I’ve been looking at digital media players for quite some time now. I love the idea of them, but they all seemed to be missing a feature or two. Eventually my wife made the decision for me and got me an Apple TV. And it’s amazing!
The Apple TV is often referred to as a media player where you can buy or rent content from iTunes to play on it, but that’s not what I wanted. I wanted a computer where I could stream anything from the internet and play whatever files I wanted. That’s why for years I’ve been using an older Mac Mini. Turns out, you can do everything on the Apple TV via mirroring.
Mirroring is the one feature that I love the most. With AirPlay I can mirror my computers screen, and audio, to the TV. Then I can watch CBS, Hulu (free), or any other web content directly to my TV. No need for Flash on Apple TV, the computer has me covered.
I can also mirror my entire iOS device screen; any app. This works great when I want to read a book to my daughter, but yet I want the picture big and beautiful. Things look much better on the TV than my iPhone 5 screen! I can even put Twitter or games up on the TV.
If you don’t want mirroring, lots of apps have AirPlay integrated which allows me to send specific content directly to the Apple TV. Pandora does this which is nice as they don’t have an Apple TV app. I always thought you’d need specific Apple TV apps to enjoy content on Apple TV, but you don’t.
The only real downside is that a lot of the channels require a cable subscription. That’s not Apples fault, that’s the networks being jerks. Any other streaming media player will have the same issues.
I was always worried about the limitations of Apple TV and now I realize there aren’t any! If it’s on my iPhone or Mac, it can show up on Apple TV and that’s pretty darn awesome. I love this little guy.