Apple Box or Apple Cable
January 16, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I want to stream Netflix and iTunes videos to my TV. I have a 4th gen iPod Touch. Is there any reason to get an Apple TV rather than just one of those Apple component or composite cables?

When I went to the Apple store for the cable, the salesguy pushed pretty hard for the Apple TV being the better option, but I'm not convinced. He mentioned doing some other stuff with the Apple TV, but nothing I'd want to do. For just watching Netflix and iTunes on the big screen, is there any advantage (to me; I see what it is for Apple) to getting an Apple TV? Is the quality better, or is it just a more elegant (and cool) solution?

People who are already streaming to your TV using one of those cables: does it work as well as you want, or do you wish you had something better?

I do have all the necessary inputs for whichever one I decide, so that's not a factor.
posted by still_wears_a_hat to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do not believe there will be any difference in quality. IMO the choice is complicated by the fact that the component cable is quite expensive for what it is ($40) while the Apple TV is quite cheap for what it is ($100). If I hadn't already needed the cable for development work, I would probably have gone with the Apple TV.
posted by rlk at 1:38 PM on January 16, 2011

I can see a couple reasons why you'd want the Apple TV over just using an iPod touch. for one, the Apple TV does high-def, where the Touch won't. you can also more easily control the Apple TV from the couch. it has a remote. you can control a Touch with a remote, but you need to get a dock, and even then it won't let you do much more than hit play/pause, next and back - you can't control the device (to, say, play something else from your queue) with the remote. if you have a particularly large iTunes library, the Apple TV can stream anything out of it, where the Touch will have to be synced if you want to play something that's not on it. (if your library is only as big as your Touch, this isn't as big of a deal.)
posted by mrg at 1:38 PM on January 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Netflix interface on the AppleTV is also rather nice, much nicer than Netflix's own native iOS app.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:13 PM on January 16, 2011

I like to surf the web while I watch movies. I do that on my iphone while my Apple TV is going.
posted by sourwookie at 3:55 PM on January 16, 2011

For Netflix, I am not a "videophile" but i definitely notice a lot better quality streaming on the ATV over what I used to be doing, which was running the iPad's VGA output to the TV. I can't guarantee it'll be the same for you but even if the quality is not significantly better the experience is far better. You can control it from the couch, you don't have to worry about audio wires as well, the search UI is much better, etc. Now, if you want to only spend $40 then get the cable, it'll work fine and you probably won't notice a problem. But if you can, I'd go for the purpose built device.
posted by neustile at 6:09 PM on January 16, 2011

As someone who has a 360 (for Netflix), a Wii (also for Netflix), and a first-gen Apple TV (for streaming iTunes content from my iMac and YouTube) and an iPhone 4 (for Netflix and Hulu+) I would actually spend my money on a Roku.

It's the same price as the annual XBox Gold subscription required on the 360 (Which I WILL NOT renew), 2/3 the price of an Apple TV, $20 more than the component cable, and does more than any net/TV device on the market today, including the less-than-promised Google TV and the Boxee Box. Seriously--it's The Little Engine That Could.

FWIW, I have no cable, satellite, or even a set of rabbit ears. I pretty much get everything I ever want pumped into my TV and Stereo from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube for about $24 a month.
posted by sourwookie at 7:44 PM on January 16, 2011

I've got one of the cables, and it works fine. I've only really used it on vacation or to take a movie to a friend's house. If you have local content you want to watch--TV episodes you've ripped from DVD, for example--I'd expect that syncing the shows you want to watch would get very, very tiresome. I bought a DVD player that can stream content off a NAS, myself, but that's because I'm such good friends with MakeMKV.
posted by fishpatrol at 7:47 PM on January 16, 2011

I have Apple TV and I am extremely happy with it. For the price, it is extremely slick and functional. If you have a large library, it can play anything that's on your computer.
posted by Ostara at 8:23 PM on January 16, 2011

« Older What's up with VLC?   |   How to pick out sounds from a loud environment? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.