After receiving a free Apple TV from a raffle, I immediately thought of a good use for it. This might sound convoluted, but here goes: My kid plays drums. He learned and practices on Rock Band 3 using the Ion Rocker and the xBox. He also plays in School of Rock. The next show he has is 80’s music and he is playing drums on several songs that are NOT on Rock Band 3. The big question for me was “How will he practice?”
Youtube typically has people doing drum covers of songs, so if he could watch them play and mimic their actions, he could practice along with them. No feedback loop like RB3 has, but it’s better than nothing. Unfortunately, the xbox doesn’t have a Youtube viewer. (They may in the future). I also have an older DirecTV receiver attached to that TV, but alas, it too has no YouTube viewer.
Enter AppleTV. I plugged the AppleTV into the TV. It was a bit of a pain because I now had 3 HDMI plugs, but only 2 ports on the TV. Luckily, I had a 3-1 HDMI switch. I plugged it all in and the AppleTV sprang to life. I had an ethernet hub in that spot for the xBox, so I plugged the AppleTV into it as well. A few seconds later it asked me to do an update and it was working.
No setup required, it just worked. Not surprising, but very pleasant.
I found the YouTube viewer quickly and started searching. The only annoyance was the lack of a keyboard. Apparently, I can use the iPod Touch as a remote control. I’ll have to try that. The video started quickly and had the controls I expected. The video started and my kid started playing along. Mission accomplished.
I know some people have said that Apple TV is a piece of junk. It may be true as an overall device. However, for my one use case, it worked quickly without headache. Sometimes, this is important. I am not interested in downloading movies for $4 a pop on that machine. I don’t need to sync to iTunes or other Apple products. $99 is not that bad as a small YouTube viewer for a TV. Maybe a bit pricey, but if you need it, you need it.
So for my limited use case, it was an excellent user experience.