Apple TV Review by Walt Mossberg

Walt Mossberg writes in the Wall Street Journal a first review of the just-shipping Apple TV.

Apple TV is tiny, just about eight inches square and an inch high, far smaller than a typical DVD player or cable or satellite box, even though it packs in a 40-gigabyte hard disk, an Intel processor and a modified version of the Mac operating system.

Mossberg had 10 days with the Apple TV and notes that while it has some notable limitations, "it worked great, and we can easily recommend it for people who are yearning for a simple way to show on their big TVs all that stuff trapped on their computers."

His testing involved "standard" Wi-Fi connecting to three Windows machines and three Apple Macs. Even with "standard" (g) Wi-Fi, they experienced no buffering/stuttering on streaming content. The main limitation was felt to be the inability to stream much content from the internet. According to Mossberg, beyond streaming movie trailers, the Apple TV can also preview short clips of songs, TV shows and movies directly from the iTunes Store. Despite this "preview" capability, the Apple TV can not (yet?) purchase this content through Apple TV.

The Apple TV can be set to automatically synchronize with a designated computer, mirroring content onto the 40GB Apple TV hard drive. Meanwhile, up to five additional computers can be used as streaming sources for the Apple TV.

Other limitations include the inability to adjust volume from Apple's simple remote, and only support for televisions capable of taking Component or HDMI inputs. Mossberg also addresses one question on the minds of some customers: despite having a USB port, it can not be used to add additional external hard drives to expand storage.

In the end, he describes it as a "very well-designed product that easily brings the computer and the TV together".

Update: Full article now available.

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