Out of curiosity I stopped by a local pawn shop to see what they had. Some coworkers mentioned some great deals they got on some iPads for their kids, so I thought I’d take a look.

I ended up with a 2TB Western Digital external drive for $25 and a current model Apple TV. There’s no such thing as too much disc space, and it’s nice that decent capacity 2.5" drives are coming down in price. They didn’t know the capacity of the Apple TV and couldn’t get it to work with the remote, and sold it to me cheap under the expectation that it was a 32GB unit and I’d need to buy an expensive replacement remote. I knew it worked since it powered up and displayed the screen saver after futilely trying to connect to the remote. I did learn that I could actually control it much better through an iOS app (the keyboard using the phone is much better than scrolling back and forth with the remote to enter text) and had it working fine. I was screwing around with the remote and accidentally forced a restart. I did it again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and sure enough, it was operational. A little research showed that pressing a different key combination would allow me to get it synced and it was now working perfectly. Not bad for $65.

I’m about to go out to California to visit friends and relatives tomorrow. I spoke to my dad a couple of weeks ago about upgrading their home entertainment setup, which right now mostly consists of a 42" plasma TV and an RCA media streamer I gave them a few years back for Netflix. I’ll be taking a spare Roku, a Chromecast and this Apple TV to see what works best for them. Years ago, when I lived in the area, I provided most of the tech support for their various electronic devices, but since moving away they’ve started buying iPhones, iPads and really haven’t needed much, if any, technical support from me. This came as a bit of a surprise because they were never Apple people, if you know what I mean. I am, as is my sister and her husband, but I don’t know what convinced my folks to switch over. My late grandmother loved my iPad, always asking if I brought it with me when I’d go to visit, and I’m thinking that my parents realized that if a 92 year old non-tech savvy person could grasp and utilize this type of equipment that maybe it didn’t need to be difficult to use in order to be powerful. My dad is a computer guy from the mainframe/minicomputer era, so I think he had an ingrained distrust of technology that was consumer-friendly, viewing it as being mere toys and not serious, but I think he’s starting to change his mind. With that in mind, somehow I think I know which media streamer they’re going to want to keep...