27 June 2013

Apple TV, making life SO much easier.

I'm stopping in today to talk to you about the Apple TV. This isn't any 'ol product review, this is truly something I love and use DAILY. Something I think every family should have!!

There is so much to say about this product, I don't even know where to start, but please bear with me because I think you'll be impressed!

I'll just dive right in and talk about the things I love about the Apple TV.

My favorite feature of the AppleTV is it's simplicity and the super easy setup. Basically, all you have to do is plug it in, connect it to the internet via an Ethernet cable or your home WiFi network, input your iTunes password, and viola. Done & ready to go. From there you can access anything you've ever purchased through iTunes; movies, TV shows, and music. It's all served up for you through Apple's iCloud service. You can also easily purchase/rent new movies and television series through it as well. We don't rent through iTunes all that often because it's much cheaper to hit up RedBox for a new movie, but from time to time it comes in definitely handy since on most occasions, iTunes has movies to rent before RedBox does. And another plus is since we purchase movies through iTunes on a regular basis, it's so nice to not have to deal with physical copies, and Apple makes it very easy to access purchased material through any device, either in the house or on the go.

Here's another amazing feature that I love. If you want to access content that you have on your computer, but didn't purchase through iTunes, you can connect the Apple TV to your computer by enabling Home Sharing in iTunes on your computer, Mac or PC. This gives you access to any content in you're iTunes library, be it photos or video. Seriously awesome. All of our home videos and photos are loaded on our iMac upstairs, but with the Apple TV, I'm able to play it all downstairs on the TV.  The boys love it.

Next favorite thing...

If you have Netflix and/or Hulu subscriptions, they are accessible through the Apple TV!! Woot woot! This makes me so happy. I'd say that Netflix is the most used aspect of the AppleTV in our house — we're always on the hunt for a new series and have found several new programs to watch thanks to Netflix being so easily accessible. And they have a huge variety of children's programs through Netflix, too. So I love being able to pop on Curious George or Handy Manny for Bennett, anytime of the day.

The Downers

Sadly, no piece of technology is perfect.

The most annoying aspect of the Apple TV is the lack of an on/off switch. When you power it down, it's actually going into a sleep mode rather than actually shutting all the way off. This is so it can still access your WiFi for the remote controls (we'll get to those in a second). What makes this feature annoying is that, from time to time, it needs to be shut all the way down — to refresh your internet or if something gets messed up on your iTunes account. It's not all that often, but when it happens you have to physically unplug it, which can be a pain depending where you've mounted it. That's a pretty small gripe though.

The only other little complaint is the size of the Apple TV remote. The thing is tiny! It gets lost quite a bit, especially when Bennett or Easton get a hold of it. But the good news is that you can install the remote app one of your iDevices. It's easy to navigate and has much better controls than most stock remotes, plus it lets you use the iOS keypad for entering all those user accounts and passwords.

Other Fun Stuff...

  • Airplay Mirroring
    • The Apple TV can mirror any of your iOS devices. Anything you see on your device is displayed on the TV. It makes FaceTime a lot more fun and the kids love just having the camera mirrored on the TV.
  • Slideshows!
  • YouTube Videos
  • Movie Trailors
  • Sports channels
  • Flickr
  • Vimeo
I'd say that we use the Apple TV 80% of the time that our television is turned on. The last major plus is that, like most of Apples products, it excels by being simple and easy to use — My 3 y/o regularly queues up his favorite Netflix shows all by himself using the Remote app on my iPhone. If you've already bought into Apple's ecosystem like we have, with iPhones, iPads, and an iMac, the AppleTV is a no brain-er, and at $99, it's hard to pass up!! Also? It's a great gift idea! Stop by your local Staples and pick one up!!

Full disclosure: Staples.com provided me with these items for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Feel free to shop their entire line of Apple accessories online.

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Ashlea with an a said...

oh good golly. Ive wanted this for soo long and you are not helping the matter :) Now if only I could talk my hubby into it!

Chelsea said...

Whoa! That's so awesome that you can use your iPhone as a remote! And I honestly didn't know that it displayed Netflix and Hulu Plus and such. So in a sense it's kind of like what the Wii is for us? I guess I didn't know a lot about Apple TV! Thanks so much for this awesome review! We might have to check into it now!

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

I got Apple TV for my birthday - it's the BEST! I love airplay because we can show videos we take of the kids on our phones right on our TV for anyone to see! :)

Lady Luck said...

Apple TV looks pretty cool :) It would not work out in our house hold because my boyfriend needs/wants the sports channels lol

Malanda @ Outnumbered by Little Boys! said...

Do you also have cable? I really like this. Not sure how it would work in conjunction to our direct tv though. Maybe I can convince hubby! Lol!

Jen said...

We've had this for awhile now but I had no idea that you could use your phone as a remote, thank you!

Stephanie R said...

We LOVE our Apple TV. I feel like a lot of people have no idea how awesome these things are!