Apple TV, take 2

Some pleasant surprises came with the Apple TV 2.0 update, which arrived yesterday…

  1. You can use the Apple TV as an AirTunes device.
  2. 1080p output is supported.
  3. Closed caption support is available (though, sadly, content with CC is currently quite limited).
  4. Though you have 24 hours to finish watching an iTunes rental from the time you start, I was able to successfully start a movie with 45 minutes left on the clock and still watch through to the end – even though this took me nearly 45 minutes over the limit. (Kudos to Apple for allowing this.)
  5. There are (optional) parental controls on all content downloaded from the Internet: movie and TV show previews, podcasts, photos, etc.

My kids and I picked out and started watching a movie within 15 minutes after running the new software. Given the fact that I wanted to keep the cost of our experiment down – in case it didn’t go so well – we chose a standard definition* (SD) movie. While not nearly as good as the network broadcast 720p content we’ve become accustomed to it did compare pretty favorably with a standard DVD. I’d still give the edge to upconverted DVD video; however, there were no glaring deficiencies in the downloaded video.

I’ll be exploring more in the next few weeks. I wonder, what other surprises await?

*Don’t confuse SD with standard (i.e. non-widescreen) picture. The movie was presented in a widescreen format just as in the theater; it just wasn’t encoded as HD.

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