A week with the AppleTV 2G

While on my trip to Florida I decided to make a stop at the Apple Store like I normally do. I bought 2 things while there: a Magic Trackpad and the new AppleTV.

The trackpad has been everything I imagined and more. It connected to my Hackintosh beautifully and quickly. Then I ran software update to download any libraries and preference panes that it needed. I was quickly tapping, swiping and dragging in no time at all. I was confident that this was truly going to make using the computer better so I shut off my Magic Mouse and put in the drawer (I eventually took it to the office).

The AppleTV was a bit more complicated. It requires an HDMI port and all the HDMI ports on my TV were taken so I got to play with it for a little while I didn’t truly feel like it had found a permanent home. But everything on it worked beautifully. I am weary of Apple’s Homesharing simply because no one has reversed engineered the protocol so it makes it hard to use outside of iTunes. A have a lot of videos that aren’t in iTunes so I thought this would be a constraint. Seriously, iTunes is great but even on the Mac it’s starting to feel a bit bloated. Plus I didn’t upgrade iTunes on my hack to the, now required, version 10.0.0.1 that supports the AppleTV.

But never fear, some inventive developer had managed to successfully port a PLEX client to the AppleTV. It requires the jailbreak so I had to track down the micro-USB cable I let one of my colleagues borrow. None the less, a few minutes with Pwnagetool, some SSH command-lines and a few repository additions and I was in business. I installed Plex Media Server onto my hack, pointed it to the share with all my DVD rips and TV shows and gave it a few hours to update its library. I then fired up AppleTV and bob is your uncle. I watched a few minutes of ripped TV shows and browsed through the catalog. This thing is great!

Then yesterday it just so happened that the Media Center remote for just stopped working. Changing the batteries and cleaning the contacts seemed to make no difference, the LEDs didn’t fire and the damn thing never sent a signal. I took this as a sign that the HTPC was going to be taken out of service. Between the lockups, updates, disappearing devices, and the system maintenance keeping it running was turning into a part-time job. So now the AppleTV has a new spot replacing the buggy (not Microsoft, just a HID device manufacturer that never updates their drivers), loud and large HTPC that currently sits under the TV. I’m contemplating giving it away or turning it into Windows Home Server, putting it out of mind in another part of our apartment.

In the meantime, I’ve given the missus the 1-minute walkthrough of how to browse her TV shows and videos. And I’m seriously thinking of getting klexi which is by the same developer that created the AppleTV client for PLEX.

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