Saturday, November 17, 2012

Auntie P Recommends: Apple TV

As you know, product reviews are not normally part of this blog.  But I have to share this one with you because it's been so fantastic.

Apple TV is a little box you connect to your TV.  It's pretty small, about 5 inches square.  And it comes with a tiny remote - if you've used any Apple products, you'll be familiar with the way it works.  The Apple TV remote may be different than other remotes you are using because it's so simple.

Here's what the box looks like, and the remote beside it:
You connect the little black box up to the TV with a cable, and there's a power cord too that needs to be plugged in to power up the Apple TV.  It was so easy to set it up!  I basically plugged it in, and then followed the prompts on the TV.  It could not have been simpler to install and to use.

Here's what you need to make it work:
  • Apple TV (it's about $100, you can buy it online with free shipping from Apple)
  • An HDMI cable - this doesn't come with it, so you need to buy it.  I bought mine with my Apple TV box, directly from Apple
  • Wired or wireless internet service
  • iTunes account (it's free)
I really like this product because:
  1. Apple TV allows me to use my big TV in my living room anywhere I want, I can move the Apple TV around or use it into the sitting room, or bedroom, or the basement.  I don't have a cable outlet behind this TV, just the Apple TV.  I have wireless internet service in my house and so I don't need any cabling throughout the house to see TV shows.
  2. I use Apple TV with Netflix and watch all kinds of cool shows.  Netflix rocks, it's $8.99 a month and I can use it to watch unlimited TV through my Apple TV.  I can watch TV shows, movies and documentaries, there are thousands of things to watch and it is all commercial free.
  3. I use Apple TV with iTunes to watch even more shows.  Sometimes Netflix doesn't have a show and I really want to watch it - like Homeland, Downton Abbey, or Revenge.  I can buy these on iTunes for $20 - $35 for a season, and watch them on my TV.
  4. Once Apple TV is purchased, there are no other costs.  It was about $100, and that's it!  Nothing to buy, no additional costs, ever.
I like Apple TV and Netflix so much that I am looking at canceling my Rogers cable TV service.  I just received my November bill and with taxes, I'm paying $135 per month for Rogers TV.  That's $1,620 a year!   I've ordered a digital antenna and if it gets me local news channels, I'm going to cancel.  Here's the business case:

Year 1 costs:
Apple TV: $109 one-time cost
Netflix: $8.99 per month, so $107.88 per year
iTunes: six TV series (not sure how many I'll actually buy, but this is a good guess) $35 each, so $210
Mohu Leaf Plus (this is the digital antenna I've ordered): $80

Total costs for year 1: $506.88

Year 2 costs:
Netflix: $8.99 per month, so $107.88 per year
iTunes: six TV series (not sure how many I'll actually buy, but this is a good guess) $35 each, so $210

Total costs for year 2: $317.88

The Bottom Line

If the digital antenna works and I can get some basic news channels, I will save $1,113.12 the first year, and $1,302.12 each year after that by ditching Rogers.  

What a deal!  And fantastic TV.  The only thing I haven't figured out how to get is CNN, but I'm sure to get something over the next year or two, the technology is evolving so quickly.

If you are getting cable TV for free today, this might not be much of a deal for you, but I would still recommend Netflix because there is so much great content.  But if you are paying for cable today, you might want to join me and save a whole bunch of your hard-earned money.


  1. Good advice P.
    I am paying over 2500 bucks a year for phone, internet and cable, so time to make some changes.... as long as I can still find kids'cbc somewhere....

  2. CBC is one of the channels that is apparently easily available through the digital antenna. If the digital antenna works, we will save $ that we can use for our 2013 trip to NYC!

  3. This looks fantastic!! My home wi-fi plan is dismal and expensive though, might be time to start looking around for a new one.

    1. Sarah, it is so sweet of you to check in and leave comments! :)

      Have you checked out Unblock US? Not sure if it's available in Australia but I'm guessing yes - and it allows access to US versions of Netflix and iTunes. Fantastic value if you are into some of the shows in the US.