Last night I got a chance to spend a little more time with the AppleTV “Take 2″, and there are a few things I want to point out.
1. There is no “watch it after it expires” for rentals – We’ve talked in the past about how Apple had a loop hole in the rentals where if you left your movie open you could watch it after it had expired as long as you didn’t do anything else. Well, I left a rental open to see if this would work, and when I flipped back over to my AppleTV all I got was a message that “this media has expired and is no longer available for playback”. No extension here.
2. The Podcast section not nearly as awesome as it should be – I sincerely wanted the podcast section of the AppleTV to be the thing that brought Podcasting to another level – and it almost is…it’s just missing some REALLY important things. Like, for example, SUBSCRIPTIONS to podcasts!! Why I can’t subscribe on the AppleTV to my favorite podcasts is beyond me. Sure, I can save them as favorites, but that doesn’t download them to my AppleTV automatically – it just bookmarks them. The idea of “streaming” them from their respective host servers is a great idea in theory, and works ok on some SD or smaller podcasts, but if you want to watch ANY of the HD podcasts you have to download them. Streaming those is just flat out impossible unless you have a super fast connection.
As a result, watching the shows is not nearly as convenient as it should be, and people checking them out for the first time may not mess with having to remember to go download every episode. I thought I was going to be able to stop downloading podcasts on my Mac and syncing them – but I can’t do that if I can’t subscribe to the damn things, I have no interest in getting up every morning and manually downloading all the podcasts that I want to watch for the day.
I’m really bummed about this – plus there is some SERIOUS lag time now when I try to watch an HD podcast. By lag time I mean, I press the play button, and it starts, I press the pause button, and it pauses, I press the play button again – and maybe it starts back up after 10 to 15 seconds. I didn’t do that before the update.