV but then Deb decided to watch it so I downloaded the first and most of the second season on the Apple TV. I love this show. The character development in this show is phenomenal. If you haven’t checked this show out I highly recommend it!
  4. The Killing – this is a new show from AMC. The premise is that there is a murder and it will take the whole season to solve the murder. It is early in the season but so far the character development is awesome and it will only get better as the show unfolds.

Back up problems solved

I have been running computers for over 20 years now and I have never had a hard-drive failure. I would like to think it is good management however it is likely good luck. I decided that I would I would practice good backup habits.

There are many different ways to back things up. You can use external drives, burn files to disk or usb sticks. It is good to keep backups at home and at another location. You can do all the backing up you want but if all of your backups are in one place they can be stolen or otherwise destroyed if there is a fire or something like that. Since I got an Apple TV, my investment in digital media has increased exponentially. I would really hate to lose everything. Plus, while Time Machine technically backs up your system, I have heard from others that the restoration may not be as complete as one would hope. I have taken a multi-pronged approach to backing up my main computer.

1. I have Time Machine running on Apple’s Time Capsule. It is a 1TB drive that backs up my iMac and my MacBook Pro wirelessly. I hope that if I ever accidentally delete something I will be able to get it from Time Machine. It would also form the basis of a restoration should I ever need it.

2. I have downloaded Carbon Copy Cloner that allows you to create a bootable carbon copy of your operating system so that if it goes down I can boot from that drive.

3. For my everyday documents I have chosen Dropbox. I came to Dropbox after my disastrous experience with iDisk and Mobile me. Dropbox is an internet program that allows you to sync your documents to storage in the cloud. You can then sync any number of computers to your files. As soon as changes are made to your files they are immediately uploaded and propagated to the other computers. Moreover, you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection. I can not say enough good things about Dropbox.* The best part about Dropbox is that it is free up to 2GB. I use Dropbox for all of my everyday documents for work and home. This way I have everything I need wherever I am. I love Dropbox!

4. I also have numerous external hard drives for backups. All of my iTunes content is backed up including content that I don’t have room for on my iMac. If I lose anything I can immediately get it from one of my external drives.

5. The final component of my backup plan is Mozy. Mozy is cloud storage for backup that is ridiculously cheap. You tell Mozy what you want to back up and Mozy keeps it backed up. After the initial backup which, depending on size, may take a long time to complete, Mozy will back up only files that have changes. In the event of a crash, you can then get your content back.

Everything I have read indicates that this kind of comprehensive backup plan will ensure that I will not lose my valuable data in the event of a crash. Like many computer users I have procrastinated about backing up my data. I feel better knowing that in the event of a problem I will not lose my data. If you have questions let me know in the comments.

*If you want to try Dropbox let me know and I will send you an invitation. The more peopleI get to sign up the more space I get for free!