We’ve had an Apple TV for some time, however when given the opportunity to try out the new third generation model I was excited to see if there was any differences.
Outwardly, you cannot tell which is which (except for the dust on the older one). They look identical in every respect. It was a little confusing, only because we had the two of them.
Performance wise the new felt faster in bringing up content. It felt snappier and faster in the menus and searching. The thing I noticed most was that the wireless internet connection was much more stable then the 2nd Generation Apple TV. This was my biggest complaint of the 2nd Gen model, I could not really use the thing without having a ethernet cable connected. As a result the 3rd Generation model was wonderful to use and setup. During the time we were using it to get ready for the review it worked flawlessly even when moved from room to room.
Using an Apple TV does take a little bit of getting used to. It’s not that it’s difficult to use, it’s easy, but there’s a lot it can do that you may not know. Certainly you can watch movies you rent or purchase from the iTunes store. If you have a Netflix account you can stream that content. You can browse videos on Vimeo and YouTube; you can browse photos on Flickr, these I expected. What’s interesting though is that I can wirelessly push content from our iPad to the Apple TV.
This is a more interesting feature then I first thought. My daughter was watching a movie on the iPad while her brother’s were watching a ‘boy’ show on the TV. The boys finished their show and she was able to then come into the living room and put her movie on the big screen where she had left off on the small screen. As someone who is into photography I have been able to share my laptop screen (I use an Apple MacBook Pro) to show photos - wirelessly. So I’m editing photos in my photo program, I click the Airplay icon and select the Apple TV and just like that my laptop screen is shown on the big tv and I can quickly share photos (or whatever) to the whole room, it even takes the sound/music from my laptop and puts it over the TV’s speakers.
What’s neat is how much you can use this little box for. As you use it more, you turn to it more often to use. With the third generation of the device the one complaint I had with the previous one has been dealt with and it just works.
There are other devices who do things like the Apple TV, but the Apple TV just works. For me, it makes finding and sharing media easier.
Disclosure: I was provided with an AppleTV 3rd Generation from in return for this review.