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MacBytes
May 26, 2008, 03:36 PM
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Category: Videos
Link: Apple TV: More Hype Than Content Adds Up to a Set-Top Flop (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080526163630)
Description:: Macintosh, iPod, iPhone: Apple has a knack for tapping into what consumers want from thier tech gadgets. So what happened with Apple TV, the Cupertino giant's foray into the digital set-top-box market?

Tech Ticker's Henry Blodget and Silicon Alley Insider Apple analyst Dan Frommer talk about why Apple TV continues to flounder as competitors like Netflix, game console manufacturers, and cable providers close in.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

tom1971
May 26, 2008, 04:12 PM
Total bull@#$!

This guy has no clue about ATV.

I love to watch/rent movies and not having to worry about returning them. BTW, if you want to surf the Web or play your own content without having to synchronize it through iTunes, it is pretty easy to do.

ventro
May 26, 2008, 04:23 PM
The only way AppleTV will succeed is if these two things happen:

1. Movies + TV shows become free, but ad supported (aka, hulu), and stream instantly (This includes HD as well). That way people will stream the stuff they just want to watch disposably, and buy the stuff they REALLY want to own.

2. AppleTV box costs MUCH less, around $99. It's just a box. You hardly ever touch it. It should be sold at cost, not for profit.

coolbreeze
May 26, 2008, 04:33 PM
You must admit, the Netflix player model is a home run. I pay $9/month for free access to unlimited content (no, it's not fresh releases, but great movies and shows nonetheless).

I don't own an AppleTV. I'm sure they are neat, but without inexpensive all-you-can-eat access to tv/movies, I will never own one.

Netflix/Roku have set a precedent with that $99 set-top box. When I cancelled Dish network I made sure the CSR knew why.

Times are changing. ;)

LinMac
May 26, 2008, 04:39 PM
The AppleTV is an iPod for your television and should be compared with the iPod.

Would the iPod be as successful as it is today if you were only able to load it with content from iTunes? I doubt it would be.

iTunes can rip CDs directly from within the application without more than a few mouse clicks. You even get proper tagging information and album art to go with it.

There are many problems with the AppleTV, but I think it fits the mark as a general purpose device if it is handled properly.

The only way AppleTV will succeed is if these two things happen:

1. Movies + TV shows become free, but ad supported (aka, hulu), and stream instantly (This includes HD as well). That way people will stream the stuff they just want to watch disposably, and buy the stuff they REALLY want to own.


Internet connections aren't fast enough for streaming to work with acceptable quality. The option should be advertising supported downloads directly to your AppleTV which only last 24 hours. (Think advertising supported rentals.)

The Roku box that everyone seems to view as an AppleTV killer isn't going to do the AppleTV in due to the limited quality of the video. I want full DVD quality or it isn't an improvement. :)


2. AppleTV box costs MUCH less, around $99. It's just a box. You hardly ever touch it. It should be sold at cost, not for profit.

The prices are a bit high, but that is par for the course at Apple. It is a neat device that nicely ties in with your entertainment center and stays out of your way.

mkoval11
May 26, 2008, 04:40 PM
Disagree wholeheartedly. AppleTV is excellent.

Stop complaining and get a PC. Windows Media Center is awesome. Vista is even better. Just get a Zune and you'll be set for life...

BenRoethig
May 26, 2008, 04:40 PM
The guy is the suit was a complete tool, but I can't disagree with anything Dan Frommer said. AppleTV has a lot of things holding it back. Compression technology on the video side isn't near as good as the audio side for one. The files are too big. As they said it just adds another box to your TV setup. Adding a version with a DVD or Blu-Ray player could help, as could adding PVR support from either itself or your Mac. Of course Apple won't do that because they think that optical disks are dead and PVR would take from the Apple store. Jobs needs to take a step back and rethink the strategy. He made on concession in rentals, he needs to make a few more. They also need to work with the movie industry to find an official way to add your DVDs to your iTunes/AppleTV library.

Disagree wholeheartedly. AppleTV is excellent.

Stop complaining and get a PC. Windows Media Center is awesome. Vista is even better. Just get a Zune and you'll be set for life...

Why do we keep getting this "if you don't think Apple is perfect go somewhere else" crap? Telling Apple where they went wrong is how they learn to make better products.

Anderson3133
May 26, 2008, 04:46 PM
2. AppleTV box costs MUCH less, around $99. It's just a box. You hardly ever touch it. It should be sold at cost, not for profit.

Not to sound rude or anything but a couple months ago their was a report that stated that Apple was only making $10-$20 US on each ATV sold. That is not "for a profit"

BenRoethig
May 26, 2008, 04:58 PM
Not to sound rude or anything but a couple months ago their was a report that stated that Apple was only making $10-$20 US on each ATV sold. That is not "for a profit"

AppleTV might be one of those products that they have to sell at either cost or a loss until components get cheaper for the sake of adoption.

The Phazer
May 26, 2008, 04:59 PM
A dual tuner PVR Apple TV with Flash streaming support could be a real winner for Apple. But they ain't done one.

Phazer

daveporter
May 26, 2008, 05:04 PM
What I find interesting about articles such as: " Apple TV: More Hype Than Content Adds Up to a Set-Top Flop" is that the author invariably compares the AppleTV to some other device that is not intended for the same purpose.

LinMac is correct, the AppleTV is an iPod for your television and should be compared with the iPod.

If you purchase the AppleTV based on that assumption, you will love it. If you purchase it hoping that it will some how morph into something else, you will not be happy. Most reviewers and owners that call the AppleTV a failed device have done the latter.

I for one have two of them and love them. In addition, a number of my friends, including PC owners, have since purchased one or more based on their experience with mine.

The AppleTV is far from a failed device; in fact, its brilliant and greatly enhances ones use of a family room big screen TV.

As far as I'm concerned, the author of this article is just ignorant about the facts.

Acuity Mac Guru
May 26, 2008, 05:25 PM
I love my Apple TV.

I would love to see the amount of content continue to grow, but I am starting to rent movies from Apple TV instead of the Blockbuster visit.

Biggest complaint is how some movies you have to buy vs. rent, I wish they would offer the option on both.

Daveoc64
May 26, 2008, 05:41 PM
Apple's "control everything" mentality works fine in most areas, but I think it's where the Apple TV fails.

The people really interested in these devices will want more compatibility and all of the features he talks about.

The attitude that some Apple "fanboys" (and I really dislike using that word) have only encourages Apple to trundle along as a minor player in certain markets.

Michael CM1
May 26, 2008, 05:46 PM
I stopped watching after the doofus from "Webzine I've Never Heard of Before Monthly" obviously hadn't used an Apple TV much. It does a bit more than play YouTube videos and sync stuff from iTunes.

You can RENT MOVIES on it. That's a pretty huge deal when those guys whined of lack of online content. You can also buy movies and TV shows, and the TV shows will sync back to iTunes.

Are there a bazillion faults with it? Sure. Start with the lack of playlists and the major annoyance of the remote. But you don't have to pay a service fee (Netflix) and you aren't restricted to the whim of some stupid provider (NBC). It's not for everyone, but I like it so far.

swingerofbirch
May 26, 2008, 07:35 PM
I think I can say why the Apple TV hasn't replicated the iPod's success:

REQUIREMENTS
*iPod requires computer
*AppleTV requires widescreen TV

PRE-EXISTING CONTENT
*When iPod came out people already had thousands of songs they had gotten for free (P2P) or could rip from CDs they had that they could put on their iPods
*Most people don't rip DVDs (plus that pesky illegality thing) and people haven't amassed huge quantities of movies from P2P sites like they did pre-dating the iPod

QUALITY
*AAC and MP3 are close to CD
*Apple's video quality is OK comapred to DVD but not close to blu-ray, which is of interest to people with those widescreen (mostly HD) tvs (see requirements, above)

Basically, the AppleTV isn't helping consumers take advantage of what they were already doing like the iPod did. iPod helped consumers get everything they had downloaded or ripped into a simple, easy device.

AppleTV is trying to get consumers to use content they mostly don't have (or pay for relatively low quality content) onto a device many don't have.

The iPod became the keystone of an ecosystem that was waiting for a star player, and the AppleTV is a player in an ecosystem that doesn't really exist yet.

Cybix
May 26, 2008, 07:50 PM
Out of the box.. What good is the AppleTV in Australia?

None. Lets see

Pros:
1) can be an airtunes device
2) can play stuff from your iTunes Library

Cons:
1) No movie rentals/purchases avail in Australia
2) No Tv Show rental/purchases avail in Australia

Isn't this box designed to get viewers ordering movies/tv shows from the iTunes store? EPIC FAIL.

Not to mention that the AppleTV cost TWICE, yes TWICE as much in Australia as it does in the USA. WHY?

When I bought my Apple TV, I setup a patchstick, updated the ATV by USB, plugged in my 1TB ext hard disk (full of my own movies) and now use it to watch my own movies, surf the web (couch surfer), watch youtube, etc.

Unless you get tv/movie rentals/purchases in your country, OR you are willing to 'enable' it to do things it should have been able to do out of the box, it's a waste of anyone's time.

PS3 does pretty much everything the ATV does (including play your iTunes content), costs $200 more (AUD), has a blu-ray/DVD/CD player, plays games... where do I stop? *sigh*. I love my PS3, and I love my Apple TV, but it's a shame that we do not even get movies/tv shows in Oz

tk421
May 26, 2008, 08:46 PM
PRE-EXISTING CONTENT
*When iPod came out people already had thousands of songs they had gotten for free (P2P) or could rip from CDs they had that they could put on their iPods
*Most people don't rip DVDs (plus that pesky illegality thing) and people haven't amassed huge quantities of movies from P2P sites like they did pre-dating the iPod

That's the big reason.

When they announced the Family Guy Blue Harvest DVD would have an iTunes file on the disc, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, very few DVDs have iTunes copies (as far as I know). If lots of DVDs came with such files, or even better, if iTunes could rip DVDs, that would add a lot of value to Apple TV.

I honestly don't think that quality is a very big reason at all. The files Apple provides are basically the same as DVD (slightly less, but so is AAC to a CD). And most average consumers - even those with HDTVs - don't care much about Blu-Ray. It astounds me, because I think the difference between HD and SD is huge! But I know several people that say that they can't tell the difference, or that the difference is so small it's insignificant.

BenRoethig
May 26, 2008, 08:56 PM
I think I can say why the Apple TV hasn't replicated the iPod's success:

REQUIREMENTS
*iPod requires computer
*AppleTV requires widescreen TV

PRE-EXISTING CONTENT
*When iPod came out people already had thousands of songs they had gotten for free (P2P) or could rip from CDs they had that they could put on their iPods
*Most people don't rip DVDs (plus that pesky illegality thing) and people haven't amassed huge quantities of movies from P2P sites like they did pre-dating the iPod

QUALITY
*AAC and MP3 are close to CD
*Apple's video quality is OK comapred to DVD but not close to blu-ray, which is of interest to people with those widescreen (mostly HD) tvs (see requirements, above)

Basically, the AppleTV isn't helping consumers take advantage of what they were already doing like the iPod did. iPod helped consumers get everything they had downloaded or ripped into a simple, easy device.

AppleTV is trying to get consumers to use content they mostly don't have (or pay for relatively low quality content) onto a device many don't have.

The iPod became the keystone of an ecosystem that was waiting for a star player, and the AppleTV is a player in an ecosystem that doesn't really exist yet.

Right. The .mp3/ACC music file combined with the iPod took music to a place where it it had never been before. You could take that whole wall full of CDs and put them on something that's a quarter the size of a CD walkman. With an Apple TV you can't put your DVD collection on them. You can't take your movie and play it on someone else's machine. To be honest, the machine as it exists now is a combination of a home movie player mixed with video on demand movie rentals. It has a lot of promise, but its expensive and the current content doesn't use anywhere near the full capabilities of the hardware.

NT1440
May 26, 2008, 08:58 PM
Out of the box.. What good is the AppleTV in Australia?

None. Lets see

Pros:
1) can be an airtunes device
2) can play stuff from your iTunes Library

Cons:
1) No movie rentals/purchases avail in Australia
2) No Tv Show rental/purchases avail in Australia

Isn't this box designed to get viewers ordering movies/tv shows from the iTunes store? EPIC FAIL.

Not to mention that the AppleTV cost TWICE, yes TWICE as much in Australia as it does in the USA. WHY?

When I bought my Apple TV, I setup a patchstick, updated the ATV by USB, plugged in my 1TB ext hard disk (full of my own movies) and now use it to watch my own movies, surf the web (couch surfer), watch youtube, etc.

Unless you get tv/movie rentals/purchases in your country, OR you are willing to 'enable' it to do things it should have been able to do out of the box, it's a waste of anyone's time.

PS3 does pretty much everything the ATV does (including play your iTunes content), costs $200 more (AUD), has a blu-ray/DVD/CD player, plays games... where do I stop? *sigh*. I love my PS3, and I love my Apple TV, but it's a shame that we do not even get movies/tv shows in Oz

do you even research your products before you buy them?

Orng
May 26, 2008, 09:10 PM
REQUIREMENTS
*iPod requires computer
*AppleTV requires widescreen TV
QUALITY
*AAC and MP3 are close to CD
*Apple's video quality is OK comapred to DVD but not close to blu-ray, which.

MP3s aren't that great, unless they're encoded at a high bit rate. Even then, they're just OK.

I had been led to believe that you could use ATV with a standard 4:3 tv, you just had to change some settings. Of course, I don't know because there's not enough iTunes content available in Canada to make it worth buying.

sebimeyer
May 26, 2008, 09:49 PM
pssst: Patchstick.

I watch the Daily Show, well, daily, Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica on Saturdays, Lost on Friday mornings and a ton of other stuff, all on my ATV. It is utter couch bliss. Hook up a HD and you can watch entire seasons, if not entire runs of shows, back to back. Which I have. (none of this DVD changin after every 4th episode crap. Geesh, I have to get off the couch? :rolleyes:)

If you say "there is nothing to watch" you're just being difficult or plain ignorant.

Should there be more content on iTunes, and should it be cheaper at a better quality? Sure. But for what it is the thing is genius.

Michael CM1
May 26, 2008, 10:29 PM
That's the big reason.

When they announced the Family Guy Blue Harvest DVD would have an iTunes file on the disc, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, very few DVDs have iTunes copies (as far as I know). If lots of DVDs came with such files, or even better, if iTunes could rip DVDs, that would add a lot of value to Apple TV.

I honestly don't think that quality is a very big reason at all. The files Apple provides are basically the same as DVD (slightly less, but so is AAC to a CD). And most average consumers - even those with HDTVs - don't care much about Blu-Ray. It astounds me, because I think the difference between HD and SD is huge! But I know several people that say that they can't tell the difference, or that the difference is so small it's insignificant.

I think a lot of people who don't care much about Blu-ray do so because of the price. I don't think the manufacturers or the studios have done much to push the platform since the death of HD DVD. I got my player for $300 in December. Since then, I haven't seen any at that price and the movies still don't seem any cheaper. I buy most of my movies at Fry's or when they're on sale elsewhere. It takes a lot of desire to want a $30 movie, which is how much Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. charge for most titles.

I also only have one BD player, so I can't just plop the disc in anywhere. When Macs have the drives available (c'mon WWDC!) it should make them more attractive. I want to rip all of my BDs for play on iTunes, but I can't right now. So I borrow the DVDs from friends to rip.

If people don't think the quality difference is that much, show them a 1080p picture on a DLP set. Ooooohhhhh.

Victor ch
May 26, 2008, 10:42 PM
Why do we keep getting this "if you don't think Apple is perfect go somewhere else" crap? Telling Apple where they went wrong is how they learn to make better products.

Ditto...

In other hand, Im actually very inclined to buy an ATV; why? my 30gb iPod just died on me and Im not to prone on getting a 160gb classic (80 wont do) and since I recently purchased a hi-fi system I rather have such features right there in my tv+speakers, than in my iPod (thus needing a whole lot of cables, docks and adaptors [if i want vids) plus I get content from ITMS and if I want I might rent a movie. For portability I'll stick with my iPhone (although it can't hold too much lossless but it does OK)

IMO, tv+the "take 2" update = hit.

Victor

NT1440
May 26, 2008, 10:48 PM
I think a lot of people who don't care much about Blu-ray do so because of the price. I don't think the manufacturers or the studios have done much to push the platform since the death of HD DVD. I got my player for $300 in December. Since then, I haven't seen any at that price and the movies still don't seem any cheaper. I buy most of my movies at Fry's or when they're on sale elsewhere. It takes a lot of desire to want a $30 movie, which is how much Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. charge for most titles.

I also only have one BD player, so I can't just plop the disc in anywhere. When Macs have the drives available (c'mon WWDC!) it should make them more attractive. I want to rip all of my BDs for play on iTunes, but I can't right now. So I borrow the DVDs from friends to rip.

If people don't think the quality difference is that much, show them a 1080p picture on a DLP set. Ooooohhhhh.
its in my thinking, and people that ive asked, is that the reason most ppl dont bother with HD is they really dont care. the current system works and looks great for people who arent big into getting the absolute highest quality. we are mainly using tv and movies as leisurely time and putting effort into switching to a new and for the most part unsupported medium just isnt worth it to us. when the technology is there (and cost efficient) for EVERYONE to have HD with literally no hassle (meaning EVERYTHING broadcast is HD) is when people will actually care.

ryanw
May 26, 2008, 11:25 PM
Not to sound rude or anything but a couple months ago their was a report that stated that Apple was only making $10-$20 US on each ATV sold. That is not "for a profit"

That sucks... cause that means their purpose of the ATV is to sell more movies in iTunes. That's completely 1000% backwards from what the iTunes store was far. Steve Jobs has ALWAYS said, "The iTunes store is to sell more iPods. Seems kinda' moronic to have a device with the purpose to sell more content.

If they would have learned from the iPod model they created, the iPod was first released exclusively to MACINTOSH USERS ONLY! There was no iTunes store, there wasn't even windows compatibility for a long time! The iPod was to facilitate the need to put people's library in their pocket in an elegant fashion. Also what everyone is forgetting about is NAPSTER is what created the demand for digital libraries. This wasn't a market that evolved over time, it was something that came out violently. I remember being at work overhearing two janitors talking about napster and the songs they had downloaded the previous night. Dudes that NEVER would have used a computer prior to napster.

The ATV is doing something trying to create a new market slowly, with a business model, and with support of the vendors. This isn't a violent revolution. What digital TV needs is someone to come out with a "napster for TV and movies". If this were to occur and an underground cult following were to rise up, then we would see the ATV being opened wide open and being more multi-purpose.

Three Cheers to whoever makes Napster for TV!

oldwatery
May 27, 2008, 01:43 AM
For those that don't know, according to Wikipedia: In 2003 Henry Blodget "was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He settled without admitting or denying the allegations and was subsequently banned from the securities industry for life. He paid a $2 million fine and $2 million disgorgement but kept millions more he earned in fees while promoting investments in stocks which failed". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Blodget
Who needs his opinion. Unless you are planning to short AAPL. :eek:

joseph2166
May 27, 2008, 03:57 AM
2. AppleTV box costs MUCH less, around $99. It's just a box. You hardly ever touch it. It should be sold at cost, not for profit.

That would be a break from the iPod wouldn't it? Isn't that a for-profit hardware with a 'at-cost' store?

netdog
May 27, 2008, 04:03 AM
Just get a Zune and you'll be set for life...

Anybody who wants a Zune as a solution had better hurry. They won't be around much longer.

BongoBanger
May 27, 2008, 04:44 AM
Anybody who wants a Zune as a solution had better hurry. They won't be around much longer.

Really? I think they'll be here for a long time yet.

As for ATV, too expensive and too proprietary.

LeviG
May 27, 2008, 05:23 AM
Disagree wholeheartedly. AppleTV is excellent.

Stop complaining and get a PC. Windows Media Center is awesome. Vista is even better. Just get a Zune and you'll be set for life...

Even though I intend to convert a pc into a blu-ray based vista media center (stupid american spelling) I can't say Vista is that good when it comes to a media centre. Maybe its due to me going 64bit but the codec support is appauling as just about every decent codec I use is still in 32bit, meaning media centre doesn't use it :rolleyes:.

Having said that as a potential UK buyer (who basically is screwed over with no decent AppleTV content at present) the AppleTV is useless for me (unless you hack it or have a US address), I'm probably going to just get an asus eeepc and use that under the tv, should work out cheaper, as at the end of the day all my media is stored on a server anyways.

takao
May 27, 2008, 05:32 AM
This isn't a violent revolution. What digital TV needs is someone to come out with a "napster for TV and movies". If this were to occur and an underground cult following were to rise up, then we would see the ATV being opened wide open and being more multi-purpose.

i don't see downloading movies/tv series being less popular than napster was

in fact you can already get ultra cheap dvd players (around 50 bucks which even does upscaling to 1080i) which play Xvid and Divx movies right from any connected USB device or disc

as long as you can't rip movies with itunes with the press of a button and play the content on apple tv (priced at 99) it's not going to be a huge success ... IMHO that's the only breakthrough which might push apple tv forward

renting movies ? no offense but how many people rent movies in the first place ? and how many of those are willing to spend 200+ on a device which can do just that

OllyW
May 27, 2008, 05:53 AM
as long as you can't rip movies with itunes with the press of a button and play the content on apple tv (priced at 99) it's not going to be a huge success ... IMHO that's the only breakthrough which might push apple tv forward

You've hit the nail on the head. If iTunes could easily import your collection of DVDs I think a lot more people would go for the :apple:TV.

Of course the movie studios will never allow it so the :apple:TV will probably end up staying a niche product. It is also really expensive outside the USA which doesn't help.

drlunanerd
May 27, 2008, 07:56 AM
Slightly off-topic, but does anyone know if it's possible on the Apple TV to control an iTunes library when in AirTunes mode?

My friend has just bought one and it's really disappointed him that he can't see how to do this, so much so that he's taking it back. The annoying thing is that when iTunes is streaming to the Apple TV in AirTunes mode you can view the tracks on TV, pause and skip etc., but if you try and browse the library to play something else it starts playing the song on top of whatever is already playing over AirTunes.

The idea is that he wants to use the Apple TV as an interface for AirTunes so he can have multi-room audio without having to run upstairs all the time to control iTunes from the streaming Mac.

macFanDave
May 27, 2008, 08:48 AM
but there is a lack of knowing where to find it.

I have found that there are tons of video podcasts that are very informative, enlightening and entertaining. Hubblecast HD is just stunning. I also like Political Lunch, Scam School, Food Science and Apple's Quick Tip of the Week. I would also suggest Zen Living, but that one seems to have stopped. Come on back, Nicole, we miss you!

I just found out about University of California TV (UCTV) and downloaded some of their stuff, but I haven't watched it yet.

If the scorecard is number of full-length Hollywood films, then Apple TV might not fare well compared to the theoretical Netflix box, but when you consider all of the other types of media you can get and watch with your ATV, then Apple's box is a clear winner.

BenRoethig
May 27, 2008, 10:10 AM
You've hit the nail on the head. If iTunes could easily import your collection of DVDs I think a lot more people would go for the :apple:TV.

Of course the movie studios will never allow it so the :apple:TV will probably end up staying a niche product. It is also really expensive outside the USA which doesn't help.

Its not too cheap in the USA

shadowmatt
May 27, 2008, 11:02 AM
I got an AppleTv a few months ago, the top end one. Converted all my DVDs to mp4's, any downloads and I hacked the hell out of it. Now ive opened it up, plays lots of movie formats, appletalk for easy file management etc... It all adds up to a great machine.

Until the movie companies play ball why should anyone else... Its the same story as the iPod, the movie companies will lose out if they go down the same road as the music industry.

nagromme
May 27, 2008, 01:01 PM
AppleTV was--and still is--an important step ON THE WAY to a future that isn't even possible today (mostly due to content owners that Apple can't force into the future). It was a chicken and egg situation, so Apple made a chicken. Look how far AppleTV has come from when it started out, as a product that VERY few people would have found useful. Now it does a LOT more, has a lot more content, and a lot more people can find value in it. But the journey has not suddenly ended--it is still just progress along the way.

But maybe anything that's gradual and strategic is a "flop," as opposed to, say the Roku device, that does less (in general) and arrived much later, but is an instant hit ;)

In my view, whether AppleTV ever gets huge or not, it was a strategic step Apple had to take, and they've done well with it do far. Everyone dreams of the ONE thing they want that it "has to" do, but that one thing isn't the same for everyone. A device that does everything is... a Mac :)

BenRoethig
May 27, 2008, 01:08 PM
Its an important step to be sure, but that future may be a little farther off than Apple thinks.

NT1440
May 27, 2008, 01:10 PM
Its an important step to be sure, but that future may be a little farther off than Apple thinks.

im not sure they see it being a big product anytime soon either, im sure they are just trying to secure a foothold in the market until the next big wave of multimedia reform happens. (tv 2.0?)

Tilpots
May 27, 2008, 01:31 PM
The guy's report was dead on. The cable companies are the ones with a box already in most households. Maybe Apple should pair up with one of them (Time Warner, Comcast, etc.) like they did with ATT and the iPhone. Until they get more content or features, the :apple:TV is pretty much useless to most people.

*If your not "most people" and you love your :apple:TV, that's wonderful and I'm so happy for you.

danny_w
May 27, 2008, 01:41 PM
MP3s aren't that great, unless they're encoded at a high bit rate. Even then, they're just OK.

I had been led to believe that you could use ATV with a standard 4:3 tv, you just had to change some settings. Of course, I don't know because there's not enough iTunes content available in Canada to make it worth buying.
Yes, you CAN use an :apple:TV with a standard 4:3 tv IF 1) it has component (not composite) inputs and IF 2) it has a widescreen setting. My 4:3 tv has #1 but not #2. It still works, but you wouldn't want to watch video content on it, since everything is squished. If all you watch is ripped content that you make yourself, you can encode the video such that it will look right, but that doesn't help with other types of video. I do own an :apple:TV, but I only use it for audio. I think Apple made a huge mistake by limiting the video to widescreen tv's. I do not now own a widescreen tv, and I don't plan to buy one until I am forced to (and I expect there are quite a few others like me).

surferfromuk
May 27, 2008, 02:53 PM
I'll not buy an Apple TV until it's 50 cheaper in the UK, has TV recording facility and can be controlled from an an apple touch device...simple as that.

nagromme
May 27, 2008, 04:05 PM
Until they get more content or features, the :apple:TV is pretty much useless to most people.

Agreed. However, I don't think Apple needs or expects AppleTV to be useful to MOST people.

They could make some entirely DIFFERENT product--with cable company tie-ins, or with a DVD drive, or PVR, or game console, or whatever. It would appeal to more people. Heck, they could make chocolate chip cookies, and they'd appeal to more people :D

But I'm certain Apple's goal isn't to sell whatever product reaches the most buyers right at this moment. The goal is to keep growing the iTunes ecosystem, with online content distribution. Not content from cable companies or DVDs, but from iTunes. All while the content owners are kicking and screaming, afraid of change and afraid of the power Apple has gained.

A TV-connected device is a necessary part of that system, and it promotes the use of other parts: movie rentals for one.

That doesn't mean the TV part of the iTunes-iPod-iPhone system is the biggest deal right now. It may never be more than a piece of the puzzle. But that doesn't make it a "flop"--it's exactly what it's meant to be, from Apple's perspective.

And it's something certain consumers want too. They're the minority, and the more AppleTV grows (especially as iTunes gets more movies) it will be more and more appealing. But it never needs to become a revolution all by itself.

DrinkGuinness
May 27, 2008, 06:33 PM
Let's see...........go with cable and pay $50 to $75 bucks a month so I can watch The Wire, Battlestar Galactica and Flight of the Conchords or a one time fee of $229 and then about $22 per season of my show downloaded and ready to be watched? Hmmmmm.

While the Netflix box is enticing, it only allows renting, no iTunes or iPhoto integration, no YouTube integration, no Flickr integration, no current TV show episodes, subpar picture quality, etc, etc, and requires your PC to choose movies.

Daveoc64
May 27, 2008, 07:16 PM
What is going on with the "Managed Copy" feature of the HD disc formats. I remember Microsoft promoting it a bit for HD DVD, does Blu Ray have something similar?

That could allow HD content to get to the Apple TV in more countries and with the added benefit of having the disc too.

Tilpots
May 27, 2008, 07:23 PM
They could make some entirely DIFFERENT product--with cable company tie-ins, or with a DVD drive, or PVR, or game console, or whatever. It would appeal to more people. Heck, they could make chocolate chip cookies, and they'd appeal to more people :D


Why keep making boxes to accomplish the same goal, which is watching something on your TV? I just think the "one box to rule them all" approach would let them dominate in the market. The competition right now is for control of the living room. The technology exists and is readily available to combine all the features into one neat package. Nobody could do it like Apple. A Blu-Ray or DVD player, an online movie rental device, a movie/TV purchase store, a DVR, a TV tuner, heck even a gaming console, all in one box connected into your TV. The high price would be worth it. Form and functionality are Apple's trademark. The market is there, it's got to be do-able, so I just wonder why they aren't doing it.

And if they start making chocolate chip cookies, watch out Chips Ahoy!:D

NT1440
May 27, 2008, 07:26 PM
Why keep making boxes to accomplish the same goal, which is watching something on your TV? I just think the "one box to rule them all" approach would let them dominate in the market. The competition right now is for control of the living room. The technology exists and is readily available to combine all the features into one neat package. Nobody could do it like Apple. A Blu-Ray or DVD player, an online movie rental device, a movie/TV purchase store, a DVR, a TV tuner, heck even a gaming console, all in one box connected into your TV. The high price would be worth it. Form and functionality are Apple's trademark. The market is there, it's got to be do-able, so I just wonder why they aren't doing it.

And if they start making chocolate chip cookies, watch out Chips Ahoy!:D
most of those features would mean apple would have to become involved with many companies and pay them for use of their patents, apple dont do that lol:apple:

not when they can help it

Cybix
May 27, 2008, 07:32 PM
do you even research your products before you buy them?

I said "what good is it out of the box"? for Australian use...

I planned to buy an ATV with the sole intention of enabling it to play DivX, Xvid, my entire library of movies/music, etc.. I bought it knowing damn well there was no download'able iTunes movies/tv shows.

It does exactly what I want.. but what good is it "out of the box".... ? useless really.

Tilpots
May 27, 2008, 07:37 PM
most of those features would mean apple would have to become involved with many companies and pay them for use of their patents, apple dont do that lol:apple:

not when they can help it

They already have the movie and TV rentals, DVR patents, DVD players, the TV tuners shouldn't be a licensing issue... to which features are you referring?

Definitely the gaming console unless they create their own. Don't know if it's likely, but...

Anyway, just curious if you could explain more about the patent issue because I hadn't thought of this angle before.

nagromme
May 27, 2008, 08:32 PM
Why keep making boxes to accomplish the same goal, which is watching something on your TV? I just think the "one box to rule them all" approach would let them dominate in the market.

Ah, but the question is, whose goal? And which market?

A do-it-all box that played DVDs and recorded cable broadcasts would not dominate the market that Apple is building (downloadable iTunes movies). It would actually work toward PREVENTING that market from growing.

And although consumers may have the vague goal of "watching something on TV," Apple's goal is more specific. Apple's goal is watching iTunes content on TV, and making your TV become part of the iPod/iTunes system.

NT1440
May 27, 2008, 08:39 PM
They already have the movie and TV rentals, DVR patents, DVD players, the TV tuners shouldn't be a licensing issue... to which features are you referring?

Definitely the gaming console unless they create their own. Don't know if it's likely, but...

Anyway, just curious if you could explain more about the patent issue because I hadn't thought of this angle before.
i was mainly tlkn about the bluray thing, but then again, its rumored to be coming to the new imacs.....:apple:

Tilpots
May 27, 2008, 09:51 PM
Ah, but the question is, whose goal? And which market?

A do-it-all box that played DVDs and recorded cable broadcasts would not dominate the market that Apple is building (downloadable iTunes movies). It would actually work toward PREVENTING that market from growing.

And although consumers may have the vague goal of "watching something on TV," Apple's goal is more specific. Apple's goal is watching iTunes content on TV, and making your TV become part of the iPod/iTunes system.

Apple is a hardware company. iTunes should not be their focus, just like cell phone service was not their focus with the iPhone. They could have gone this route, but that's not the business they are in. They made the hardware and it's been widely viewed as successful. The iTunes store is not where they make their money, iPods are.

Apple doesn't even own the iTunes content they sell. If content owners pull the rights, then there is no "ecosystem." Apple needs to control what is in their power. Why not make the hardware to encompass most if not all of TV's basic functions? The downloadable movies are a nice feature, but not remotely the answer people are looking for in their living room.

NT1440
May 27, 2008, 09:55 PM
Apple is a hardware company. iTunes should not be their focus, just like cell phone service was not their focus with the iPhone. They could have gone this route, but that's not the business they are in. They made the hardware and it's been widely viewed as successful. The iTunes store is not where they make their money, iPods are.

Apple doesn't even own the iTunes content they sell. If content owners pull the rights, then there is no "ecosystem." Apple needs to control what is in their power. Why not make the hardware to encompass most if not all of TV's basic functions? The downloadable movies are a nice feature, but not remotely the answer people are looking for in their living room.

um, they can follow whatever business model they feel like, just because hardware is their main business doesnt mean they wont branch out, especially to something that is sure to become big.......eventually

Tilpots
May 27, 2008, 10:04 PM
um, they can follow whatever business model they feel like, just because hardware is their main business doesnt mean they wont branch out, especially to something that is sure to become big.......eventually

So they're going to start selling shoes and cut Nike out of the business? They're going to quit ATT and launch a few satellites, build a bunch of cell towers and start appearing in the Alltel commercials? WWWizzzaaard!:D

They may have dropped "Computer" from their name, but that's still what they do. They don't produce movies or TV shows.

NT1440
May 27, 2008, 10:07 PM
So they're going to start selling shoes and cut Nike out of the business? They're going to quit ATT and launch a few satellites, build a bunch of cell towers and start appearing in the Alltel commercials? WWWizzzaaard!:D

They may have dropped "Computer" from their name, but that's still what they do. They don't produce movies or TV shows.

yes, lets not let them expand at all and they should just stick with the same model for YEARS. i thought most of us didnt like the way microsoft works, why do u want apple to work that way too?

rscott505
May 27, 2008, 10:09 PM
The video report hits some good points, but it seems that he doesn't completely understand the product that he is dissing. He leaves out iPhoto integration and the ability to view photos over .mac or flickr. Also, no mention of playing music through the :apple:TV (while not a big deal, but it is a function).

At the end of the day, as it stands there are two main hurdles holding back :apple:TV. First is content and content is king. That is not the fault of Apple. The studios and content owners need to get real. Apple and the studios do a fairly decent job of getting new releases out, it's just the older titles that should be made available. There are tens of thousands of movies out there, and they should all be available. There is no reason to hold back.

Also, there should be consistency in the content. The studios and Apple should make the titles available for both rental and purchase and leave them the titles there. Also, it would be nice to purchase in HD.

The second hurdle impacting :apple:TV is marketing (or lack thereof). There are no TV ads showing what it can do. If people see it, they are impressed with it. (My father-in-law is about as anti-Apple as one can be, and when I showed it to him, he thought it was pretty amazing.) Apple has to realize that a phenomenon like iPod comes along only once every so often, and so products need some marketing to move the product. Where are the TV ads.

Along the same line, Apple needs to make a bigger in store push for the product. At my local store, there is only one :apple:TV set up, and it is not in a prominent spot at all. (I recognize that it would not be as prominent as other products, but it is virtually hidden.) The salespeople do nothing to demo it or push it. In fact when I bought mine, no one could answer questions about the product. That is marketing - good salespeople and product placement go along way to moving product.

I really love my :apple:TV, and maybe my concern is that I will have an extinct product on my hand. I believe Apple has a great product; if Apple and the studios can get their act together and Apple can market the product appropriately, then :apple:TV will thrive.

I will never get rid of cable because of sports programing. But as for the rest of my TV viewing, I would gladly use :apple:TV for all other TV viewing, including movies, TV shows and pictures.

fmiddleton
May 28, 2008, 12:45 AM
<snip> vista media center (stupid american spelling) <snip>

Learn something about language anthropology before you make such an inflammatory statement.

fmiddleton
May 28, 2008, 12:58 AM
Let's see...........go with cable and pay $50 to $75 bucks a month so I can watch The Wire, Battlestar Galactica and Flight of the Conchords or a one time fee of $229 and then about $22 per season of my show downloaded and ready to be watched? Hmmmmm.

Interesting point. However, here's what seems to make sense as a long term play. Cable/Satellite providers have consistently been pushed to provide "a la carte" pricing (in the US). What if ABC/CBS/Discovery/whoever were to provide such a pricing scheme through iTunes?

I tend to watch only half a dozen or so channels on satellite TV, and suspect most other people do similar. What if these channels were to provide a monthly "all you can eat" subscription on iTunes? Say $6.95/month...then I could get all the shows I want/watch for about $42. At this point, why would I need satellite/cable? Moreover the channels would likely receive more money than they do through current pricing schemes, heck, even if the "all you can eat" plan were only $3, they'd make more money. The big problem is - how does advertising figure into this model, for in all likelihood, ads are subsidizing my current subscription...

nagromme
May 28, 2008, 01:39 AM
Apple is a hardware company. iTunes should not be their focus,

There's your error. Since the first Mac and earlier, Apple has NEVER been just a hardware company, and they certainly aren't today. The iPod/iTunes system (rather than merely selling set-top boxes without a strategy) IS one of their focuses, like it or not.

Apple's primary strength is SOFTWARE (such as OS X and iTunes) which they do indeed integrate with hardware. It's ease-of-use and making products that fit the way people use them. That's mostly about software, not about hardware. You need both, but Apple's software is what makes their products so different from Dell/Sony/etc.--while the hardware alone is much less different.

Selling TV hardware just "because it's hardware," ignoring all their enormous achievements with the iPod/iTunes system, would not make sense for Apple. They have a larger plan than that--and it's working so far :)

Biolizard
May 28, 2008, 02:13 PM
No idea what the sales are like in the UK but right now it seems like rental-DVDs-by-post is the dominant medium. Royal Mail deliver a DVD to your door, you keep it as long as you like and then send it back to Amazon or whoever in the prepaid envelope, for a very reasonable subscription each month.

Unless Apple can topple that, and at the prices we pay for the above I doubt they can, then they won't make a dent over here. Which is a shame, because it's a good little device from what I've seen.

LeviG
May 28, 2008, 02:38 PM
Learn something about language anthropology before you make such an inflammatory statement.

I'm English (ie the base for the version used world wide - ie the international english), all americanised versions are spelt wrong as far as I'm concerned :p

gkarris
May 28, 2008, 02:55 PM
I love my AppleTV - I have it upstairs in my bedroom. I don't have to drag discs up there to watch them, I can just rip them to my iTunes server.

When it came to renting on it, I was spending about $9/month. I was going to get another one for my home theater, but, enter the Netflix Rokr Box.

I signed up for the Netflix $9/month plan thinking I can just rent the DVD's/Blu-rays instead, and stream the other stuff for only $100 for the box.

It's no AppleTV, but with almost $5/gallon gas, this slightly cheaper alternative may be worthwhile.

There's not going to be any one set-top box that makes everyone happy anyways...