My newly professed love affair with my AppleTV is seriously on the rocks. And worse, my previously loving customer relationship with Apple has shown some serious signs of getting stale.
It started with my AppleTV. As I wrote in my cord-cutting blog, the set-up and first few days of enjoying the freedom of streaming unlimited content from Netflix was just awesome. Having all that content waiting to devour was such a wonderful prospect. With my iPhone remote control app controlling the experience, I was totally stoked. It was magical.
I overlooked the fact that AppleTV only has the latest ports to connect to the latest stereo and TVs, because I was able to work around my port problem by using my old AppleTV. No worries, I thought, I’ll buy a new stereo later.
Is it coincidence?
Within a week of watching a few National Geographic programs and lots (and I mean lots) of Spiderman, Thomas the Train and Care Bears and (omfg) Hello Kitty, my old Apple G5 mysteriously crapped out. I suspected something was going on, but didn’t think anything was related. It turns out my logic board was fried, and I needed a new machine.
Cool, I rationalized, because I wanted to buy a slick new iMac anyways. I had ordered my new iMac within two days and now I’m gleefully working on a new 27” iMac that is seriously making me a more complete, better human being. Never mind that I had to buy a whole set of new Firewire cables to connect my “old” external hard drives. Never mind I had to buy a Firewire hub because my new iMac only has one Firewire port.
From $99 to $2000+
But then, things started to go horribly wrong. I started becoming suspicious about my love affair with Apple. Why did my old machine crap out? Hmmm, it had to be powered on in order to stream music and photos to my new Apple TV. Did that ultimately create the final strain on my G5 that caused it to flame out? Is there something darker at work here? Did a $99 purchase lead to a $2,000 iMac?
And then, my Apple TV started revolting. I now get an intermittent Error 112 or Error 111. Guess what. There’s nada at Netflix on this error. Zero. I searched for solutions on chat boards and found some pretty pissed off people. The best fix I’ve seen so far is either to re-boot or set to a Google DNS.
Wait a minute. Re-boot? That’s Windows language. We don’t do that in Apple-world. Set to a Google DNS? I’ve got blogs to write. Worse yet, when I can get my AppleTV working, the stream hangs and I get the dreaded wheelie. Well, the hang up is caused by “over utilized” broadband network in my neighborhood….
Return of frustration
This all adds up to my kids being annoyed with me, my friends strangely celebrating my frustration, my wife rolling her eyes and my discontentment with this whole consumer experience.
And I’m back to being frustrated at how hard all this stuff is to do and the fact my friends are going to be calling me again for help. When things are lined up perfectly – such as the right broadband speed, the right equipment, the right DNS, the right content and the list goes on – it’s all magical and mind-blowingly cool. But getting to this perfectly aligned technology nirvana state takes some serious effort, patience and well, cash that I should probably save for my kids’ orthodontists.
When is the stuff going to be truly easy? And when will device manufacturers like Apple stop playing games with customers? Is there hope that the industry will respond? When will it be safe to love again?