I stopped by the Apple store today and got a good look at the Apple TV. They had 3 on display for playing with in addition to one in the front window.
It was generating a fair amount of traffic and the Apple associates were certainly willing to bend anyone’s ear who was willing to listen.
I wasn’t willing to listen and they left me alone, but I got to overhear what they were telling others. It was nothing that you haven’t heard before about what it does and how it works, etc.
I did run the unit through its paces and… well, for what it is – an iPod for your TV – it appears to be well positioned as a real consumer electronic device and not a geek-only lash-up like previous attempts have been (and still are.)
The menus and, in particular, photos from iPhoto were gorgeous. Music from iTunes was about as exciting as watching an album cover. I’d much prefer the iTunes visualizer. (The Apple TVs in the store were not hooked up to audio.)
The videos were… not so good. I watched some Battlestar Galactica and Pirates of the Caribbean, both of which looked like something one might download from a bittorrent site and not something you’d paid good money for. That’s an area I think that iTunes really needs to improve before people will widely accept this. I’m not a video snob and the quality was very noticeably pixelated. On the other hand, if you’re used to looking at digitized videos of that quality, it’s just fine.
The hack sites on the Apple TV are running wild and it looks like there’s lots of â€œinnovationâ€ going on with the product only being out a couple of days.
Looking at what I’ve seen so far, I wonder if the following is possible:
- Replace HD with larger unit
- Implement SSH and SFTP
- Get Java running
- Install Azureus
- Configure Azureus to monitor a designated torrent directory, auto-download those files and place them in a designated outgoing directory
- Enable Automator or AppleScripting
- Building a script or action to auto-convert XVIDs to H264
- Incorporating those items into the Apple TV side of the synced files, bypassing the need to put them in iTunes.
With a configuration like that, one could SFTP a torrent file onto the Apple TV and it would eventually show up automatically on the Apple TV ready-to-watch.