I make a conscious effort to limit what personal family details I post however I do enjoy writing this blog. That means I typically focus my writing around technology. I find tech interesting and it’s a huge part of my life. Not the largest part however big enough that there are plenty of topics to write about. Looking back at my blog posts over the past few months I thought I talked extensively about my media center setup challanges. I was surprised then to realize that I haven’t written about my evolving use of my Apple TV 4 since I purchased it late last year: My New Apple TV.
I was happy that on day one the new Apple TV ran the latest version of the Plex app. The challenge I had was that Plex is only half of my media center/TV watching set up. Content purchased from the iTunes store makes up part of the other half of my use case. Live TV takes up the rest. The big roadblock after I got my Apple TV was it couldn’t stream live TV. I have a HDHome Run from Silicon Dust that takes my cable card and streams my cable TV to any networked device that can receive it. The Apple TV does not natively support this. Silicon dust does not have their own app for the Apple TV (yet anyway). Initially that was extremely frustrating. It required me to maintain other device just so we can watch live TV. That complicated media center use for my wife. Ease-of-use is critical for her and I. For her she just wanted it to work reliably. For me I don’t want to get frantic calls or texts that my daughters can’t watch curious George because something hokey is going on.
Luckily for me after the new year I stumbled across not one but two applications in the Apple TV app store that supported streaming TV from an HDHome Run. I got into the beta program of one app however there were some challenges with the audio being out of sync with the video. That was a problem that I had with my Kodi Media Center on my Raspberry Pi. I then found the second app which cost about $15 buy however it was out of beta and it looked too promising not to try it. I am so glad I did. It worked perfectly. Now I was able to have Plex, iTunes, and live TV all on my Apple TV. That enabled me to simplify the media center substantially and thus make it easier to use.
The streaming TV app works pretty flawlessly. I was able to clean up the cables and devices in my media Center when I no longer needed my android TV, Raspberry Pi OSMC, and Mac Mini running Plex. All those devices at one time or another were testbeds that failed in one way or another. I still have one Raspberry Pi plugged into an HDMI cable in my media Center however that is usually just for when I’m building something. My media center experience is not dependent on it though.
Experimenting and finding the most optimal set up for us for TV/media consumption took a pretty long time. I am glad the technology caught up to to the requirements that I was looking for. The setup has been pretty stable for the past several months. I haven’t made any major changes to it since getting the T streaming app. I have been adding additional apps to the Apple TV however the basic configuration doesn’t change. I do want to try getting a game controller and seeing if there are any good games on the Apple TV. I no longer have an Xbox 360 so at present nomgaming platform of any kind. Of course I haven’t played an Xbox game in four years don’t miss it all that much most of the time.