Recent Updates | Mac Upgrades/Repairs | Storage | Video | Audio/HT | Apps/OS/Network | Home
Return to News Page
1st Generation Apple TV User Reports/Tips/Mods/Apple Docs
Reports/Tips/Info last Updated: 11/11/2013
Apple support docs listing updated 2/10/2010

This page is a catch-all of Apple TV user reports, tips, mods/hacks, reviews, Apple support docs, tips, etc. The current AppleTV hardware is capable of a lot more than Apple is allowing it to do in their initial release. It has a 1GHz Intel Pentium M-based "Crofton", an Nvidia G72M GPU w/64MB DDR2 memory (basically a Geforce Go 7400, the G72 was the GeforceGo 7300), 256MB of DDR2 RAM (400MHz), and reportedly has 7.1 capable audio, but the current Apple TV file formats don't support that.

Apple TV (gen 1) user Reports/Info/Tips/Mods: (most recent first)

My AppleTV 320GB Hard Drive Upgrade Guide:
I've posted my own AppleTV Hard Drive Upgrade Guide - A Better Way (IMHO) that includes locating dimensions for exposing the mounting screws on the bottom plate vs ripping off the entire bottom rubber cover. (Follow-up as promised to my finally upgrading a 40GB Apple TV here to a 320GB HD.)

(from a Oct. 30th, 2013 mail. Still some Generation 1 Apple TV users out there.)

"Apple TV (Silver) upgrade info
Greetings, I just wanted to pass along the news that I was able to upgrade my original Apple TV (Silver 40GB Gen1) to a 320GB hard disk. I used information from your site for the teardown instructions (Ref: Gen 1 AppleTV Hard Drive Upgrade Guide - A Better Way.) and used this site's (www.hackthatphone.com/AppleTVNewInternalHardDrive.shtml) instructions for using ATVCloner 2.0. (After my HD swap article was posted, the Cloner source site/info I linked to went MIA but a mirror for the files was later added.)

It should be noted that this was done with Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) on a MacBook Pro (15" Late 2008). No problems at all and I even installed the CrystalHD card in place of the AirPort card. (Airport card slot CrystalHD (BCM70015) Video Card swap for higher res (XBMC/Crystalbuntu). Lost my links to XBMC forum posts on this mod years ago, but here's a more recent thread at forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=130945.)
The new 320GB drive is up and running.

Glad the article helped. (I've not used that Apple TV much after that mod, but stil have it here.)

Reminder on (freeware) ATVusb Creator (from 3/17/2010 news page) It's been years since I kept up with the appletv hacks sites (until yesterday I'd left the appletv switched off for almost a year, only turning it on to get firmware updates. I've been using an Oplay media player w/eSATA HD for a few months) but a reader replied to yesterday's post (below) on my finally getting around to upgrading to a 320GB HD and thinking about USB (HD/keyboard) mods with a reminder on ATVusb creator as a freeware alternative to ATVflash:

"If you Googled around a bit, you may have run across my tutorials on hacking your ATV... or not :-) In either case, having mucked about with it for years, here's the simplest, most bullet-proof way I've found. Once you have the USB stick built, you're basically done.
Stick it in; power up the ATV; wait; power down; reboot.
The only real time involved is in building the stick, and everything you'll need is right here (links, code, instructions): http://code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/
Best wishes, Tracy V."

I'd downloaded atvusb-creator-1.0.b13 last month but not done anything with it yet. (If I don't soon I'm afraid another year will pass before I get around to that...)

I Finally upgraded my 40GB AppleTV to a 320GB HD (From 3/16/2010 news page)
After years of putting it off, today I finally made time to upgrade my original 40GB Apple TV's hard drive to 320GB. Total time was less than 1 hour (about 1/2 of that was searching for my tools and my mods to the bottom rubber cover to cut out holes around the screws rather than rip it off. Thanks to Mike M. for the photo of the bottom plate sans rubber cover. (I plan to post a pix with dimensions/screw locations for anyone else that wants to do this on theirs.) This way I can easily remove the screws later if need be for any other mods/repairs without having to rip off the rubber cover, which often is torn in the process. (And I'm still considering a custom case mod... but that's for another day.)
And as other readers have noted before, a big thanks to Dynaflash for their freeware ATVcloner app (dynaflashtech.net/atvcloner/ - no longer there) that eliminates the need to use terminal commands (that were shown in HD upgrade guides I linked to years ago here).
Using a NewerTech USB universal drive adapter (that I've had for years) and ATVcloner made cloning the OEM partitions and prepping a new 320GB WD Scorpio PATA drive a breeze. I should have done this years ago but it was always way down the to-do list.

I might consider installing a hack for USB support later. I'd like to use a USB Hub (after enabling USB) to be able to use an RF USB xcvr for a Wireless keyboard, as well as a USB HD Dock for additional storage. The keyboard would be handy for searches and web browsing with the mods.

AppleTV Hard Drive Upgrades Revisited (2010): (Replies to a post in the Feb 26th, 2010 news page)

(added 2/26/2010)
"ATVCLONER @ http://dynaflashtech.net/atvcloner/ (no longer there, see mirror down page at my AppleTV Hard Drive Upgrade Guide)
This script program makes the change foolproof. I used a usb universal drive adapter. (I have one of those where somewhere (newer tech model) and also an HD dock w/USB Port that should work.-Mike)
I bought the WD320 (Scorpio Blue) for around $100.
I have a first week (build) ATV and the rubber base ripped when pulling it back to get to the torx screws.
With the script program, torx drivers, and usb drive adapter, I was able to change out the drive in short time. I am now able to store a bunch of media with plenty of free space.
-S. England"

(added 2/26/2010)
"Been following your blog for several years. First time writer.
I had been using a WD 250 GB drive for over a year with no problems, but needed more capacity. I attempted to upgrade to a 640 SATA drive (WD) and an SATA <-> PATA card, but couldn't get it to work. Not sure if it was a limitation in the card I was using, or there is some limitation on larger Drives.
(The ATVcloner page (no longer online lists an eSATA 1.5TB drive they've used (w/eSATA mod) OK though.)
The WD upgrade to 250GB was fine using the basic "dd" command (found many places on the internet.)

However, I ran that out of room, so went with ATV Flash (www.atvflash.com/product_info.php?products_id=27) (was $49.95 list w/1year of updates), enabled the USB port, bought an inexpensive 1.5TB external drive, and that's what I've been living with for the last few days with it.
So far, I'm happy -- and the # of third party apps that come with ATV flash is pretty amazing.
-Mark B."

I'd completely forgotten about ATV Flash. (Although as far as I know it's just an easy way to install mods/hacks that are freely available on the web - I've recently downloaded ATVusb Creator - code.google.com/p/atvusb-creator/.) I'm definitely interested as it would easily add support for USB external drives, Keyboards, more codecs, new features and most importantly I could use some spare large drives here with a USB HD dock. (And I might use a USB Hub to add a wireless USB keyboard as well.)

(added 2/26/2010)
"Hi Mike, I had previously upgraded my 1.0 Apple TV to a 160GB hard drive, and I recently decided to upgrade it again to a 320GB hard drive. I followed the steps at www.brighthub.com/computing/mac-platform/articles/46024.aspx this time, but had mixed results working from 10.6.2. The author of the webpages tells me he was using 10.5. I used his long method.
I used a Western Digital 320GB WD3200BEVE drive.

I got to the step of resizing the new Media partition, and the new partition did not get created. I used iPartition instead, created the new partition, and followed the rest of his steps to complete the process.

I thought everything was fine, but I did wind up with a problem. The new drive would not install the latest Apple TV firmware update. It would download it, but then give me an error message saying the installation had failed. I have since gone back to my 160GB drive, and I may try this again when I am on holiday in a couple of weeks.
You might want to try something like ATV flash.
Best, Michael"

(added 2/26/2010)
"Hi Mike, I put the WD 320GB (Scorpio Blue) in my AppleTV a few months ago (about a week after 3.0 dropped, whenever that was) and it's been working fine ever since. I followed a how-to I found via google and the whole process was pretty easy. My AppleTV gets moderate use (~5 hours a week) and so far there has been no issue with the drive. Let me know if you have any other questions.
-Mike C."

(added 2/26/2010)
"I upgraded mine. I spent an inordinate amount of time doing so, and the first time, I got the partitions out of order which basically meant I couldn't do a factory restore or upgrade the OS. There are so many tutorials, etc, it just took too much time researching. Unpacked it and started over, and got it right the second time. The upgrade is actually pretty quick. I used the awkward TV step by step.

I, too, considered an external but really, 300GB of content should satisfy most people. I've got all of my music, all of my kids shows, all of my HD content (not a bunch), and the last 2 weeks of recently added video. So, it pretty much holds everything I'd want instantly. And I have 'n' Airports, so streaming works fine for when the AppleTV isn't sync'd.
Additionally, with the new wake over wifi, my computer that has iTunes on it will be woken if necessary.
Let me know if you have any more questions.

Just for the record, I asked David what HD he used, but from the "300GB" comment I assume a WD 320GB Blue.

AppleTV 3.0.2 update released (from 2/10/2010 news page) As usual available via Apple TV's Settings -> General -> Update Software menu option. Here's the info from the About Apple TV (1st generation) software updates page on the 3.0.2 update:

Connectivity, performance, and media-related fixes Apple TV Software update 3.0.2 includes fixes for Genius playlists, MobileMe gallery photos, iTunes U content, Internet Radio, and other media-related features. The update also includes performance and connectivity fixes for Apple TV.

Earlier info/posts from 2009 (and before) follow.

Apple alert to Apple TV 3.0 users - Update ASAP to Apple TV 3.0.1 (Nov. 7th, 2009 alert from apple via email):

"Dear Customer, If you've installed the Apple TV 3.0 software update, you should immediately update to version 3.0.1. This prevents content from temporarily disappearing until it is resynced.

To update your Apple TV software:
1. Reboot your Apple TV (unplug the power cord and plug it back in)
2. Select Settings > General from the main menu
3. Select Update Software
4. Select Download and Install

Note: Your Apple TV will conduct a restart, which is followed by the Apple logo and a status bar.

For more information, please refer to this article: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3116 (no longer online)
("Apple TV 3.0: Update to Apple TV 3.0.1 or later to prevent content from temporarily disappearing until re-synced")

If you need further assistance with your Apple TV, contact AppleCare.
Apple TV Team"

Apple TV 3.0 Update: (10/29/2009) Here's info from apple's doc on what's new in version 3.0:

Redesigned user interface:
Navigating your favorite content is even simpler and faster.

iTunes Extras:
Stunning full screen additional content for select movies, including deleted scenes, interviews, and interactive galleries.

iTunes LP:
Stunning full screen additional content for select music albums, including live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, and more.

Genius Mixes:
Enjoy endless mixes of songs from your iTunes library that go great together.

Internet Radio:
Browse thousands of stations and enjoy them directly on your TV. Tag favorite stations for later listening.

Local Music Search:
Search your local music library with a few clicks of the remote.

iPhoto Events and Faces:
Simplify finding your favorite photos from iPhoto.

YouTube in HD:
Enjoy hundreds of thousands of YouTube videos in stunning HD.

(Apple now has a press release on the update titled Apple Introduces Apple TV 3.0 Software With Redesigned User Interface - no longer online.)
I applied the update OK on a (refurb) 160GB here. I like the new menus/interface design (more horizontal) better than the 2.x menus (which I never cared for personally - I thought the original 1.x menu design was best). Not tried out all the new features yet. Right now checking out some of the internet radio categories/stations. (Some play smoothly (no dropouts) but not all, but that's expected. Not that I'd use AppleTV for internet radio very often.)
FYI: Apple's (free) Remote app updated (v1.3.2) and iTunes 9.0.2 also released with AppleTV 3.0 support (and more.) There's also an Apple Doc about Updating iTunes Extras and LP content for your Apple TV (link removed, no longer online).

(added 7/6/2009)
"I got a 40GB AppleTV a few months back and it helped itself to the 2.4 software upgrade. I have a Time Capsule that could provide wireless to it but I have it on wire. I use Linksys PLE200 powerline adapters throughout the house so that I don't rely on wireless, the performance of which has been spotty at times. My broadband connection is in my upstairs office and the AppleTV is downstairs. A cable running from my Linksys RVS4000 router goes to a PLE200, and a corresponding PLE200 is downstairs. It connects to a switch that has the AppleTV, a ReplayTV, and a backup Airport Extreme Base Station for the times that the signal from the Time Capsule isn't so strong downstairs. That gives great results without fiddling with the wireless setup on the 'TV, and is trouble free unlike using wireless seems to be.

I can't say enough good things about the PLE200s. They can provide over 100 megabit throughput over powerline, so says the Linksys utility at least. I have several in use, mainly for connecting my ReplayTVs to my network. Using those over wireless gave hiccups in playback over the network, and that got tiresome. I only use wireless for my notebooks these days.
(he later wrote)
A check at Linksys' site shows that PLK300 and PLE300 have taken the place of the 200s (a PLK is a pair of PLE's in one box). They do cost a bit, I got my first PLK200 for $145 at Best Buy. Then I got another PLK from Sears online when they had a sale on 'em for $90, which was a screaming deal at the time. I got another off ebay with only one of the PLE's working for $15, and lastly another new PLK for $59 when Circuit City was going out of business. I should be set with that many on hand.
The 300s look the same spec wise as the 200s, but are a different form factor. The 200s are a wall wart type box that plugs into an outlet and has an ethernet jack, and the 300s are a free standing box with a power cord to go to the outlet. That would be better since you can't plug them into a surge protector because that kills the powerline signal, and I have some of the 200s plugged into extension cords to get them off the wall anyway. The 200s have exceedingly bright blue LEDs so I have them hidden behind or under furniture, and using an extension cord allows for that plus keeps them from blocking outlets.

I can't fully use the AppleTV with my antique A/V equipment though apparently. My Sony TV has a DVI input (and HDCP support he later said), but running a HDMI-DVI cable from the AppleTV to the Sony gave a screenful of snow. I have it connected via component, which the Apple Store crowd says won't allow using protected content. (I always used HDMI, but the (analog) Component video output should work for protected SD content playback at least. HD content apparently requires a digital/HDCP connection. I just had a reader reply to this post saying he's never been able to playback any HD movie rentals using Component video output - only shows a black screen. (SD content played OK he said.) I'd try again with the DVI TV port - see if having the Apple TV on and powering up the TV (set to DVI port) helps or Vice/Versa. I have had similar problems (no video/not syncing) with a 2007 TV here when switching to the HDMI port used by a HD-DVD player. 80-90% of the time I have to either power off the TV/power it back up or the Player. Hot switching to the Player input rarely works/syncs on that TV. A real pita.-Mike) Not a problem since I'm less than gung ho on the whole digital download thing myself anyhow. I'm not a fan of media which don't allow me to exercise my rights under the First Sale Doctrine in copyright law, but I digress. So I use it to stream iTunes music to my big stereo and watch Youtube videos. If I ever get a TV built in this half of the decade, I can hook up HDMI and do more with it hopefully.

BTW - another reply today on Powerline adapters:

"I've been using PowerLine connectors for years. Works fine unless the plugs are on different circuits. In my case, upstairs and downstairs won't talk to one another.
-Steve K."

That's a question here also. And 2.4GHz is working well enough downstairs on a machine that's rarely used. (5GHz mode though wasn't very reliable downstairs - very low signal strength.) So several months ago I upgraded to one of Apple's Simul. Dual-Band AE bases so I could run a 5GHz network for upstairs (for max performance) and a 2.4GHz (N/B/G mode) network for other (B/G) devices and downstairs.
Ranster replied to Steve's comments:

" There's a utility that's Windows only (naturally) that Linksys provides for setting up the encryption and the name of the Powerline network. The name functions kind of like the SSID with wireless, i.e. only PowerLine devices with the same network name can talk. It shows the throughput to each PLE on the network as well. One that I know is on the same circuit breaker can show as high as 140 megabits. The rest are on different breakers and range from 80 megabits down as low as 30 megabits, and tend to fluctuate a little. I would say that they all run 60 to 80 megabits as a rule. These use the HomePlug AV standard and cannot talk to the older/slower powerline devices, although they can both be present on the wiring in the house. Here's a wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HomePlug_Powerline_Alliance

I'll probably stick with my dual-band N network setup, as I'm seeing much higher rates than that even on the 2.4GHz network (when no B or G clients are connected - downstairs machine has a linksys N USB adapter).
(Update: In late Feb. 2010, I finally had a chance to try a PowerLine AV Kit. See the notes/mini review of the Netgear AV (XAVB1004 kit) I posted on our page on PowerLine AC Network Adapter user reports)

(added 7/3/2009)
I purchased my 40GB Apple TV from MacConnection for $209 a little over a year ago, maybe longer. My experience with Apple TV has been very good. I've been using it since Apple TV v2.X first came out. My unit came with v1.X, but I updated to v2.0 the day my unit arrived. I'm currently using v2.4.

I use my Apple TV primarily for TV shows purchased from iTunes, but also for trailers, YouTube videos, and rented movies. I currently have about 150GB worth of TV shows. At first, I let TV shows collect on the hard drive of the Apple TV, but now I only store rented movies directly on my Apple TV. I download purchased items to my Mac and stream them to my Apple TV via a D-Link 802.11n wireless router that is hard-wired to my Mac. My Mac is a PowerMac 7300 with a Sonnet 450MHz G3 processor and 512MB of RAM running Mac OS X 10.4.11 (via XPostFacto 4.0) with all the latest updates including iTunes 8.2, Quicktime 7.6.2, and Safari 4.0. My Mac has two 500GB hard drives that I clone back and forth as my backup strategy. I run from the newest clone. This Mac runs rock solid and never...ever...crashes. I'm not exaggerating. It makes a great iTunes server, even though it's too slow to actually play any of the videos.

There have been a few quirks with my Apple TV, but not many. One of the quirks might be a variation of that wireless network dropped connection issue. Here's what happens to me. Sometimes, if I open iTunes on my Mac first before I wake up my Apple TV and then try to go to My TV Shows on Apple TV, I'm presented with a message to the effect that Apple TV can't find a computer with iTunes on it. I fix this by first quitting iTunes and putting Apple TV back to sleep. Then, I wake Apple TV first and open iTunes second. I find I never have the problem if I wake Apple TV first and open iTunes second.

As for putting my Apple TV to sleep, I always go to the main menu and then press and hold the play/stop button. This has always worked for me and still works under Apple TV v2.4.

One other quirk is that sometimes when I wake up my Apple TV I'm presented with only an outline of the main menu. If I press the play/stop button, or maybe it's the menu button, I get a message that says there has been an error and that I need to press and hold the play/stop button to restart Apple TV. The resulting restart completes a lot faster that a hard restart, which I do via the switch on a surge protector. A long time back I would occasionally wake up my Apple TV to find it frozen, which would require a hard restart, but that hasn't happened for quite a while.
In summary, my family and I really like our Apple TV. Okay, we love it!
Thank you for letting me share,
Scott E."

Latest complaints on AppleTV Wireless Network problems (deja vu), 2.4 Update Feedback (from 7/1/2009 news page) Apple's Apple TV discussion forums has a long (many pages) thread on AppleTV dropping wireless router connections as well as posts on problems some have seen with the recent AppleTV v2.4 update.
I've seen the wireless network (lost connection) problem before (at least as far as having to re-setup the wireless connection after not using it for a week or so). And today I woke the AppleTV up for the first time since applying the 2.4 update last week - and had to setup the wireless connection again (to an Apple AE N base). (FYI The same thing happened again after this AppleTV "woke" up again on its own. This time I just disconnected power (I know not recommended but frustrated at this problem seen repeatedly for a long long time with that 160GB refurb - but not with a 1st model 40GB model.)
However I've not seen any issues playing back content (both itunes store and my own videos) so far in v2.4. (But I've not used the rental feature or every function.) Doing some playback tests of videos today reminded me that I wish Apple would allow you to re-download original (very low-res) paid content (which for years now is in higher res now - and I'm not talking HD versions). I have several SNL sketches, Triump the Insult Comic (which still has me in tears laughing, especially the 'star wars' episode) that were in the original iTunes store low resolution. They look pretty bad on a big screen TV. (I had one reader a couple years ago say he was allowed to do this - but I don't think that's normal policy.)

And I really wish they'd never changed the 'standby' remote function - originally holding down a button would put it in standby regardless of the menu position, as at times the AppleTV has "woke" on its own and it was nice to be able to just hold the remote button down to put it back in standby. (With 2.x software, I have to switch the TV to the AppleTV input port, then navigate to the menu item for standby. Maybe I'm missing some trick/tip but I've been so frustrated over this at times I've just switched it off via an AC outlet strip - no power switch on the AppleTV of course.)
FYI: A reader reply to the above with tips on 'blind' navigation with the remote:

" In the v2.4 firmware (and possibly earlier) you can put the Apple TV into standby mode from any place within the menu system by pressing and holding down on the Menu button for at least 3 seconds followed by a press and hold on the Play/Pause for a similar 3 seconds. The press and hold on the Menu button takes you to the topmost screen from which you can always enter standby by pressing and holding on the Play/Pause button. Requires two steps, but at least you don't have to view what is happening on the TV screen (i.e. you don't need to turn the TV on).
- james"

BTW: This won't work if what happened to me (again on July 9th, 2009) - your AppleTV wakes up and has no wireless network connection. That happened to me and the steps above didn't work. I fired up the TV, switched to HDMI 1 port (AppleTV) and saw a message that the AppleTV wasn't connected to the wireless network (AGAIN)... plus this time a message requesting my AppleTV had some 'diagnostic' info to send to apple (I said OK - but it had no network connection...). Maybe I was wrong buying this 160GB Refurb from Apple a couple years ago - this network problem has been common since day one - yet I've never seen that problem with the first model 40GB Apple TV I bought (which like the refub, has had every firmware/apple tv update applied).

Personally I -much- preferred the original (v.1.x) Apple TV menus/structure. (I know they're trying to sell/rent more content but I wish they'd at least put "My" content (My Movies, My TV Shows, etc.) at the TOP of the sub-menus, not at the bottom of them...)

I still don't regret buying the AppleTV - it's been great for allowing the wife to see the grandkid's pictures (send via email) without her having to use a computer, as well as for movies and videos of family and friends, many that have passed away. (It motivated me to get many old recordings off VHS tapes from years ago- those are priceless now.)

AppleTV 2.4 Update released: (6/24/2009) Here's the info on v2.4 from Apple's About Apple TV software updates page:

"...Apple TV Software Update 2.4 features:
  • Remote app directional control: Control your Apple TV with simple finger gestures via the Remote app. This feature requires Remote 1.3 running on an iPhone or iPod touch with iPhone OS 3.0. (Apple Remote App v1.3)
  • Flickr Search: Search Flickr photo tags to find recently updated photos of interest. Save searches to quickly find new photos or use as a screen saver for Apple TV.
  • New view options: View movies By Genre, By Movie, or Unwatched. View TV Shows and Podcasts By Date, By Show, or Unwatched.
  • Updated transport and chapter modes: During video playback, click right or left to fast forward or rewind. Additional clicks increase the speed. Click down to show chapter markers."

  • AppleTV 2.3.1 update (adds network speed test feature) (from Feb. 25th, 2009 news page) Available via AppleTV update check. (Applied it OK here.) Per Apple's doc About Apple TV (1st gen) software updates v2.3.1 which adds a "Network Test" Feature:

    "Network Test sends information about your Internet connection to Apple in order to help improve download performance."

    The "Test Network" feature is a new option under the General->Network menu. The Test Network screen asks "Are you currently experiencing slow download performance?" w/Yes, No and Cancel button options. Both Yes and No buttons lead to these choices:

      What download speed do you expect from your Internet Connection?
    • Don't know
    • Less than 1.0 mbps
    • 1.0 to 1.5 mbps
    • 1.5 to 2.0 mbps
    • 2.0 to 4.0 mbps
    • 4.0 to 6.0 mbps
    • Faster than 6 mbps

    After selecting one of the above a download speed test is run (w/progress bar). I have 1.5 mbps (rated/max) DSL bridged to an Airport Extreme 802.11n base (set to 5GHz N only/wide) and by the time the progress bar was 1/2 full the AppleTV screensaver kicked in. At the 50% complete mark it aborted with a "! Can't connect to Apple... check your network connection or try again later" error. Tried 3 times - same thing. (I'll try again later.)

    Tip for AppleTV Unnecessary file recopying/resyncing:
    I've mentioned before here that for some time now (IIRC around the time of the v2.0 update), I've had iTunes resync (recopy) videos to my (refurb 160GB) AppleTV, even though the file hadn't been changed/edited. (Initially after just scrolling through the AppleTV menu/listing of videos, the next iTunes run would recopy unchanged video files. Also seen if I played a video for the first time on the AppleTV (not on the source Mac). One workaround I'd mentioned before was playing all the files first on the Mac before initially syncing them.
    I don't know why I didn't think of this before (blame my burned out brain) but after seeing another unnecessary recopy after partially playing a video on the Mac, now I'm trying something that makes more sense (IMHO).
    In iTunes, Get info on the video file/movie, etc. and in the Options Tab uncheck "remember playback position". Hopefully this will be a solution. I did a quick test (partial playback on Mac) and it didn't recopy the file again. (I had one other AppleTV owner mention he'd seen this same repeated uploading of files to AppleTV, which depending on size/number can take a very long time via wireless.)

    (added 1/12/2009)
    "Apple TV unnecessary recopies
    I just stumbled upon your site in some Yahoo! searches while desperately looking for a solution to the recopying problem with iTunes/Apple TV. I've been experiencing exactly the same issue running v2.3 and iTunes 8.
    A couple months ago I moved my iTunes folder location to an external drive (due to sheer size implication of it being on the laptop) which I had suspected as possibly being at the root of this problem, but from reading your notes it certainly doesn't appear to be related. (I've seen this same issue since around the AppleTV 2.0 update and my iTunes lib is on the boot hard drive. See notes below.-Mike)

    I will try the viewing unwatched titles solution that is referred to. Yesterday morning a resync completed and I know since then I marked an show espisode as "not new" which I suspect may be at the root of todays resync which is running as I type this. Annoying! If you have any comments or links to other potential solutions I would be very grateful.
    Thanks, Daniel"

    As I mentioned here last year, I saw this issue originally (IIRC) after the AppleTV 2.0 update. And oddly, it seemed to affect only 1 of 2 AppleTV's I have - a first model 40GB seemed immune - the 160GB (refurb) was prone to it after the 2.0 update at least. My workaround was to play any videos on the Mac (source lib) first - otherwise if I played them on the AppleTV first they'd be recopied again the next time I ran iTunes on the Mac (during sync/check). Frustrating to see time wasted recopying videos that were unchanged (other than play status). (Update: - see later tip above on disabling "remember playback position".)
    And in the past with that same 160GB AppleTV (but not the 40GB) about once a week or so the 160GB would lose the network connection (not appear in iTunes on the mac - had to either cycle power or re-setup the wireless network). Knock on wood changing the "closed" (network name not broadcast) option on the Apple N base seems to have helped that (can't swear that was the cause but 2 months or more and no repeat of that problem so far.)

    AppleTV 2.3 Update (from Nov 20, 2008 news page) Available via AppleTV's check for updates feature. Here's the change info per Apple's updated doc about Apple TV software updates:

    • AirTunes Streaming from Apple TV: Music can be streamed via AirTunes to Airport Express speakers or other Apple TVs in your house.
    • Third-party Remote Controls: Apple TV can now learn other remote controls and use them in addition to the Apple Remote.
    • Playlists: Playlists in iTunes that contain Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and Music Videos can now be seen on Apple TV.
    • Music Volume Control: Support for volume control in Music.

    Apple also has new docs related to v2.3 - About Remote Learning on Apple TV (no longer online) and Using AirTunes with AppleTV (now archived).

    NOTE: reports below were before AppleTV 2.3 was released

    (added 11/5/2008)
    "I just purchased the Apple TV 40 gig, I immediately upgraded to 2.2. I bought it for primarily music videos and renting movies but I've discovered a glaring engineering/design issue. You cannot create playlists or even play all the music videos in the apple tv library shuffled or continuously. When I called apple to discuss they seemed shocked. Not good if having a house party - you will need a DJ!!

    I honestly never thought of that limitation (but I have very few music videos - maybe 1 or 2). I primarily use it for video (movies, podcasts, converted EyeTV recordings - played one at a time of course) and photos (and sometimes music, but rarely).
    Update: According to the AppleTV 2.3 update notes (see above) - "Playlists in iTunes that contain Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and Music Videos can now be seen on Apple TV". I wrote David to ask if he'd updated to v2.3.

    (added 10/28/2008)
    " Hey Mike, Similar to a lot of other AppleTV users out there, I've had numerous crashing issues when using an HDMI cable to connect to my TV. I updated to v2.2 a few days after it came out and I have yet to see a crash. I know that this isn't definitive, but I would normally see more then 1 crash per week and it has already been about 3 weeks since the update without the crash.
    (but on Nov. 2nd he wrote)
    Well, so much for that. My AppleTV just restarted after change to its input on my TV. However, this was the first time I've seen this since the update, which seems way better then before.

    Are your readers seeing similar results?
    (I don't recall anyone else writing about that problem (but I could have forgotten.) I've not seen that issue here ever with 2 AppleTVs connected via HDMI to two different brand LCD TVs (original 40GB and refurb 160GB used with early firmware to latest 2.2) but have had some other quirks (160GB repeatedly loses network connection over time (i.e. OK one day, next day it's not on the network), unnecessary recopying of videos)-Mike)

    Also, I'm still experiencing the daily problem of the AppleTV showing that it has been disconnected from the network. However, this has yet to cause issues during operation as it only occurs when I switch over to it for the first time that day. I'm connecting wirelessly via the Airport Extreme N, running in N+B/G.
    Do you or your readers have any suggestions to fix this issue?
    Thanks, David"

    The 40GB (first model shipped) AppleTV has never had to have the network config redone but I have frequently (almost every time I use it literally) had to reconfigure the refurb 160's network connection. As you noted, operation is fine, just the next day I'll run iTunes and the 160GB isn't shown (not on the network). Cycling power -sometimes- solves it without a re-entering the network info, etc. on that AppleTV but I hate to keep doing that and usually just re-configure it for the network again.
    For the record I'm using an Apple 802.11N extreme base w/gigabit enet), latest firmware, source iMac has all latest Leopard updates. This has been an issue I've seen regularly with that 160GB, but never with the 40GB. (Running 5GHz N mode only sometimes, other times N/G/B 2.4GHz mode (always using WPA2 personal) - mode doesn't seem to matter on that issue. I've always set my wireless networks to 'closed' mode (not broadcasting the network name) - I'm going to try toggling that to see if it matters (and maybe play with group key timeout period in wireless options). But again the original 40GB hasn't had this problem, only the refub 160GB model.
    (FYI - I turned off the "Closed network" option (which doesn't broadcast network name) on the base and after 2 weeks, the 160GB AppleTV is still showing up in iTunes. Hopefully it stays that way long-term as it's a pain to re-enter the network info on the AppleTV.)

    AppleTV 2.2 Update: See Oct 3rd, 2008 news page post on AppleTV 2.2 update w/new features and security fixes. (I updated two AppleTVs (40GB original model and refurb 160GB) OK, but I'm still seeing recopying of videos/podcasts after initial (first) playback on the AppleTV. (Next sync from iTunes recopies them over again.) That's been happening here since the v2.0.0 update.)

    AppleTV 2.1 Update Feedback: (later first)

    (added 7/18/2008)
    "I am a very happy owner of a 160GB AppleTV after receiving the unit for Father's Day. I have been busy converting our kid's DVD collection using a Elgato Turbo .264 and MetaX for tagging (an amazing freeware program). I do like the quality of the Turbo .264 compared to Handbrake and typically get 24 - 32 fps with the Turbo...wayyyy faster than HB. (There's an earlier article here on Encoding Speed Tests w/Elgato Turbo.264 Hardware Encoder (tested with iBook G4, Quad G5, Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, iMac Core Duo, Dual G5), although it's limited to 800x600 output.-Mike)

    I am on the prowl for an older G4 (MDD or QSilver on ebay) capable of running Leopard as an iTunes "server" in a backroom. My plan is to sync all the family photos from my iMac to the AppleTV (to the internal 160GB), rip selected DVD's and CD's to the G4 "server". If anyone has suggestions or pitfalls on this type of setup, please let me know.

    (A reader replied)
    In response to Mark S.'s post about an iTunes Server...
    My main machine, still chugging away without issue, is a dual 800MHz G4 QS (Tiger 10.4.11) with 1GB RAM. It's great as an iTunes server. I have a SATA card and 800GB (500GB and 320GB drives). I also have an Elgato EyeTV and Turbo.264 (plugged into a 3rd-party USB2/FW card since the system only has USB v1). The new (2008) EyeTV records Clear QAM from my cable provider so I get network shows in HD, and everything else in pretty good SD. I can select search criteria for schedules and they can automatically record and encode to iTunes.

    The Turbo.264 encodes SD in pretty much real-time, HD takes 2-3x as long. Overall the system works like a HD Tivo and lets me watch TV on my schedule. I've also encoded my entire DVD collection, mostly using Handbrake.
    I think running Leopard on a similar system would be worthless. Tiger works fine with the ATV and runs much better on an MDD or QS system.
    -Steve D."

    After applying the 2.1 update this week, the most notable difference for me was how responsive the unit to my Harmony 720 remote. Prior to the update, the unit was virtually unresponsive to the Harmony and I was forced to only use the apple remote. Now there does not seem to be any difference between the two remotes. Good news! Best wishes to all you Apple TV fans.
    -Mark S."

    BTW - If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch with v2.0 OS update, you can use your iPhone/iPod Touch as an AppleTV (v2.1) remote using the free Remote App for iPhone.

    (added 7/11/2008)
    "Hi, just wanted to chime in on some other differences as well - at least I think they are new to this release!

  • Photo albums now has an index screen and a dedicated slideshow button, allowing you to go directly to a given image and start the slideshow from there. Also, the back and forth arrows on the remote can be used to scroll quickly from image to image, which turns off the music temporarily (pauses the slide show in effect). Clicking the OK button starts the music (and transitions etc) again.

  • Folders in your iTunes library are now also shown as folders in the My Music list. It also distinguishes between smart playlists and regular playlists now, with the same icons as in iTunes.

  • Transitions and effects also are much more smooth now with this release, for instance the spinning of album art when listening to a tune, now it is very smooth. Shis caused stuttering sometimes before.
    Cheers, Egil"

  • (added 7/11/2008)
    " In addition to those stated, the Apple TV 2.1 update provides a Wishlist feature. When going to a movie's information page, a new button can be found next to the Rent/Buy ones called "Wishlist". Clicking on it adds that movie to a list (the button changes to "Remove" for obvious reasons). Then when you return to the Movie navigation options, Wishlist will now show up; there you will find your selected movies which are links back to the information page. This is certainly a welcomed addition to this section.

    Also, I noticed that when you enter your parental password the entries change to hidden bullets so as to avoid showing all the numbers. This is welcomed too as before I had to make my kids turn away from the screen while I entered the numbers!
    -David N."

    (added 7/11/2008)
    " Applied the AppleTV 2.1 update last night from v2.02 with no problems. Here's what I found so far mucking around for about an hour:

  • Trailers: Has an interface that is much more like the Apple Store going as far as providing related trailers after watching a trailer. No longer appears to have a separate HD trailer path - is integrated into the trailer summary now a la the rental store.

  • Photos, Flickr: MUCH IMPROVED interface for browsing flickr photo libraries. Previously the only option for viewing was to start a slide show and flip through pics. Now a large navigable grid of photos with an option at the top of the page to start a slide show. The ability to be able to get to one picture asap is much appreciated.

  • Settings, Remote: iPhone and iTouch now appear as options to be paired with the AppleTV

    So far this looks to be a solid update, no problems
    Lee E."

  • AppleTV 2.1 Update released (w/security fixes) (7/10/2008) - Downloading/Applying it on my Apple TV. Not seen any info yet on all the changes, but it includes several security fixes - see Apple doc About the security content of Apple TV 2.1.

    Apple TV 2.0.2 Update released (4/14/2008)

    "The Apple TV 2.02 update was released today. It notes only bug fixes.
    (FYI - Apple now has a doc About Apple TV 2.0.2 (later titled "Apple TV (1st generation): How to update Apple TV software") that notes "Apple TV software version 2.0.2 increases wireless network reliability on certain high speed wireless networks and improves the overall Apple TV experience") It fixed the 5GHz (802.11N) Wide channel mode disconnect bug for me. (v2.0.1 had connection dropout problems if wide channel mode enabled)
    I re-enabled wide channels on my AE 802.11N router and blasted the ATV with data syncs of large amounts of info. Where before it would fail, now it succeeds without a hiccup.

    I updated to v2.0.2 and then switched my AE 802.11N base to Wide Channel and played several Trailers w/o any connection dropout. (With v2.0.1 and wide channel mode I'd get a lost network connection after just one or two trailers played.)
    BTW - even with v2.0.2 I'm still seeing unnecessary recopying of videos that I've commented on previously since the v2.0.0 update...

    More on 5GHz Wide Channel mode after 2.0.1 update:

    (added 4/7/2008 - updated 4/8)
    "I ran into the same problem as others, so I turned off the wide channels option. That fixed it, but I turned it back on over the weekend, and it works again. So perhaps just by turning off the option then turning it back on fixes it.
    (I tried re-enabling wide channel mode on my base again also - but after playing just a few trailers I had another dropout ("you are not connected to the Internet"...) as seen previously after the Apple TV 2.0.1 update. With wide channel disabled I can play trailers all day long - with it enabled (in v2.0.1) I can't play 3 in a row without a dropout.-Mike)
    (the next day he wrote)
    Well, it eventually crapped out. It worked for a couple of days then wouldn't complete the sync this morning. I changed it back to not use wide channels.
    Bob M."

    I hear Apple is working on an update to fix this. (BTW - I'm STILL seeing recopying of unchanged content (videos) after just previewing/scrolling through some items that were copied previously to the Apple TV. I thought that was fixed initially but saw it again today after scrolling through a list of podcats for the first time after the 2.x updates - the next run of iTunes copied several of the videos again.... it's as if scrolling/showing the preview image for some of them results in iTunes thinking there's a change and recopying them.) Originally I thought playing all of them on the iMac w/iTunes source lib helped but apparently not. Jesus when will this be fixed... The iTunes source lib iMac has 10.5.2 with all updates (including iTunes 7.6.2). Not sure which to blame (iMac/iTunes or the AppleTV) but I hadn't seen this before the Apple TV v2 update.

    (added 4/7/2008)
    "Yesterday I purchased an 802.11N Airport Express so I could run a 2.4GHz G/N network off of it as a bridge, and a 5GHz N only network off my main AExtreme 802.11 Gigabit router.

    Sure enough, my Apple TV started dropping hard - requiring a reboot to get the network back. Shutting off "wide channels" under the 5GHz settings on the AE fixed the problem. (I saw this same thing after the 2.0.1 update as did others running 5GHz N mode wide channel (see note/tips below from 3/31/2008) - turning off wide channel workaround solved it.-Mike)

    I hope Apple fixes this issue. It halves the throughput (though 130/60Mbit real world is still 3X as fast as the old 55/24Mbit real world G network). Is there any way to revert to V2.0?

    (Update - Apple released v2.0.2 on April 14th to address this.)

    (added 4/2/2008)
    " One welcome fix (for me) with v 2.0.1 is that the blue dots indicating "new" or not viewed now show up on my TV for my shared TV Shows. They previously showed correctly in iTunes, but never on my AppleTV (never any blue dots at all).

    Tips for Wireless connection problems after 2.0.1 update:

    (added 3/31/2008)
    "Apple TV v2.0.1 feedback
    Extreme N routers and Time Capsule wireless signal is dropped when user has configured N 5 GHZ. Two work arounds:
    a) use n+(B/G) 2.4 GHZ
    b) keep N 5GHZ and uncheck WIDE CHANNEL,
    Since I did b) no wireless disconnects.
    Many posts are on the Apple discussion web site. I'm using Time Capsule as my base router.
    Ref: Apple forum thread -major wi-fi connection problems with 2.0.1 (forum thread no longer online)

    I've been using my AE (Gigabit Enet) base in 5GHz/Wide channel mode for the last month or two - and today while playing a Movie trailer on the Apple TV after the 2.0.1 update I got an error ('not connected to the internet' - after playing just one trailer) - I then checked signal strength (in general/network menu) - no bars shown. (I'd see that same "not connected to the internet' message on the AL iMac a few times a week before the recent Airport/base updates also - although it still showed all bars full - knock on wood not seen that on the iMac since the airport/base firmware updates recently).
    Before the recent Airport and AE base firmware updates I had seen a couple times were I had to re-config the Apple TV for my wireless network (that was when I was running the base at 2.4GHz N/B/G mode though.) I'm going to try the tip to disable wide channel on the base. (Done that - no dropouts so far after half-dozen trailer playbacks - earlier I had a dropout after the first one played).

    (added 3/31/2008)
    "Apple TV v2.0.1 feedback
    The bug where HD video content like some HD Video Podcasts would cause a multi-freeze when scrolling past it or selecting it seems to have been minimized (to 2 seconds or so, not an accurate test).
    Nothing else noticed except the genres tab. The bug where my artwork for my favorite podcasts doesn't show up still exists.

    (added 3/31/2008)
    "Apple TV v2.0.1 feedback
    I had tried renting movies on two occasions and received only a blank white screen - and subsequent refunds from iTunes. After the update, I tested the AppleTV with one of the movies that did not work before, and it works! I can only assume it is because of the update!!

    Apple TV 2.0.1 Update (3/29/2008) There's a 2.0.1 update to Apple TV available - downloading it now on my Apple TV. Hopefully it fixes the problem I've seen with v2.0 regarding repeatedly resyncing unchanged content (that was just browsed on the Apple TV) since installing v2.0. Other v2.0 complaints have been slow browsing/previews of movies (for some at times almost as if the Apple TV cursor is frozen/won't advance to the next movie/show until the preview image is generated). (See earlier reports below on v2.0.)
    (Just a very quick/simple first impression as I'm headed out the door (Saturday PM) - after applying 2.0.1 I did a quick scroll through my movies list and it seems like it's smoother/faster now and I played a few seconds of one of my home movies and it didn't recopy that file on the next run of iTunes. (FYI - later I've seen this problem reappear... more copying of videos that were unchanged, after just scrolling through some after the Apple TV updates.) I've not added any new content yet and will play with it more later tonight or tomorrow. (Later saw the 5GHz N wide channel connection dropout issue noted above.) I was on the verge of reverting back to v1.x due to the repeated recopying of unchanged content under v2.0 so I didn't hesitate to update to v2.0.1.)

    FYI - Apple's posted an Apple TV Tip - Author your own movie content with AC-3 audio for true surround sound (link removed/no longer online)

    "If your Apple TV is connected to a Dolby Digital-capable sound system, your content can have true surround sound.
    Apple TV will pass through 5.1 surround sound audio encoded in Dolby Digital AC-3. The AC-3 audio must be properly included in the movie in order for it to pass through correctly.
    To create content for use with Apple TV, the movie must have two audio tracks:
    • Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) stereo
    • AC-3 track for surround

    Note: Both tracks should have the same sample rate (48 kHz is normal).

    For compatability, the following is required:

    • Both tracks must be provided.
    • The AAC track should be first and it must be enabled.
    • The AC-3 track should appear after the AAC track and it should be disabled by default.
    • The AC-3 track must also use the appropriate MPEG-4/ISO standard.

    Apple TV uses the AC-3 track as a pass-through mode only. For example, it passes data out to an A/V receiver capable of Dolby Digital playback. The AC-3 audio is sent over the HDMI and the optical audio output of Apple TV.

    To select AC-3 data through these ports, go to Settings > Audio > Dolby Digital Out and select On.
    These movies can be created using applications such as FinalCut Express and FinalCut Pro.
    Note: The AAC track is used in any situation where just stereo output is required."

    (Note: reports below before iTunes 7.6.1 was released later on Feb 21st - although that did not fix the unnecessary re-copying of videos/tv shows I'd seen w/v7.6.0...)

    (from Feb 19th mail - late posting it)
    "AppleTV 2.0 upgraded, 160GB bought last May, stupidly, just had to have the BIG one you know? Right decision that was! Don't even use its storage for anything at all. It's my "passive ATV playback system for iTunes" and iTunes movies specifically, only. It's never stored a Kb of data on its hard drive, that's how much I've used the 160GB interface, so I have nothing to say about the ability of the ATV to function as a "synch" device at all, since it's never synched to anything, nor will it if I have my way about it.

    And how do I love this AppleTV 2.0? Why it's the playback device for my library of iTunes movies, made with my Turbo.264 device from ElGato Systems, or encoded via HandBrake (very few like that, but special movies with outrageous 5.1 soundtracks get the HB treatment) 0.9.1, admittedly a superior software movie-maker to the Turbo.264, but ever so S L O W and tedious, taking up my CPU's time and space, compared to the Turbo.264's 1-2 hour maximum encoding time, even for epic movies. (David is one of several readers that sent comparison results with/without the device for a page here on Encoding Speed Tests with Elgato Turbo.264 Hardware Encoder .-Mike) I get usually anywhere from 25fps encoding to 34fps encoding with the darned thing(s) (I have 2 of them), compared to maybe 6-8fps encoding with two HandBrake copies going simultaneously on my 2.3GHz Dual Core G5 CPU, admittedly not a Mac Pro or 8-core Mac Pro (even better to encode with I'm certain), but it's still my production machine and it's going nowhere with all its PPC software until 2009, when it will most likely die (right after AppleCare expires probably) from all the work I've put it through for 36+ months of heavy, heavy use.

    Back to AppleTV 2.0, my love potion No.9 for movies, all 1.5TB worth of them! I am going to have to buy stock in Western Digital if I own anymore of their equipment. Just last week I put a new My Book Pro Edition II 2TB FireWire 800-connected hard drive system online as the new iTunes Library, since I severely outgrew the 1TB My Book Pro II that I recently wrote a review about for your fine pages. I had my library split between my PCI Express PPC PowerMac as above, and the 1TB My Book Pro II, but no more...it's ALL on the 2TB My Book now, and so far, so good. They come set up as a giant HFS+ RAID 0 array, so I didn't even have to format it, the thing was ready to rock. Now after some 1.5 DAYS of copying the Library from my RAID 0 FirmTek SeriTek 2e/EN4 2TB unit, which runs the G5 system (boots it), and the 1TB Library (actually only about 700GB as I recall, but don't quote me it's late here) from the other MyBook Pro II (Export Library command twice, which worked fine both times, since I disconnected the 1TB system during the 1st transfer)... anyway I ended up with just more than 1.5TB of movies, a little over 900 of them!! How about that?

    I don't use the AppleTV 2.0 for purchases through the iTunes Store, nope not me. All I do is encode movies that I RIP with MTR v3.0 R-14M (latest Beta MTR that is good on everything, all DVD's get RIPped just fine with that one, no matter which one it is, be it from Lion's Gate, Disney, Universal, MiraMax, et al copy protection house did the DVD, they all pass, don't GO, and get RIPped), then I turn the Video_TS folder over to the Turbo.264 and voila! Instant AppleTV movies! I usually do 6-12 per night, and have been doing this since last summer, thus the huge ATV library, which is 60GB music and the rest of the 1.5TB's is all personally converted beautiful DVD movies. No DRM stuff here, just pure virgin DVD-converted home movies, that's it! Region Free also, via MTR, so I have lots of Foreign films, Region 2 and Region 4 films originally, but no more.

    My network is still an 811."G" system, believe it or not. I still haven't killed my Belkin FSD7230-4 router/WiFi device yet, and until it breaks or dies, one or the other, it's getting used. I believe in the laissez-faire system of electronic consumption Michael, ie if it's begotten free, then it's used until something else comes along that's better and also free, or it breaks and the manufacturer has to replace it under warranty. How about that quasi-logic? Thus the Belkin, and seamless AppleTV streaming movies.

    I've just finished watching Point of No Return (Bridget Fonda ala Femme Nikita, Gabriel Byrne as "Bob" the agent...such a good flick!). Typical evening here after work.

    I half expect my Belkin to up and croak with all this wireless streaming going on, but it hasn't flinched so far. Plus it still handles wireless duties for the 4 wireless Macs here: 2 Mac Mini C2Duo's, one Intel C2Duo 2.0 GHz iMac (Spring 2007), and the 2.3Ghz CPU Dual Core G5 PCI Express that I love so much, my PPC King of the Hill Mac. Plus I still have the 1 DA G4 below my desk in the work station running that NewerTechnology 1.8Ghz DP CPU (7448) that our friend OWC Larry gave me last year for the failed Sonnet 1.8GHz DP CPU (7447A), so nothing has changed here this year, still the same 5 Macs plus my MBPro, my wife's iBook G3 900Mhz (obviously both WiFi devices), and that's all that is running here presently, all via the Belkin 811 "G" WiFi router FSD7230-4.

    I have no idea what I'm missing in terms of having an "N" Airport Extreme Router or anything fancy like that because this all continues to work 100%, so I don't have any reason to switch or change anything out, ie it's all seamless and perfect!
    -David C."

    (added 2/21/2008)
    "I have the Apple TV 160 Gb connected to a Panasonic Plasma HDTV with HDMI-DVI cable for video and an optical cable for audio. I updated the software to 2.0.
    The version 1 software allowed you to custom sync Movies & TV while streaming the itunes library and iphoto library albums. The new version allows you to stream all content or sync content, but not both.
    I was dissapointed that if you choose custom sync, and then uncheck iphoto (so it will not sync) it will not stream iphoto (version 1 did do this), yet it still streams your itunes library (if you uncheck sync). I am not sure why the change.
    I was impressed by the ability to see podcasts, youtube videos, and movie previews on your TV.

    IIRC YouTube support was added in v1.1 although I never used it.

    (added 2/21/2008)
    "I just noticed that you can no longer stream photos and music at the same time during a slideshow after the Apple TV 2.0 update. The music menu under the photo setting is set to NO and cannot be changed. Since this is contrary to the way it behaved prior to the update, I'll assume this is a bug of some sort. Other folks experiencing this are discussing it at the Apple discussion board: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1391595

    (added 2/21/2008)
    "Hi, just for the guy 'Brian' (ref: 2/14/2008 report below) having trouble with his tv show tags, there is a script here that will let him batch change the video kind.
    Cheers, James"

    (added 2/19/2008)
    "Hey Mike, After much debate I finally purchased a 40GB Apple TV yesterday. It was an absolute breeze to install, and once I got it up and running I did the software update to V2.0 with took about 15 minutes and went fine. I have tried the unit hooked up to my 37" Vizio HDTV via HDMI, and my Panasonic AE1000U 1080P projector/Onkyo 805 combo via HDMI with a 106" screen. I have used it both wired and on 802.11N wireless (my usual connection for this box). [I have an AE Gigabit 802.N network, running on the 2.4GHz band to allow the occasional 802.11G device in; my net connection is an 8 Mbit Comcast connection.]

    This is a fantastic box, and much more useful IMHO than in it's 1.0 iteration. I have not run into any real problems, just some quirks (if that). Here are my observations, in no order:

    * Streaming is flawless. I don't see much of a need for a 160GB model when you can easily stream content from your Mac/PC as if everything was on the box itself just by turning your machine on and running iTunes for those times you want ALL your media. The unit makes no distinction in the menus or browsing UI between locally stored and streamed content from the main synced Mac/PC, and it works fantastic that way.

    * I have not seen the "resync video" problem yet. (Happened here repeatedly -if- the iTunes Lib had an unplayed (dot flag) Video or TV show recording and I just scrolled through the listings on the Apple TV of those videos. Fix for me as I noted earlier was to play the videos (even if just for a second) to remove the 'unplayed' flag in iTunes (v7.6.0) Lib. They've now released iTunes 7.6.1 which I hoped would fix that - but it didn't. In fact scrolling through the list of videos/TVshows I had resulted in more recopying/resyncing of any that I'd not scrolled through/shown a preview image before on the AppleTV. Frustrating and a huge waste of time/bandwidth.-Mike)

    * There is, as of now, a pretty lousy selection of HD movies for rent with many old movies. My Comcast box and of course Netflix (for Blu-Ray) have much better selections. I hope this improves. [I normally watch movies in my home theater on a 1080P projector using a PS3 for Blu-Ray (at 1080P/24) and Toshiba HD-DVD player (1080i)]

    * There are many HD video podcasts, some of which look amazing. They are easy to find.

    * The HD quality for Movie Trailers (and I presume rentals) is actually quite good. They look better in motion than Comcast's HD downloads off On Demand and I was surprised! On my 37" 720P TV, they look fantastic.

    On my 1080P 106" projection screen, however, 720P downloads do not match the detail and clarity of Blu-Ray 1080P discs. The 720P content looks pretty good, but when you switch to a 1080P Blu-ray disc the difference is significantly better playing Blu-Ray, though to the untrained eye it might be a closer race than I think. Of course, I have a huge screen and this is not unexpected. On my much smaller 37" screen, the difference is much less noticeable - if noticeable at all.

    * I shoot a lot of HDV 1080i [MPEG-2] content and would like to display it on the ATV. I can play these files natively at 1080i on my PS3, but I need to convert them for use on the ATV. iTunes' standard conversion (and also VisualHub's ATV setting) downconvert my HDV footage to something like 960X800 [I don't remember the exact resolution, sorry] at 30 fps. This converts rather quickly and looks OK, but it's not 720P.

    Using Apple Compressor 3.0.2, I was able to convert the HDV files to 720P/24 that play on the ATV. However, this process involves a frame-rate conversion and some tweaking to the Compressor settings for ATV, and takes forever if you want it to look good. (Example: a 20 minute HDV file took 3.5 hours to convert to 720P/24 ATV H.264 format on my 8-core 2.8 Ghz early 2008 Mac Pro with 10GB of RAM using 7 instances on Qmaster! I can only imagine how long an iMac would take.)

    * Downloads only go one at a time on the ATV, and if you start streaming content from the 'Net like a podcast, they stop downloading until you finish the content. This is even after the content you are streaming is completely downloaded - no more network activity happens (as verified on my ethernet switch) until you complete watching the streamed content. Then the downloads resume.

    * Downloaded podcasts, downloaded from the ATV, do not transfer TO iTunes on the computer. Neither do rentals. Only purchased music and movies do.

    * The scaler in the ATV is horrible. I let it scale to 1080P on my projector and the image was significantly blurrier than when I fed a straight 720P signal into my projector and let it do the scaling to 1080P itself.

    * SD content looks ok on my 37" screen, blockier (of course) on my 106" screen. It's watchable, though. Most YouTube content looks unwatchable on the 106" screen, but OK on the 37" screen.

    * The unit is warm and seems to stay on all the time, even in "standby" mode. Energy efficient it is not. (This was a common complaint on Apple TV from day one when it was first released (mentioned in old posts here...) one of the older posts included results from a wattage test in standby mode (25 to 28 Watts). I even made a "Top 10" list of "Why Apple TV had no off switch" as an attempt at humor here. Here's some Apple kbase docs about this I linked to before here (updated over time) : Apple TV may feel warm to touch and Apple TV: About standby mode. (links disabled after apple support site changes) I mentioned last year when I first got mine I originally used a switched outlet strip for it, but lately have just left it on.-Mike)

    The new 2.0 update to the ATV makes the box a great source of entertainment for those with iTunes centric media libraries. If you use a 720P Television, all the better - the content looks great. The selection of HD movies is very low now, but hopefully it will improve. It's a very easy, plug-n-play seamless way to view your own iTunes library, any shared libraries, and to download and purchase movies and podcasts in SD and HD as well as audio music and podcasts and youtube with a very well-thought-out-client. It's a very fast, responsive unit.

    But if your main aim is to watch your own ripped or created content in HD, and you want true 720P/60 or 1080i/p content, you're better off with a PlayStation 3. I have that too, and it's a fantastic media box. I plan to test it with MediaLink for the Mac and I'll let you know how it works. While the PS3 is not anywhere as close to as easy or seamless to use as the ATV, it does display a much larger range of video formats.

    You can convert files to ATV format relatively quickly, but you really need a very fast machine or an ElGato H.264 device to assist in the work. Either that, or just buy/download pre-formatted HD content from Apple and podcast providers.

    IHMO the -purchased- movies are too high (and typically only 640x480 res.) - I can get an actual DVD (non-HD) for less (many old titles are still $10 at iTunes store - they're often near 1/2 that in store bargain bins/sales.) H.264 encoding (and playback) is processor intensive. There's a page here from last year with Encoding Speed Tests with Elgato Turbo.264 Hardware Encoder (Turbo.264 vs QT encoding speed on various macs including Core Duo Macs, G5 towers, iBook G4s, etc). Turbo.264 is limited to 800x600 res IIRC.

    (added 2/18/2008)
    "I recently purchased a 160 GB Apple TV and have connected it to my 37 inch Polaroid 720p/1080i HDTV via component leads. The Apple TV connects to the home LAN via 802.11n with an AirPort Extreme Base Station. Operation is satisfactory and the Apple TV 2.0 feature update adds quite a bit to the previous version. I have had no serious negative issues except for an unnecessary re-synchronization with the iTunes library, or at least the video portion thereof, for some unknown reason. This has only happened once. (See my comments below - I saw this same problem -repeatedly- after just scrolling through the list of my TV shows/movies. The next run of iTunes would recopy files... then if I scrolled through the list again, the next iTunes run would recopy them again. The fix at first seemed to be playing each movie/TV show on the source lib iMac (even just for a second or two) to remove the 'unplayed' dot flag. I initially thought that solved it (scrolling by those same videos/shows didn't case a repeat copy next time I ran iTunes), but after the iTunes 7.6.1 update I again scrolled through the list on AppleTV - and for those I had not scrolled by/shown a preview image for before today, were re-copied again the next time I ran iTunes. Very frustrating. I'd rather go back to Apple TV 1.1 if this can't be fixed. I don't plan on renting movies from iTunes anyway and don't have a 5.1 audio system and this huge waste of time and network bandwidth is not worth the features in v2.0 for me. I never saw this before the 2.0 update.-Mike) I have not yet tried the HDMI interface as the TV has only one of these and it's occupied by my Blu-ray player.

    On the downside, I'm not a big fan of Apple's minimalist approach to the remote control. It takes some practice to become adept at smoothly selecting directional sand speed options during video playback. I think it's time for Apple to consider the idea of having a few more more features in the remote. And it would be nice to have a Bluetooth remote available, as that's a nice improvement that's now being seen in some high end gear. (No bluetooth interface in current AppleTVs though, but if they wanted to they could add support for BT adapters via the USB port)

    The YouTube access is an impressive function, but the obvious warning here is that the detractions of YouTube resolution limits and compression are even more pronounced when a video is viewed on an HDTV. Some are almost unwatchable because of this.

    Using Apple TV for audio playback only appears to work well, but the economics of running a three or four hundred watt television instead of a fifty watt stereo are dubious at best if one lives in a region with high electricity rates.

    I am probably one of the few Apple TV owners who does not use the iTunes store for purchases or rentals as I'm strongly opposed to DRM and am patient enough to wait until everyone else comes to the same conclusion. In the interim, I use Handbrake 0.91 to rip DVDs on my quad core Mac Pro and I recommend this approach to others as it's an effective means for exercising one's preferences for encoded video quality and storage size.
    -Steven "

    (added 2/15/2008)
    "Mike, I've discovered that the AppleTV 2.0 software doesn't like to connect to network resources through the OpenDNS service. When I have my household router (an gigabit AirPort Extreme) configured to use OpenDNS as a DNS server, the AppleTV will fail to connect to the iTunes store and will continuously reboot and generally fail to function. Resetting the AirPort to use my ISP's default DNS server (Comcast), AppleTV 2.0 works fine.

    Interestingly, AppleTV 1.0 and 1.1 don't have any problem running through OpenDNS, though certainly isn't as dependent on the iTunes servers as 2.0. And I don't have any custom services activated through OpenDNS.com that could easily explain why its having problems. -Cadaver"

    A year or so ago I had setup my AE base to use OpenDNS, but reverted back to my ISP's settings after seeing some problems (can't recall now what they were though... I think I had some 404's or problems reaching some websites - maybe a temporary problem but I switched back.) I had changed originally after seeing notes that OpenDNS was faster...

    (added 2/15/2008)
    "Hi Mike. Updated to Apple TV 2.0 and have a problem with my "TV" (Westinghouse 42" LVM-42w2 LCD 1080p monitor) EDID not being passed correctly to the Apple TV. As a result I'm stuck in 720p land with no option for 1080p HDMI output (though it hardly matters with current content only offered @ 720p). I'm also having issues where the Apple TV won't "wake up" and presents a blank green screen only. Rebooting always works, but clearly I'm having HDMI issues. DD5.1 sound rocks though and the rental service is sweet and the quality on the HD rentals competes favorably with other HD offerings I've tried through XBox, Satellite etc.
    Anyway... boo HDMI, yay everything else!

    I'm using a ("Black Friday" sale) $798 Polaroid 1080P 42in LCD TV OK in 1080P mode w/Apple TV v2.0 here... (had some issues with repeated copying of previously sync'd videos though - but hopefully fixed now - see notes earlier today below)

    (added 2/15/2008)
    "Hi Mike, I purchased the Apple TV 1.0 when it was released and had a variety of hacks installed to make it run on my standard definition (composite) television. Eager to try the new Take 2, I went ahead and did a factory restore to 1.0 (hacks prevented software updates) and then upgraded to 2.0. The whole process took just over 10 minutes.

    Of course, I lost color capability, so I tried again the hack found at: http://www.appletvhacks.net/category/hardware/ using what I can best describe as an HDMI-DVI adapter mated to a DVI-VGA adapter. The website shows them mated together, which off the shelf is impossible as the VGA is analog and the HDMI is digital, so they cannot fit. Drilling out the "cross" section on the DVI-female side of the HDMI adapter allows my PowerBook's DVI-VGA adapter to mate and indeed does work. It behaved differently than trying the hack with 1.0 (Take2 HDMI firmware changes?) but after some trial and error I have standard definition composite color. All the graphics appear much crisper (YouTube captions are now readable) and streaming appears much faster and less choppy on my 802.11G wireless network than before.

    Since I had used my hacked 1.0 menus frequently the new menu arrangement takes some getting used to, but is an improvement. Using AirTunes (I'm glad they realized it should have this feature) sometimes gave me the error "An error occurred while connecting to the remote speaker "Apple TV". An unknown error occurred (-15000)." trying to access different menus while AirTunes was running. The video displays "Unknown Album, Unknown Artist, 0:00:00" when streaming via AirTunes as well, even though my tracks are correctly tagged in iTunes. Playback was otherwise fine.

    I've only browsed the store, I won't be doing any rentals until I get a faster Internet connection to the Apple TV. Hopefully by then the many hacker frapplications I used will be updated so I can enjoy additional video formats and games.

    Overall, this is an excellent upgrade adding needed functionalities. Where it stands in the video on demand marketplace remains to be seen as it still feels like a 3rd place competitor to an DirecTV TiVo and Xbox 360 as far as entertainment usage goes.
    Regards, Tom"

    (added 2/15/2008)
    "I recently updated my Apple Tv with the Take 2 software. I love it a lot, but one thing that I noticed is that when searching (scrolling?) through the saved movies I have on my Apple TV it is slow and clunky. It takes a long while for the preview image of the movie to show up. I didn't know if this was something that other people have been experiencing. I have about 130 GB of Movie content on it. Before the update this wasn't an issue. I just wanted to pass on the information.
    -John W."

    I only have about 40GB of movies/TV shows on mine but I checked moving from one category to the other in TV shows section and it took appx 1 sec for the sample frame to appear. Checking the Movies section/listings, for some movies I had (like iSquint converted youtube videos, some old home movies) it almost appeared to hang on some (took several seconds for image to appear) - others were faster. In my case worst delays were my converts/home movies. (maybe no poster/sample image?)
    After syncing/coping over a new episode of a TV show I noticed it does take a long time (5-10 seconds - thought it was hung initially) to actually see the listings of episodes after selecting the Show Name.
    BTW - Unnecessary Re-Copying of Videos: (not fixed here even after later iTunes 7.6.1 update.) After doing this preview/list scrolling only (no playback) on my Apple TV, on my next iTunes launch/sync, it shows "Copying" 28 of the videos (movies and tv shows) that I had only scrolled through to check for sample image response time. (Arrggghhh! - 28 movies/videos... a few were 1hr long... via wireless this takes forever.) I didn't actually play any of them (should be no status change) and even so (if played status change), why does it need to recopy them? (Some metadata changed from the preview/scrolling? even if so I'd like an option to not recopy... (BTW - My sync options are set to sync all movies, not just new/unwatched, etc.) Anyone else see this or have a suggestion?
    FYI- this behavior here is repeatable - after the 28 item repeat copy, I again just scrolled through some TV show listings (playing none of them, just to test for time to show preview image) - next iTunes run resulted in another (unnecessary) copy of TV shows. Tried again - scrolling through all the "Family Guy" show listings - ran iTunes again - same thing - another 20 items re-copied that were already synced. A BIG waste of time and bandwidth. I switched to "automatic" sync option and 168 items were synced (again a repeat copy of the same items that had been copied 3 times today already). Before switching that iTunes/Apple TV primary Sync mode option I played (for a couple sec) every TV show, etc on the iMac (source lib) - just to see if that helped (removing the 'dot'/not played flag). That seems to have helped in a quick check here...
    Update (2/22/2008 - after iTunes 7.6.1 update.) I again scrolled through the list of Movies/TV shows on my AppleTV - and for those I had not scrolled by/shown a preview image previously (until today) - those items were recopied again the next time I ran iTunes. Very frustrating. If I can't find a fix for this wasteful recopying of video files repeats, I'm going to do a factory restore and go back to v1.1 software if I can. (I hate doing that but I'd give up the rentals, 1080P, etc. to not waste hours of re-copying existing content over and over and over and over.)

    (added 2/14/2008 - updated 2/15)
    "Just some feedback after playing with the Apple TV 2.0 upgrade for a day.
    The synced sources are now included in the main playlist - you no longer have to select which iTunes source you want to connect to, it merges the content stored on the local hard drive with all the available synced iTunes content into a master playlist. It seems to do a good job of not displaying duplicated songs/movies from synced sources and content saved on the local drive. This is an excellent feature, and really makes me question the value of any local drive size over the 40G - since you can now keep your content fairly seamlessly stored on any networked device and shared via iTunes (my iTunes library has outgrown my iMac internal hard drive, I have an external networked array that I store it all on now), unless you were worried about the bandwidth on your home network. I've not seen any slowdown playing video via a synced source on my .11g network other than a slight (2-3 second) pause when first starting - even when Fast-forwarding or Rewinding.

    The AppleTV can now act as an AirTunes receiver - I don't think this was present in the older software. (The Apple doc About Apple TV software version 2.0 lists as a new feature "Play your iTunes content on the audio system connected to your Apple TV via AirTunes", although I was surprised they didn't mention the new 1080P mode support.-Mike) Not a revolutionary option, since you could always play the iTunes content through the AppleTV, but it's nice if your working at the computer since you can play your music through iTunes on your computer, listen to it through your home theater, and not have to have the TV running to control it via the Apple Remote on the AppleTV. It still shows the album playing and artwork just like you were controlling it through the AppleTV if your using iTunes, and you can override the AirTunes command using the Apple Remote and it will automatically pause your iTunes on your computer.

    My AppleTV is connected via HDMI to my receiver, which all my other sources connect to as well. Before this update, I couldn't get sound through the receiver from the AppleTV unless the TV was on as well (I just assumed it was something with my receiver and the way it switched). Now with 2.0, I can get sound without having to have the TV on - which is especially nice with the AirTunes feature.

    As far as I could tell - if you queue up multiple rentals for download, it will only attempt to download one at a time. It did let me start watching as soon as there was enough downloaded to cache it through the running time of the movie. Downloads did pause for some reason when I started to watch other content that was saved on my iTunes-synced computer - maybe to preserve bandwidth.

    The only downside I've found to the AppleTV is that it doesn't support playlists for video: All your movies (and anything you encode yourself is considered a movie - if anyone has figured out how to set content as "TV Shows" I'd be interested in hearing it, but it seems only actual TV Shows purchased from the iTunes store can get this tag) are shown in one big list. (I convert some TV recordings done via EyeTV - they shown up in the TV Shows listing. Have you done a "Get Info" on the files inside of iTunes and set their "Genre" to "TV Shows"? On the Apple TV (even before 2.0 update) they appeared under a single show title (i.e. "Family Guy" single item, selecting that goes to a submenu that lists all the recorded episodes).
    FYI: Kollik wrote suggesting you try Lostify to meta tag TV Shows as such, with correct season and episode tags.-Mike
    ) So I have like 100 episodes of a TV show I encoded that I have to scroll through to get past that letter in the list. I don't know why they still haven't added this (or if they did, I haven't figured it out yet). It seems like they could use a similar interface as they have for music and it would be vastly improved for people that have more than a handful of movies.

    (Update: he later replied to the above notes/suggestions)
    Thanks for the suggestions, I did finally figure out what it was:
    In iTunes, if you Get Info on a single episode, you get several tabs of information. One of those tabs is Video. There you can set the "Video Kind" to TV Show, and it will move that single episode over to the TV Show side of the house. This option does not appear if you have multiple items selected and try to do a mass update (Which is what I was trying to do, and never saw it). Setting the "Genre" to TV Show won't work, you have to set the Video Kind property, and so far, I've not found a way to mass update that property. (FYI - a reader later sent a link to an applescript for batch file changing - see http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/scripts01.php?page=1#setvideokindofselected-Mike)

    The Lostify script that was suggested will do it, but the latest beta linked actually makes a copy of your file to change the metadata (they have a note there on that), and these files are several megabytes in size and it takes a while, and the script can only do one file at a time as well (at least it queues them up) - so your really better off doing it in iTunes where it will just update metadata.

    Another somewhat disappointing thing - changing metadata seems to force AppleTV to resync if you have any of those items stored on it's local hard drive - so a small change in metadata on a 1.5G movie, and it recopies all 1.5G over - although the AppleTV has always done that.

    It sounds like your video converter (I mentioned using EyeTV to convert TV show recordings-Mike) automatically sets the correct metadata tags for TV Show, which is the best solution out of the gate.

    Encoding content with "6-channel Discrete" (that's the option on Handbrake under Audio & Subtitles - Track Mix, I don't know about other encoders) seems to work for the new AppleTV Surround Sound support. I only have front/center/sub hooked up to my system so I couldn't verify rear-speaker sound, but it played and sounded great through those, and didn't add much to the overall file size to my encoded content. Get Info inside of iTunes will list the Channels as "Multi", and those sources will play correctly inside of iTunes/Quicktime.

    It looks like just the iTunes Store and the Main Menu got overhauled much. Everything else seems to be pretty much the same. (There were also changes as I mentioned earlier to the Movies, TV Shows and Photos menus also - typically related to iTunes store but for Photos they added Flikr and .Mac support.-Mike) Same Artist/Album/Songs/etc menus, same screensavers, same album art animations, etc.

    All in all, the 3 biggest changes seem to be the seamless sources integration, surround sound support, AirTunes, and integrated iTunes Store support, which are all very welcome additions. The lack of video sorting options is disheartening. But for a free software update, it's like getting an entirely different piece of hardware - the improvements make using it a lot more friendly.
    Regards, Brian"

    (added 2/14/2008 - from Feb 13th mail)
    Hey just installed the Apple 2.0 update. I have to say its awesome. You immediately know there's some changes because the intro screen is now different and when it comes up its in 5.1 sound. Sounds impressive. The interface is different to, alot more user friendly.

    HD rentals are easy and look great to me. Have not had any stutters or wierdness occur on the one that I did. I rented Aliens vs Predators.

    On a side note I think Apple is going to kill Netflix and Blockbuster with this device now. Most of its users are HD users I would imagine as it comes not able to be hooked up to a traditional tv. If I remember correct Apple sold 500,000 of them so far. Thats 500,000 more then Netflixs coming set top box, and I would imagine its more then the other companies out there that have there own solution. It rocks because it syncs with iTunes and the content can be viewed on your Mac/PC, iPod/iPhone. No other solution can do this. That in itself is worth the cost alone. I would imagine the only way Netflix would be able to compete when they come out with theirs this fall is to offer like a 500gig version, and ability to watch it on a PC/Mac through networking.

    Apple TV 2.0 Update available now (from 2/12/2008 news page) Saw a note at Apple that the Apple TV update for iTunes movie rentals (and more) has been released. (Note: the refurb Apple TV 160GB I have is unmodified, no hacks/mods, etc.) The update took about 15min to download here (1.5 DSL/shared wireless network). After the download completed and I selected to 'update now' (not later) the screen flickered on/off a few times but finally showed the progress bar (first of several - I'm guessing boot rom updates as well as others - perhaps graphics and drive or network adapter?) ... it took several minutes to completely fill in the first time and then cleared the progress bar and did another update/fill-in. Then the Apple TV appeared to restart (LED blinking yellow still) and a 3rd progress bar appeared/filled in. Then the Apple TV reset again (LED still blinking yellow), Apple logo appeared again then screen went black again/Apple logo appeared again (LED white/normal this time) and finally it started up normally... (with light show).
    The v2.0 root level screen has new look to the top-level menu structure (white outlined flatter looking interface than before). I selected "Settings" > "General" and the Software version shown is v2.0. Looking under "iTunes Store" item showed my Apple TV was set to "France" so I changed that to United States. (That menu has a "sign in" option also, but haven't done that yet.)
    1080P Mode Support Added: I didn't notice it at first, but with v2.0 now there's a 1080P resolution option. (Previously 720P was max (progressive) - although 1080i was an option also.) I had picked up a 1080P (1920x1080) 42in LCD TV for $798 at a "black friday" sale last year and now have the Apple TV set to 1080P.
    There's some new menu/submenu options of course, such as under Photos now there's "Flickr" and ".Mac" and under Movies there's more options now: "Top Movies", "Genres" "All HD" (as in "High Def"), "Search", "Trailers" and "My Movies" (local content) and similar changes (less HD) under "TV Shows", including a "TV Networks" item. I prefered the look of the original top-level menu but that's just a nit. I've not dug into everything yet but wanted to post some initial notes/observations.
    I also noticed some new Apple TV sync options in iTunes (in the main screen seen when you select your Apple TV in iTunes) Here's a clip:
    new Apple TV sync options

    Here's Apple's list of changes in Apple TV v2.0:

    • In the US, rent movies from the iTunes Store in Standard Definition, and stunning High Definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound directly from Apple TV.
    • Buy TV Shows, music and music videos on Apple TV. These will automatically sync back to your computer.
    • Browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over one hundred thousand video and audio podcasts.
    • View photos from .Mac and Flickr galleries.
    • Play your iTunes content on the audio system connected to your Apple TV via AirTunes.

    AppleTV Game Console Emulation (4/12/2007) Eddie sent a note that awkwardtv has updated their wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/Emulation page that lists status as working on Nestopia 1.3.6, (NES), Generator 0.4.2 (Sega Genesis), BSNES 0.17 (Super NES), and Sixtyforce 0.9.0 (Nintendo64). On a related note, a few days ago a reader (Rusty M.) sent a link to his YouTube video of AppleTV running Super Mario Bros (NES) with USB joystick - www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOiJq7M0-YA.

    Apple TV Standby Power Usage:

    "Maybe it is interesting to note, that according to these (german) sites http://www.macnews.de/news/98775 and http://www.golem.de/0704/51495.html, Apple's TV-box uses around 25 to 28 Watts in standbymode (!!), which is - in the light of wasting energy and the fact that Mr. Al Gore is in apple's supervisory board - unacceptable regarding todays standards.
    Regards, Nico O. "

    Since they started shipping, it's been noted that even in standby the Apple TV stays warm and can still sync. (The noise heard in standby is the fan, not the hard drive per an Apple doc on standby mode.) This is why I use a switched outlet strip to turn off the Apple TV when not used. (For my earlier feeble attempt at humor on this, see my Top 10 Reasons Apple TV has no Off Switch.)

    AppleTV Running (modified) OS X 10.4.8 Jim sent a link to a Google video of AppleTV Running OS X 10.4.8 (video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1840427990015549546) using a modified kernel. (He said he still prefers a Mac running MediaCentral)

    Top 10 Reasons Apple TV has no OFF Switch (with apologies to Letterman...)

      10) An on/off switch is so 20th-century
      9) Marketing said nobody would ever want to turn it off
      8) It's not an omission, it's a feature (if you live in colder climates)
      7) So you can make Jiffy Pop any time you want, right on the Apple TV
      6) Even in standby it makes a great warmer for your "iMug"
      5) It would have been a feature we couldn't completely control
      4) The MPAA/RIAA wanted to be able to check for 'illegal' content 24/7
      3) Blame it on Al Gore for not attending the Board Meetings
      2) Left out as another 'feature' we can promote on next model
      1) The cost savings helped pay for the huge 40GB hard drive

    I had mentioned a few (out of hundreds) of my photos were not oriented the same on the Apple TV as they were in iPhoto. It turns out they were all 480x640 (portrait mode) res (lower res photos from emails) and I fixed the problem by cropping the height a bit so that they were not exactly 640 pixels high.

    "I have read much feedback regarding apple tv. I had mine sitting in their boxes for 10 days before getting around to hooking one of them up. The other still sits boxed, because I will have to hook it up via component inputs to tv. Hooked up unit #1 via HDMI and ethernet cable connected to new airport "n" router. Plugged the power cord on, it immediately connected to my network, and I started to sync videos using the hard drive capacity, but this really takes too long, so I reconfigured via streaming and it works flawlessly, so far. (Wireless Streaming works with 802.11g or n networks, although photos can't be streamed in the 1.0 release. But If your wireless router is close enough to the Apple TV, using Ethernet instead of Wireless is the way to go.Typically faster/more consistent performance, although if the source computer is networked via wireless, that of course also can affect performance.-Mike)

    Streaming is better for me because I have about 50 movies in iTunes. Now what I have done is to "back up" my DVD movies with MTR which everyone knows gives a Video_TS folder/files. Using Popcorn 2.0 (Toast 7 or 8 cannot to this ), I use Video i-pod (high setting) which will automatically export all movies into i-tunes to be viewed with Apple TV. At this setting, each backed-up movie at this setting takes about 3+ hours to be exported. Yes it is somewhat time consuming, but I have found this to be a quick down and dirty way to get nice quality movies to Mpeg4 Apple TV standards. One can even custom set Popcorn to give an even higher quality but I don't see much difference with my widescreen DLP TV.

    Apple TV settings at 1080i for TV Streaming. No problems...Just my thoughts.
    -Scott S."

    I don't have a large iTunes lib but I synced my content (photos, movies, podcasts, etc.) although it did take a few hours to complete (802.11g network). I wanted as much content as possible on the Apple TV as I frequently want to use Apple TV without having another computer on. (But again my content currently easily fits on the 32.84GB of internal storage... at least for now...) Everything worked as expected (after enabling iTunes sharing in the PB's Firewall, entering the Apple TV MAC address in the base (I use filtering) setup went smoothly, although syncing took awhile of course.) The ordering issue with shows/episodes doesn't affect me and other than a one-time Cursor bug (see below) it's worked as I expected. I still need to figure out why some photos (a few out of hundreds) are rotated to landscape on the Apple TV vs portrait mode in iPhoto. (I found the cause/fix -see later post above.) Connected via HDMI to a (720P) 37in Vizio LCD TV bought at a bargain price. (At 720P for best picture (on 720P LCD TV), although there is support for lower res modes like 1080i) (NOTE: Apple TV 2.0 update adds higher res 1080P mode support.)

    "Been using my Apple TV quite a bit for the last week, here is some more feedback, including my experience encoding video for playback (with outstanding success):

    Changing the metadata on a file causes it to be re-synced in it's entirety - a real pain if you are encoding your own movies and then using iTunes to set the metadata, since these large files get synced twice.

    Placing a unit in standby only seems to turn off the video output. (mentioned previously - even syncs can happen in standby and some said they heard the HD still spinning, but the Apple doc on standby mode (link 404's now) says the HD spins down in standby, although the fan still runs.-Mike) Coverflow/screensavers still appear to be running once you return the unit from standby (that or it just starts up really really fast).
    (never saw the screensaver running when mine comes out of standby, - I see the main menus, but I typically turn mine off via a switched outlet strip when not in use.-Mike)

    I have had the unit lock up twice now after overnight idle periods:
    once while in standby and once I just left the unit idle - the Apple logo locked static in the center of the screen (however, using the remote, you can hear the menu items "clicking"). The first time, I pulled the power cord to reboot after about a minute. The second time when locked, I tried placing the unit into standby, and about 30 seconds later a screen appeared telling me my Apple TV had recovered from a problem, and had the choices to run Diagnostics, Ignore, or do a Full System Reset. Diagnostics told me that no problems were found. I've not seen any problems at all while using the unit. The Apple TV is in an area where it can get plenty of air flow, and doesn't feel overly hot to the touch (nothing abormal anyway considering everyone else's reports of "warm").

    Syncing will return an error message for interactive booklets that come with some iTunes album downloads (.mov files). Each and every time Apple TV syncs it will reprompt with this error if you have anything set to autosync that contains these (in my case "Sync all Albums"). I could remove them from my library, but I had to get rid of content I paid for. I could see alerting me the first time it tried to sync and couldn't, but after that first time, I don't think I need to be continually reminded.

    I've tried ripping some of my personal DVDs and re-encoding them for Apple TV. I used Handbrake 0.7.1 to re-encode, and it was as easy selecting "MP4" File Format and "h.264 Video / AAC Audio" Codec, and hitting start (there are many many other options, I didn't play with any of them yet). Handbrake encoded in native DVD resolution and the output file is iTunes and Apple TV compatible (just drag the file on iTunes and it will automatically import and then sync to Apple TV - depending on your sync options). They play full screen on my widescreen (which the DVD's did not always, some of which had black bars despite the DVD player set to 16:9 mode - Handbrake automatically trims these from the source if present), and the quality is nearly indistinguishable from the DVD source on my 32" LCD using 720P. There are some mpeg artifacts during very fast moving scenes, but since the files are resized to optimum size for the screen and using a true HD resolution on the TV, in the end it's a wash - a 720x400 file looks very good on Apple TV, which is what most of my DVDs are coming out as native. Handbrake will scale the output in any dimension you want (AppleTV states it has a max of 1280x720@24fps or 960x540@30fps - in h.264 format), but you don't gain anything except a bigger file if you scale it bigger than the native resolution of the source.

    Of course, this only works with non-encrypted DVDs, or DVD files you have ripped onto your hard drive. De-encrypting commercial DVD's onto your hard drive is a sticky matter, Handbrake will not do that - if you should want to do that, you'll need a second utility.

    Handbrake has since been replaced by MediaFork, however the interface for both is nearly identical (and the name change also looks to be temporary according to their website) - I haven't exerimented with MediaFork as I just recently downloaded it. http://handbrake.m0k.org/

    iSquint (and it's bigger brother VisualHub) support more re-encoding video other than from DVD format (AVIs, MPGs, etc) - these are essentially graphical front-ends for mencoder (a command line utility, which can be daunting getting the options all configured correctly). I haven't had a chance to play with these utilities (or mencoder) much in transcoding other formats for AppleTV use.
    -Brian "

    Odd Cursor Bug (fixed by power cycling)
    I'm not sure anyone else will ever see this but posting it as a FYI. After the 2nd day of use (a couple hours a day, after initial setup and sync), I saw a problem with the root-level menu cursor (menu item highlight) shown in the picture below. I had just ran some photo slide shows and going back to the root (top level) menu showed a white rectangle on the left side of the cursor/menu item selector. The 'white box' follows the selection up or down the items list but did not appear in sub-menus (Movies, Music, etc.). Standby/resume did not fix it, but cycling power did. (I've included info in the pix as a friend wanted to send it to someone in apple support)

    Apple TV cursor corruption

    In case you ever see anything like this, after making sure no disk writes/syncing is happening (syncs can happen even in standby/LED off), power the Apple TV off for a few seconds and restart.

    More on Sort Order and Useful Utilities:

    (added 3/28/2007)
    " Mike, I have actually organized some converted home movies as TV shows. I have not found a way to adjust the sort order so that the Apple TV will display the shows in order from first season/episode to last if you use the Season and Episode metadata tags. The Apple TV always wants to put the most recent episodes first in the list. (Earlier comments on this here mentioned that was probably done so that new content was at the top of lists (less scrolling to select new content), although that wrecks havoc on episode ordering that appears correctly in iTunes-Mike) iTunes, however, always lists the shows in order from first to last if the season and episode data is entered.

    That said, if you leave the Season and Episode metadata blank and number the filenames with 001, 002, etc. they will appear on the Apple TV in order by name from first to last. This kind of defeats the purpose of metadata, of course, but is the only way I have found to control TV Show sort order. Personally, I'll be tagging files with the metadata and wait until Apple provides more preferences/options for sort order on the Apple TV.

    I have found a couple of useful utilities that help with converting and batch changing (and adding) metadata for mp4 files. Neither of the metadata editors work on the m4v files that are created via export through QuickTime's Apple TV export option. Even if you change the file extensions to mp4.

    First, there is VisualHub from Techspansion: http://www.techspansion.com/
    I have exported clips with the Apple TV option under the iTunes tab and compared them to clips exported via QuickTime using Apple TV. (QT Pro can do higher res exports than the default "Apple TV" option) The VisualHub exports are faster, result in smaller file sizes and create actual mp4 files that can be tagged with metadata using utilities outside of iTunes. I have done side by side comparisons and noted some very small differences in color saturation (or perhaps brightness) between the two but both produce excellent results. The minor color shift is not visible (at least to me) when playing on the Apple TV even though a side-by-side comparison on my Mac Pro in QuickTime shows the difference. This product is well worth the $23.32 IMHO.

    Second, there are two utilities available, both freeware or donationware, that assist in adding metadata to the mp4 files output by VisualHub (or mp4s created with other software):

    "Parsley is Atomically Delicious" was located at: them.ws/pad/
    (ref: Atomic Parsley (atomicparsley.sourceforge.net/))
    This utility allows you to batch process files and will even parse filenames to extract the season and episode numbers. You can also add a description and edit other metadata that is not editable in iTunes. It has various options for TV Shows vs. Movies, etc. This is a big timesaver.

    Lostify is another metadata editor at: http://lowellstewart.com/lostify/about/
    This utility is also useful, but it does not support extraction of the season and episode numbers for the filename. It's batch functions are limited... you have to edit and process each file individually. It also does not remove the extension from the filename for use in the "Name" metadata field, requiring you to remove it manually each time. Although it requires more work to use, it does support more metadata fields than Parsley is Atomically Delicious such as MPAA rating and such, if you're interested in those fields.

    Both of these utilities must output a complete copy of the file to add the metadata. This results in long pauses for larger files as the entire file is copied with the added metadata. iTunes also does this for mp3 or any other files - that's what it's doing during those long pauses after editing metadata on any larger file. I'm using a Mac Pro with RAID - must be very long pauses on slower machines.

    There are also a couple of other glitchy things I have noticed:

    1. The poster frames that are displayed do not appear to be selected in any order that I can figure out. For example, in iTunes cover flow for TV Shows you will see one poster frame for the show. This will not necessarily match the poster frame that is shown on the Apple TV. Also, changing the poster frame in iTunes does not consistently change the poster frame on the Apple TV... it may still show the old poster frame after disconnecting and reconnecting.

    2. Adding files to a streaming library that is already being accessed by the Apple TV produces inconsistent results... some files appear quickly on the Apple TV's list while others do not appear unless you disconnect/reconnect to the library.

    Hope this is helpful, Andy"

    (added 3/28/2007)
    " (Matt had asked about a apple forum thread on sort order workarounds)
    Both iTunes and AppleTV group TV shows by the SORT SHOW field, much like they group songs by the ALBUM field. Thus, if you change the SHOW name from 'The Office' to 'The Office Season 2', the SORT SHOW field should automatically change from 'Office' to 'Office Season 2', and both iTunes and AppleTV will then group the episodes accordingly.
    As you notice, it appears that iTunes cuts out words from the SHOW field (such as 'The' 'And' and maybe others) as it populates the SORT SHOW field, and a few times messed up and never added 'Season 2', causing an error in grouping. Confused yet? Pain in my butt trying to get it to work properly. But in the end, it's just a workaround, as I can't figure out how to get it to nest the seasons within the overall show.
    Hopefully a fix will take care of that in the near future.

    Notes on Standby Mode

    (added 3/28/2007)
    " Notes on Apple TV Standby (sleep?) mode. Holding the remote's play button down for several seconds puts the Apple TV in standby mode (LED off). My Apple TV even after many hours in "standby" stays quite warm (primarily at the rear area). Some think the hard drive never spins down even in standby but apple says it does (the fan still runs however). Apple TV will sync even when in "standby" mode (LED off). I'm considering using an outlet strip with switch to turn off the power when I'm not going to be using it for awhile (typically 90% of the day), as I already have too many devices drawing power all the time, although they don't stay warm (not using as much power) as the Apple TV does in standby.

    Setup and Syncing (G network only here, no N) worked as expected, although several of my Portrait oriented photos in iPhoto were rotated to landscape mode on Apple TV (not all were, but several were).
    (I've seen this also with just a few photos here - turns out they were all 480x640 (portrait mode) res (from emails) - I fixed the problem by cropping the height a bit so that they were not exactly 640 pixels high.-Mike)

    Many of you may already know this but you can get higher res exports out of Quicktime by not using the Export to Apple TV option. (Which creates 640x480 IIRC). I have a 720P TV and wanted to create higher res movies than the standard iTunes media.
    I wish Apple would let those of us that bought 320x240 res TV shows, etc. originally re-download the 640x480 versions. (I bought several TV show episodes and SNL skits when they first appeared, before the higher res iPod video (5.5gen) came out and content was upgraded, although the early versions look better than I thought on the TV, at least when viewed from 8ft or so away. Up close you can clearly see it's very low-res.)
    -Eddie "

    Booting Apple TV from USB Drive (3/27) About 1/2 dozen readers sent links to a YouTube video on using a USB Boot Drive for Apple TV despite Apple saying the USB port was for service/diagnostics use only. (Eddie also sent a link to page with more Apple TV USB notes at wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/USB.)

    (added 3/26/2007)
    "Got my AppleTV on Friday and had an issue getting the video to my old standard TV which has only an S-video and composite video interface. I moved my small LCD TV that I won in a raffle months ago to the AppleTV and was able to get things going, rather easily. However, my issue remains and that is how to interface the AppleTV to one of the old standard TVs with S-video and composite video interfaces. Does anyone have a solution, which does not require a $300-400 converter box ? IMHO, it seems like Apple is missing a huge market potential as I gotta believe most of the population has TVs with the old interfaces.

    I really don't know of any cheap/easy way to do that unless you already had another device that would take the Apple TV's output as an input and had a compatible (with your TV) output. The Apple TV was designed for use with TVs that have HDMI, component (or DVI, using HDMI/DVI cable) interfaces.

    (added 3/26/2007)
    "Hi Mike, Thanks (as always) for the best Mac coverage on the web! Day two of Apple TV.
    Many of my movie files had to be recoded as MP4 video but some with the file extension of .mov did not. I haven't figured it out yet but some of the .mov files that made it were three and four years old so they couldn't have been mp4 format, I've got to work on this. I will check those movie files codecs tonight (I travel with a portable drive with them on it).

    I built an all N wireless network using two Airport Extreme base stations and using my Airport Express WDS network in bridge mode to support all older stuff.

    The N network is a little kltichy, several occurrences of reset or reboot required to get back on line.

    I think it's related to the way the new extreme base stations cooperate in an extended network. I have the DSL several rooms over in a spare bedroom and have out five computers all on a gigabit backbone connected wirelessly to the base station, previously running G to the base on the previously mentioned G network but just converted this weekend to a N with another extreme N base station (let's call this office). The "office" base station drops the connection to the main base station with a error message that the main base station must "be set to allow this network to be extended".

    Of course, the main base station is already set up this way or there wouldn't have been a network to drop but I have to restart/reboot the main base station and then it cures itself. After two such experiences, I just let it be for a few minutes and it reset by itself.

    All three times, Apple TV was updating large movie files and I don't know if it's related.

    Okay, back to Apple TV. Very good experience with some weirdness as spice.

    Could not get HDMI to output through my Yamaha head or couldn't get my Yamaha to down-convert to component video to my TV or HDMI is output from my Yamaha at a resolution by six year old HD TV can't handle (I knew that 1080p was not supported by my TV but I was surprised that 720p wasn't as well). Anyone know what is the default output resolution of the HDMI off of the Apple TV?
    (I read in an apple doc that Apple TV was supposed to do some sort of check on the TV's supported res via HDMI and offer you some choices in the initial setup, but what is your TV model/max supported res./mode? What interface(s) on it?-Mike)
    Regarding HDMI, my TV does not have HDMI input but it does have component inputs.
    I was running Apple TV HDMI through my Yamaha receiver which is supposed to output to the component video and up convert / down convert, if required.

    Hmmmm, the initial setup thing sounds very plausible because the resolutions options in setup are limited (1080i and 720p, 480i&p and 50hz stuff, no 720i). I couldn't wait to check out the ATV when I first got it and I work in Cleveland whereas I live in Chicago. So I went over to a friend's house and hooked it to his TV. I wonder if I have to do a hard reset to get this work.

    When you start changing resolutions with three different devices involved, be prepared for a some worrisome events (like gray or black screen that just won't go away without some seemingly random button pushing for an extended period of time!).

    All in all, I am completely satisfied with the Apple TV. I have canceled my cable from Comcast, subscribed to the TV i really want to watch from iTunes and feel like I am part of the 21st century.

    I was blown away by the breath of content available on iTunes, by the way. Some was overpriced but I also subscribed to a ton of video podcasts which play quite well on Apple TV and as I've never really seen the point of portable video, I was really happy to see lot of really good content out there.

    That's it for now, if more surfaces I will update you.
    (he later wrote)
    By the way, in regards to the wireless glitches I mentioned in my last email, I am thinking that it could be an iTunes software-induced thing because of specific and strange sequence of events that I have observed during this whole thing. If a iTunes patch is the next thing I see, I would not be surprised.
    -Jim "

    (added 3/26/2007)
    "One thing I noticed was that on my video iPod my photos (about 4500 pics) takes up only 3GB of space but the same photos sync'd with AppleTV takes over 10GB. As the iPod syncs it will say "optimizing photos" for iPod presumably making the files smaller since the ipod screen doesn't have a large resolution

    But why did they not implement this for the Apple TV, even a 1080p screen is smaller than the resolution of most high megapixel cameras, and it would save a considerable amount of space given the smallish HD in the AppleTV. Hopefully this will come in future updates

    Not everyone has this TV but it is a popular model of samsung DLP, I found a very nice spot for my i tv right on the shelf of the TV's bezel
    -Michael M.

    Thanks, I hear the Apple TV gets very hot at times (especially when syncing) - any concern over that considering where you have it? (Note: Apple has now posted a doc titled Apple TV may feel warm to touch that says it's designed to be used even in media cabinets.)

    Andy replied to the reader tip on Sync below (rebuttal to his earlier comment on all-or-nothing limitations)

    (added 3/26/2007)
    "Yes, I see that now! Thanks for the rebuttal Phil! I was actually using the Apple TV item to play the content and must have ignored the sync source item directly below it. This saves a bit of hassle. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I still think that it is strange that when you are viewing the synced content from your main, synced iTunes library on the Apple TV, you don't see the content that is not synced. You have to switch to the "streaming library" source on the same iTunes on the same computer.

    Additionally, when you switch to the streaming version of the library, the Apple TV is not smart enough to play items that are stored locally - synced from the same iTunes library in the same user account on the same computer - directly from the built-in hard drive. Instead, it will stream the movie that has already been copied over to the Apple TV.

    Also, when you connect to the library as a streaming source you do not have a "Photos" menu item because they cannot be streamed. However, since the photos are actually synced onto the local hard drive, you may use them in the screen saver. The album covers also appear in the screen saver rather than a blank screen. Photos can be used for the screen saver too if they're synced, despite the absence of the Photos menu item.

    Overall, I'd say that this particular aspect seems a bit glitchy to me at this point. In my thinking, if I have a single iTunes library and I have synced it with an Apple TV, I should be able to see all of the content available in that library without having to switch to another source regardless of whether it needs to be played from the local drive or streamed. I can understand the non-AppleTV-local streamed content not being visible when the computer is off or iTunes not running. I think that otherwise it should all appear as available if it is all in the same library.

    Really, there's not too much functional difference at the end of the day between this vs. using multiple iTunes libraries. You still need to switch to a different source to see all the content and the local content is available in a limited manner when using the streaming library source.

    But these are really picky points that will only be important to people with large iTunes libraries. After using it last night, I'm even more happy with the Apple TV. The album cover screen saver is like modern art that will be unique to each person's taste in music. Everything plays well! I'm looking forward to seeing this product evolve.
    Thanks, Andy "

    Sync and Stream Notes/Tips:

    "Response to Andy's post (earlier) about Sync vs. Stream:

      "Major issue to me: iTunes allows you to either Sync the contents of your library OR stream the contents. If you set up your iTunes to Sync the contents, only the content that is actually synced over is available for playback on the Apple TV. This is really quite limiting and is not all that clear in the Apple KB article or Apple TV marketing materials: Import, Sync, or Stream Your Content to Apple TV
      I had thought that iTunes would sync whatever it could fit (or you set it to sync) and then allow you to stream the other content."

    This is incorrect. Actually the computer you sync with is simultaneously available for streaming as Andy wants. If you go to "Sources" your synced content is under "TV" and your streamed content is under the "Name of Computer You Synced" with the chain icon next to it. The logic of this is the source of your synced content is actually on your TV already. Perhaps Andy didn't notice that you can click on the TV choice in the menu and thought it was just a title.

      "Sync priority is given to video at all times which of course takes up the most space and may remove all those music and photos that took so long to sync over and which cannot be viewed unless synced. (That is correct, see apple notes in Import, Sync, or Stream Your Content to Apple TV) iTunes should allow you to set it to sync, for example, music, podcasts and photos and stream video. But there is no way to do this at the moment, syncing is an all or nothing kind of thing."

    This is also incorrect. (the last sentence) To keep the space on my TV organized, I keep all my Movies, Music, Music Videos, Podcasts, and Photos Synced, but leave all TV shows and Anime collection (the bulk of my iTunes library) on my primary synced Mac Pro. That way I have room to grow on my TV and can still access my TV and Anime collection through streaming as I mentioned above. No need to double up on connections to the same Mac with different accounts as Andy mentioned.
    Just like on an iPod, you can select exactly the type of content you want to Sync through the tabs and dropdown choices. You can even select individual Movies and TV series to sync... as well as disable Photos if you want. This is also totally different than what Andy describes in his comments. I think much of Andy's "rough edges" aren't so rough afterall.
    -Phil "

    See Andy's later reply (thanks) to Phil's tip above. It is true that photos (which can't be streamed currently) are given the lowest 'priority' as far as preserved content on the Apple TV (i.e. if running out of drive space and you sync more video for instance, Photos are the first to get removed from Apple TV). Hopefully there will be an update to allow streaming Photos (or an option to preserve them from being removed) for those that find the 40GB (33GB usable) isn't enough. (See above for drive upgrade service and do-it-yourself guide.)

    Pairing Apple Remotes:

    "I just got my Apple TV today, and it works great. A couple of small annoyances - the remote included with the Apple TV was identical to the one with my Intel iMac - so when browsing the menus on the Apple TV, it would also fire up Front Row on the iMac at the same time - the single remote would be controlling both devices at the same time.

    The trick was to Pair the remotes to the individual devices:

    For the iMac:
    1. Hold the remote close to the computer (3 to 4 inches away) and point the remote at the front of the computer.
    2. Press and hold both the Menu and Next buttons on the remote until the paired-remote graphic appears on your screen (about 5 seconds).
    (the Next button is Fast Forward)

    For the Apple TV:
    1. Choose Settings from the Apple TV main menu.
    2. Choose Pair Remote Control.
    You can also press and hold the Menu and Next/Fast-forward buttons for 6 seconds to pair Apple TV and the remote.

    Just make sure your Pairing the correct remote to the appropriate machine. Pairing can be undone later on, if you get a new remote.

    You could also disable the Infrared port on the iMac if you don't use Front Row (or the remote on your computer) - the option is found in the Security Preferences
    -Brian "

    The long list of Apple TV support/tips docs below also includes one on Pairing and Unpairing the Apple Remote with Apple TV (there's also one on Paired remote stops working.)

    More on Apple TV item listings out of order (vs iTunes):
    I don't have an Apple TV to test this but for owners with TV episodes (for example) that are out of order on the Apple TV (but ok in iTunes), can you create a playlist of the episodes in the correct order and then use that as a workaround?
    Update - within seconds literally a reader replied it doesn't work:

    " I created a playlist consisting of the 6 episodes from season 1 and 1 episode from season 2 of the Office, but couldn't get the playlist to sync. Not sure if it only works with music playlists.

    I think that the AppleTV is listing the episodes in reverse chronological order. The season 2 episode is at the top of the list, followed by the season 1 episodes in reverse order. My guess is that the system defaults so that the newest movies/episodes/etc. all show at the top and are easy to get to, rather than having to dig down a huge list each time you add a new episode or podcast of your favorite show and want to watch it.
    ~Chris "

    Another comment on the subject (not just movies)

    " As far as Playlists for TV shows:
    I can't find under TV shows where it will let you use Playlists - Playlists that are made up from TV Shows do appear in the Music menu (but will not play - Apple TV says "There are no songs in this Playlist"), but there's nothing under the TV Show menu - I have no idea how to get the correct order for TV show episodes, or anything else for that matter - it is a bit annoying.
    It does the same thing for music albums - they are sorted oddly, and not by album order or alphabet. Even music playlists are reordered.

    Notes on QT Pro Exporting 5.1 Audio Movies (updated - see below for notes that Apple TV is still not outputting multichannel audio.)

    (added 3/23/2007)
    "Just thought I would let others know how to get 5.1 surround sound into movies for the AppleTV.
    I received my AppleTV yesterday afternoon and spent most of the evening transcoding single chapters of movies (to save time) at different parameters to see what would play. Comments below, but figured I would let you know my setup first. For the AppleTV, I have it connected to a 1280x720 HDTV via HDMI. I also have a Toslink cable running out of the AppleTV to a Sony 5.1 receiver. Connectivity to my computer is via an Apple Extreme Base Station (draft 802.11n version), which is configured for 802.11n-only, at 5GHz. My computer is a Rev B black MacBook with 1GB of RAM (2x512MB). The applications I used for the transcoding are MPEG Streamclip 1.8 and a that-which-will-not-be-named application for getting decrypted VOBs off DVDs (used purely for backup). I have purchased the Pro license for QuickTime. I have also installed the A52Codec plug-in for QuickTime to handle AC3 transcoding and playing.

    I obtained a short 49 second clip of Spiderman2. I opened the resultant VOB in MPEG Streamclip and exported it as a demuxed pair of M2V and AC3 files (basically, pass-through). I then opened both files simultaneously in QuickTime. With the AC3 file, I selected the entire clip, copied it, and then clicked on the M2V file. I then selected "Add to Movie" edit to paste the audio into the video. I clicked (Command-J) to bring up the Video properties to verify the files. Both the sound and video files were exactly the same length, down to the hundredth of a second. I also verified the audio properties (in the same window, selecting the audio track, different tab) as still being 6 discrete channels of L, R, C, Ls, Rs, LFE. I played the clip and got great sound (or as good as it gets from the MacBook).

    I closed the Video Properties window and then clicked Export. Under the options in the dialog box, I chose "Export to QuickTime Movie". Notice that I did not use "Export to Apple TV". Under video settings, I chose H.264, and set the frame rate to 24fps. I also set the bit-rate to "Automatic", chose "High" quality setting, and "multi-pass" encoding. Under the video size, I chose current (automatically set itself to 720x404) and selected "Deinterlace video". Under the sound settings, I chose AAC, 48KHz sample rate, and then chose "5.1" for my channels. Under the advanced audio settings, I chose constant bit-rate, and selected "160kbps". That"s it. The resultant exported/transcoded .mov file had 5.1 channels of AAC at 48Khz (verified in the info window {Command-I}).

    I crossed my fingers and did the "Add to Library" in iTunes. Played fine there. Sync"d it to AppleTV. Worked great. Great picture. Sound from the TV was great. Turned on the receiver, and got 5.1 sound from it. Though the AppleTV requires some work on the user's end to get 5.1 surround sound in a transcoded movie, it works. The only application that cost money was the Pro license for QuickTime.
    (he later wrote)
    Yes, the source does have to be 5.1 audio. QT cannot create surround sound from stereo sources. I have encoded all 6 episodes of the Office, Season 1 DVD. The source in that case is AC3, but only 2.0, so QT only gives me the options for Stereo and Mono. The other options, all multi-channel, are greyed out as you describe. Usually, you have to get a movie VOB for 5.1 AC3. I use MTR for that.

    Update - A reader replied his receiver status still doesn't show the Apple TV as outputting multichannel audio:

    (added 3/23/2007)
    "I was able to follow the method described (above) with a 5.1 source and indeed it creates a file that QuickTime shows has 6 AAC channels.
    Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that the Apple TV is actually sending out a multi-channel digital signal via the optical output.

    My Sony 7.1 A/V receiver has a blue light that turns on whenever actual mult-channel sound is being received and decoded. This light is not coming on when I play the movie, leading me to believe that the Apple TV is actually just sending out a regular stereo signal that is being decoded in regular Pro Logic mode, not 5.1. In addition, there is an indicator that lights up if there is a Low Frequency Effect (LFE) channel being decoded. This light is not showing that LFE channel is being output by the Apple TV.

    Perhaps I'm missing something here? You may want to ask Chris if his A/V receiver has an indicator to show that actual multi-channel surround is being decoded to confirm that the Apple TV is not just sending out a 4.0 pro logic signal. (See Chris's reply below.-Mike)
    I have attached a screenshot showing the end result file's audio properties.

    Have a great weekend!

    Maybe this is why there's no mention that I could find anywhere on the Apple TV pages about surround sound or 5.1 audio. Chris' reply:

    " Unfortunately, the "receiver" I have in the apartment is my fiance's all-in-one. It has no lights to indicate much at all. I will do some work on a scene from LOTR:Fellowship. I can't remember which track/chapter number it is (maybe 27), but I am going to do the scene where they are still in Elrond, and the dwarf tries to smash the ring. Sauron's voice travels ominously around the scene, discretely through every channel/speaker. Very cool. It's the only way I can confirm that the AppleTV is indeed passing a discreet signal. Should have an answer in an hour or 2...
    (he later wrote)
    I was able to push off leaving the house for this quick test. The other reader is correct. Though the AppleTV was able to play the 5.1 file, it only output 2 channels to my receiver. Arrghh.
    Didn't realize last night that the receiver was set to one of those soundfields that creates surround sound. Changed it to Auto Format Decode, and only got L & R. Oh well. Here's to being an early adopter/pioneer. My apologies. Back to the drawing board...
    ~Chris "

    Another reader commented on (discrete 5.1) audio not being possible considering the format:

    " I've been reading loads of comments about multi-channel support on the Aapple TV. The 5.1 audio file format supported by QT will not play back in multi-channel mode through a receiver via the optical out on the Apple TV (or any Mac system with an optical port). Essentially the 6 digital audio streams represent too much data to be output through a single SPDIF optical output. The SPDIF standard is designed for two channel uncompressed audio or encoded multi-channel audio (DTS/AC3), which as we all know are compressed formats. The Apple TV might playback encoded 5.1 streams if they are included as part of a MOV, unless of course the Apple TV system requires QT decoding before the output stage and doesn't pass the audio stream directly to the optical out. This may be the case, sadly, as QT will not pass AC3 audio streams directly to the optical out if one is part of MOV file. DTS WAV files will play fine as QT sees the DTS WAV files as plain old WAV data while the receiver will understand what to do with it. So maybe encoding multichannel audio to DTS WAV and using it as the audio stream for a MOV could work. I do simialr things for 5.1 surround MOV's and audio for use with my Mac Mini and iTunes.
    Cheers. popol. "

    (added 3/23/2007)
    "So far, I'm happy with Apple TV. I think part of my satisfaction is knowing beforehand what it would and wouldn't do. I have had no problems getting it to work. Granted, I am a little more advanced than the average Apple user (engineer by day), but it seemed fairly intuitive to me.
    There are some obvious things that I think could be improved, such as larger internal HDD (which I may mod myself), making the USB port an external HDD interface, ability to sync & stream from the same iTunes account (still looking into this, though), more control over music playlist for the photo slideshow , and probably a host of other things that I will think of as I use it more.
    However, since i bought it mainly to play iTunes on my stereo, separate from my computer (no more need to have iTunes open and streaming) with a good interface, and to watch transcoded movies (a la Video On Demand) so that I don't need to sort through the pile of DVDs for something to watch, I am happy enough to keep it.
    ~Chris "

    EyeTV User

    (added 3/23/2007)
    "Received my Apple Tv yesterday and have to say i love it... It has totally changed the way i watch tv. Setup up was a breeze and i even have it hooked up to my Sony wega 32in CRT using the 480i option, looks great for me. I spent the last month encoding my dvd collection to h264 and now have my movies at my finger tips. My EyeTV recordings look great too,.

    The only issue i have is that the album art screensaver must be used with your music on the HD of the apple tv, but hope they fix that with a software update.

    All in all i am very happy with apple tv. I don't know what people expect but it works as advertised, a simple way to get your media from you mac to your tv.
    Good job Apple
    -Rich T. "

    Apple TV vs MediaCentral I've posted links to updates to MediaCentral many times but had forgotten about it lately until this mail today.

    " AppleTV vs. MediaCentral...
    I notice the AppleTV interface looks a lot like that of the program MediaCentral. Too much so. I wonder if there will be a lawsuit, and who holds the intellectual property...

    I have MediaCentral on my macs, and it works well. It also plays your iTunes library (even protected music, but not videos). But it also does so much more, like playing movies and music you store elsewhere, including DVDs in the drive or VideoTS folders you put anywhere. As long as you alias it to the MediaCentral folder, it'll play it, and you can organize it how you want. It also integrates Skype, IPTV, internet Radio, and things like that, though in my experience, it's not 100% there yet.

    It's what AppleTV should be. On a mini, it costs 2x as much, but you do get a real computer out of the deal... ;)
    MediaCentral home page (www.equinux.com/us/products/mediacentral/).

    (follow-up from an Apple TV owner that had previously sent comments yesterday)

    (added 3/23/2007)
    " Mike, After using the Apple TV last night for a while, I have found a couple of rough edges as well.

    I can confirm that there is no Dolby Digital 5.1 output through the optical port. However, there is the older Dolby Pro Logic - which apparently dates back to 1976! - available which is encoded within the stereo signal. Dolby Pro Logic is equivalent to 4.0 channels. This is a well known limitation at this point and is perplexing as others have noted, especially considering the market that is most likely to initially be interested in the Apple TV. This does not bother me as much as other issues I have found. I do, after all, have an upsampling DVD player that I use to play Netflixed DVDs in their full glory with 5.1.

    Major issue to me: iTunes allows you to either Sync the contents of your library OR stream the contents. (Note: See Rebuttal above, which Andy later said worked) If you set up your iTunes to Sync the contents, only the content that is actually synced over is available for playback on the Apple TV. This is really quite limiting and is not all that clear in the Apple KB article or Apple TV marketing materials: Import, Sync, or Stream Your Content to Apple TV (link disabled after apple location changed)

    I had thought that iTunes would sync whatever it could fit (or you set it to sync) and then allow you to stream the other content. From the KB:

      "If your movies and TV shows fill Apple TV, for example, your music, podcasts, or photos are not added. Content is removed from Apple TV in reverse order, as needed. Syncing a new movie might result in photos and podcasts being removed from Apple TV."

    Sync priority is given to video at all times which of course takes up the most space and may remove all those music and photos that took so long to sync over and which cannot be viewed unless synced. iTunes should allow you to set it to sync, for example, music, podcasts and photos and stream video. But there is no way to do this at the moment, syncing is an all or nothing kind of thing. (Again, see notes/tips above on this, which Andy later said worked.)

    Also, be aware that if you set your iTunes to sync your library and then turn syncing off, all of the content that was synced will be erased from the Apple TV, very quickly. I found this out the hard way when I tried right-clicking on the Movies item under the Apple TV section in the right-hand bar of iTunes. The contextual menu had an option "Turn off syncing" that made me go "Aha!" thinking I could set it just to disable syncing the movies, but instead it completely turned off syncing.

    On the plus side, I have yet to see any video streaming problems over my "g" wireless network. There is only the short delay when the video is re-buffered if you fast forward.

    There is an inconvenient workaround to this sync or stream issue: You essentially have to set up two separate computers or user accounts, one containing the stuff you'd prefer to stream and the other for content to be synced. I will probably temporarily do this but this is - to me at least - an astoundingly bad limitation and design decision on Apple's part. Also, the library you have for streaming has to be accessed via a separate "Source" menu which is similar to sharing music via iTunes. So if you go into the Movies when Apple TV is set as the source, you will not see any movies available. You need to go to the "Sources" and dig into the other library.

    This sync vs. stream issue is a real bummer that impacts the Apple TV experience in numerous ways. For example, when music is synced and the Apple TV screen saver is set to show "Album Covers" there is an animated display on the TV screen that is very pleasant. When streaming music, the screen saver only shows a black screen! So it does not cache or otherwise access all of those nice album cover arts that you spent so much time adding to your tracks in iTunes. The experience is only a small step up from listening to music over AirTunes in that you can use a remote control to select music to play.

    The same goes for the photos from iPhoto, of course. In the case of the photos, I believe that someone at Apple said that photo streaming was being worked on so perhaps these rough edges will be smoothed out in updated iTunes and Apple TV software. (Apple's forum on Apple TV had some notes about no Photo streaming also, as well as some saying their multi-season TV series episodes were not in correct order (as they were in iTunes). See Below.-Mike) They really need to add many more preferences to allow the user better control over when is synced vs. streamed.

    I would also like to note that the Apple TV gets very, very hot during use. This may be normal and within design limits (as notebooks also can get very hot).) Not sure what the life expectancy will be given how hot to the touch it gets. There is also no "sleep" option, so if you are playing music and simply turn off your TV and stereo the Apple TV will continue to play. You have to hit the pause button and then after a certain amount of time it appears to go into some kind of sleep mode.

    I expected to have to deal with issues given that I am an early adopter and will be keeping my Apple TV. Why? Because even with the limitations it is still better than the other options I have available for playing back non-DVD content, music and photos. The interface is beautiful and a breeze to use. Playback of video files results in the most pleasant experience I have seen, especially older MPEGs or other lower resolution internet content. I converted a really old, pixelated MPEG clip and I could not believe how well it was displayed on my TV.
    -Andy "

    Here's another user's list of issues from an AppleTV forum thread that echos some previous complaints but also notes some others:

    (added 3/23/2007)
    " My Biggest Issues So Far:

    1. Music Videos do not shuffle or play in order. Even if you have them in a playlist. Apple TV stops after each one. No continuous playing of Music Videos. Period.

    2. Sorting Movies/TV Shows: all you get is a big list. They don't sort by Genre or Season. Just a massive list. When you select a TV Show, you get a big long list of episodes. (Some others mentioned this also - anyone *not* have this problem? Another user mentioned trying to rename episodes to correct that but hopefully an update will fix it without all that hassle.)

    3. Screensaver: what good is an Album Art screensaver if you can't fit your music on the device and the screensaver doesn't work with streaming libraries? The album art screensaver only works with music you sync. If you fill the Apple TV with movies/tv shows and decide to stream your music, you can't use the album art screensaver. in fact, if you don't leave enough room for your pictures, you can't use them as a screensaver either, since you can't stream pictures at all, period.

    4. You can't stream pictures. The Apple TV boots pictures first automatically if it runs out of space (and by boots i mean removes). So you have to have all your pictures on the machine you decide to use for syncing, and you can't show pictures from any other machine. Lame.

    5. Chokes on older encodes. I've crashed the thing with movies ripped for the 5.5G iPod. They're pushing the 1500kbps bitrate limit, and they crash the device. Some of these stutter on the Mac, but at least QuickTime or VLC doesn't just quit. I have a lot of content that now needs to be re-encoded.
    -mrfett "

    Another quote from a user on the episode ordering issue:

    " I have the exact same issue. All my Seinfeld episodes are there but when I click on Seinfeld from the TV Shows menu I get a list of titles in alpha order, not ordered by season or episode number or anything.

    Only thing I can think of would be to rename the titles to include the season and episode so they're ordered correctly.
    Something like:
    Season 1 Episode 1 - The Chinese Restaurant
    that way they'd all be ordered by season and episode.
    Kind of a pain but doable, I guess. I still would rather have a drill down menu so I could pick Show, then Season and get the episodes in order. "

    BTW - I don't have an Apple TV but can you create a playlist of those episodes in the correct order as a workaround? (Didn't sync per the first reply to that question above.)

    "Well I got my AppleTV today and played with it all day, used every feature. Everybody's excited but me, I was expecting more from an Apple product, several features I would love that it does not have:

    1. Does not play Dolby Digital 5.1 sound only AAC3 stereo
    (The Apple TV Specs page Audio section doesn't mention surround sound or 5.1 and I didn't see any mention of it on any Apple TV page. Bottom line, if you don't see it mentioned anywhere in a product's info (I suspect they wouldn't be quiet on a feature like that) - assume it's not supported or at least contact them to ask before buying. Apple had a note about iTunes store movies that "Movies include audio which is encoded using Dolby Surround which delivers multichannel audio when played using Dolby Pro Logic systems." On the older page w/comments on iTunes movies here, one reader thought you needed to use optical audio out for surround sound, as someone else had said the audio appeared to be only stereo otherwise. I don't know of anyone that said they had "surround" sound with iTunes content to date in any setup but I could have missed it. Ken sent a reminder this is not true/discrete 5.1, it's basically 'matrix audio'/pseudo-multi-channel if you have a compatible receiver.
    Update See later report above for a reader's notes on creating movies w/"5.1" audio

    2. Will not play a streaming radio station from iTunes even if its in your play list

    3. I purchased a lot of music video's, will only play 1 at a time, cannot shuffle music videos as is from the menu.

    4. Will not play movies from your movie folder they must be imported into iTunes.
    (I hadn't thought about that, although the Apple TV front page says "Apple TV puts your iTunes library - movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts - plus movie trailers from Apple.com on your TV." So that means even the apple "movie trailers" have to be in your iTunes Library?)

    These are just a few flaws that I found with Apple TV. Every review, every article, nothing but praise. (Some of the articles I've seen do mention some cons/limitations (even before it was released there were common complaints on limitations/restrictions, missing features, etc.) but most reviews so far were very positive in general, focusing on the highs rather than the lows. But then the 'reality distortion field' is always in effect on new apple products. But after all the comments from day 1 on Apple TV limitations with notes on other options, I assumed anyone buying one knew its primary purpose was to play iTunes content on (compatible) TV. But you mentioned some missing features (like net radio playback) that I hadn't thought about. And check out Apple's forum on Apple TV, there's some other complaints about things that were expected to be a given - like TV show series/episodes not shown in correct order on Apple TV for instance.)

    I have purchased every Mac product since 1984, this by far was the least exciting. I am the type of purchaser who stares out the window waiting for FedEx to pull up so I can play with my new toy.

    This is basically an iPod for your TV. Not trying to be negative, just thought I would shed some light for those who think they are going to get something only to be disappointed.
    It makes no sense to put your movies on Apple TV. Video looks great, awesome on my 65 inch TV, however, the sound is lacking.

    To summarize, if you are going to view photos, listen to music in the background through your stereo, this is a great product. If you want to purchase TV shows and movies, buy the DVD for the Dolby Digital sound.
    I would give this 3 out of 5 stars.
    -Steven "

    Some people still feel that the (more expensive) Mini (or a HTPC homebrew) is a better choice (more flexible content wise) than Apple TV, especially if a lot of your content needs re-encoding and/or you're not a big user of iTunes content. A friend said the NY Times had a comparison of Apple TV vs Xbox 360 vs the Netgear Entertainer HD (mentioned before here) that convinced him to not buy an Apple TV in its current form.

    AppleTV Specs page revised (codecs)

    "They've updated the Gen 1 Apple TV tech specs page, specifically the supported codec section to include some more details:

    1) H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)

    2) iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels

    3) MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps)

    So it looks like they're more tolerant with video resolutions than their previous page indicated. Now they'll take anything up to 720p but they aren't as good at handling MPEG-4. Still no support for DIVX / WMV, but at least quicktime pro will handle the conversions, along with a slew of other free conversion programs (vlc and mencoder come to mind).
    -Eric "

    (Ad/Sale items)

    = UPGRADES by Mac =
    Upgrades just for
    YOUR Mac!

    = Refurb Mac Pros =
    (Click for List)

    SSDs up to 4TB
    Fast SSDs for Most Macs/PCs

    = ThunderBolt =
    Drives, Docks & More

    Up to 12TB HDDs
    HGST, WD, Seagate, Toshiba

    = 2.5in HDs & SSDs =
    Notebook Hard Drives and DIY drive/case kit bundles

    = MEMORY =
    Lifetime warranty RAM Upgrades!

    Internal and External Superdrives/Blu-Ray drives

    Graphics cards, Displays, Adapters, Cables & more

    Interfaces, Cables, Software, Speakers, Headphones & more

    = SOFTWARE =
    Apps, Utilities, OS, VM, Games and more

    = WIRELESS =
    WiFi and Bluetooth Devices/Adapters/More

    = back to www.XLR8YOURMAC.com =

    Copyright 1997-2018. All Rights Reserved.
    All brand or product names mentioned are properties of their respective companies.
    Legal:Site Privacy and terms/conditions of use.