We've received a lot of reader email concerning my review of the newly upgraded Apple ( AAPL) TV box and the new iTunes movie-rental system.
J.Y. agreed with my overall assessment of the unit: "Just read your article. I've got a first-gen Apple TV also, and it's amazing the upgrade that came with this firmware update." R.F. liked my review too -- except for one major point: "I agree with everything you say. You should mention however movie rentals are only available through the American Apple Store. Being Canadian this is very disappointing." B.N. wants added features: "I agree that Apple TV is a really cool concept, but there is one thing holding it back from being a must-own piece of hardware -- DVR capability. I don't know if it's in Apple's plans ... but if you could rent movies and record TV shows through one device, then I think it becomes as big as the iPhone or iPod.When I had to pick between Tivo and Apple TV, I chose Tivo." And S.L. is not a fan: "Convenience doesn't trump quality yet. HD in name only. Play a Blu-ray disc and call me in the morning. Apple TV and all the other movie download services simply can't match the quality of Blu-ray. Period." B.R. has a bone to pick with the new iTunes video service: "For those of us who have our Macs already connected to our TVs, it's a real disappointment not to be able to rent and watch HD movies through iTunes. I feel ripped off by Steve Jobs. I should not need Apple TV." Some want me to compare the Apple TV to similar devices: P.P. asked: Have you considered doing a follow-up story for this regarding a comparison of all that is on the market for this same purpose. I'm a big Apple fan also but even a bigger movie watcher that has played with the many options ... here are a few:
Media extenders by Dlink and Linksys
Windows Media Center PC
I've tried the first four. My current desired solution ... Apple ... but not the Apple TV ... a Mac mini, connected to my living room TV/audio system. This allows me to do what an Apple TV does and also watch DVDs, Amazon videos (once they make a Mac player) and of course, any home videos I have in any format. M.H. has a somewhat interesting suggestion to reduce Apple TV-generated heat: "I noticed that too. Figured out a trick though. ... Press and hold the main play/pause button for about six seconds, and the unit will go to sleep. Although it does seem to turn itself back on once in a while."
Finally, a large number of respondents told me there is a solution to electronically linking the Apple TV remote control to the box. A.G. explains: "You can 'pair' your Apple remote with the device of your choosing via either the settings menu within the Apple TV, or by pressing the menu and fast forward button on the remote for five seconds (do this when no other apple devices are turned on in the room) and it will pair specifically to that device, and not be in a more promiscuous mode that will interfere with other Apple products in the area." My response: I know how to pair the remote -- my point was why does the end user have to do that at all? Have you ever had to link a flat-screen TV, or a DVD player -- or any electronic device to the little remote which comes with the unit? Of course not. They should be linked right out of the box. The only reason you have to do it yourself is because Apple is saving money by including the same little unlinked remote with all its products. That's a cheap and stupid move on its part.