Episode 3 of My Home Entertainment Trilogy: How to own your media with Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone

This is part 3 of 3 of my Home Entertainment Trilogy, where I detail out my journey to home entertainment awesome. You can read part one here and part two here.

Media Room of the Future

I borrowed this from Paleo Future - an awesome blog. Please check it out.

This year I finally figured it all out.

After bringing home the Sony Bravia and hooking it up to the Mac Mini, I quickly realized that the mini was not powerful enough to run everything I wanted to run. I sat dumbfounded at the unintentional mess I had created.

My PlayStation 3 quickly rose to the top of my list of solutions. I loved that I didn’t have to worry about ram or processor speed – it was an all-in-one device that required little mental overhead. I started looking at it as a total replacement for the mini, but found myself wondering if the solution would be worth the process of trans-coding the 200 + gigabytes of media and installing a new hard drive in the PS3.

Then I got distracted with a new toy.

On my birthday Apple gave me an iPad. I had to pay for it, but it came out the same weekend as my birthday, so I indulged.

The wi-fi only media player kept me distracted long enough to realize I didn’t necessarily need to experience everything on the TV. I loved watching movies in bed or on the couch, but as the apps rolled out and all of my new viewing options were presented, I realized I still like to watch TV on the big screen in my living room. This got my mind racing once again, and I decided it was time to upgrade to an iMac and just get this taken care of.

However, I never bought the iMac.

The mini was quickly becoming nothing but a receiver for my Macbook Pro, thanks to Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba. I looked back at my mini with more frustration, and I started thinking about the PS3 again. Hulu Plus was released, and I was excited to see it available for the PS3, as well as the iPad and iPhone.

“All I want is a box to get everything I want from – is that so hard?” I thought to myself.

Then it happened. I bought a new Apple TV.

I started writing this post before it was out. It was actually just a rumor. It is crazy how

  1. I take so long to finish blog posts, and
  2. How quickly everything can change.

I bought it on a whim. I had a gift card and picked it up at the Indianapolis Apple Store. I recommend you get yours from the Mac Experience, though.

I took it home and was streaming video from the mini instantly. I wasn’t surprised that the experience was much better than using the mini on the TV, so I quickly retired the mini to a new home under a chair and began enjoying it’s new life as a dedicated iTunes box.

I thought again about the iMac, but decided to upgrade the drive in the mini, keeping my music on my Macbook Pro. Airplay made it extra easy and removed my need for Airfoil, although I still use it on occasion.

What I hadn’t realized, but should have, is that Apple would change everything by updating iOS a short time later. The heavens opened and I witnessed it.

The holy trinity of Home entertainment = the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple TV.

It finally happened. I can stream from any device. Video, audio –  anything.  Access to all of my media, and more importantly, control. I can pull media up on my ipad and quickly toss it to the living room, I can play something right off of my phone, I can control 2 media libaries. It is so simple, it was always simple. I just needed Apple to connect the dots.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for new apps that can take advantage of the AppleTV Airplay connection. I’d love to see some full screen games with the iPad or phone as controller.

I have friends who have told me they are “just getting a mac mini” instead of an Apple TV, because they “will have a entire computer.” I tell them again and again, get an Apple TV, and save your computer for computing.

You’ll be glad you did.

Tags: , , , ,