One of the biggest advantages of the Apple TV is the fact that it is so simple to control. The remote control literally has three buttons on it. Much like the iPod it is a truly intuitive device. It can also be controlled from an iPhone through the Apple Control app. But is the Apple TV a good system to use in a home with an automation system
Simple Controls Are Key
The most important part of any home automation system is the ease with which it is controlled. One of the difficulties in the home theater and audio world was that for years you had to use a whole handful of remotes just to turn the system on and off. Thanks to universal remote controls this is no longer the case. And any good home technology integration company should be able to install and program a system that allows for one-touch operation.
Out of the box the Apple TV has this same functionality. But some of it’s more impressive features can only be accessed through the onscreen interface. This makes it slightly less appealing as a source within in a whole house audio video system.
The reason for this is fairly simple. Oftentimes you want to select the music you want to listen to from within the control system touch screen. If you’re using something like Crestron or Control4 you shouldn’t have to look at a TV in order to control the device.
While you can easily access the music on an Apple TV while looking at a television screen, it becomes much more difficult when you’re using it from a touch screen interface. This is something that custom integrators have to deal with on a regular basis. Innovative Sight & Sound in Tampa, FL use Apple TV’s all the time in their installations because the interface is so simple to use.
They also offer a large variety of sources to watch including Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Youtube, and more. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a device that offers as many different sources from which you can watch and listen to your favorite media. Here’s a quick look at the interface on the current model
Not for Automation Systems
While the Apple TV is a phenomenal device, it isn’t an ideal solution for home automation systems due to the difficulty of controlling it with external devices. It still makes perfect sense to use it in places where there is a TV through which it can be controlled, but in instances where there is only a touch screen or iPad, you’re better off going with source that is designed to be controlled through a graphical interface.