I have had an AppleTV since the first generation one came out years ago. When the second-generation one came out I pick that up and sold the original on eBay. I have loved the idea of an AppleTV for years. I have even made my own homegrown media center on several occasions. If you read this blog you’ll read about several of those iterations. The problem is in practice I really haven’t had huge luck with the AppleTVs. The second-generation AppleTV I currently have has been replaced with a Mac Mini running Plex media center. That has been my media center of choice for a while. I have tried the Boxer box, and the Roku. with both of those I was hoping to plug into my media centers the a library, and with the Roku to use it as a front end for Plex. neither of those options worked out very well. All along the AppleTV has been powered on but not plugged into my TV. I would plug it in to music, but not really using it for TV. I have been generally lazy and didn’t want to jailbreak it. The Mac Mini has functioned generally well so I was in no rush to try anything different again. since my move I have had some more buggy experiences with the Mac Mini then the previous two years or so I’ve had it. It wasn’t enough for me to go making drastic changes, that is until I read that the Plex team had made a front end for the jailbroken AppleTV. So I gave jailbreaking a shot. At first I thought I had bricked the AppleTV, but after about two days of leaving it plugged in and I forgot about it. I turned on my TV and it had worked. I got really lucky.
After the small drama in jailbreaking, it was trivial to get Plex installed. After it was installed I ran into some problems with choppiness of the video. I fixed that by tweaking some of the bit rate settings. Since then it has been working perfectly. I got even luckier when less than a week after I had configured Plex Apple announced that Hulu is now available on the device. I covered that in another blog post.
For right now the AppleTV is now my main media center. I still have my Mac Mini. It’s needed to run the Plex server, and host all the videos and music on my Drobo. it is just not plugged into my TV anymore. It has been an pre-smooth experience so far. MC likes it that she can stream music again directly to the AppleTV without me having to plug it in or read it up since it is now always attached to the television.
We still have a TiVo, and use it for a DVR. Longer-term I would love to find a way to use Hulu, the Internet, and my AppleTV to replace TiVo and and really expensive cable bill. We are not quite there yet in trying that out.