The New Apple TV: New Users Might Love It, Old Users Might Hate It

I've been a fan of Apple's "hobby" Apple TV since day one! I've got more than a couple of them around the house. 🙂 When Apple had their annual iPod event this past September it was rumored that we might see a smaller, more affordable Apple TV and the rumors were true. Apple introduced a much smaller and more more affordable Apple TV. This new box is sooooooo tiny. It's also less than half the price of the model it replaces. As we know, that's rare for Apple products. When the announcement happened I was traveling on business, so I had to rely on various web reports during my breaks to follow the news. The one thing I kept trying to figure out from the scattered reports was, "what did this new one offer that my existing one didn't?" After all we're used to new technology having more bells and whistles to make you want to upgrade. I kept seeing the reports on size, price and Apple's new TV show rental prices as well as Netflix and AirPlay streaming, but that was it. Yes, that was it! This new Apple TV seems to take away as many features much as it adds. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still a fan of Apple TV and I think they will sell more NEW Apple TVs than ever before at the new price point, it's just that I'm not compelled to run out and replace the rest of my existing ones. Let me tell you why…


What you get

Like I said, it's SMALL and it runs much cooler than the previous model. One of my Apple TV's is located in a cabinet (this is the one that the new one replaces for me) and I often wonder if the heat build up will fry it? So I'm pleased to see the new one take up less space and run cooler. You also get the new shinny silver aluminum remote. I didn't even take mine out of the box because my Harmony One Remote works just fine with this new model too. On the back you'll find an HDMI port, Optical Audio, Ethernet (there is also built-in 802.11n WiFi) and a USB service port. There is one LED indicator on the front and the power supply is built-in so there is just a power cord and that's it. Nice!

Once you have it setup this is where you'll find the biggest differences from the old to the new. 


Out with the OLD Apple TV

The original Apple TV with current interface above


The New Apple TV is all about Streaming!

There is no user accessible internal storage. Rumor has it that there is 8GB of flash memory, but I imagine that it's reserved for buffering streaming content. So unlike the previous models there is no way to store TV shows, movies, podcasts or music on the device itself. You'll either have to stream it live from the internet or a Mac/PC on your network (see AirPlay below).


In with the NEW Apple TV

The NEW 2010 Apple TV above


As a matter of fact Apple has made it clear that it's all about streaming in the new menu structure. YOUR content is now buried under "Computers" instead of being mixed in with the other media choices like TV shows, Movies, etc. Also since there is no storage, there is no requirement to "Sync" with a computer. Unlike the previous model, this new one relies on iTunes Home Sharing if you want to stream your content to the device from your computer. So as long as you are logged in with your Apple ID on your computer and your Apple TV, your content will appear under the Computers section. This is not the end of the world, it will just take some getting used to for previous Apple TV owners. New Apple TV users won't think twice about it.

It seems so un-Apple like to not see any imagery from your library on this screen above

Once you drill down into your computer you will then see your content stream by as usual.



Rent vs. Buy

Renting makes sense and that's what the 2010 Apple TV is all about. There is NO option to "Buy" content directly from your Apple TV. This will be another thing that existing users would have to adjust to. You can rent movies and TV shows (currently only from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America). TV shows are only $0.99 to rent the HD versions as opposed to buying them for $1.99 for the Standard Def version or $2.99 for the HD version. I really really like this model because the only reason I ever bought TV shows in the past was because there was no option to rent them. I usually only watch them one time after buying them and only buy them because I forgot to TiVo them. As far as movies go, I also rent 99% of the time and this has not really changed on Apple TV. The only thing you can't do is BUY a movie (or any other content) on Apple TV. You can still buy iTunes content on your computer and stream it, but not directly from the Apple TV itself. While many would argue that if it's (a movie) good enough to buy, you probably want the Blu-ray version anyway. Nonetheless, I'm still surprised that Apple doesn't at least allow a "Buy" option of any media they sell and have that content download on your computer instead. Clearly this is possible via Home Sharing since both devices are tied to the same account. So why have to get up go over to the computer to buy something and then go back to the Apple TV just to watch it or listen to it? This would be especially useful for things like music and music videos. By the way, there is no option to access the iTunes store from a Music perspective at all on the new Apple TV. You can only access the music sitting on your computer. 

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My Westcott Top Pro Tour Event is Thursday!

Westcott's 2010 Top Pro Tour is underway!  My tour stop will be this Thursday in Southfield Michigan on October 7th and I'm looking forward to seeing you this week. 

I'm looking forward to showing you my end to end studio photography workflow. See how I use the Spiderlite TD5, tips on working with models and lastly my Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 workflows including retouching, web gallery creation and delivery of the final images.

Save $20 when you register with code TPT9195. Register here

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Guest Blog: Erik Bernskiold’s Photokina Wrap-up Report


There is a reason why photokina is only once every two years, it is a huge place to visit and get around. Have you been to Photoshop World? PhotoPlus Expo? To sum it up you would be able to fill these expos into the bottom floor of one hall. There are seven halls at Photokina and four of them are two floored! Imagine an entire floor filled with china, japan and hong kong companies, many of which are just copies of other vendors! It is crazy! Here are some highlights for me:


Yes, there are vendors…

There might be a reason as to why the show needs to have see seven halls, everyone wand I mean everyone is at photokina. While vendors like Canon, Nikon, Olympus etc. have almost an entire floor to themselves, smaller ones still have good sized booths and as you can guess, there are a lot of the small ones here! One of the main reasons to visit the show is to chat with vendors and get up to date on all the new gear that ends up being released in connection to Photokina, maybe even more so getting to chat with all the smaller vendors and finding new companies that you haven't heard about before that might stock your next favorite gadget.


Seeing the news!

Inevitably there are a bunch of new cameras being released before Photokina and this year was no exception. For me, the Nikon D7000 is a true highlight and a camera that is high up on my wishlist now that I got around to playing with it! It just kills, even the D300s is pretty much beaten by the D7000. Sure there were a lot more of the news from the show but you can find that on sites that are all about covering them (like 1001 Noisy Cameras) instead of me even trying to list it all here in a wrap-up.



I caught up with the good guys over at Animoto and got a good demo of their software which makes it very easy to design a slick video slideshow to music. The photo slideshow that you can see above is all made by the animoto slideshow interface. Check them out!



Even though photokina really is about the vendors that are exhibiting, there are a bunch of different seminars going on in the different booths. Big names such as Joe McNally and Vincent Versace were there and a special shoutout to Rufus Deuchler who did a great job presenting the CS5 news specific to what photographers can do with them, especially within InDesign. What can you say, the crowd loved what you can do in CS5.

Hey! That’s my shot in the New Westcott promo Video

F.J. Westcott just put out a new promo video featuring their NEW Modern Vintage Backdrops and I was honored that they asked me to be able to feature one of my shots taken at Photoshop World Vegas. Check out the video here:


These backdrops are awesome and I will definitely be adding one or two to my studio. See the rest of my shots from that shoot here.

Do it yourself desktop stand for FaceTime calls

FaceTime Stand

I have really been enjoying using FaceTime to make FREE video calls back home while traveling abroad. Of course you need either an iPhone 4 or 4th generation iPod touch on either end and a Wi-Fi connection on both ends and you can talk and see as much as you want for FREE. It's been working extremely well! The one thing that I find to be a bit of a pain is actually holding the device. When just talking on the phone for long periods of time you can just lay it down and use speakerphone or a bluetooth headset as you roam around the room/multitask. However, with FaceTime you're going to not only want to hold the device, but you're also going to want to hold it up fairly high. Holding it down at a natural stomach level will probably yield some unflattering up the nose angles for your video. 

Then I got an idea

One evening while sitting and working at the desk in my hotel room I realized that not only was there a better way to do this, but I even had the necessary pieces with me to make it work. Ideally you want some sort of vertical stand for the iPhone 4 that lifts it up higher than the desk/table itself. I realized that I had both an iPhone 4 tripod holder AND a Gorillamobile in my computer bag. It took me all of 15 seconds to put the two together and I had an instant FaceTime stand that could be tilted and even attached to something higher if need be. It worked GREAT!


Here are the two pieces you need:

G-Design makes the iPhone 4 tripod holder. Unfortunately it's not designed for the iPod touch, but as long as you don't turn it upside down it should just hold it in place.

It fits the iPhone 4 very snuggly and you CAN turn it upside down or sideways if you need to.

The G-Design iPhone 4 Tripod holder is available here.


While the Tripod holder will go on just about any standard tripod, I find the Gorillamobile to be the smallest and most flexible in terms of standing it up or wrapping it around objects. It's so small in fact that I forgot that it was in my bag. So it's GREAT for travelers.

Get the Gorillamobile here.


Yes you can use FaceTime with a 4th Gen iPod touch too!

In case you missed it, you don't have to have an iPhone (and contract) to enjoy FaceTime. You can have this FREE video call goodness now with a 4th Generation iPod touch. It has the necessary front facing camera and can make the same FREE video calls over WiFi to other 4th gen iPod touch devices OR iPhone 4's. FaceTime on an iPod touch uses your registered email address to receive FaceTime calls as long as your on WiFi. You can make FaceTime calls to an iPhone 4 as long as you know their phone number or another 4th gen iPod touch as long as you have their "registered" email address.  Get the 32GB (don't waste your time with an 8GB model) iPod touch here.

Adobe Releases Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9 for Mac/Windows

Adobe just took the wraps of the NEW Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9. Aside from the usual great new features this is the first release of Premiere Elements on the Mac! Woohoo! Here are the highlights:

Photoshop Elements 9

Premiere Elements 9

  • Now for both Mac and Windows
  • Animation Style Presets (like cartoon)
  • Share videos easily on Facebook
  • Optimized HD Editing!
  • Native HD support from DSLR video, Flip cameras and more tapeless formats
  • Easily fix Audio Problems
  • See the new features in action here.


Order Photoshop Elements 9 here

Order Premiere Elements 9 here

Save money and order the Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9 BUNDLE here.

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