New Apple TV – Same Old Problem

So, those who know me are witness to my absolute love and devotion to Apple, Inc. I have been a devout user of their products my entire computer life and rarely find fault in what they do. However, the one thorn in my side has decided to rear its ugly head again today, Apple TV. With a new design and big hoopla relaunch, will this be the product I was hoping for or will it just make me sad again… the answer is the latter.

Years back, I received the first generation Apple TV as a birthday present and, though limited, it managed to bring me great joy. I was able to stream movies from my computer’s iTunes, look at pictures, stream YouTube and listen to my music collection… great. However, the honeymoon was soon over as I became increasingly impatient with converting files into Apple’s draconian video format. A one hour TV show would take 98 minutes to encode, thus I totally went nuts. How was I supposed to deal with this? I just wanted to be able to play ANY kind of video I want.

It was then that Boxee gave me a taste for what I really needed, freedom. The day I cracked the code on the Apple TV and installed Boxee was one of the best I had in ages. Suddenly, the entire breadth of items downloaded from the internet was at my fingertips AND I still had all the functionality of Apple TV to boot. With Boxee I was able to watch my beloved Japanese TV dramas in AVI and MKV formats, marry subtitle files and utilize many other functions. All I had to do was select it in the Apple TV menu as if I was launching an app. Brilliant. At least that is what I thought until Apple sent an update that killed it. Sure, I tried to reboot it, but it became increasingly cumbersome. I came to the conclusion I should have months earlier… screw Apple TV.

This is where the Mac Mini comes in. I had tried it all, but should have just looked to it to do what I needed. Since purchasing a slightly used Intel Mac Mini on Craigslist, I have been in Heaven. I can stream from websites, play any format of video, have a multi-region DVD player, use an array of programs and use my TV as a computer monitor. It has been liberating. So, in conclusion, I have to say I am underwhelmed by the introduction of a new, cheaper Apple TV, but I wholeheartedly support you going out an getting a Mac Mini to fulfill your needs! Whew… rant…


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