On release day I woke up at 5am to stand in line for the New iPad at my local Best Buy. I had no intention of buying an Apple TV. That being said, with intention to only buy a 32GB Wifi iPad, I ended up walking out with not only the iPad but with an Apple Dock, Bose SoundLink and of course, the new Apple TV.
I have 2 TV’s in my house. A 46” Samsung LED HDTV powered by a Boxee Box (and 1TB drive connected for local files) and a PS3 and 23” HDTV in my bedroom powered by my Logitech Revue. The Bedroom needed an upgrade so thats where my Apple TV went. Being as I now own 3 of the major TV media streamers, I thought I’d post my thoughts on how they compare to each other.
Apple TV vs Logitech Revue
My media weekspot is my bedroom. Google Sent me the Logitech Revue as a registered developer when it was released for free. Free is great! However its performance is not. The Google TV had me excited when I heard of its promises and when Honeycomb finally made its way to the Revue, I had high Hopes for it. I was wrong.
The Revue struggles to stream Netflix with out stopping to buffer every 5 minutes. IF I had a slow internet connection, I could understand the buffering however I have a 30mbps down and 10mbps upload connection being pushed by the most consistent router I’ve ever owned, the Apple Airport Extreme. The Revue was such a bad performer that it did more collecting of dust than media streaming. On paper the Revue out features the Apple TV however performance is everything on a media platform and no one wants lag when trying to enjoy a good movie. The UI was also a bit too laggy for my tastes. Everything launches a few seconds slower than what it should. Its painful to navigate. While I do like that the Revue has local content support, I never had great performance from any file format. It was a mixed bag from file to file. Again Not Ideal.
The Apple TV on the other hand has been great. I’ve yet to have any Netflix woes and it streams files from my MacBook Pro with out a hiccup. The UI is fast, though could be faster. It lacks local content via USB but it makes it up in performance.
Winner: Apple TV ( easily)
The Revue has the advantage when it comes to searching as a full size keyboard is alway easier to type on…. In theory. My issue with the revue keyboard is that I use it on the couch or in my bed and with no backlight, its tough to see and very awkward to hold while typing. Again its easier than the Apple TV for typing but its not a fun experience. As far as other features goes, the revue does have a decent selection of apps but performance really hindered the app experience. Even downloading the apps is painfully slow. Features are nothing with out good execution and Logitech/Google has failed us.
The Apple TV Remote is very simple. I love the simplicity of it but as noted above, its not a fun experience trying to type in an email address with it. Luckily the iPad remote app can really save you a lot of time. As far as other features go, the Apple TV has some default built in apps and streams YouTube and Netflix much better than the Revue. iTunes library sharing is also a genius feature and almost makes up for the lack of local content. If it were just features, then the Revue has the upper hand however the execution of the Apple TV feature set is of much higher quality.
Winner: Apple TV
Overall, the Apple TV is a great replacement for the Revue. The Revue gave me such bad Netflix performance that I rarely was able to use it. I find my self now watching more movies in bed than I did before and to think that this was only $99 as opposed to the $350 the Revue launched at, its just a great product.
Apple TV vs Boxee Box
I love Boxee and have been using the software on my Mac for a while now. So when the Boxee Box was released I was excited however waited until the bugs were ironed out before purchasing. Its the main media streamer for my house and I thought I’d stack it up against the Apple TV.
As I noted above, Im not sure what the Boxee Box performed like when it was first released but I can report now that the BB holds its own. The UI is fairly lag free and also very beautiful. In fact, I think the Boxee UI is the best in the business. Netflix streaming is perfect and the file format support for local content is fantastic! There is not a file format I’ve thrown at it, that it doesn’t stream and do so really well. Its performance is top notch.
Winner: Boxee Box
The Boxee Box remote is the best remote I’ve ever used. It provides the best of both the Revue and the Apple TV Remote. It sports simplistic controls and yet a quick flip to the other side and your typing on a full qwerty mobile style keyboard. My only gripe would be that its not backlit which makes it harder to type in a low light movie watching situation. Feature wise the Boxee Box is unrivaled. Boxee provides the best local content experience I’ve ever seen. I have 700Gb of Movies and TV shows on the HDD connected to my BB and it recognizes all of them. Not only that but it creates a Netflix like interface of my local files and provides movie info, ratings and a status to show if I have watched it or not. Its Brilliant for that alone. Add in all the apps that Boxee supports and it becomes even better, from Netflix to Vudu to youtube to a thousand more plus a browser.
Boxee Boxe’s killer feature however is… Airplay support!
Winner: Boxee Box (By a Long Shot!)
Overall the Boxee Box is the best media streamer and platform on the market. It does everything and does it well. The Apple TV is a close second for simple UI and great performance and small footprint. I gave away the Logitech Revue because I had no use for it. I am really happy with my home media setup and think you can’t go wrong with the Apple TV or the Boxee Box