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MarkW19
Dec 28, 2007, 07:43 PM
I currently have a Tivo, which is hacked to upload shows to my Mac, which I then put on my iPhone or burn onto DVD.

But, I was thinking recently, wouldn't it be great if Apple released a brand new Apple TV, which was also a PVR? You connect it to your satellite/cable etc. box, and it records onto its harddrive, and full integrated wirelessly with your Mac. Apple could come up with a great UI. And essentially making the Apple TV fully two-way, taking content from your TV back to your Mac.

Does anyone think this is even remotely possible, in the coming couple of years?



adrianblaine
Dec 28, 2007, 07:49 PM
It seems to me that this has been talked about for quite awhile. Most of the time, the conclusion comes down to that they won't, because it would cannibalize their iTunes TV show sales...

MarkW19
Dec 29, 2007, 12:21 PM
Yeah, makes sense I suppose.

It would be great though, maybe using the iPhone/iPod Touch UI to control it!

gkarris
Dec 29, 2007, 03:42 PM
:apple:TV is for downloads (purchases or soon, rentals).

Apple leaves it up to third parties for PVR capabilities on the Mac.

MarkW19
Dec 29, 2007, 03:47 PM
Yeah. It'd still be nice to have your whole "entertainment" fully integrated though.

gkarris
Dec 29, 2007, 04:12 PM
Yeah. It'd still be nice to have your whole "entertainment" fully integrated though.

I think that's where the Mac Mini comes in for a lot of people...

dapetrun
Dec 29, 2007, 09:26 PM
I currently have a Tivo, which is hacked to upload shows to my Mac, which I then put on my iPhone or burn onto DVD.

But, I was thinking recently, wouldn't it be great if Apple released a brand new Apple TV, which was also a PVR? You connect it to your satellite/cable etc. box, and it records onto its harddrive, and full integrated wirelessly with your Mac. Apple could come up with a great UI. And essentially making the Apple TV fully two-way, taking content from your TV back to your Mac.

Does anyone think this is even remotely possible, in the coming couple of years?

I'm waiting two more weeks for MacWorld to buy (hopefully, a new updated AppleTV w/new features) but I already have the rest of what you speak with my HD Home Run from Elgato and the EyeTV software. I record 2 shows at once on my MacBook Pro (wirelessly or via Ethernet) sometimes remove the commercials, encode to Apple TV or iPod, then watch on my 52" Sony HD. Or don't encode and watch straight from the EyeTV program instead of Front Row/iTunes. Currently, I have to hook up my MBP to the Sony with cables but that will change when I get the AppleTV. My TiVo is the old analog and I rarely watch it anymore. The HD HomeRun records in digital clarity from satellite recvr or cable box but I have mine hooked to aerial TV for HD reception. EyeTV software works well with Apple hardware/software and even the dinky Apple remote. I have a 320 GB Western Digital hard drive coming any day now for the MBP.:D:D:D Life is good!

cicottrell
Dec 30, 2007, 02:44 PM
It seems to me that this has been talked about for quite awhile. Most of the time, the conclusion comes down to that they won't, because it would cannibalize their iTunes TV show sales...

I see the iTunes TV shows as only a short term fix. You're never gonna be able to download the 'big game' from itunes, and even if you could, its not live.

I thought last year when the AppleTV came out that Apple would use the USB port for 3rd party dongles for incoming TV. Steve Jobs said that it would be very difficult to integrate TV in the AppleTV because every country has so many formats, receivers, connections etc. Here in the UK, we have the old analogue TV, free to air digital, digital satellite, digital cable and soon we'll have free to air satellite. Thats a lot for one box to cope with, especially if the signal needs to be re-encoded into an AppleTV compatible codec.

The problem can be solved by buying a third party USB dongle to convert the signal. So your cable company could sell a dongle, your satellite company could sell one, etc etc. Companies such as Elgato and Miglia could convert their existing products. The key is that the interface would be consistent, and it would be AppleTV in style. Basically the AppleTV says "you give me the signal, I'll do the rest. I'll do the interface, the PVR functionality, etc etc.

Sub-contracting out the TV encoder will also allow the user to convert to HD in the future as well, without buying a new AppleTV.

http://www.chriscottrell.com/appletv.jpg

Cleverboy
Dec 30, 2007, 02:57 PM
Sub-contracting out the TV encoder will also allow the user to convert to HD in the future as well, without buying a new AppleTV.That's my three step recommendation right now to Apple. Just 3 things they need to do...

1. Support USB devices (through the existing port)
2. Open the Platform for Plugin Development
3. Lower the Price

That would totally change the value proposition without causing much trouble. Apple already lets you "restore" the device to factory condition if there's a problem. PVR by Apple would then be unnecessary and El Gato can pick up the slack with a plugin.

~ CB

cicottrell
Jan 1, 2008, 08:02 AM
That's my three step recommendation right now to Apple. Just 3 things they need to do...

1. Support USB devices (through the existing port)
2. Open the Platform for Plugin Development
3. Lower the Price

That would totally change the value proposition without causing much trouble. Apple already lets you "restore" the device to factory condition if there's a problem. PVR by Apple would then be unnecessary and El Gato can pick up the slack with a plugin.

~ CB

I don't understand why Apple are holding back on this to be honest. If it were a DVR as well as a streaming media box, suddenly it opens up a massive new market: People who don't have computers (or at least don't use them for music/films/photos etc). My Gran is 85 and she could buy an AppleTV with USB TV-Tuner to watch and record TV without a Mac in sight. I could then bring my MacBook round and WiFi my holiday snaps to her Apple TV.
I would buy an AppleTV for every room in the house!

CWallace
Jan 1, 2008, 01:30 PM
The :apple:tv would need to add a CableCard slot as well as a television listing guide on top of the DVR part, but this might be where Apple buying Tivo could help bring about such a device.

Cleverboy
Jan 1, 2008, 01:53 PM
I don't understand why Apple are holding back on this to be honest.I can. DVR functionality is not only detrimental to Apple's content partner relationships, the entire independent DVR concept is in FLUX right now. In order to do DVR "right", Apple needs to support "cable cards" and that needs to be settled with media companies and consumers before Apple lunges forward into a possible quagmire of mistakes.

It's not quite the right time for them to do a DVR. They can add SUPPORT for someone ELSE to do it though, and not add expense to the device that makes it less useful to many people who already have DVRs that are integrated into their cable service already. They need to determine how to best handle HiDef and Standard Def signals, as well as unscrambling signals and providing a whole infrastructure of tuning and program guide subscriptions. It's a huge commitment.

If it were as simple as receiving a video signal, it'd be a no-brainer... but people expect it to change channels and understand scheduling complexities as well.

~ CB

cicottrell
Jan 1, 2008, 03:37 PM
I can. DVR functionality is not only detrimental to Apple's content partner relationships, the entire independent DVR concept is in FLUX right now. In order to do DVR "right", Apple needs to support "cable cards" and that needs to be settled with media companies and consumers before Apple lunges forward into a possible quagmire of mistakes.

It's not quite the right time for them to do a DVR. They can add SUPPORT for someone ELSE to do it though, and not add expense to the device that makes it less useful to many people who already have DVRs that are integrated into their cable service already. They need to determine how to best handle HiDef and Standard Def signals, as well as unscrambling signals and providing a whole infrastructure of tuning and program guide subscriptions. It's a huge commitment.

If it were as simple as receiving a video signal, it'd be a no-brainer... but people expect it to change channels and understand scheduling complexities as well.

~ CB

As i've already said, thats what Steve Jobs sai last year, so many different types of TV signals. Hence my third party USB stick idea. I use EyeTV on a Mac Mini and its brilliant, so it is perfectly possible. I even use the Apple remote with it in a Front Row style interface. It would be nice nice is the AppleTV did this instead.

Cleverboy
Jan 1, 2008, 03:54 PM
As i've already said, thats what Steve Jobs sai last year, so many different types of TV signals. Hence my third party USB stick idea. I use EyeTV on a Mac Mini and its brilliant, so it is perfectly possible. I even use the Apple remote with it in a Front Row style interface. It would be nice nice is the AppleTV did this instead.Well... maybe your question was rhetorical. --But, that's why they're "holding back". Opening the platform has been my solution of choice for a while too.

~ CB

MikeL
Jan 2, 2008, 12:26 AM
None of this seems to take into account market realities.

The stand-alone DVR market is dead. Tivo is barely hanging on. ReplayTV is dead. The reason? The content delivery companies have delivered their own DVRs. Inferior products? Sure. But the general public has never understood the power of time-shifting programming, and the networks certainly don't want them doing that.

Between that and the fact that Apple generally isn't interested in competing with itself means that the idea is a non-starter.

cicottrell
Jan 2, 2008, 03:36 AM
None of this seems to take into account market realities.

The stand-alone DVR market is dead.

Hmmm... Not in the UK its not. Its massive here. Its the biggest selling point for the digital switch over.

MikeL
Jan 2, 2008, 03:57 AM
And are they units provided by the cable/satellite provider?

aswitcher
Jan 2, 2008, 03:59 AM
I think the AppleTV is trying to be for TVs what the iPod was for music. 10 years from now much of the video media we watch will come from the Net so Apple is positioning itself now for that. AppleTV is about making it easy to get your media - for anyone.

The next step for AppleTV is to become your iTunes rather than just syncing/streaming from you Mac. That way you dont even need a dedicated Mac to be able to purchase and watch your media. A second gen AppleTV might even be able to use the rumoured new external DVD drive to play DVDs!

Or it could get a little more weight and have a bigger HDD and a DVD drive, be basically the MacMini reincarnation (even boot to FrontRow), and also provide access the main interface for Safari and Mail. Something mum and pop can handle. But that option bumps the price and complexity.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 09:50 AM
This has been discussed since the aTV first shipped.

It's a simple answer - the content providers only provide their content on the condition that apple not put DVD ripping or DVR features into iTunes.

Makes perfect sense. If you're a studio, you only let apple get your content if they agree not to include DVR.

So apple is basically in a position where they could ship a box without DVR with some content for sale, or ship a DVR and have little or no content for sale in the iTunes store.

dogtanian
Jan 2, 2008, 11:26 AM
And are they units provided by the cable/satellite provider?


I'll answer the question for you, yes they generally are. Sky is the biggest satelite provider, then Virgin are the UK's cable provider, both offering popular pvr's.

aswitcher
Jan 2, 2008, 12:34 PM
This has been discussed since the aTV first shipped.

It's a simple answer - the content providers only provide their content on the condition that apple not put DVD ripping or DVR features into iTunes.

Makes perfect sense. If you're a studio, you only let apple get your content if they agree not to include DVR.

So apple is basically in a position where they could ship a box without DVR with some content for sale, or ship a DVR and have little or no content for sale in the iTunes store.

I am not suggesting a DVR. Just a DVD player to make it a better rounded machine.

cicottrell
Jan 2, 2008, 02:10 PM
I'll answer the question for you, yes they generally are. Sky is the biggest satelite provider, then Virgin are the UK's cable provider, both offering popular pvr's.

But the Freeview (Free to air digital TV) PVR's are also extremely popular. Everyone in the UK has to upgrade to digital between now and 2012 when analogue is switched off, so many people are buying a digital box with either a Hard disk or (and i have to admit the slightly more popular) DVD-R. Many products have both a HDD and a DVD-R. These PVR's are made by Sony, LG, JVC, Panasonic, Philips etc. Such as this one (http://www.sony.co.uk/view/ShowProduct.action?product=RDR-HXD1070&site=odw_en_GB&pageType=Overview&imageType=Main&category=DVD+Recorder) . I will be buying this product if Apple don't release a ATV with DVR next week.

MikeL
Jan 2, 2008, 03:22 PM
I'll answer the question for you, yes they generally are. Sky is the biggest satelite provider, then Virgin are the UK's cable provider, both offering popular pvr's.

That's exactly the way the US market has gone. The stand-alone DVR market is, for all intents and purposes, dead here. It's impossible to compete against cable and satellite providers who offer DVRs as part of their package for relatively small amounts of money--not much, if any, more than the cost of the guide service from stand-alone DVR companies.

I've had a DVR since 2003, and I really can't imagine TV without it. AppleTV is not, and never will be, a DVR. The very idea is completely counter to Apple's vision for the product. They're very different services.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 03:50 PM
I am not suggesting a DVR. Just a DVD player to make it a better rounded machine.

I was responding to all the posts suggesting a DVR (the thread is called "Future Apple TV as PVR?").

cicottrell
Jan 2, 2008, 04:38 PM
That's exactly the way the US market has gone. The stand-alone DVR market is, for all intents and purposes, dead here. It's impossible to compete against cable and satellite providers who offer DVRs as part of their package for relatively small amounts of money--not much, if any, more than the cost of the guide service from stand-alone DVR companies.


The point, in the UK at least, is that 40% of households don't have a cable or satellite provider - they use free to air TV. Which doesn't come with a DVR.

milo
Jan 2, 2008, 05:51 PM
The point, in the UK at least, is that 40% of households don't have a cable or satellite provider - they use free to air TV. Which doesn't come with a DVR.

They are free to...but they don't.

I think the obvious conclusion is that people like DVR but aren't willing to pay outright for it. The vast majority of the ones in use are the ones provided by cable companies for little or no outright cost but subsidized by the monthly cable bills.

cicottrell
Jan 3, 2008, 02:45 PM
They are free to...but they don't.

I think the obvious conclusion is that people like DVR but aren't willing to pay outright for it. The vast majority of the ones in use are the ones provided by cable companies for little or no outright cost but subsidized by the monthly cable bills.

Maybe people aren't willing to buy a standalone DVR because currently, they're not very good. Features wise, my brothers DVR is excellent. Interface wise, its terrible. I spend all day working with computers and it took me hours to work out how to pause the TV. Apple can fix that. MP3 players were around for years before the iPod. It took Apple's interface, accessories and (later) iTunes content to turn it into the biggest gadget ever.

If Apple can turn round to Joe Public and say "we've got a product here that will display all your photos, tunes, movies, allow you rent and buy movies and popular TV shows online, record, pause rewind and archive TV and it will play the latest HD releases all for £300 (or whatever), I think it will be a killer. If people are willing to pay hundreds of pounds on a giant HD telly (replacing a perfectly usable CRT telly), then they will be willing to buy a box to put some content on it. HD telly is rare and expensive in the UK at the moment, yet everyone has HD screens. The market is waiting.

MikeL
Jan 3, 2008, 02:50 PM
Maybe people aren't willing to buy a standalone DVR because currently, they're not very good. Features wise, my brothers DVR is excellent. Interface wise, its terrible. I spend all day working with computers and it took me hours to work out how to pause the TV.

Horse pucky. I've got a ReplayTV, and it's dead simple. Simple enough that I bought one for my mother who has fallen in love with it. I've used Tivos as well, and I can't imagine it taking anyone hours to figure out how to pause the program.

Too many inexperienced people offer opinions.

dogtanian
Jan 3, 2008, 03:45 PM
Horse pucky. I've got a ReplayTV, and it's dead simple. Simple enough that I bought one for my mother who has fallen in love with it. I've used Tivos as well, and I can't imagine it taking anyone hours to figure out how to pause the program.

Too many inexperienced people offer opinions.

Tivo in the UK died pretty quickly. Sky+ is the most popular DVR supplied by the Satellite company who offer a HD version also. That's what I've got to complement my TV.

I think I agree with cicottrell to a certain extent. There are a lot of no-name DVR's that cheapskates (No offence :p ) buy which offer a crap user-experience and GUI.

I for one would love a PVR in the new Apple TV to go with Sky+ just in case I want to record three programmes at once :confused: hmm, unlikely but still would appreciate a PVR in the Apple TV.

Also what-on-earth does Horse-Pucky mean?

cicottrell
Jan 3, 2008, 04:16 PM
Horse pucky. I've got a ReplayTV, and it's dead simple. Simple enough that I bought one for my mother who has fallen in love with it. I've used Tivos as well, and I can't imagine it taking anyone hours to figure out how to pause the program.

Too many inexperienced people offer opinions.

According to Wikipedia, ReplayTV is subscription based. What on earth to you pay for that we don't get for free in the UK, user-interface aside?

MikeL
Jan 3, 2008, 04:45 PM
According to Wikipedia, ReplayTV is subscription based. What on earth to you pay for that we don't get for free in the UK, user-interface aside?

I have no idea what you're asking, but I assume it's something about what the subscription is for.

Stand-alone DVRs in the US used a business model that was dependent upon on ongoing revenue stream. The hardware was/is generally sold through retail channels, at a normal markup.

DVRs need continually updated "guide" information. Things such as what your particular cable/satellita/OTA channels are and the programming that's available for each time of the day. They'll generally "phone home" once a day to update that information, either going through a person's home network or a dial-up connection. Without guide data DVRs become almost worthless as a technology, essentially being hard-drive based VCRs. With guide data they offer a much richer experience. Stand-alone DVRs generally won't work without guide data, other than the bottom-line off-brands.

So the way the business model was structured, manufacturers would get regular monthly payments for relatively small amounts for the service life of the DVR. Not a bad plan. Both RTV and Tivo also sold "lifetime" subscriptions, where the guide service was bundled with the hardware for the life of the unit.

The guide data also includes new IR codes for different set-top boxes.

jeremy.king
Jan 3, 2008, 05:02 PM
I currently have a Tivo, which is hacked to upload shows to my Mac, which I then put on my iPhone or burn onto DVD.


Is it an older Tivo? Why hack your Tivo? Toast 8 (http://www.roxio.com/enu/products/toast/titanium/overview.html) comes with TiVoToGo™

jeffmgr
Jan 3, 2008, 05:15 PM
I currently have a Tivo, which is hacked to upload shows to my Mac, which I then put on my iPhone or burn onto DVD.

But, I was thinking recently, wouldn't it be great if Apple released a brand new Apple TV, which was also a PVR? You connect it to your satellite/cable etc. box, and it records onto its harddrive, and full integrated wirelessly with your Mac. Apple could come up with a great UI. And essentially making the Apple TV fully two-way, taking content from your TV back to your Mac.

Does anyone think this is even remotely possible, in the coming couple of years?

MarkW,

Without getting too far off topic, how does one 'hack' the Tivo to allow it to record on a Mac?

thanks,

jeffmgr

donnydjr
Jan 3, 2008, 06:51 PM
Apple said a few quarters back that both iPhone and AppleTV revenue would be spread across a two year period, rather than taking immediate credit. The iPhone is obviously doing this for the monthly revenue split with AT+T and other providers, but why AppleTV?

This must have something to do with movie rentals.

Also, agreed that Apple could offer a complete DVR solution, better than anything out there, at the expense of iTunes TV show sales... but really, what percentage of revenue from the iTunes store is from TV shows? Can't be much... and if NBC and others don't want to play, maybe there's a way to DVR certain stations/shows and iTunes is the option for the others?

And finally, folks are missing that the DVR business for satellite and cable companies brings in recurring monthly revenue... such as add-on fees per DVR box... something that I'm sure Apple would love to get into if the business model works out.

I'm sure Steve and Apple have a few options in their master plan... they're just trying to figure out the optimal way forward.

MikeL
Jan 3, 2008, 08:53 PM
If Apple made a car it'd be better than any other car out there.

Why do people assume such things?

cicottrell
Jan 4, 2008, 02:51 AM
I have no idea what you're asking, but I assume it's something about what the subscription is for.

Stand-alone DVRs in the US used a business model that was dependent upon on ongoing revenue stream. The hardware was/is generally sold through retail channels, at a normal markup.

DVRs need continually updated "guide" information. Things such as what your particular cable/satellita/OTA channels are and the programming that's available for each time of the day. They'll generally "phone home" once a day to update that information, either going through a person's home network or a dial-up connection. Without guide data DVRs become almost worthless as a technology, essentially being hard-drive based VCRs. With guide data they offer a much richer experience. Stand-alone DVRs generally won't work without guide data, other than the bottom-line off-brands.

So the way the business model was structured, manufacturers would get regular monthly payments for relatively small amounts for the service life of the DVR. Not a bad plan. Both RTV and Tivo also sold "lifetime" subscriptions, where the guide service was bundled with the hardware for the life of the unit.

The guide data also includes new IR codes for different set-top boxes.


Ah, now I see where you're coming from. In the UK, the DVR market works differently. You buy the box (admititly, more expensive in the first place), plug it in to your TV source (aerial etc) and your tv, and thats it. The 14 day electronic programme guide (EPG) is downloaded automatically from your TV source, so there are no fee's to pay, no need for dialup/internet access at all. You can still set things to record or even whole series's to record in advance. But its free.

All my arguments about having the AppleTV as a DVR have been based on the assumption that the EPG is free via the aerial.

milo
Jan 4, 2008, 11:06 AM
Maybe people aren't willing to buy a standalone DVR because currently, they're not very good.

I'd agree that's one factor. With ANY product, people look at bang for the buck. I have no doubt that a good DVR at a low price would sell like hotcakes.

If they improve the aTV, I'm sure it will sell better. But even if they made it an absolutely killer box, I think it still wouldn't become a huge mainstream product like the iPod until the price comes down as well.

Personally, I believe that the parts are simply too expensive to make a box with all the features people want, at a price that mainstream consumers are willling to pay. Until the price of the technology needed comes down, I don't think we'll see one of these boxes from anyone becoming a huge seller. But prices will come down, and the situation will change - in a year or two it will be possible to ship a box like this that does 1080p, full surround sound and more for $99 or less, and they will be as big as the iPod is now. We're just not there yet.

Jarra
Oct 29, 2009, 04:30 PM
"The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio."

Well, there still appears to be no pvr functionality. I didn't really expect it but still one can only hope. I am looking for another TiVo like device. I still like to watch free to air and record it. It looks like a MS media centre will do the trick. If the ATV did it, I would probably end up buying more movies etc. But I am not interested until it becomes a viable TiVo replacement out of the box. :(

mhdena
Oct 31, 2009, 09:17 PM
"The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio."

Well, there still appears to be no pvr functionality. I didn't really expect it but still one can only hope. I am looking for another TiVo like device. I still like to watch free to air and record it. It looks like a MS media centre will do the trick. If the ATV did it, I would probably end up buying more movies etc. But I am not interested until it becomes a viable TiVo replacement out of the box. :(

You should look at a OTA DishPal DVR, this will record OTA HD shows and you can connect a EHD to it for more storage.

I for one don't see why some are clamoring for an ATV to be like a swiss army knife.

Besides it would be competing against itself (itunes) if it did what some want it to do.

iron15
Nov 1, 2009, 04:02 AM
Why can't they bring their prices down on rentals of tv shows and movies. I think they would have so many more people
renting.

zedsdead
Nov 1, 2009, 05:50 AM
Why can't they bring their prices down on rentals of tv shows and movies. I think they would have so many more people
renting.

I agree. They are very overpriced. A subscription video service would also help dramatically.

King Mook Mook
Nov 2, 2009, 03:15 AM
"The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio."

Well, there still appears to be no pvr functionality. I didn't really expect it but still one can only hope. I am looking for another TiVo like device. I still like to watch free to air and record it. It looks like a MS media centre will do the trick. If the ATV did it, I would probably end up buying more movies etc. But I am not interested until it becomes a viable TiVo replacement out of the box. :(

Was it really necessary to dig up a year-old thread?!?! However back on topic I doubt Apple will put a DVR in the Apple TV. Firstly for the reason that another poster stated that there are too many types of broadcast to be able to put in the Apple TV and convert to a codec it can read, and also because if they enter a DVR they are cannibalising their own market in that many of the people who would get TV shows off the iTunes store can just set it to record on their DVR.

King Mook Mook