So I took the plunge and plunked down the entry fee of $99 to play in the Apple TV game. My family doesn't watch a lot of movies, but every now and then we like to watch a good story. Up until now, I've downloaded movies onto my MacBook Pro and then connected it to our TV. It isn't elegant solution, but it works. With Apple TV2 I thought I could keep my laptop at my desk and then use ATV2 to download and watch (isn't that what it's for?).
SETUP a BREEZE
I was surprised how small the Apple TV was (I was expecting something larger — like a Mac Mini). With only two cables to connect (HDMI and power) it took less than 10 minutes to get up and running. Immediately we started watching movie trailers. Since we live a rural area our connection speed is slow (1.5-2.0 Mbps). Watching a 2 minute trailer takes about 2 minutes to buffer. Not bad, not great, but living in rural America we understand our bandwidth limitations.
So after watching some trailers, some YouTube videos and some shows that were on my laptop, it was time to rent a movie. That was pretty simple (although I dislike doing data entry with a remote control — but it's a one-time pain). After renting I was curious whether ATV2 was faster downloading than my laptop.
"800 minutes" Apple TV told me. I thought, "No way, it must be confused or having trouble connecting." But 1 hour later we were now at 826 minutes. So I went to Apple's discussion forum. The biggest item in the Apple TV forum is about Streaming problems. It doesn't matter how fast your bandwidth connection is — lots of people from all over the world (England, US, Australia,...) were reporting trouble when renting & streaming movies. One guy tried his ATV2 and had problems. Then he connected his ATV(1) and had no problems at all. Another person contacted Apple Support and apprantly a firmware fix is forthcoming. Yeah... I would sure hope so. In the meantime, I'm downloading movies to my laptop and using airplay to stream to the AppleTV2. This works fine, but Apple really should've fixed this streaming bug BEFORE shipping. Isn't it the main "feature" of the product?