Today’s mild Apple TV, brouhaha, brought to you by it’s competitors.
So the Apple TV, the other thing released the same day as the iPhone (you, uhhh, may have been distracted at the time, but good old Stevie J did mention it first!) I even blogged it live (not that you were reading it).
So let’s face it, we all have, and, or want:
PVR (tivo, you know digital recording and playback of TV (in HD hopefully)
To view and listen to anything we have in our iTunes or video player
To watch TV (is that too hard?)
Wireless computer to TV connection
Using your TV and computer simultaneously
Your photos on tv with music (at least you can finally watch pictures of someone else’s kids and do it happily along with anything by Ozzie Osbourne!)
I should note in advance, the delightful humans at PVRwire really helped here, read on for all the fun competitors to the Apple TV that can save you a buck or two hundred.
To begin, I just got into the Venice Project Beta. It’s smooth, but I haven’t felt it’s doing what I thought it would. It has that very Appley/Web 2.0 feel whereby there are a ton of features and they’re intended to be so overtly obvious that all should know them instantly just by looking, yet I got stuck in three different sections and spent real time just trying to get back to the start to find I’d opened two other panels, and then something else was playing all the while doubling up the audio track! (I think I’ve got to work with it some more, it’s from those Skype guys and them’ seems real sharp). For that matter I just came across Freetube as well (will it work? Am I compatible?)
Whoa, sorry the brain train took a left at the tracks there, let’s get back to the problem at hand. Apple TV and it’s accompanying foes.
To begin, there’s of course the old Windows Media Center, or simply make a Mac do it’s own media center AppleTV duties on it’s own(follow the link for the guide). These are both direct routes for “home-media-server-viewer” setups.
Then there’s the Netgear digital entertainer EVA700 straight in a great way to interface wirelessly with your computers while being able to view all your media on your wonderful little TV (isn’t that all we want?) Browse your computer (just not the web kiddies).
Then there’s the Prismiq media player, same gig, only this time, it can be wired or wireless, and there’s the additional bit of surfing the web (though it looks a little old school webTVy). Upside,, it’s 74$ not bad (though to be wireless you need a PCMCIA card!) Also it says you can IM,, but there’s no keyboard, so I may be less stoked about that feature.
Next is the Actiontech Digital Media Player. It’s a LOT like the Prismiq above, only it’ll do HD too! Though the linked review doesn’t bode well for it’s media playing and web browsing (as I said, it’s like above, but with HD and a bit more at $150).
D-Link has the awesomely named DSM-520 that, the name alone leaves me excited! (It’s probably waaay better than that darn DSM-519, what a joke!) However, this is by far the best of the bunch, HD, wireless, wired if you want, the whole thing, and it is about 70 bucks cheaper than the AppleTV.(I saw it a few places for 214$ US).It’s in the classic rack format, always a bonus, as it’ll match your other gear, though strangely, I saw no web browsing listed on the specs. However this design looks the best overall for media center style features.
Summing it all up,, umm 74$ for the Prismiq sounds pretty darn good (we don’t have HD, but being able to run stuff through the TV (still on original XBOX too) would be sweet! (someday, nice surround sound and we’re good till we upgrade to cable!)
Everyone recuperate from CES and Macworld and we’ll all get back to it!