Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Apple TV story

For a while now I've been thinking about buying an Apple TV. And before you ask, no it's not actually a TV - it's a little box that sits under your TV and does marvellous things. A bit like an iPod for your telly. My reasons for wanting one basically come down to the fact that I've bought pretty much every other Apple product on the market I came to the conclusion a few months back that the vast majority of DVDs I buy I tend to watch once before sticking them on the shelf where they eventually gather a rather impressive layer of dust, and it would make more sense - both financially and shelf-space wise - to rent those films I missed at the cinema but still wanted to see. The Apple TV would let me do this via the iTunes store and watch them on my big telly while sprawled out on my comfy sofa, rather than rent them off iTunes and sit in my office chair in front of my computer.

I've never actually been one for renting movies, mainly because I can't be bothered to go through the mental anguish of perusing the battered shelves of the local Blockbuster, rent a DVD that's so scratched it looks like it's seen more action than the average soldier in a war zone, and then have to return the damned thing the next day. Plus, I don't really like using things that other people have used a thousand times before. They tend to be sticky.

So, a few months back I decided I'd go the Apple TV route, because I like Apple products, I trust Apple products, it's as aesthetically pleasing as all Apple products, and I like the fact you get Apple stickers with Apple products. I actually surprised myself by not rushing out and buying one when the thought first entered my mind, and rather unusually for me I actually spent quite a lot of time reading up on the whole Apple TV situation. It seems a lot of people love their Apple TVs, but there are also a lot of people who think their Apple TVs should do more - like act as a hard-drive recorder, or have a Blu-ray drive in them. So I bided my time for a while to see whether there would be a hardware revision or something. I set my cut-off date as Wednesday, the day when Apple had their big key note to introduce the latest iPods. I figured if they introduced something new with Apple TV, great; if they didn't, I decided I'd just go buy one because I'd come to the conclusion it does what I want it to do as it is.

So, when nothing new was announced for the Apple TV on Wednesday, I finally decided the time was right to treat myself. And on Friday lunchtime, I did.

I was accompanied on the jaunt down to the Apple Store in Westfield by Scanner, who I think doubted my conviction to actually buy one and wanted to see me go through with it. For my part, I was hoping to goad him into buying one as well, because he's intrigued by it and is similarly addicted to anything with an Apple logo on it.

Within a couple of minutes of entering the store I had an Apple TV box in my clammy mitts, and was wandering around with a goofy expression on my face looking for an iDude from whom I could purchase it. I found one by the door, and the following, somewhat bizarre exchange then took place:

"Hi, could I get this please?"

"Of course. Cash or card?"

"Card, ta."

"OK. This is the 160gb version - right?"


"Hmmm! Do you own any other Apple products?"

"Oh, you don't know the half of it - in fact, I just bought an iPhone 3GS last week."

"Ooo, nice - 16 or 32gb?"

"Aw, it had to be the 32!"

"I thought so. You look like a 32gb man to me."

"Um, thanks…"

"Do you have an Apple computer?"

"Yeah - an iMac."

"Twenty or 24 inch?"

"Twenty four."

"I suspected as much."

He then proceeded to take my email address, ostensibly so he could email me my receipt, although I seriously wondered if he was taking it for personal reasons, before smiling at me and skipping off to get me a bag. He returned holding the bag out by the strings, and inviting me to slip my arm through to sling it over my shoulder.

Half an hour later I returned to the office, at which point Lovely Boss Lady looked at the Apple bag on my shoulder and said "that's a very girly-looking bag you've got there."


Excitement obviously reigned in the Sparky household on Friday as I tore the cellophane off the box, ready to set up my Apple TV, although I wasn't so delirious with excitement that I didn't think to document the entire procedure.

The pretty, pretty box.

The traditional Apple legend!

The Apple TV on the left, and the Apple remote on the right. I love how Apple products are so cleanly and simply packaged. That's just packaging facts.

It's mine - ALL MINE!

It was so unbelievably, stupidly easy to set up. One end of an HDMI cable in the back of the telly, the other in the back of the Apple TV. A power cable from the Apple TV to the plug. Boom - we have lift off. After that it was just a matter of inputting my wiffy network password, and another code that linked the Apple TV to my iTunes library, then my Apple TV and my computer were chatting away with each other like two old buddies. In fact, the only problem I had was when I paired the remote for the Apple TV to my computer - but that was just me being stupid, and was easily rectified.

After that I sat back and watched an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that I bought off iTunes last week that lives on my computer but which synced quickly and easily to the Apple TV, followed by a bit of youtube browsing and a quick glance at some HD movie trailers. It's brilliant.

Right now, I'm in the middle of downloading a rented HD version of the movie Charlie Bartlett (starring new Chekov!), and streaming music to my telly. Good times ahoy - I might never leave the house again!


CyberPete said...

I want to hear ALL about your future life with iDude. Sounds like he was definately being flirty or is that iFlirty?

It looks so pretty. I worry I too may become an iWhore in the future.

WillowC said...

He totally wanted in your pants. Oh yes.

Charlie Bartlett - darned good movie, no?!

Dinah said...

Oh yeah, he was totally hot for you. But can we blame him? (I laughed out loud when he thought you were a 32gb man).

As I've detailed on my blog, I am in love with my PVR and new TV. And as of today, I have a couch (and a loveseat!) that I can sit on while I watch them. Even though it's only mid-Saturday evening, I'm already thinking, "what am I going to do when I have to leave the house on Monday?"

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Ha ha, sorry old chap, it's not meant to be! But you should definitely become an iWhore - in fact, I could point you in the direction of someone at the Apple Store who could help you out?

WIllowc - Well he wasn't going to! Charlie Bartlett? Good movie, yes; but definitely the sort of movie I bought my Apple TV for - I can't say I'd be bothered about watching it again if I owned it on DVD.

Dinah - You've finally got you couch!? Brilliant!! You know you're totally in love with your house when you start fretting about having to leave it for the real world!! Pictures of couch, please?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

* applies for job in Kingston's Apple store *

WV: unizedd. How inefficient. Surely 1Z would have been simpler?

Tim said...

You could work in the Kingston one, but I bought it in the Westfield one. Of course, whichever one you pick I'll go visit the other one!

CyberPete said...

That does sound interesting.

Do you think he will want me though? After all I am only a 16gb iDude.

Tim said...

Do you want a 32gb? Maybe if you ask nicely he'll give you one.

CyberPete said...

If he gives me one I'm all for it.

Tara said...

I've known all along that you were a 32gb man rather than a mere 16gb, and a 24inch rather than a 20...wait, this is starting to sound a little questioning. :)

Congrats on your new gadget! And that is a colorful box they wrapped it in!

What will Apple come up with next? They should make an IFridge, Icoffeemaker and an Imicrowave, if they haven't thought of those yet.

Tim said...

Cyberpete - Easy soldier!!

Tara - I don't know, but I can't wait to find out!!

CyberPete said...

I don't know what you mean..

Emma said...

"I thought so. You look like a 32gb man to me."?

Hah! He was sooo flirting with you!

So, do you have an Apple 'man bag' to carry around all your Apple kit?

Tim said...

Cyberpete - 'course you don't!

Emma - I do NOT have a man bag of any sort! Outrageous!!