August 1st, 2012

Apple and Amazon

I put Apple TV on my Amazon wish list in time for last Xmas and left it there until a few days ago when I finally said, screw it, I didn't get it for Xmas, I didn't get it for my birthday I'm just gonna buy it for myself. Also, Airplay Mirroring would mean I could watch all those Apple videos I buy for the kids' iPads could now also be watched on a TV (hypothetically, even a hotel TV, if it had the right input port, because it is a Very Portable device, and I DID get the travel router I put on the same wish list).

Apple TV arrived, along with cable I bought with it. R. set it up. I logged it into my iTunes account (which is what all of the apple devices that don't belong to R. are connected to). Instant gratification. SD video looks crappy. HD video looks fine. Best of all, things like the Sandra Boynton book apps look fantastic. Yum.

So I'm sitting here wondering if I should buy a second one for the upstairs TV. This feels wrong, somehow, and I talk myself into waiting for a few days. Meanwhile, I'm busy syncing my phone to my computer, buying a little new music while I'm at it and watching some John Oliver on the TV. Wow. Adam Newman is _funny_. The dog sitting bit is hilarious. I think, hey, I bet I can buy that. I do, from apple, after checking apple and amazon. And while I'm checking Amazon, I see the latest letter: finally, an Amazon Video app! Woohoo!

I am _such_ a sheep. It was just days ago that I canceled my Netflix subscription because it doesn't have any of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos and that's all the kids want to watch. And I'm so happy that we can apple store vids on the TV -- they are no longer trapped on the devices and laptop. We could already watch Amazon vids on the TV, because we have a Tivo. The remaining incompatibility was watching Amazon video on the iPad. Now closed. And, amazingly, that happens at the same time we have Apple TV and can use mirroring. Hmmmm. I think some experimentation is called for.

I kinda like it when I get chocolate in my peanut butter. Or peanut butter in my chocolate.

ETA: Okay, that was not what I expected. You can mirror the app -- but once you start playing content, while the sound comes through on the TV, the video is blacked out. And it does not appear to be limited to particular content -- it seems to be everything (specifically, I tried a couple of movies I had bought and a Doctor Who mini-episode out of the free stuff). Bummer. Not sure what is going on there.

ETAYA: Here's what Ars Technica has to say:

Obviously, a much better review.

"In what we think will be a thorn in the side of pretty much every Apple TV owner, Amazon Instant Video restricts AirPlay streaming to audio only. The same is true of some other video streaming apps, such as HBO Go, Max GO, ABC, and others. The restriction is likely due to some draconian licensing restriction, but Amazon would not comment on the matter to Ars."

This does not matter to me at home; I can pop on over to the Tivo and watch all my Amazon library stuff over there just as easily. But it is a bit of a bummer for a travel solution.

ETA still more:

I can't buy Mountain Lion to mirror from my laptop to the TV (another possible Amazon -> TV solution that's at least somewhat portable), because it is from 2009 and thus too old for Mirroring in Mountain Lion to work (also, I'm concerned that it would grind my laptop to a complete halt if I upgrade to Mountain Lion).

Also, the Apple TV remote appears to be confusing my laptop. It receives the remote's signals and does stuff with them. Huh.