Replacing an AppleTV hard drive

Kudos to AwkwardTV: I successfully followed their instructions to replace an AppleTV hard drive when ours began to fail recently. (After 2 1/2 years of constant drive spinning, it’s not too surprising.)

For less than $100 ($120 including tools), I’ve now got a 320GB AppleTV. Took less than 90 minutes, including diagnosing the dodgy USB cable, excluding both time to pick up the parts and to resync my content.

For contrast, paying someone else to replace the drive would cost $180 and take as long as round-trip shipping via UPS ground.

Apple TV missing feature: iTunes Output Device

Laura and I recently upgraded the Airport Express in our living room, replacing it with an Apple TV.

Sad to say, this was a side-grade as much as an upgrade, as we’ve lost the ability to play music in our living room without turning on our television. The Airport Express can be selected as an output device directly from iTunes on the computer, without requiring any messing around device-side.

For most people, having to turn on the TV to play music is no big deal — it is, after all, called the Apple TV. However, we have a projector in our living room, and the screen pulls down in front of a big glass door to our balcony, so it’s normally retracted. Furthermore, in daylight it’s tough to see the screen unless we close all of the other blinds in the living room, too. Therefore, to use the Apple TV to play music, we have to close three blinds, pull down the screen, turn on the projector, and wait thirty seconds or so for the projector to be ready. Which means that, right now, it’s easier for me to shamble to the other side of the room and dig through seven-hundred-plus CDs to find what I’m looking for.

I hope that a near-term software upgrade for the Apple TV enables the Apple TV as an alternate output device, as one can do with the Airport Express.

[ 2008-04-05: This feature is no longer missing! ]