I’ve spent most of this week sequestered upstairs, recovering from a knee surgery that has me somewhat hobbled. During my time of recuperation, I’ve been able to enjoy a new experience: Netflix coupled with an Apple TV.
The Apple TV is a remarkably small black box with only two required connections: a power cord and an HDMI cable to the TV. It connects wirelessly to my local network, shares iTunes on my Macs for local content, provides movie and tv show rental from Apple, plays Internet radio, and is a Netflix appliance for watching streaming content from Netflix. Setup was simple, and within minutes I was able to watch content on an LCD TV.
I’ve been using an antenna to watch broadcast television for morning and nightly news, but other content has come from Netflix. In the past few days, we’ve watched:
- Firefly (tv series)
- Serenity (sci-fi movie)
- Middlemarsh (or was it Middlemarch?) (miniseries)
- Room with a View (movie)
- The Count of Monte Cristo (movie, 2002)
- Adam 12 (tv series), episodes 1 and 2
(Lu skipped Firefly and Serenity.)
What have I learned?
- My perceived value of our DISH Network service is declining.
- While I like the DVR for recording and watching live shows — especially for doing my own instant replay of a sporting event or a line that I missed — there are alternatives. I don’t think I need it as much as I thought.
- I don’t really miss the live shows that I thought I’d miss. Plus, I suspect I can rent them from Apple TV. Renting a few live shows is way more economical than a monthly subscription to everything.
- I was concerned that wireless streaming wouldn’t be fast enough, but there have been very few disconnects or pauses. The Apple TV does have a wired Internet connection port available, but I don’t have a wired drop close by.
- Last night’s movie, the Count of Monte Cristo, did disconnect a few times. However, it could have been caused by Apple TV, my wireless network, local Internet traffic affecting bandwidth, Mediacom (my Internet provider), NetFlix, or some temporary Internet outage. With so many possible variables, I hesitate to finger any of these as the culprit.
For someone that already has broadband Internet access, I think that Netflix and something like the Apple TV is a great addition, and possibly a cost-saving replacement, of a cable or satellite TV service.