prior to Beta 5 I had to use XBMC for lack of SMB support for the native media player. Since Beta 5, I have not had to use XBMC yet. If anybody is still in doubt as to whether they should purchase the ATV Flash Black software, and who was in the same situation as me, I have decided to put together a quick list of benefits of media player over XBMC.
Infinitely easier to setup your SMB shares than XBMC
Share favourites are a doddle to setup and really make your life easier (near instant access to your media)
Much less clicks to get to your media than XBMC
Ability to scroll down a list of media keeping your finger pressed on the up/down button of remote. Something that cannot be done with XBMC
ability to resume a video where you left it (might be able to do that on XBMC but I never found out how to :))
similar experience to the rest of Apple TV interface, no need to 'learn' another one
the media player doesn't need to be 'started up' like XBMC - makes it so much more user friendly - life loves it, hates XBMC
SMB shares actually work - constantly got disconnected using XBMC
quicker to put Apple TV to sleep (no need to press the center button a million times to get back to home menu)
It’s not all black & white though, so here are the things media player needs to do before I completely uninstall XBMC off my Apple TV 2:
no support for subtitles
no support for TV shows metadata
media player cannot really play HD files (low memory error is returned)
support of DVD menus
no plugins (though that really isn't a problem for me, as I never used them in XBMC)
All in all, I am very pleased that I purchased the software. Yes it’s in beta and there are still a few issues but the guys at Firecore seem to be working overtime to fix those issues. I’m sure we’ll have a great product on our hands in no time. If anything, buy ATV Flash Black to save you the bother of buying a new Apple TV remote soon - XBMC requires so many clicks that I couldn’t see my remote lasting very long:
+1 to this sentiment. I upgraded tonight and SMB support was all I needed (have all my media on an HP MediaSmart Server). The interface is amazing, and much more intuitive than XBMC, which I never really liked. I actually went ahead and uninstalled XBMC. Have had no problems with playback (but I just do basic stuff, avi, mp4, and the occasional other format).
I have used -countless- streaming solutions for my living room, and this software has made the AppleTV by far the best at a fraction of the cost. My wife can even figure out how to stream media now - it’s the first gadget she got excited about.
Kudos to the team. Outstanding product, and this is still a beta release…
The media player is coming on really well. I would like to be able to hide the ‘local files’ option or maybe just go straight to a favourite server as default. I don’t know whether it needs longer buffering as I notice that in most of my avi files there is slight occasional stuttering for a fraction of a second in the audio occasionally which does not happen when playing the files through XBMC. Saying that they also start playing much faster through media player.
I have the original apple tv and the aTV 2 in my system. I use them both for differetn things. I use a Logitech One to control them and use XBMC on both. I find that the apple remote leaves a lot to be desired. It was a bit of a hair puller to set them up independantly of each other bu tonce that was fixed life is a breeze! Especially in XBMC since that is my prefered interface on both as well. I have a 1.5tb drive attached to the original aTV with over 70 DVD ISO’s available via the attached drive and a NAS. I stream from the NAS to the aTV 2 and my iTunes library synced to the original aTV via mp3’s exported too. I much prefer the XBMC interface and only need to setup a few shares on my network so it isn’t a big deal since they don’t change. Install the latest build of XBMC for aTV 2 - http://forum.xbmc.org/showpost.php?p=768428&postcount=85 only takes about 20 minutes.
I know this is an old thread, but I’m surprised people are so keen on using Media Player over XBMC.
I guess for basic playing, simple structures, media player is fine and honestly I do tend to lean toward it for one-off media files.
But if I want to manage, say, a 8 season tv series of over 120 files, I don’t want to do it in Media Player.
As for the wife friendly nature, yes this is an easier interface, but once xbmc is set up, navigating around is a dream. One click to tv shows, wide banner displays add great flair. The extensive metadata information, viewing options and so on make it a very classy solution.
Outside of that, plugin support for ice films, Hulu and loads more are not available through ATV black/media player.
There’s no question, for ease and simplicity media player is great. But for a detailed media management system, nothing comes close to xbmc.
If I wanted a basic empty file list, I’d simply use my old Popcorn Hour.