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Wow, I can finally find something to watch!
Old 08-05-2012, 11:03 PM   #1
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Wow, I can finally find something to watch!

Like many, I have been plagued with the "too many channels, but I can't find anything I care to watch" problem. I actually almost never watch cable anymore, and have some week night Spanish programs I follow. Pretty much stopped watching on the weekends except PBS sometimes on Sunday nights. DH and I have been considering dropping cable altogether and stick with local broadcast and an occasional rental from iTunes, which we have yet to try.

Recently, Apple quietly upgraded AppleTV to support Hulu+ in 1080i HD, no less, and knowing that some of the programs I watch on weeknights is carried by Hulu+, DH and I decided to try out the week free trial. (A Hulu+ subscription is $7.99 a month, payable through iTunes)

So I caught an episode of a show where I had missed the beginning on Friday. And another that I had missed entirely. Now how is this possible? The HD quality looks way better than the broadcast HD I get off air, and the audio quality much, much better. I can't imagine what the local channels think they're broadcasting.

Then I went exploring - what else was available? Well, I found it had two seasons of Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey. And 10 seasons of NOVA! And a bunch of other stuff. We watched the first episode of Downton Abbey last night - it looked so amazing (I don't get PBS in full HD locally), and today we watched a 2010 NOVA episode on Stonehenge. I almost never get to watch NOVA when airs because the time is not good for me.

Ads, but only about 3 minutes of quite unobtrusive, not-loud or obnoxious ads per hour of programming. The 1.5 hr episode of Downton Abbey had no ads at all after the initial plug for PBS.

What a concept - years and years of programming available to browse and watch on demand when I feel like it. Ability to catch a show you missed during the week. I hope PBS adds a lot more content as there are years of cooking shows I would love to get to see (Rick Bayless, ya listening?) Actually, there are a few cooking shows available now, but not that many.

Very impressed with the Internet video streaming.

Audrey
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:30 PM   #2
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We are using ROKU to stream with Netflix. We may sign up for Acorn tv, for 25 dollars a year to watch lots of the British series. I dropped some of our cable channels since we've been doing this.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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Hi Ally.

Netflix has been available for AppleTV for a long time. HD resolution also 1080 if you have the second gen AppleTV box. I'm just not really into movies which is probably why I never signed up for Netflix. Heck - I never even rented a movie via iTunes even though I have watched several trailers, and the quality is super impressive - honestly looked as good as any of my Blu-Ray DVDs.

I think my brother uses Netflix with his AppleTV and is very happy with it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:29 AM   #4
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I have an Apple TV device at my weekend place that I use to hook up my iPad to the TV there. I never actually checked it out carefully. Didn't even realize it could access Hulu and others by itself. I need the cable Internet (no other access) but could pass on the TV. I will have to checkout the cost implications.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I have an Apple TV device at my weekend place that I use to hook up my iPad to the TV there. I never actually checked it out carefully. Didn't even realize it could access Hulu and others by itself. I need the cable Internet (no other access) but could pass on the TV. I will have to checkout the cost implications.
This Hulu+ "update" was automatic. We read about it recently and just checked my AppleTV this weekend and it appeared - no additional update needed. NOTE you need the 2nd gen AppleTV box for 1080 HD res.

Does your AppleTV have a direct Internet/Ethernet connection? That might be important. Yes, you can access quite a few thing just using the little remote that comes with AppleTV. A lot of people use it with Netflix. I access my YouTube account directly fairly often as I can browse my favorites folder right on the TV.

Cost implications for Hulu+ - $7.99 a month until you go to your iTunes account and turn off auto-renewal. When you do that, you still have the remainder of the month. I think Netflix costs about the same? Netflix doesn't get TV shows right away like Hulu+, but it has a huge library of movies and older seasons.

According to Netflix Improves with New Apple TV | PCWorld
Quote:
Apple recommends a connection faster than 8Mbps if you want to watch 1080p videos, so if your connections is slower, 6Mbps is needed for 720p content, and at least 2.5Mbps for standard-definition content. You can also select within the new Apple TV interface your preferred video quality based on your connection speed.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Does your AppleTV have a direct Internet/Ethernet connection? That might be important. Yes, you can access quite a few thing just using the little remote that comes with AppleTV. A lot of people use it with Netflix. I access my YouTube account directly fairly often as I can browse my favorites folder right on the TV.
Yes, I just got the thing a few months back. It connects by wifi. I wanted it to mirror the iPad to the big TV. Didn't realize I was getting a Roku like device with it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:32 AM   #7
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Yep - like Roku! Although I think you might want a hard-wired Internet connection (not wifi) to get video streaming to work really well, but if it has been mirroring from your iPad OK, maybe you don't care. And do course you'd have to have a largish HD TV to even notice the difference between the higher resolutions.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the post with the good feedback on Hulu. I'm planning on trying the free week of Hulu+ on my ATV and then I'll probably drop Netflix streaming. Netflix just doesn't seem to have content I'm interested in.

I love being able to use my TV to show pictures taken with my iPhone, like an old-fashioned slide show. I suppose I bore my guests to death just like in the olden days.

BTW, you need the 3rd gen ATV for 1080p. I had a 1G and now a 2G, but haven't upgraded to the 3G since my TV only supports 720p anyway. Easy to confuse, since the 1st gen device never got a large following and it underwent a major change at the 2nd gen, with only a minor change at the 3rd.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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I know it's technically the 3rd gen AppleTV, but a lot of the articles seem to call the new one released a few months ago the 2nd gen.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:24 PM   #10
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I don't know anything about Appletv. When we wanted to watch some shows on Netflix (Battlestar Gallactica, Doc Martin, etc.) my son mailed us a Roku device. Neither my husband or I are very tech savvy. My son is a software engineer. He sent me my first Iphone, which I now love, and my first Kindle, which I now love. But this Roku! - I thought my husband and I would get a divorce by the time we got it hooked up. Since our older HDTV only had one HDMI connection, there were many trips back and forth to Radio Shack before we could make it work. But now we really like it.
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:34 PM   #11
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Good to hear your review Audrey. We dropped Netflix because we don't watch movies often enough to make it worth even the $8/mo. We dropped cable because most of the shows we watch are available over the air and we get good reception.

The one show we miss is Jon Stewart and Hulu+ has that show. We may give it a try.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post

Then I went exploring - what else was available? Well, I found it had two seasons of Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey. And 10 seasons of NOVA! And a bunch of other stuff. We watched the first episode of Downton Abbey last night - it looked so amazing (I don't get PBS in full HD locally), and today we watched a 2010 NOVA episode on Stonehenge. I almost never get to watch NOVA when airs because the time is not good for me.

Ads, but only about 3 minutes of quite unobtrusive, not-loud or obnoxious ads per hour of programming. The 1.5 hr episode of Downton Abbey had no ads at all after the initial plug for PBS.
Downton Abbey is highly addictive! Our son downloads British TV series and brings them over to our house and we all got hooked on Downton Abbey. We were a season ahead of PBS.

This book - Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey", Powell, Margaret: Biography & Memoirs : Walmart.com was the inspiration and it was very enjoyable. I could recognized characters from the series.

Shirley MacLaine is in the upcoming season of Downton Abbey, playing Lady Grantham's American mother.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:42 PM   #13
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Downton Abbey is highly addictive!
+1

First class soap opera!
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:52 PM   #14
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The one show we miss is Jon Stewart and Hulu+ has that show. We may give it a try.
It's actually free on regular Hulu or directly on its own website.
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:33 PM   #15
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+1

First class soap opera!
Yes, +2. I like it but we occasionally find the language challenging and recently I've been thinking of enrolling in Nexflix DVD rental once again to get the DVD version, which has subtitles.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:50 PM   #16
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Downton Abbey is highly addictive! .
2 more fans here.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:22 PM   #17
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For some reason the ads don't run on my computer in Hulu. The programs are fine but the ads skip and start in fits. If Hulu+ fixed that problem I would try it. The content od Netflix streaming leaves a lot to be hoped for.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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It's interesting how many folks here seem to like Downton Abbey (and possibly other British TV shows). I actually find such shows to be far more enjoyable than American television shows. They require more intelligence to follow (and it's not because of the language/pronunciation differences), or in the case of some shows (e.g., Torchwood) they feature so-called adult themes. They also just seem to be better written. For example, I couldn't stand watching "Friends" on NBC, but I thoroughly enjoyed the British TV show "Coupling".
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:28 PM   #19
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Downton Abbey fan here, too.

By the way, we are WDTV Live users and you can get Hulu and Netflix on the WDTV Live boxes too. Makes cable largely obsolete unless one has to have their sports channels (and there are ways around this for some sports).
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:41 AM   #20
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I LOVE MY APPLETV!!!!

OK, I'm settling down now.

I've been watching a bunch of photography software tutorials, and it is so awesome to be able to play the YouTube tutorials on my TV. Much nicer than watching on my computer - better sound, better image. Most of the "serious" software companies offer tutorials in high resolution when they detect you are using a high res device. These videos look AWESOME on my TV.

I actually select them on my iPad and then send them to the AppleTV. Then I put my iPad aside. I could select them directly from AppleTV, but the search interface is more cumbersome.

I had watched a couple fullscreen on my laptop yesterday, and they come in higher res, but somehow it's not nearly as comfortable of a viewing experience as watching them on my hi-res TV.
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