Apple TV (2nd Generation) Impression – Four Months Later


Early last March we purchased an Apple TV (2nd Generation). For a while we had been using Netflix Instant Watch on a regular basis but I wanted to have a device that was always connected, rather than hooking up a laptop to either TV. I could have used any of the gaming consoles, but those are difficult to move and are usually stationed in another room.

The Apple TV cost about $100 (I choose to ignore the “$99” marketing trick to make it seems less expensive).

What is my overall impression? It’s OK. That’s it. It’s OK. It’s not stellar. It’s not revolutionary. It doesn’t perform exceptionally, it just works fine most of the time. It’s not a waste of money, but I don’t feel like I’m getting better performance than I could with other options.

It still has a lot of odd problems but this is an entertainment device, not a personal computer. It should be able to perform specific tasks flawlessly but unfortunately, it doesn’t. When I’m ready to watch something I don’t want to deal with random problems. If I did, we would have stuck with using the laptops (which actually perform more consistently than the Apple TV).

This doesn’t make the device unique or much worse than any other devices (a topic for a later post).

I’ve dealt with numerous issues off-and-on. I do not think that I have a bad unit but that most of the problems are caused by the software. One very frustrating issue is that it sometimes loses the wifi password. This is very annoying for myself because I have a long, meaningless wifi password. It can happen if I unplug the device or make one change to the wifi network (that has nothing to do with the security or password settings for the network).

Sometimes I can’t get the device to stream, especially from Netflix, unless I reset the device and this also seems to involve re-entering the wifi password. I’ve also had to re-enter my iTunes password despite having selected the option to save the password. Sometimes it will remember it and sometimes it won’t.

I also ran into a strange problem where I had to change the setup for my wifi network to allow the use of 802.11n. I think this is odd because even 802.11g is going to be much faster than my actual Internet connection. In addition, I’m beginning to suspect that changing the setting may not have made as much of a difference as simply rebooting the AEBS.

In the end, it’s a fussy device and I’ve had other issues with it. This is disappointing and I’m beginning to see a trend in poor performance across various Apple devices. I may have said this before but I’m beginning to think that Apple has adopted Microsoft’s strategy of cramming devices with various features but not testing them well enough before being released.

If you need to be able to use iTunes libraries and rentals then it may be the best device available. But if your main interest in an Apple TV is to use Netflix then you might be better off (or no worse off) just purchasing another device, which will likely support many more streaming services.

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