- Any video going through this thing, be it synced photos from iPhoto, synced movies from iTunes, rentals from the AppleTV store, etc. all come out too saturated and with WAY too much contrast. Try renting Public Enemies on your Apple TV and then rent it on DVD. You can’t see a THING in night scenes and you loose about 35% in details.
I don’t think the image quality problem is with Apple TV. I think it is with much of the iTunes content or Apple hardware/OS in general and not just limited to Apple TV. I have had the same quality issues when playing a movie through iTunes via my Macbook Pro connected to my HD TV through both the digital output and HDMI.
I have both downloaded my own content and converted my own content an synched it to my Apple TV via FTP and aTV Flash and it plays magnificently! Color and brightness are excellent. I get the best results when I convert .mkv files, but I have more than a few .avi files that look great!
Apple does have a support article on the subject here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2829
Their “fix” for it is garbage, IMHO. I will say that jacking my brightness all the way up and changing the video settings does help. It has made night scenes entirely watchable for me. I think “RGB Low” works best on my TV, but I don’t remember and I can’t check it right now. Having to do that every time I watch content from Apple is a pain. Although, there are many movies that I have rented from iTunes that look great (bright and no loss of detail). It seems to be hit or miss for me.
- 2GB MP4 or MKV or AVI movies which look amazing on my 17" MBPro look pixelated and choppy on the ATV. I’ve got the latest version of ATVFlash, etc.
I have not had a problem with my own .mp4 files, but I have had choppiness issues with .mkv files. I convert them to either Apple TV format .m4p or standard .mp4 files using Handbreak and they play and look great.
- Installing and launching apps such as Firefox on ATVFlash does not work at all.
I haven’t used Firefox much, so I do not feel this pain, but I think it is unfair to blame Apple TV for this. There are many other just as likely culprits for why this does not work well. aTV Flash, Nitro TV, how apps are installed on Apple TV, numerous libraries or other files that need to be updated or are not being access as Apple intended. To be fair, Apple did not intend for you to do this. Whether the hardware should be able to do it or not is not in play as an argument. aTV gives you a way to do that, but I have not read any guarantees that it should work well.
- Renting a movie from the iTune store is more expensive then renting it from the DVD shop on the corner. And he has to pay rent, payroll, electricity, etc. Bad pricing model Apple people, and I’m not even comparing to Netflix & co.
No offense, but then why not just go to the DVD store around the corner? Apple’s pricing model for rentals is in line with Comcast and DirecTV.
I will say that in my area DVD rental is $4.99 USD for new titles and $1.99 USD for older titles. ALL Blue-Ray is $4.99 USD. So, Apple’s pricing of $3.99 USD for Standard Definition movies and $4.99 USD for HD content is not bad at all. FWIW, Apple does not have complete control of the prices.
Netflix and Blockbuster online is entirely different. If you are a movie watching nut, then yes, you will likely save money using those services. For the casual movie renter, it isn’t likely an advantage and there is the hassle of having to use the mail, update your queue and have a physical DVD to deal with. Not a problem for many folks, but not as easy as all electrons. Sure Netfix is making more deals to do download rentals. It will be interesting to see how they work on the Wii. It may be better or worse than Apple TV.
I have had Apple TV for three months and I absolutely love it. It is not a perfect system, by far. A bit of a racket, if you ask me. They want me to spend $200+ USD so I can spend more money with them. That is the garbage part! For me, the $50 I spent on aTV Flash has been worth every penny, even with Adobe Flash and other issues. aTV Flash is not perfect either, but it has unlocked the potential of my Apple TV in ways that work really well for my viewing habits.
Bottom line, you gotta go with what forks for you. It doesn’t sound like Apple TV is what you were looking for.