- Media support The only downside of all of the Apple TVs is that they can only play MP4s and Quicktime movies. That's it, no MKVs or AVIs.
- Video quality The 1080p content looks amazing. Hard to distinguish between 720p and 1080p, but it looks flawless nonetheless.
- Audio quality Everything was sharp and clear. No complaints.
- Ease of use The new OS update has made it extremely easy to use the Apple TV and browse its content. Far easier than any cable box. Would be nice to be able to hide icons.
- Design and form factor The thing is small and unobtrusive. It has obvious hints of Apple simple design philosophy and fits easily into my TV technology.
I tested Airplay with my MacBook Air, which is running the Mountain Lion, and it works pretty much flawlessly. There was some lag at the start, but after about 30 seconds the movements on the screen were barely behind, if at all.
The Apple TV can play whatever is in your iTunes library, as well as all of the content that Apple offers from its store. Streaming is painless, assuming you have a good connection, and much easier than waiting for downloads.
I expect Apple will give us the ability to hide unused icons (Wall Street Journal or MLB.com) because right now it's a little annoying to look at things you'll never use.
I would also love (but do not expect) to use other types of media files I have with the Apple TV. Like I said in the snippet under "Media Support" above, the Apple TV can only play back MP4 and Quicktime files. You can convert other files to these formats, but that's obviously less fluid than just being able to add them to iTunes inherently.
In the end, it is definitely worth the relatively low price if you live in the Apple ecosystem. If you use something other than iTunes to manage your media, or you don't own an iOS device, the Apple TV becomes increasingly pointless. None of these are particular cons to the device, they're just inherent limitations that I expect from a piece of Apple tech.
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