30 Days of AppleTV – Day 25 – AppleTV Vs. Xbox 360

So, in the interest of journalism, and as an absolute necessity for covering all angles of a 30 Day AppleTV review, it was necessary for me to purchase an Xbox 360 this weekend.

Now, before we even get started, let me say that it is obviously not 100% fair for me to compare these two right now. I will not be looking at the Xbox 360 for 30 Days, and I am obviously a little bias (what with this being an Apple site and all)…but having said that…

I love the Xbox 360 so far.

I’m going to compare these two in a few categories very briefly, to give you an idea of what I’m thinking here…the “My Pick” at the bottom of each category indicates the one that I think has an advantage in that category, or the one that I simply like better.

Interface

Both of these items have a nice interface. They are very slick. Being an Apple fan, however, I am really do enjoy the simplicity of Apple’s interface more than the Xbox 360 interface. With the 360 the different “blades” are easy enough to navigate through, but they tend to look like webpages with banners cluttering them up for other things you can buy and what not. The 360 doesn’t look BAD, I simply like the simple Apple design better.

My Pick: AppleTV

Content

This one is a tough category to judge, and one where it is very important to point out that these two systems are very, very different animals. The Xbox360 is a gaming system, and as a result the games are a huge focus, making the television and movie content seem secondary. I very much like that you can rent HD movies from the Xbox 360, and I am amazed at how beautiful they look. Same with the HD television programming. It looks fantastic.

On the other hand, you can’t buy movies, and the storage on the system is ridiculously small to make it an effective housing unit for HD content (more on that in a minute). Plus, as a Mac user, I can find no simple way to watch this on my computers, or my iPod. Plus, there is a complete lack of Podcast content which is extremely important to me.

I have pointed out the spotty quality of iTunes downloads several times throughout this series of posts, so I won’t go into it in too much detail again…but it needs work.

So, when you look at the two devices, their content both has pros and cons, but I have to give it to the Xbox 360 for making HD possible and for having direct downloads….COME ON APPLE – WHERE THE HELL IS IT?!?!?

My Pick: Xbox 360

Noise

It wouldn’t even been an issue if the Xbox wasn’t SO LOUD that I thought a jet was in my living room. It’s not the end of the world, but boy is this sucker noisy. The AppleTV, on the other hand, couldn’t be more quiet.

My Pick: AppleTV

Design

Some of you will think this is here simply to give Apple props, but seriously, when the Xbox360 sits next to my Wii and my AppleTV, the design looks bulky, clunky, and fat. Now, having said that, if they all got in a fight based on power, the Xbox 360 would whip both their asses, but that’s not what we’re talking about. The AppleTV is sleek, slim, and better designed.

My Pick: AppleTV

Price

Here’s another category where your opinion is going to largely come based on what you want to do with it. If you want to play games, chat with friends, watch TV, and watch movies then you’re certainly getting more for your money with the $399 Xbox 360 (which is the one that you would really need to do all of that stuff). For $299 the AppleTV does what it does well, but keep in mind that all that it does is let you watch your iTunes content on your TV.

My Pick: Xbox 360

These are just a few categories that you could choose to create when comparing these two devices. I have to say ultimately I am glad to have them both in my home. The Xbox 360 is – bar none – the best gaming platform for a hardcore gamer, and is an excellent media center as well. The AppleTV, however, provides me with a better interface for my television experience, and has more storage space out of the box for my content. Plus, my iTunes purchases will go with me where ever I am.

There is no winner here. Both of these things are great. What it comes down to is, if you can’t afford both…which one do you want more? I think if I was picking just one (for a Windows User) I would go Xbox 360. Mac users aren’t going to have as much interoperability with the 360 and their computers (that I am aware of anyway) so for viewing your media, AppleTV is your choice.


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Comments

  1. The Wizard says:

    Wow man. That post was awesome. You have such a unique way of reviewing stuff and stating your points.

    This is by far the best day I liked in your 30 Days journey. And yes I do envy you for having an Apple TV, a Wii and an Xbox 360 all in one hell of a living room.

    Michael, You Rock.

  2. i think it would be nice to see your setup
    you might have pictures someplace already but i havent seen them
    i agree that this was a good post though.

  3. Xbox 360 will prevail!! I heard the apple tv is horrible quality.

  4. You should have bought a PS3 ;)

  5. @Wizard – Thanks for the kind words.

    @ caleb – I don’t think my set up is very impressive, but I might take some pictures of it, once I clean all the crap off of it :)

    @xbox 360 – AppleTV does need some work on some of their quality issues. I wouldn’t call it horrible, but the content needs to be sharper.

    @Steve – you, sir, are on crack.

  6. PS3 is like God’s gift to man. You sir are missing out, SIXAXIS man!! you can spell it backwards and its the same thing!!

    XOBX? I don’t think so. :)

  7. “Mac users aren’t going to have as much interoperability with the 360 and their computers (that I am aware of anyway) so for viewing your media, AppleTV is your choice.”

    A program called ‘Connect 360′ allows Mac users to stream music from iTunes, photos from iPhoto, and videos from a movie folder to the xbox 360 just as well, if not better then a PC running windows. I have been using it for months.

  8. @Steve –

    Yeah, but you can’t really use the marvelously spelled SIXAXIS controller to play anything…because the games suck….

    If you need a few extra PS3′s in your house, let me know…every store around here has at least 3. They can’t give these things away.

    @Brian -

    Thanks for the tip…I’ll be checking that out.

  9. lol, I’d love a few extra PS3′s maybe one for every room, it is the greatest thing since Apple ;)

  10. You missed a huge one. I think the killer feature of the ATV is that its totally hackable. If you’ve got an intel mac it doesn’t even require cracking the case. Contrast this with the 360 which is so NOT hackable.

    So industrious folks (e.g. awkwardtv.org) are adding functionality to the ATV like crazy. It’ll play DivX, Xvid, WMV, H264, etc. Save your screen with an nifty RSS feed screensaver. Wake on LAN your media server. Streams files over network file systems so your media server can be anything, not just a Media Center PC. Download new user developed plugins over the network. And in a pinch you can even boot OS X on it and surf the web. And that’s just in the first month!

    I totally agree on the sound too. The 360 is a howler. In my book that alone disqualifies the 360 as a media server.

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