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View Full Version : Apple TV - sorry, I just don't see the appeal - HDTV's only, no HD Content?




Deanster
Mar 22, 2007, 03:37 PM
So, I'm a big apple fan, and though it took me a while, I'm a big iPod/iTMS fan.

I love my Tivo, and getting HDonDemand from Comcast, and in general, I'm behind downloadable content for TV.

All that said, I'm just baffled by the AppleTV. It only works with HDTV. But it has no HD content available. And while HD content may (or may not) become available in the future, the 40Gig onboard HD isn't big enough to hold much of it.

It can move content from my computers, but only in a limited number of formats, and really, it's made to move paid-for iTMS content to my HDTV.

So, I honestly don't understand why I would pay $300 to buy something that primarily allows me to buy movies for ~$15 in non-HD formats to play on my HDTV.

I'd understand this as a subsidized-price item, around $50 or $100, that Apple was selling so I'd buy more movies. I'd also understand this as a tool for putting HD content from Apple on my HDTV - I'd LOVE to have access to a large library of true HD movies, and would be willing to pay quite a bit for that.

I'm also totally in for a product that mixes Cablebox (with cablecards) DVR, and downloadable content, even at a much higher price - essentially adding iTMS support to a Series 3 TiVo.

But at the current price, and with the current features (sending iTMS non-HD content to my HDTV), I just don't see the appeal.

Can anyone help? I'm an inveterate gadget-buyer, and I'd buy one in a heartbeat if I understood the benefit...



motulist
Mar 22, 2007, 03:41 PM
It's not HDTV only, at least it doesn't seem to be. It has component video and looks like it supports 480i.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=289796

nagromme
Mar 22, 2007, 03:41 PM
Easy answer: there IS no appeal for you :) (Nor for me. One day with a mass selection of HD movie rentals on iTunes, we'll talk!)

But for some OTHER people it's a great product. Nothing wrong with that.

See numerous other threads for examples of how people are planning to use the AppleTV. Meanwhile, it's safe to say HD content will come. For now, enjoy photos in HD, or your own video files exported to 720p... and of course the HD menu text :)

killmoms
Mar 22, 2007, 03:42 PM
I don't see what's so hard to understand. You clearly have higher expectations and are already well-served by a combination of other products that do what you want. Clearly Apple just isn't where you are yet, which is fine. I don't think that just because they aren't there NOW means they never will be. Just enjoy what you have and wait for Apple to catch up.

Believe it or not, AppleTV is still beyond where MOST people are. Just feel really cool about being ahead of the pack. :cool:

Lancetx
Mar 22, 2007, 03:59 PM
I must admit that I have similar feelings as the OP does. I can see the immediate benefits of being able to access your iPhoto library and iTunes music content on your home audio/video system right now, but the lack of available HD video content (besides what you can encode yourself of course) is what keeps me from buying one right now too. But we'll just have to see how this all plays out over the coming months.

benpatient
Mar 22, 2007, 04:29 PM
when it was announced, i was completely stoked about the apple TV. and then they said it would have a hard drive, and I got even more excited...

but now that it's clear what the thing really does...and doesn't...do, I can't figure out who the target market is....

they make it "widescreen only" which automatically implies that they're looking up the food chain good bit, as most people don't have one of those yet. There aren't a lot of people with a widescreen SDTV. At the very least, they've got HD-ready sets if they're widescreen.

and as has been pointed out, no HD content is available yet. And the HDD is too small to store HD content beyond an hour or two.

And there's NO surround sound? what on EARTH are they doing? the stinking mac mini with front row already does all of the things the appleTV does, right? it's got a hard drive. it's got networked access (through itunes, iphoto, etc) to other computers in the house. It's got a slick UI and connects easily to most HDTVs...

oh, but it's also a complete computer, and can play just about any video format, and i could go on for hours with other things it does...you can add 500gb of storage for 250 bucks without hurting the "apple looks", etc....that the slightly-cheaper appleTV doesn't. So the mini doesn't support HDCP or (directly, anyway) HDMI. It's 1/2 inch taller. I can't think of anything else.

i was so interested before...but now i can't figure out why anyone would want this thing...i guess because it boots up faster directly to the media?

just have your mini go to sleep...same deal.

bah. nevermind.

9Charms
Mar 22, 2007, 04:34 PM
I'm not going to buy one. For me, I'm just going to hookup my MBP to the HDTV and home stero system and play my HD content from there.

Front Row is very slick, especially sitting back on the couch with that little remote. And it currently gives me more functionality than AppleTV with it's support of DIVX.

If Front Row fails to play something (eg. *.m2t files/recordings), then I can always use VLC in full screen.

Maybe I'll try to pickup a used Intel Mini off eBay one day so I don't have to keep moving my MBP around. (aside: you can control the mini via VNC, so you don't have to add a keyboard and mouse)

My biggest disappointment with AppleTV is that it isn't 6.5" x 6.5" as the MacMini's, MiniStacks, and Airport Extreme are... Nor is does it have the same footprint as DVD players and receivers.

nagromme
Mar 22, 2007, 04:35 PM
Is it that AppleTV hardware doesn't support surround sound, or simply that iTunes movies currently download just in stereo?

I'd have expected AppleTV could do it, since it has digital optical out, but just aw with HD, getting content is another matter.

zap2
Mar 22, 2007, 05:18 PM
A I listen to my:apple: TV on my SDTV...who knows??

;)


Overall its a very cool device...Apple should have add the one yellow port for SDTVs, that all they need to reach millions more. That said the limted the 1G iPod to Mac OS X and now its a big hit, so who knows what what will happen.


But for those with TV that support AppleTV its well worth it IMO

Deanster
Mar 22, 2007, 06:59 PM
OK - thanks all... I appreciate the feedback - I was wondering if somehow I'd missed something.

I think the 'widescreen only' and lack of S-video or composite outputs clearly makes this at least a 'mostly HDTV' product, if not technically HD-only.

I guess I don't feel like I'm 'way ahead'... I've got an HDTV and the cruddy DVR Comcast gives me.

I think part of the reason I'm confused is that AppleTV seems like a product made for folks who are WAY ahead of me, in that they are heavy enough downloaders/watchers of existing iTunes video content that they really NEED ($300 worth) a good way to play it on an HDTV. That seems like someone who's a considerably more aggressive user of video, and willing to pay for both content and the device, than I am.

I will say that this device appears to have a mighty strange feature matrix. Most Apple products have a very clear niche, or obviously do something MUCH better than other products.

AppleTV appears to do one thing (iTMS content to HDTV), but with limitations (no iTMS HD media) that just gut that function, at least from my point of view.

I'm sure there will be happy owners, but I honestly don't see the value in the current configuration. I can see several changes (HD content+bigger HD, DVR function, etc.) that would make it a great tool, but the current feature mix seems to demand high-end buying patterns/spending, high end computers, network, and TV, and a willingness to use all that to watch Standard definition compressed video on a 1280x720 or larger TV screen.

Maybe version 2.0 will make more sense to me...

jtown
Mar 24, 2007, 01:34 AM
I have to agree that the setup (HDMI/component, forced widescreen) seems totally illogical given the fact that content is non-HD. It's just silly. How many widescreen (or 4:3 with 16:9 mode) SD televisions with component inputs are on the market? I have one but I don't know many other people who do. (And that's my old TV, not my main TV. My main TV is a 1080p HD panel.) Apple's limited choice of output connectors and aspect ratio says, "We expect you to connect this to an HD monitor." Yet there's no HD content.

They've produced a product which demands high quality displays yet it can only utilize low quality source material.

Whaaaa?

We've already got devices to stream SD video from computers to SD televisions. We've already got devices that stream audio from computers to stereos. What does AppleTV provide that sets it apart?

localoid
Mar 24, 2007, 02:28 AM
... What does AppleTV provide that sets it apart?

Out of the box, untouched, it's simply a (easy) way for a group of people (easily) share (various types of) media content from each person's PC/Mac via iTunes. A group like "a family"... who wants an (easy) way to share their photos, songs, movies, etc. in a common area from various computers located around the house. You know... they want an iPod in their living room (that's hooked to the family tv).

For anyone hacker-inclined, it's a "real" computer, complete with OS X for $300... one that's apparently rather "open", with a seemingly great potential for doing various "interesting" things with... It'd be difficult to build the system for $300, and you wouldn't have the ability to do "OS X type" things on a generic box you built from parts from NewEgg.

What's not to like about it, *if* you consider it's price, and are willing to work within those limitations?

localoid
Mar 24, 2007, 02:41 AM
...and as has been pointed out, no HD content is available yet. And the HDD is too small to store HD content beyond an hour or two.


The onboard disk is for caching content. It's not for storing it. You store content on the computers on your network. It doesn't need a huge HD. Now do you get it?

And there's NO surround sound? what on EARTH are they doing? the stinking mac mini with front row already does all of the things the appleTV does, right? it's got a hard drive. it's got networked access (through itunes, iphoto, etc) to other computers in the house. It's got a slick UI and connects easily to most HDTVs...

The jury's still out on whether it can do surround sound. Stay tuned...

... oh, but it's also a complete computer, and can play just about any video format, and i could go on for hours with other things it does...you can add 500gb of storage for 250 bucks without hurting the "apple looks", etc....that the slightly-cheaper appleTV doesn't. So the mini doesn't support HDCP or (directly, anyway) HDMI. It's 1/2 inch taller. I can't think of anything else.

If you can't imagine things that could be done via this "complete computer" for $299, complete with (at least) some verion of OS X, then you're obviously not "hacker inclined." If that is the case, thinking (creatively) about with new ways of tapping the box's potential, creating new ways to use it, or otherwise tapping or using its potential will simply be the work of people who think outside the box... ;)

innhitman
Mar 24, 2007, 03:04 AM
I know the loyalists will be upset by my post ( I am a stockholder, mind you), but this AppleTV is not ready for prime time.... I guess it is fine for people that think Bose is good... but for those of us that want the most from their systems, this is a fake...

Steve Jobs' first blunder in a while, if you ask me.

The Stig
Mar 24, 2007, 05:29 AM
I can't really understand why I would want one either... Sad really. I can see it being kinda useful, a little bit, but not enough for me.

I want something that does a lot of things. I want to record live tv and preset to record tv. I want to have 1080p and surround sound. I want a bigger HD. I want what it does and so much more.

I'm not going to spend $300+ on a box that does so little.... I'll just watch things on my MB or burn it unto a dvd for the tv. Or just plug my MB into the tv!

I just don't see why many people will want one... That is all. I don't understand it. I wouldn't work out for me really, or at least not enough.

The Stig

nsbio
Mar 24, 2007, 07:23 AM
Steve Jobs' first blunder in a while, if you ask me.

The two infamous mice (iMac's hockey puck and Wired mighty mouse) were more like the first, actually.

But iTV will have a good group of followers, as there are quite a few people who extol anything with the :apple: logo on it.

tveric
Mar 24, 2007, 07:28 AM
There's no HD content on the itunes store, true. But there's plenty of HD content elsewhere, already in h.264, and getting the Apple TV sure beats buying an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player, and worrying about which one will be obsolete in 2 years, and buying similarly format-warring-hi-def-DVDs. I for one will be getting one quickly.

MacinJosh
Mar 24, 2007, 07:52 AM
I have to agree that the setup (HDMI/component, forced widescreen) seems totally illogical given the fact that content is non-HD. It's just silly. How many widescreen (or 4:3 with 16:9 mode) SD televisions with component inputs are on the market? I have one but I don't know many other people who do. (And that's my old TV, not my main TV. My main TV is a 1080p HD panel.) Apple's limited choice of output connectors and aspect ratio says, "We expect you to connect this to an HD monitor." Yet there's no HD content.

They've produced a product which demands high quality displays yet it can only utilize low quality source material.

Whaaaa?

We've already got devices to stream SD video from computers to SD televisions. We've already got devices that stream audio from computers to stereos. What does AppleTV provide that sets it apart?

I quite agree with you. I have a widescreen non-HDTV TV but no component :( But, my iMac acts as an ATV as I have an S-video cable running through the wall from my study to my living room. I use my BT phone as a remote and things work fine and dandy.

Joshua.

princealfie
Mar 24, 2007, 07:57 AM
You shouldn't be baffled, dude. Seriously unless you can get wireless built into a DVD or Blu-ray player, consider your ATV pawning your life the whole rest of it! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

pilotError
Mar 24, 2007, 07:59 AM
It's still way to early to tell about some of these things. There was someone on one of the other sites (xlr8yourmac?) that talked about getting the surround by generating content NOT using export to apple tv. He claimed to get it to work, but it hasn't been proven yet.

I think one of the things that has been looked over is getting your Music library to your stereo without having to go through an Airport express or some other doc or cable.

True the content is not there yet, but its only been out of the gates for one day. I'm a little surprised Apple dropped the ball on this, but I'm sure they'll make up for it.

It does work on normal TV's, although I'm not sure there is a scaler at work, the image might look squeezed. Works good on an EDTV or HDTV. Has no 1080P yet, but not many TV's purchase before (last year?) have 1080P capability.

Content is the big draw back right now.

If you want to hack the box a little bit, even thats not an issue. within a day, the hacker (in the good sense of the word) community already has it running most of the available codecs.

mkubal
Mar 24, 2007, 08:19 AM
The onboard disk is for caching content. It's not for storing it. You store content on the computers on your network. It doesn't need a huge HD. Now do you get it?


I was under the impression that it would sync to a single computer of your choosing. That being the case, it is for storing content.

Storing HD content, however, is a different argument because (a)they don't have HD content and (b) even if they did you'd need a lot more storage space than what you get from a laptop drive. So you'd need a massive external hard disk hooked to your :apple:TV if you were wanting to sync HD files from a computer.

MovieCutter
Mar 24, 2007, 08:38 AM
I know the loyalists will be upset by my post ( I am a stockholder, mind you), but this AppleTV is not ready for prime time.... I guess it is fine for people that think Bose is good... but for those of us that want the most from their systems, this is a fake...

Steve Jobs' first blunder in a while, if you ask me.

Have you actually used the damn thing? Besides, the fact that my MOTHER could set this thing up in less than 5 minutes and use it effectively says something. It's not for everybody, but it sure as hell is for most of us who don't want full-blown computers hooked up to our TVs, want to go through the hassle of constantly updating our iPods and plugging those into our TVs, or who just want something that does what AppleTV does.


I can't really understand why I would want one either... Sad really. I can see it being kinda useful, a little bit, but not enough for me.

I want something that does a lot of things. I want to record live tv and preset to record tv. I want to have 1080p and surround sound. I want a bigger HD. I want what it does and so much more.

I'm not going to spend $300+ on a box that does so little.... I'll just watch things on my MB or burn it unto a dvd for the tv. Or just plug my MB into the tv!

I just don't see why many people will want one... That is all. I don't understand it. I wouldn't work out for me really, or at least not enough.

The Stig

Then don't buy one. I want a Mac that will walk my dog, have dinner on the table for me when I get home, and can render 3 hours of 4K footage into H264 in less than a second...

This all seems reminiscent of the iPod discussion when it first came out..."There are so many OTHER MP3 players on the market that do more for less money...why would I buy this?"

jsw
Mar 24, 2007, 08:54 AM
I have a 37" HDTV with two speakers. While I enjoy 1080p shows and while, if I had a room where I could set it up again, I'd enjoy surround sound (since we moved here, there's no good place for it)... I've got two small kids and a wife who doesn't care if it's HD or SD. So, for them, the Apple TV is great, and it works for me too as it makes it easier for them.

I've got a mini hooked up to the same TV as the Apple TV. It's great - for me. For them? Too much hassle to use the keyboard and mouse, concerns about the toddler getting at things, etc. With the Apple TV, it's just one little easily-placed-out-of-reach remote. So much simpler. No login. No which-app-to-click, etc. My 6 year old is now adept at getting to her programming with the Apple TV, and it took all of five minutes to show it all to her.

And I've got a fair and growing number of HandBrake-ripped movies for them to watch, so it's not like I'm dependent upon iTMS.

I think HD content is coming - the Apple TV specs would allow it. I think surround is coming shortly.

Yes, if you use it merely to watch iTMS content, it's certainly limited in usefulness for higher-end consumers. But it's a fantastic system for families that have a separate computer to store content.

I'm bummed it doesn't have Firewire and the ability to record HD off my cable box, like I can do with iRecord and the mini. I'm bummed I can't currently watch HD shows I've recorded with it. So I'll keep using the mini.

But I expect these shortcomings to be addressed in the near future.

imacdaddy
Mar 24, 2007, 09:23 AM
Is it that AppleTV hardware doesn't support surround sound, or simply that iTunes movies currently download just in stereo?

I'd have expected AppleTV could do it, since it has digital optical out, but just aw with HD, getting content is another matter.

From another thread, the :apple: tv does support surround sound as it has the Intel High Definition Audio chip in it with an Optical output to connect to your AV Receiver. In due time, there should be video content that supports surround sound up to 7.1 channels.

http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/hdaudio.htm

princealfie
Mar 24, 2007, 09:26 AM
The Apple TV is extremely easy to use... the mac mini is way too complicated in fact. My stepdad figured out ATV in less than 5 minutes but he doesn't know how to use a SONY DVD player or Mac Mini keyboard.

Remember, not everyone is computer saavy like we nerds here. In fact, the ATV GUI is much better than Front Row in my honest opinion.

mkubal
Mar 24, 2007, 09:37 AM
The Apple TV is extremely easy to use... the mac mini is way too complicated in fact. My stepdad figured out ATV in less than 5 minutes but he doesn't know how to use a SONY DVD player or Mac Mini keyboard.

Remember, not everyone is computer saavy like we nerds here. In fact, the ATV GUI is much better than Front Row in my honest opinion.

How is the GUI any different? (A serious question as I don't have an :apple:TV)

Also, even if it's easier/better for them to use they still have to have a computer with iTunes managing all of their files. If your stepdad had to setup an :apple:TV in his own home, wouldn't he have to have the skill to maintain an iTunes database of files and purchase items from the ITMS?

princealfie
Mar 24, 2007, 09:42 AM
How is the GUI any different? (A serious question as I don't have an :apple:TV)

Also, even if it's easier/better for them to use they still have to have a computer with iTunes managing all of their files. If your stepdad had to setup an :apple:TV in his own home, wouldn't he have to have the skill to maintain an iTunes database of files and purchase items from the ITMS?

The Apple TV adds in a podcast and streaming content for the GUI. Also it's more drop down than the fancy rotating shebang on the Front Row. My stepdad found it easier to use when we used the remote on both.

So if a non-computer guy found Apple TV easier to use, it gotta be better.

princealfie
Mar 24, 2007, 09:43 AM
How is the GUI any different? (A serious question as I don't have an :apple:TV)

Also, even if it's easier/better for them to use they still have to have a computer with iTunes managing all of their files. If your stepdad had to setup an :apple:TV in his own home, wouldn't he have to have the skill to maintain an iTunes database of files and purchase items from the ITMS?

By the way, ONLY I will be managing the original database of iTunes for him. He just needs to know how to playback the files on the screen. :)

savar
Mar 24, 2007, 09:50 AM
It seems the biggest problem is that everybody wants an Apple DVR, and when Apple TV was first rumored everybody was hoping for a DVR which they could also stream to from their PCs. And then it turned out it was streaming only. Just a tease.

I've not used Tivo, but the Cable company DVRs are completely terrible. They update the software every now and again, but they're still lousy. Any developers who used one for more than 5 minutes would immeditately see the flaws. But an Apple DVR would be amazing.

mkubal
Mar 24, 2007, 09:54 AM
The Apple TV adds in a podcast and streaming content for the GUI. Also it's more drop down than the fancy rotating shebang on the Front Row. My stepdad found it easier to use when we used the remote on both.

So if a non-computer guy found Apple TV easier to use, it gotta be better.


By the way, ONLY I will be managing the original database of iTunes for him. He just needs to know how to playback the files on the screen.

Fair enough, I'll have to trust you that it's easier to use. It seems ideal for people in your situation, but if it were me I would have forced my family to use Front Row on the Mini. But that's just me. ;)

I'd actually like to have an :apple:TV, but like the original poster, I'm holding out for HD 5.1 iTunes downloads. That is unless the mod/hack community comes up with something irresistible.

Jimmdean
Mar 24, 2007, 10:05 AM
It's my guess the iTunes store will move whatever content it can to 720P with the introduction of the iPhone or the "true" Video iPod. Those devices will either handle it natively or downres appropriately for their screens. As long as we only have the current "video" ipod, Apple isn't likely to release anything it won't play no matter how many Apple TVs it can sell...