AMITIAE - Friday 19 July 2013
Apple TV in Thailand: At Last; Again
By Graham K. Rogers
Over the next couple of years, the Apple TV sold reasonable numbers, and a few hotels installed them. Users were, in general quite happy. Then the Apple TV disappeared and the only new ones being installed were owned by those coming in from abroad, such as expatriate workers and Thais returning home from external postings.
I ordered mine right away on Monday evening and it was on its way the next morning, arriving (as scheduled) by UPS on Friday afternoon. I unboxed it at my office and had a look at the contents.
Of particular interest to me was that, while the device has not been available here for a number of years, the exterior packaging indicated a Thai-specific serial number, also with technical information in Thai.
Thai Language Labels and Scanned Manual
Once powered up and connected to the TV I was surprised by the voice assistance and pressed the wrong button on the remote, having the over-helpful commentary assist me at every point until I returned to the menu and found the settings to turn the good lady off.
Setting up the Wi-Fi was not wholly convenient. The device found the available networks right away and it was a one click operation to select the right one, but then I had to enter a password. The information in the manual tells us
Use the Apple Remote to:
. . . but we are not told that entering a password, needs each character to be selected from the box on the screen. This is in three sections: abc (lower case), ABC (upper case), and other characters (such as *$][) as I use such characters, this meant a tedious selection process and a single character error meant I had to start over. A keyboard option might have made this much easier, but there is no mention of this in the manual.
Once done, I set up the Home Sharing on the Mac and began to explore the menus on the TV screen. I also set up my iTunes account on the Apple TV so - if I ever want - I can purchase or rent movies directly without having to use the computer. This did of course need another two lengthy character-entering processes for the account and the password. Annoyingly some of the movie trailers in the iTunes Store were in Thai. I would have liked an option for English as well.
Qello bills itself as the largest library of HD concerts and music documentaries on-demand. There is a 7-day free trial. The service costs $4.99 a month.
The services on the Apple TV here are not the same as those available in other markets.
Using the Apple TV I was able to play music that is on the Mac or the iPhone, although the quality of the TV speakers was not really up to Hi-Fi standards. This will do for background music.
Others may see this as part of a wider strategy: now that there is better access to music and movies via the iTunes store (rather than just apps and podcasts as before), it makes more sense for users in these expanded markets to be able to access content using the device. It may also be part of Apple's strategy to increase the sharing of content between devices within the home.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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