It took longer than expected, but not as long as I had feared, this morning, February 13th, Apple delivered the Apple TV Take 2 update.
I’ve just downloaded and installed it on my 40GB Apple TV In a word: “Sweet.” After an 8-minutes download, over a 3Mbps DSL Internet connection, and a reboot, the Apple TV was delivering all the goodies that Steve Jobs had promised in his January MacWorld speech.
Anyone can update their Apple TV. All you need do is Updating head over to Settings on your Apple TV, pick Update Software, and press the Apple Remote’s Play/Pause button and you’re on your way. You don’t need to do a thing with your computer or iTunes.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the menu is different. All your choices are available on a single main menu. It may not look as fancy as the older Apple TV menu, but unlike that one, anyone who can point and click can navigate this menu.
With the new menu you can easily buy or rent HD or SD movies. With your remote you can shop your way through the iTunes Store and get a good deal of information on each movie without any need to use your PC. At this time, I’m sorry you can’t rent TV episodes or series, you can only buy them. You can also use your Apple TV as a Flickr/.Mac photo browser.
You can, of course, still watch videos already in your networked iTunes library or on your Apple TV.
I haven’t had much of a chance to play with the new Apple TV, but I can say one thing. It, as I expected it too, destroys old-style video rental. Who needs to go to a Blockbuster, wait for a Netflix envelope or only have the small, collections of cable and satellite rental movies when you have an Apple TV? I don’t. As Apple adds more movies to its collection, over several hundred now by my count, the Apple TV is going to become an essential in anyone’s serious video setup.