: convince me to buy an Apple TV or Airport Express...
Mar 25th, 2012, 01:00 PM
I think the aTV looks like a really cool device, as well as the Airport Express, but I must admit I only know the basic ideas behind them.
In the basement I have a bigscreen HD TV and it is the only TV in the house (unless my wife decides to keep the little TV upstairs in the living room) and I have a Nintendo Wii which I use to watch Netflix (not overly concerned that it is not HD.) It is hooked up to home theatre which does not have any connection to my digital music at the moment.
I have my main PC (Windows 7) which has all my music stored, but I might copy to my Macbook for iTunes to use with my iPod, if that makes any difference. I don't really have any digital video content (yet, anyways). My wife has a Windows laptop, they all run through wireless in the house.
I have a stereo in the living room (where the small TV is temporarily- home renovations) and would like for it to have access to my digital music collection. I also might put a stereo in the garage at some point and do the same, as well as the stereo in the basement as I already mentioned.
While I am not quite ready to give up Rogers TV (I like to watch things live such as the news, channels such as History/Discovery/NatGeo/CBC channels not really "shows" that you would record or watch on demand (I don't own a PVR either). I do enjoy the convenience of just turning it on and flipping through the guide and watching whatever is on, and I haven't found any online services that do such things (unless I am unaware of them). I do feel that cable/satellite is way to expensive and I should be prepared for other ways should I want to give it up.
Please guys help me out whether I should buy an Apple product or other online/digital services to enhance my multimedia experience at home. :)
Mar 25th, 2012, 01:24 PM
You can stream from any of your computers or iOS devices wirelessly without having to copy a anything by using Home Sharing. That's a pretty big reason right there. I type this from my room as we speak while I can choose from any number of playlists in different locations to provide music over the multi-room music system using the remote app on my iPhone. Pretty darned convenient, if you ask me.
Mar 25th, 2012, 03:53 PM
I have an aTV2 and an AirPort Express (AirTunes). Wireless streaming of anything in my iTunes library from iPhone and iPad to my TV or stereo has been bringing me much joy for a couple of years now. But what really kicks it off are the apps. For example, Metal Storm, an aerial combat game for the iPad, has a special feature when you turn on iPad mirroring. You can see the game on your TV and a heads up GUI on your iPad and you use the iPad as the controller. Really amazing fun and as more and more games use this feature, gaming will evolve in a new direction. The biggest time saver is AirVideo. I can download any movie file from anywhere on the net and play it on my TV with that app WITHOUT having it in my iTunes library meaning absolutely no technical savvy required to convert, let's say, an AVI or MKV file to M4V. Most people don't know how to do that and it takes up twice as much space on your HDD and it is time consuming. That alone makes the aTV worth gold. Most PC users that are savvy have a large tower device and a keyboard etc plugged in with a wire to their TV so they can access their media library on their TV. An aTV is tiny, $119, and makes everything wireless. If you have an iPad, the aTV adds about 80% more functions and cool factor. AirPort express is less valuable, however, get a few of them and plus them in to all of your stereos around the house and then you have a very powerful wireless remote system for any iTunes library in your house.
Mar 25th, 2012, 08:33 PM
The AppleTV is a great streaming platform, but is based around shows vs channels at the current time. The rumor is that Apple is looking to add channel based services but that's not here yet. Some Live TV is available using Mac iTunes or a iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to send video over Airplay to the ATV, using apps or web feeds. Otherwise, you have delayed (24hrs) access to new shows.
The Airport Express is a compact router that has an audio port to allow non-wifi audio systems to get access to digital music. It works well if you have multiple sources, but an Express needs to have a wired connection to any audio system. If you have multiple system that would require moving the Express, or settings a multi-room audio system. I'm not sure if any source could stream more than one selection, so you would likely have all stereos receiving the same music.
I'm probably not encouraging, but the solutions did work for me. I do have access to live basic HDTV using a small antenna so that I can get my local news and shows from from CBC, CTV and the like - and use apps, web feeds and netflix for the rest of my needs. The recent CBC Music app has replaced my old Rogers Galaxies channels for background music.
Cord cutting is hard, but you can build a solution if you look around.
Mar 25th, 2012, 10:46 PM
I cannot convince you, nor am I attempting to, but it looks to me that you have already made up your mind to buy one and you are looking to us to validate your decision - am I right?
Mar 26th, 2012, 07:47 AM
I was thinking of dropping Rogers cable VIP ($60+/month) to go with Shaw Direct basic (27/month) because Rogers basic is 38/month. However by dropping 1 of 3 Rogers services I would lose the 10% bundle discount on telephone/internet to only 5%, so the internet/phone would be more expensive and it would work out almost the same . They sure screw you any way they can! Plus I would have to buy the Shaw box and sell the Rogers box which is extra work. Rogers basic it is...
Think I will go with aTV since it's only $109 can't really go wrong.
Mar 26th, 2012, 08:26 AM
You're right - you really can't go wrong. I find the UI so user friendly and easy to use, it's ridiculous. Just turn on home sharing on your pc itunes and you're laughing.
I've found between all the websites out there - ctv.ca, globaltv and citytv - most of the shows I watch are covered. For others like Breaking Bad etc..., which come from AMC and the other specialty channels, I buy them from iTunes. Not exactly cheap, but in the long run, cheaper than paying for cable.
My kids were bewildered when I cancelled TV. Wondered what they were going to do, but ever since, I have to say they don't miss it. They're always out playing or doing something creative. I wish I would have done that from the start for them! :)
So try the ATV, test some of the websites for your shows and then decide about your cable. You may want to keep it, you may not.
Mar 26th, 2012, 09:25 AM
About the only reasons not to go with a cord cutting solutions are if you (a) watch a ton of sports, and/or (b) need to watch shows right as they air. Beyond that there are solutions for getting pretty much all other content.
I guess I am just crazy, but I much prefer the 'shows' model to 'channels' model. My girlfriend and I don't find ourselves watching TV just for the sake of watching TV that way. I love to be able to watch just the shows I want, when I want, with no commercials. It's an adjustment when you first cut the cord of course, but I love it.
Mar 26th, 2012, 09:31 AM
The second-generation tv basically replaced most of my Airport Express stations. From a purely media-centric point of view, the tv does everything that the Airport Express does. The only advantage the Airport Express offers is that you can use it to extend a wireless network, either increasing the range of the existing Wi-Fi or using it as a wired-to-wireless bridge (e.g. to connect a wired Ethernet device in another room to your home network without having to run cable back to your main router). It is for this latter purpose that I still keep one Airport Express in the living room right alongside my Apple TV -- basically for my Blu-ray player's wired Internet connection (even though I hardly ever use the Internet features on it :) ).
The tv, on the other hand, can do a LOT more than an Airport Express can, obviously, while also still acting as an AirPlay (née AirTunes) client directly from iTunes or an iOS device. Where the Airport Express only does AIrPlay audio, the tv obviously handles video as well. However, even if you're just looking for a remote audio media extender, the tv may still be a worthwhile consideration for the price -- you'll need to connect it to a TV to configure it, but once you've done so, you could just plug it in to a stereo system in another room without requiring a TV connection. The only caveat is that the tv only supports optical (and HDMI) outputs, so it's not really suitable if you just want to connect it to basic set of speakers. On the flip side, however, the tv also supports iTunes Match now, so if you've subscribed to that, you can stream all of your music from the cloud without needing to keep your computer turned on as a media server.
I've been an tv user since the very first generation model came out, and have been buying almost all of my prime-time content from iTunes for the past five years. Cable is primarily for live news and occasional random channel-surfing. I had planned to cut the cable entirely a little over two years ago, but got sucked in by Bell's Entertainment Service trial (now FibeTV), which at the time was deeply discounted since it was still a trial. Basically, I got a full set of TV channels and 25mbps Internet for what I would have paid for equivalent Internet speeds anywhere else.
That deal only lasted about a year and a half, however, and when Bell Entertainment Service was "released" as FibeTV last year, everybody was basically migrated to the normal price plans. I should have cut the cable back then, but old habits die hard. However, Bell has snuck up its over-cap usage billing from $30/month to $80/month over the past year, and since I'm always well over the cap, that was what finally made the decision for me... Since you can't have FibeTV without Fibe Internet, switching over to Teksavvy pretty much required me to cut the cable and just go out and get an HD antenna for live news. Surprisingly, despite being in a condo unit in a valley in the north part of Toronto (Hoggs' Hollow), and using a relatively inexpensive indoor antenna, I was able to get CTV over the air in just about any room without even trying, and CBC and Global in at least one room with not much additional effort.