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View Full Version : My Hardware Upgrade Wishes




nittany
Jul 29, 2008, 07:43 PM
In responding to another thread, it dawned on me that the most often seen gripes about the :apple:TV are those that need to be handled with software upgrades. For me, however, I'm pretty happy with my unit, but it still feels a little too lightweight (no, I'm not talking about its heft) for the job at hand. Sort of like what it feels like when you use an underpowered machine for a power hungry application - sluggish.

While I too always want more from software, I'm thinking it's time for a hardware upgrade to make delivery of content (music, movies, TV, internet) all rock solid. The way it feels on a big Mac Pro with fast drives and lots of memory, as opposed to an underpowered Mini.

So without thinking too hard about it, I wish...

:apple: GigE. 802.11 N is terrific for some, but I'm partial to the speed and consistency of wired connections. Apple's current lineup of computing devices (excluding those that are designed for primarily wireless use like the MacBook Air) sport GigE ethernet ports. I would think that some of the sluggish interaction between the unit and my iTunes server would vaporize instantly with what is surely a low cost upgrade. Lets see, 100 Mbps or 1,000 Mbps? For those that already have all GigE systems (computer, router, switch, cabling, ethernet ports on their walls, etc.) it's not even a contest.

:apple: Processor speed may be something of a luxury for what the unit is expected to perform, but it seems to me that adding more horsepower is a relatively inexpensive way to decrease the risk of stutters and freezes. As a bonus, it would provides a stronger platform on which those software enhancements can run. Leopard-based instead of Tiger. No problem. More compute intensive applications. No problem. That's what I'm looking for.

:apple: More memory is always welcome in my book, especially when trying to switch quickly from one huge file to another. Except for bleeding edge stuff, memory is usually pretty cheap. So why not add more? Maybe more will allow the device to simultaneously perform multiple functions. You want to play a movie while cruising the internet while monitoring the baby's room from a webcam? More memory! And while I'm at it, the memory should be easily changed by the user. More, faster, larger, whatever.

:apple: Audiophile-grade audio output options. For those wanting to use the unit for critical listening, optical connections are looked upon as second class citizens to coax digital outs. Without getting too religious about it, optical outputs are the stuff that makes stereo equipment marketing managers drool, not what discerning listeners want. Bits are bits when the downstream stereo equipment isn't able to render the difference. But for those with golden ears and mega-buck systems, how each component renders the bits matters. Hey, that's not me, but my slightly >$1,000 DAC doesn't accept glass connections, just coax. Oh yeah, and speaking of outputs, some upgraded audio connectors would be nice. My first Sony had connectors of the quality sported on the unit. For a nice home theater or audio system, a little higher quality set of connectors would be a much welcomed addition.

:apple: How about making the unit quieter? Hey, you say, it's already damn near silent. Yeah, it seems that way because once it goes on it stays on and your ears get accustomed to the noise. But unplug the thing and all of a sudden you'll notice what you did not moments before. Whether it's hard drive noise reverberating inside the aluminum case, the lack of baffling or soundproofing because of cost or a lack of space in the case, I don't know, but I'd like it fixed.

:apple: How about making it cooler? Just about everyone notices that it's more than a little warm to the touch. You can't fry an egg on it, but cool it is not. Again, I don't know the reason. Maybe it's a lack of space inside the case, the lack of a larger heatsink or just what so much stuff crammed into something too small produces, but it should be fixed.

:apple: Provide the ability to accept content from sources other than the internet and iTunes via a LAN. Lots of times people come over with digital cameras that have loads of pictures on them, but can only show them on the micro display on the back of the camera. How about popping out the CompactFlash card, inserting it into some reader on the front of the unit and viewing their out-of-focus pics of their bratty kids climbing on some rock in Yellowstone on your 42" plasma? Or what if you have some other set of pictures (it could be other content too with a software upgrade) on a USB flash drive? The unit already has a USB 2.0 port (yeah, I know it doesn't do anything yet, but that's a software problem), but it's on the back of the unit. As I don't carry around one of those nifty mirrors on a hooked stick that dentists use, how am I supposed to get it inserted? Maybe we need another USB port on the front - I'd sure hate to spoil the aesthetics of my stereo equipment by having to resort to laying a USB extension cable by the side of the unit.

:apple: Change the size of the container. That may be sacrilege to Apple, but they are after all trying to integrate the unit into my stereo cabinet and whether that constitutes a Jeff Rowland amplifier, a Sony ES preamplifier, a JVC receiver or that piece of crap HD tuner you get from DirecTV, it's all about the same width. Sure, some are taller or deeper than others, but it fits into some common view of the boxes. I guess all I'm saying is that Apple shouldn't worry too much about its size, especially when faced with problems (in my opinion) like heat, noise and lack of outputs/ports that could likely be addressed easily if it weren't for its size. Don't get me wrong, if those issues can be solved in the current package size, then great, but it shouldn't stand in the way of offering better and more.

:apple: The hard drive is often talked about on the forums. Some want more and have ripped theirs apart to install larger ones. Others (like me), don't really care about the internal storage, as they stream data from some other computer (an always on Mac Mini itunes server in my case) that is connected via Firewire 400 to loads of storage that is properly managed (like backed up, properly cooled, easily increased, speed enhanced via RAID, etc.). In any event, I would think for those inclined to add storage within or directly attached to the unit, the internal hard disk should be upgraded to 3.5" SATA and made easily swappable by the user, and Firewire 400/800 ports should be added to the rear of the unit to allow for external drive enclosures to be directly attached.

Anyway, that rounds out my current wish list. What's on your hardware wish list?



zedsdead
Jul 29, 2008, 08:34 PM
(1) DVR - This is the biggest need for the Apple TV
(2) Bluetooth w/ Touch Screen Remote
(3) Faster Processor/graphics card that can support 1080p
(4) Safari - not hardware, but with a touchscreen remote it could run Safari right on it, which would be the same thing that would show up on the TV.

nittany
Jul 29, 2008, 08:42 PM
(3) Faster Processor/graphics card that can support 1080p

Oh man, how could I have missed that one. Absolutely! A dedicated and user replaceable graphics card that can drive big TV screens or dedicated monitors like a 30" ACD. Nice catch.

While we're at it, how about either an integrated or separate (but connectible via Firewire) Blu-ray drive? That would seem to also fulfill the dream of having the :apple:TV accept content from sources other than the internet and iTunes via a LAN.

gcmexico
Jul 29, 2008, 10:31 PM
I all want is a tv card to attach an antenna to it...the rest is cool...and it's quiet as hell...mine doesn't make a sound

kjr39
Jul 29, 2008, 10:56 PM
I want it to wash my dishes...

(Honestly, it does everything I want it to do.)