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I love my stylish small black box. I adore my Apple TV. I seriously don’t remember a time when television was different. Streaming has changed everything forever. And I’m very happy it did, having cable was a painful, choiceless chore. With Apple TV and the entire streaming universe it allows me to access everything changes only for the best.
It all started with Home Video
I have been with the device ever since its 1st generation launch on January 9, 2007. Yes, exactly 16 years. That’s a lot and many things have been transformed since then. My passion for the product started with the home video. Yes, I’ve used the box to collect my favorite movies, to store them in one place.
Why it was such a game-changer? Before the device, all my movies were either in the iMovie format or on various external mediums like DVDs and tapes. That was a mess of a collection. Buying Apple TV allowed me to finally get it together in one place. I’ve gathered it all in the snug storage of iTunes. For such a big movie buff as me, it was a pretty grand deal. Thus Apple TV became a life-saver, a faithful guardian of my extensive and eclectic film collection.
Although adding them to iTunes wasn’t that straightforward, I’ve managed. Thanks to such apps as VisualHub (for iMovie files) and Handbrake (for DVDs) my movie collection quickly found a new digital home. I used to convert the videos with MPEG Streamclip too. That was a wild time of the big change from physical to digital, what could I do? I had to survive.
“The king is dead, long live the king” or the rise of streaming
When I bought my first Apple TV I couldn’t anticipate what comes next. For me, it was a fancy device, an addition to my media players. It allowed me to store my entire music collection, organize my favorite movies and have a slideshow of photos.
2007 was a big year. Not only has Apple announced the Apple TV, but both Netflix and Hulu entered the streaming game. And that has changed completely how we consume content on our TVs. Back then I wasn’t paying much attention to it. As an old-school guy, I kept buying DVDs and paying for the cable. That was a comfortable cocoon I had no intention of getting out of.
I’ve only realized what I was missing in 2015. Someone recommended this show called House of Cards and said it can only be seen on Netflix. Not wanting to watch it on the small screen, I decided that it was time to upgrade the whole TV ecosystem at the house. That’s how I’ve got myself an Apple TV HD, a beast of a media player. Also, that was my introduction to the exciting world of streaming. And truth be told, I absolutely loved it.
Streaming as a lifestyle
There’s something liberating about the streaming service subscription. Sure, you’re limited to the catalog, there are various price choices, and not all the shows are good equally. But it allows you to really be in charge of whatever you want to watch. And it also makes you belong to some kind of community.
“Netflix and chill” became a catchphrase, we “binge-watch”, and we can’t wait to discuss the latest developments from “HBO true crime special” with our friends. Some may argue that the streaming took away the randomness of the cable. Before you were subjected to the air times, you had to catch up with programming, you were dependent on the network. Streaming liberated you.
Today you’re in charge of whatever you want to watch. And I think it’s beautiful. As the Apple TV streaming services grow (and grow), the competition gets tighter, the companies are looking for ways to please the subscribers. You’re not a slave of cable anymore. You can discontinue your subscription at any time on Netflix or Disney+. You can send a message to the service that their content is bad. You’re in full control.
That’s how streaming becomes a lifestyle. I am currently using Apple TV for watching shows on Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max. Quite a collection I’d say. But each streaming service means the world to me. I love the trivia features of Amazon Prime, the instantly played trailers on Netflix, and the slick design of HBO Max. Also, I feel the power over these networks, I can discontinue using any of them at any time. That feels great.
Also, being on them allows me to continue with my favorite hobby. That is collecting movies (and shows now too). Do I want to return to the time when I converted iMovies to add them to the first-generation Apple TV? As much nostalgic as it is, I’m fine in this streaming era. And with my brand new 3rd Gen. Apple TV 4K I feel like there’s a perfect future.