PDA

View Full Version : More evidence ATV is fast becoming abandonware




dmm219
Sep 8, 2009, 11:59 AM
If all the ATV will ever be is a glorified ipod for you tv, its doomed to failure. I still believe Apple has decided it simply can't compete in this space...

See the latest from Apple Insider:

Don't expect Apple TV as cable set top box, Apple exec says
Though rumors have persisted for years that the Apple TV might transition from a media streaming solution into a cable box competitor, a new report said an Apple executive "killed that concept."

In its latest note to investors, Caris & Company said Tuesday that its analysts recently met with Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, who gave insight on a number of subjects. Among the topics discussed: the Apple TV, which has been long-rumored to receive some cable box-type functionality, including live TV recording and integration with cable providers. But according to analyst Robert Cihra, Oppenheimer effectively doused that rumor with a clear statement that the move doesn't make sense for Apple.

"While some have wondered whether Apple might ultimately try to integrate traditional cable set-top box (decoding) functionality into its Apple TV product, Mr. Oppenheimer pretty much killed that concept and said that it just doesn't fit Apple's business," the report said.

Though there had been speculation that a possible refresh or price drop of the Apple TV could occur at the Sept. 9 event, one report said industry watchers should not expect an appearance by the hardware at Apple's media-centric keynote.

Caris' conversation with Oppenheimer covered a number of other subjects. In one point, the company's research notes states that Apple's chief financial officer implied that the company would continue to lower prices on its Mac lineup -- or offer new products at lower price points. However, Cihra noted that he does not expect Apple to join the low-end PC market.

The report also noted that the popularity of the iPhone has made it difficult for Apple to keep up with demand. Though Oppenheimer did not provide any specifics to Caris, he did say that the company has had trouble keeping its new iPhone 3GS in stock. Caris predicts that Apple will sell 27 million iPhone units in 2009, bolstered, in part, by the upcoming upcoming debut of the handset in China.

"Mr. Oppenheimer said he was simply happy to now be able to 'check that box,' with iPhone's launch into China have been a long-awaited milestone," the report said. "And while the vast majority of China's cell phone market is pre-paid, Apple sees no reason why iPhone should have any disadvantage taking share of pre-paid markets vs. its post-paid success."

The one downside the Caris note mentioned from the company's meeting with Oppenheimer was that supply of components for devices remains "tight," and costs continue to rise. Cihra said he does not see this as a major concern for Apple, but it is noteworthy because it demonstrates that no one in the tech industry is immune to the ongoing component supply issues.

Cihra reiterated his "Buy" rating for AAPL stock and maintains a price target of $200. With iPhone and Mac sales "tracking strong" this quarter, the Caris note said that only tight component costs could hold back Apple.

"We continue to believe Apple has proved itself the single most innovative and profitable consumer technology company in the world and continue to see headroom for growth via both iPhone and Mac (market) share gains."



jaw04005
Sep 8, 2009, 12:40 PM
This is shocking? The Apple TV’s purpose is to supersede DVRs and cable boxes, not join them. Notice Oppenheimer didn’t rule out a TV show or movie subscription service to compete against traditional cable and satellite.

"Though rumors have persisted for years that the Apple TV might transition from a media streaming solution into a cable box competitor, a new report said an Apple executive "killed that concept.”

While Oppenheimer stated the Apple TV would not become a cable box competitor, he didn’t say it wouldn’t become a cable service competitor eventually.

Article link: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/08/dont_expect_apple_tv_as_cable_set_top_box_apple_exec_says.html

dmm219
Sep 8, 2009, 01:01 PM
jaw... you might be correct, but I think you may be putting words in his mouth. I still say that with this news, if there is no significant update tomorrow, the ATV's life will be, at best, relegated to Macmini eternal backburners, and discontinued altogether.

Note this does not mean Apple may not have some brand new idea or device they might be planning for this space...but it wouldn't be anything resembling the current ATV.

BORIStheBLADE
Sep 8, 2009, 01:42 PM
I don't understand why Apple needs to go towards a DVR? I can't think of on streamer that has DVR functionality except for the Sagetv box.

Apple can compete in the streaming business they have just put the Atv on the back burn and focused on the Iphone and laptops.

jaw04005
Sep 8, 2009, 01:52 PM
jaw... you might be correct, but I think you may be putting words in his mouth. I still say that with this news, if there is no significant update tomorrow, the ATV's life will be, at best, relegated to Macmini eternal backburners, and discontinued altogether.

I wasn't putting words in Oppenheimer's mouth. If anything you're reading more into the report than what AppleInsider reported. All Oppenheimer did was rule out DVR and cable decoding capabilities.

Apple TV is here to stay. People on this forum have predicted its death since it was basically introduced. It's clearly not a flagship product, but that doesn't mean Apple won't keep it around and experiment with that market.

No one has won the battle to replace the cable box in the living room. Microsoft, Roku, Vudu, Sony, HP, Popcorn Hour, Samsung, Linksys, Hauppauge, Western Digital and SageTV among others are all trying.

This is what happens in emerging markets. Apple has participated in emerging markets before, namely the MP3 player and smartphone market. It's going to take them time to come up with market leader. Not to mention, the media companies are of absolute no help (NBC Universal, etc) as they struggle to protect their traditional business models.

The Apple TV is a long-term project for Apple (5+ years). They see it as a long-term investment that may play a big role in the future (as broadband speeds increase, media companies adapt, etc). To declare its death now is shortsighted.

spice weasel
Sep 8, 2009, 03:38 PM
...It's clearly not a flagship product, but that doesn't mean Apple won't keep it around and experiment with that market.

No one has won the battle to replace the cable box in the living room. Microsoft, Roku, Vudu, Sony, HP, Popcorn Hour, Samsung, Linksys, Hauppauge, Western Digital and SageTV among others are all trying.

I am inclined to agree. A large part of Apple's success has been in taking products that are already on the market and re-designing them with new, user-friendlier features and/or melding form and function together in innovative ways. It could very well be that Apple has been waiting to see how the market for media extenders has been maturing before releasing an updated ATV.

Clearly, Apple has a stake in this market, so I don't see it letting the the ATV just die off. Over the years the company has moved steadily and decisively into the realm of hardware (with accompanying software) designed to allow people to play media, and I'd be very surprised if it gave up on the ATV.

But whatever Apple decides, I hope they do so soon. My ATV went belly-up a few months back, and I refuse to buy a new one until I have a better sense of whether or not it will be updated.

nutmac
Sep 8, 2009, 03:45 PM
Judging by continuing update (however minor) to Apple TV OS, Apple TV is alive. Perhaps not well, but alive nevertheless. I think Apple TV overdue for an update, even for just bump in processing power, hard disk capacity, gigabit ethernet, and/or slight price drop ($199 would be perfect).

As for oft mentioned DVR, if it was easy to build and market DVR in the US, there will be many more players. There are reasons why PS3 DVR add-on isn't available in the US: political and legal mess that discourage innovation and competition in the marketplace. It is virtually impossible to build a DVR that works across TV content carriers, for instance. Apple would need to negotiate with cable companies (at least for CableCARD that won't suck) and satellite companies, which isn't worth the effort as Microsoft, ReplayTV, and TiVo have proved.

Going back to my point, beyond hardware refresh, Apple needs to deliver wow "3.0" update to keep Apple TV relevant. App Store is often cited as one of the wows, Hulu/Netflix integration is another. My personal wish is video input pass-through, so that Apple TV can overlay app widgets on top of any video source.

jaw04005
Sep 8, 2009, 04:43 PM
Apple would need to negotiate with cable companies (at least for CableCARD that won't suck) and satellite companies, which isn't worth the effort as Microsoft, ReplayTV, and TiVo have proved.

Exactly and that's not really in their DNA. Cable companies also wouldn't want an Apple set top box simply because they know it would connect to iTunes, which they see as a competitor to their On Demand and PPV services.

Let's look at the DVR market:

ReplayTV is dead. TiVo has resorted to suing competitors with their patent portfolio to survive. Last I looked, they were some 30 million in the red for 2008 alone.

Microsoft has been pushing Windows Media Center and the Media Center Extender platform since 2002. Despite WMC's innovative interface and the fact that they shipped the Extender platform built-in to the 360, it still hasn't gained any traction. Microsoft's third-party partners (Linksys, HP, Samsung, etc) have tried unsuccessfully twice to push Media Center Extenders into the living room. Yet, how many of those units are still available? Maybe one or two.

Microsoft also has a Windows Media Center spinoff called MediaRoom that's available only to cable/satellite providers. It's pretty much failed in the marketplace also. AT&T uses it for their U-verse service in select markets in the United States. However, it's not their default box.

The DVR market is tough. The only companies successful so far are the cable and satellite providers that are marketing their own house brand DVR receivers to their customers. Never mind the fact that most provider DVR packages require a contract extension and a new monthly charge.

Going back to my point, beyond hardware refresh, Apple needs to deliver wow "3.0" update to keep Apple TV relevant. App Store is often cited as one of the wows, Hulu/Netflix integration is another. My personal wish is video input pass-through, so that Apple TV can overlay app widgets on top of any video source.

The Apple TV does need a hardware update. Even though there is virtually no 1080p content available (except pirated material), the next Apple TV should support 30 FPS 1080p content just to shut the 1080p snobs up.

Apple TV's software, particularly the interface menu, is in desperate need of a major update. There's too much text and the division between the "shared" and "my" (stored) media is confusing.

Overall though, I've had my Apple TV since it shipped, and I like it. It's an interesting product that has some really cool features (video podcast support, metadata including chapter support is fantastic, iPhone/iPod touch as a remote with gestures, etc).

The price of the box itself, the price of iTunes video content in general (particularly movie rentals, move purchases and TV show season purchases) and the lack of a subscription/cloud storage service (for movies and TV) really limits the device's appeal.

I would also like to see them introduce some type of "iTunes Live" content using HTTP streaming.

However, I don't expect any of these to be added tomorrow. But I'm not declaring the device dead either.

zedsdead
Sep 8, 2009, 04:48 PM
This does not mean the Apple TV is dead at all. A few quarters ago, the CFO stated that Apple will continue to invest in the Apple TV. All this means is that Elgato is going to be around for a while (they must be VERY happy);)

spice weasel
Sep 8, 2009, 05:23 PM
... Even though there is virtually no 1080p content available (except pirated material), the next Apple TV should support 30 FPS 1080p content just to shut the 1080p snobs up...

Wishing for 1080p/30fps is not just for the torrenters. What about user-generated content? Some of us have 1080p camcorders and would like to be able to view our home videos in their full HD glory on the ATV without having to downscale them.

srl7741
Sep 8, 2009, 05:26 PM
Apple has participated in emerging markets before, namely the MP3 player and smartphone market. It's going to take them time to come up with market leader. Not to mention, the media companies are of absolute no help (NBC Universal, etc) as they struggle to protect their traditional business models.

The Apple TV is a long-term project for Apple (5+ years). They see it as a long-term investment that may play a big role in the future (as broadband speeds increase, media companies adapt, etc). To declare its death now is shortsighted.

I cut out most of your posts to keep this short but I happen to agree with everything you mentioned. We tend to be inpatient and Apple is waiting for others to catch up in some cases (Bandwidth) before moving forward with AppleTV or what ever it will be named. They are in a holding pattern waiting for the door to open up. Everyone wants a piece of the pie (money) and Apple's not willing to budge just yet.

I wish more was being done with the :apple:TV but I can also see why it's not and I'm willing to wait knowing when they do move forward it will be worth it.

nutmac
Sep 8, 2009, 07:00 PM
Wishing for 1080p/30fps is not just for the torrenters. What about user-generated content? Some of us have 1080p camcorders and would like to be able to view our home videos in their full HD glory on the ATV without having to downscale them.
Also, given the rate at which Apple TV gets hardware update, it isn't unrealistic to assume that legal 1080p content will be available within its lifetime.

jaw04005
Sep 8, 2009, 08:18 PM
Wishing for 1080p/30fps is not just for the torrenters. What about user-generated content? Some of us have 1080p camcorders and would like to be able to view our home videos in their full HD glory on the ATV without having to downscale them.

I guess. :) Although, I donít think the vocal minority that keeps demanding 1080p support is wanting it to watch their kids in full 1080p glory. :D

The main reason Iím indifferent to 1080p is simply because I donít think most people care. Theyíre perfectly content with watching SD in stretch-o-vision or over-compressed 720p and 1080i on their cable or satellite systems.

But point taken. I think they should add it just to fill that checkbox.

bbydon
Sep 8, 2009, 08:28 PM
I guess. :) Although, I donít think the vocal minority that keeps demanding 1080p support is wanting it to watch their kids in full 1080p glory. :D

The main reason Iím indifferent to 1080p is simply because I donít think most people care. Theyíre perfectly content with watching SD in stretch-o-vision or over-compressed 720p and 1080i on their cable or satellite systems.

But point taken. I think they should add it just to fill that checkbox.

I dont think its that they don't care... Its that they don't know or are clueless about how to operate their tv.
For instance, Most people don't use their tv's correctly. I can't stand it when a 4:3 picture is stretched across and Widescreen tv.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 8, 2009, 08:45 PM
I guess. :) Although, I don’t think the vocal minority that keeps demanding 1080p support is wanting it to watch their kids in full 1080p glory. :D

The main reason I’m indifferent to 1080p is simply because I don’t think most people care. They’re perfectly content with watching SD in stretch-o-vision or over-compressed 720p and 1080i on their cable or satellite systems.

But point taken. I think they should add it just to fill that checkbox.

I'm one of those people who have a 1080p camcorder, and I would like updated :apple:TV hardware to watch the home movies with the same picture quality I see when I hook the camcorder directly to the TV.

While I can agree that some people may have no clue about SD vs. HD, 480i vs. 1080p, etc, :apple:TV hardware is the rare chance to build a technology platform that has long-term legs, meaning that even 10 years from now, we'll all very likely still be watching 1080p at best, which means this is one tech product that could be bought this year(?) that would still be perfectly usable 10 years from now.

Phone, iPod, Computers, etc aren't locked to a standard like HD in the same kind of way. Phone may be closest to having a standard that caps how fast the technology can evolve, but even there- and even in the U.S., I expect we won't still be at 3G or even 4G by- say- 2019 (we'll maybe in the U.S.).

On the other hand, hanging our hats on 720p :apple:TV "as is", will definitely seem outdated even a few more years from now. All those home movies will need to be re-rendered, when they could be mastered in the same quality that will still be perfectly relevant in 2019+. If most people don't care/don't know, so what- building it so that it maxes out the standard will also make it perfectly capable of playing "stretch-o-vision SD" or over-compressed HD for anyone who thinks that is as good, is HD, etc.

And it's not like making a new version of :apple:TV 1080p capable would jack the price up. Look around at the plethora of hardware priced well below :apple:TV that can output 1080p. Certainly Apple can get a good deal on the parts to drive a 1080p :apple:TV at a "good margins" price at- probably below- current :apple:TV pricing.

So, I'm definitely in the camp wishing for new hardware, with the #1 wish being full bandwith 1080p. Even if iTunes is never hosting 1080p video. Even if U.S. broadband can't achieve speeds to make 1080p downloads practical for another decade. Etc. Here's a chance to build a piece of tech that would be one of the most futureproof devices they could produce.

And, as Apple reminds everyone often, they are in the business of selling hardware, not iTunes content. If it doesn't jack up the price, why not add a very popular feature that many claim is stalling their :apple:TV purchase? Getting rid of big buyer objections is one key to selling more hardware.

Tilpots
Sep 8, 2009, 09:45 PM
I'm a very vocal supporter of AppleTV including a DVR. But only for OTA content. Forget the cable companies, because they are the iTunes competition. Spend your $ with them or with Apple, spending on both, though, is ridiculous. However, the major network OTA stuff is being beamed into our homes for free. Let us record that and then buy our cable content from iTunes.

If Elgato, TiVo and even Microsoft can make DVR hardware and software, then Apple can too. Apple will then have the benefit of offering supplemental content thru iTMS, something they have perfected. Sure, you can get a mini and then buy Elgato's offering, but it's overkill and expensive.

trip1ex
Sep 8, 2009, 11:00 PM
Bah. You can't even tell 720p from 1080p in most living room setups. And your 1080p camcorder is heavily compressed anyway.

Resolution belongs in the same category as megapixels and thread count - over-rated marketing pitches.

Get a Tivo HD if you want a nice DVR.

ATVs problems are almost entirely price and content related.

nutmac
Sep 9, 2009, 01:49 AM
I'm a very vocal supporter of AppleTV including a DVR. But only for OTA content. Forget the cable companies, because they are the iTunes competition.
I watch over-the-air and I am perfectly happy doing that. But only 14% of Americans watch TV this way, which coupled with the fact that they tend to be far more casual watchers than those with cable or satellite, is less likely to buy DVR.

Bah. You can't even tell 720p from 1080p in most living room setups. And your 1080p camcorder is heavily compressed anyway.

Resolution belongs in the same category as megapixels and thread count - over-rated marketing pitches.
First of all, some of us can tell difference between 720p and 1080p, particularly for video-based contents like sports. And considering every single TV sets 40" or larger are 1080p now, and that even the lowliest of media extenders now support 1080p, why limit to 720p?

I am sorry but your "camcorder is heavily compressed" argument is full of hot air. 24 Mbps that most newer camcorders use, and even 17 Mbps on older ones, are perfectly capable of capturing 1080i without high amount of artifact or loss of details. Many H.264-based Blu-Ray movies use around 20 Mbps bitrate.

Megapixels are overrated marketing pitch as most folks do not print on large paper, higher megapixel on small image sensor decreases the image quality, and Mac monitors are between 1 and 2.3 megapixels (except 30", which is 4 megapixels). Most folks do not need beyond 8 megapixels camera as a result (even if they do heavy image cropping).

HDTV, on the other hand, if you sit close enough and depending on what you watch, you can easily tell the difference between 720p (less than 1 megapixel) and 1080p (2 megapixels).

fpnc
Sep 9, 2009, 02:03 AM
I wouldn't worry about the Apple TV going away. Apple will continue to support and develop it but don't expect the Apple TV to get any really significant hardware updates any time soon because for its intended purpose it's still a completely satisfactory device. You've got to remember that the Apple TV is far and away Apple's lowest margin hardware product and given that Apple engineering is already heavily overloaded you can't expect Apple to do much new with the Apple TV given that the iPhone, Mac, and iPod contribute a lot more to the bottom line.

Even though the Apple TV hasn't had a hardware upgrade since it was first introduced nearly two and one half years ago it is still competitive and selling fairly well (I'd guess that it is either the first or second most popular media extender if you ignore the PS3 and XBox, which isn't a bad thing since Sony and Microsoft have lost billions of dollars in hardware subsidies to promote those products).

I'd guess that we'll have some software enhancements to the Apple TV very soon or within the next month to bring it up-to-date with the new features for iTunes that will be announced at the 9/09/09 event. I suspect they will also do a hard drive and/or price adjustment during that same update.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 9, 2009, 07:14 AM
Bah. You can't even tell 720p from 1080p in most living room setups. And your 1080p camcorder is heavily compressed anyway. Resolution belongs in the same category as megapixels and thread count - over-rated marketing pitches.

Sounds like somebody bought a cheap 720p TV instead of paying a bit more for one that can render 1080i/p???

Or, sounds like an Apple fanboi who justifies whatever Apple does as exactly right- even when it is wrong. Had Apple decided to max out MP3/AAC music encoding at 128k, would you be saying that "You can't hear the difference between 128k sound and CD?" Had Apple stuck with PPC architecture instead of embracing Intel, would you be saying "PPC is superior to Intel chips"?

Nevertheless, I can easily SEE the difference between 720p and 1080p as I referenced in my post (so apparently I am not the "You" to which you refer). The 720p version of the same video vs. hooking the camcorder directly to the TV and playing it native (1080p) is clearly inferior. Pretty much anyone can see it in this kind of head-to-head.

ATVs problems are almost entirely price and content related.
If Apple's business model is about selling hardware- as they often say... if iTunes exists to drive the sales of hardware, not iTunes content- as they also often say... it would seem that updating old hardware with features that are very clearly wanted by many people would be a great way to increase hardware sales. And if a bunch of other boxes can incorporate 1080p playback hardware- while being priced considerably cheaper than :apple:TV- it would seem likely that Apple could upgrade the product with the same chips, probably fatten their margins while also trimming the retail price.

NightStorm
Sep 9, 2009, 07:23 AM
Sounds like somebody bought a cheap 720p TV instead of paying a bit more for one that can render 1080i/p???

Or, sounds like an Apple fanboi who justifies whatever Apple does as exactly right- even when it is wrong. Had Apple decided to max out MP3/AAC music encoding at 128Mbps, would you be saying that "You can't hear the difference between 128Mbps sound and CD?" Had Apple stuck with PPC architecture instead of embracing Intel, would you be saying "PPC is superior to Intel chips"?

Nevertheless, I can easily see the difference between 720p and 1080p as I referenced in my post (so apparently I am not the "You" to which you refer). The 720p version of the same video vs. hooking the camcorder directly to the TV and playing it native (1080p) is clearly inferior. Pretty much anyone can see it in this kind of head-to-head.

I'd take 720p over 1080i in most situations. The effectiveness of 1080p versus 720p is highly debatable and has more to do with viewing distances and screen size than anything else.

I'm looking to buy a new LCD for my bedroom in the next month or so and it will most likely be a 720p one simply because at the size I'm looking at and how far away I'll be from it, spending more on a 1080p set is wasteful. Now when I get around to upgrading my living room set, that'll be a different story.

globalhemp
Sep 9, 2009, 07:27 AM
Dear Steve Jobs,

I believe AT&T made an offer to purchase Dish Network for $4 billion, but was declined.

Apple TV? How about offering the same price, but with Apple TV in potentially 1/3 of all rooms with a tv?

Apple has the resources to do this. Move over generic DVR and PPV and welcome in Apple TV!

Tilpots
Sep 9, 2009, 08:09 AM
Dear Steve Jobs,

I believe AT&T made an offer to purchase Dish Network for $4 billion, but was declined.

Apple TV? How about offering the same price, but with Apple TV in potentially 1/3 of all rooms with a tv?

Apple has the resources to do this. Move over generic DVR and PPV and welcome in Apple TV!

Buying Dish would be a monumental idea. Not only could they capture the TV viewing, but they'd also have a complete end to end delivery system for all of their content. They could bypass cable internet permanently. They'd have a direct connection with all of their customers. It'd be one hell of a coup. Likely? Probably not, but the idea should definitely be on the table.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 9, 2009, 08:12 AM
I'd take 720p over 1080i in most situations. The effectiveness of 1080p versus 720p is highly debatable and has more to do with viewing distances and screen size than anything else.

I'm looking to buy a new LCD for my bedroom in the next month or so and it will most likely be a 720p one simply because at the size I'm looking at and how far away I'll be from it, spending more on a 1080p set is wasteful. Now when I get around to upgrading my living room set, that'll be a different story.

Nightstorm, you might want to think about the idea of storing 2 sets of content for the 2 TVs. For example, if you have a lot of HD content, and you "max it out" for the 720p TV in your bedroom, that content won't look as good on that future living room set, capable of higher resolution. Upscaling from a lower resolution master can't create as good of a picture. On the other hand, if you render your content for the future (living room 1080p) set, downscaling those videos to 720p from a higher/highest quality render is generally no problem (looks fantastic on both sets).

Of course, relative to the current :apple:TV hardware, this is all for nothing, as it can't handle full bandwith 720p or 1080i/p (though 720p output can look better than DVD even compressed as it is for the current :apple:TV limitations). But, should Apple finally roll out 1080p-capable :apple:TV (or should you use a Mac Mini or many other current hardware options capable of outputting 1080p), you may find it simpler to simply render your video for max resolution and then downscale to lesser resolution devices.

Downscaling from a great source yields a fantastic picture at any lower resolution. However upscaling from a lower-resolution source yields a less-than-optimal picture at higher resolution. More simply, if you scale down a big jpg, it will still look great as the picture size shrinks. But if you scale up a small jpp to a bigger size, the jaggies appear. Same basic concept applies (though it is better disguised in moving pictures).

aristobrat
Sep 9, 2009, 08:14 AM
Buying Dish would be a monumental idea. Not only could they capture the TV viewing, but they'd also have a complete end to end delivery system for all of their content.
DISH's coverage area in US-only, no? And can you ever see Steve Jobs approving something that requires an ugly satellite dish?! :D

Tilpots
Sep 9, 2009, 08:20 AM
DISH's coverage area in US-only, no? And can you ever see Steve Jobs approving something that requires an ugly satellite dish?! :D

Few more satellites could make it global... And if Steve Jobs made it a dish, it'd be tiny and oh, so beautiful. Everybody'd want one.:D I think satellite dishes are the Tennessee state flower, so that's got to give it some "looks" cred, right?:p

spice weasel
Sep 9, 2009, 08:42 AM
Bah. You can't even tell 720p from 1080p in most living room setups. And your 1080p camcorder is heavily compressed anyway.

Resolution belongs in the same category as megapixels and thread count - over-rated marketing pitches.

Get a Tivo HD if you want a nice DVR.

ATVs problems are almost entirely price and content related.

Putting aside the debate over whether there is a discernible difference between 720p and 1080p for most viewers, there is also the fps ceiling on the ATV. The ATV can't handle 720p/30fps, meaning that all progressive HD camcorder content needs to be scaled down. Now we're not talking about 720 vs 1080, but 540 vs 1080.

The bottom line is that while different people would like an updated ATV to do different things, it should at the very least be able to handle 1080p/30fps. It's not like this is some unattainable hardware goal.

Oh, and please Apple, give us a better remote. God I hate that damn thing.

HobeSoundDarryl
Sep 9, 2009, 09:20 AM
Few more satellites could make it global... And if Steve Jobs made it a dish, it'd be tiny and oh, so beautiful. Everybody'd want one.:D I think satellite dishes are the Tennessee state flower, so that's got to give it some "looks" cred, right?:p

While I doubt it would happen, Apple certainly has the cash to make a play for both DISH and TIVO (and then some). DISH would give Apple a high-bandwith point-to-point platform (bypassing constrained bandwith pipes) that could do many things beyond serving up television. TIVO patents would be a nice acquisition for their patent portfolio, and DVR functionality is another oft-requested enhancement for :apple:TV (and Apple has patented a few DVR-related innovations in the last decade).

Some say they don't want to add DVR capabilities to a new Apple TV as it would cannibalize the iTunes model. But, Apple keeps saying they have iTunes to sell hardware, not iTunes content. If they don't make much from the sales of iTunes content, why should they care much about people getting some content "for free" via DVR? Besides, Elgato solutions are readily available for anyone who wants DVR "for free" content anyway.

Apple has also embraced subscription models for the iPhone & :apple:TV, and I'm sure they've developed a great appreciation for the profit-leveraging power of using subscription accounting vs. cash accounting. Adding DISH subscriptions AND TIVO subscriptions would be a nice way to reduce their tax bill via deferred liability (via subscription accounting).

All in all, this "what if" would be a "wow" event, in a number of ways that reach far beyond just what an ultimate :apple:TV platform could be. Both the cable and communications industries would probably freak.

If Jobs came out on stage today and said, "One more thing..." and proceeded to roll out the news that Apple is buying either or both companies and the new :apple:TV would blend the best of the technologies in a nice Apple way, I can just picture cable & communications monopolists needing an immediate change of pants.

jaw04005
Sep 9, 2009, 09:26 AM
Look around at the plethora of hardware priced well below :apple:TV that can output 1080p.

The Apple TV can output 1080p. There's a big difference between outputting 1080p and being able to play back 1080p content.

Nevertheless, I can easily SEE the difference between 720p and 1080p as I referenced in my post (so apparently I am not the "You" to which you refer). The 720p version of the same video vs. hooking the camcorder directly to the TV and playing it native (1080p) is clearly inferior. Pretty much anyone can see it in this kind of head-to-head.

You do realize that could just as easily be your HDTV's built-in scaler? So, it's an anecdotal argument.

For example, I have a friend who will argue to he's blue in the face that 1080i "looks better" on his 720p HDTV than 720p. Yet, I know 1080i is not inherently better than 720p from a technological standpoint. What he likes is the over-processed scaling effect that tends to sharpen the image when his HDTV scales down the 1080i signal to 1366x768. But you couldn't explain that to him. He's sees at as a one-sided issue, 1080 is larger than 720 so it's automatically better.

There's a lot of that similar logic going on about 1080p.

It's an interesting debate, scientifically, though. HDTV Magazine did an interview with Mark Schubin about this very issue.

http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/articles/2006/07/in_the_eye_of_t.php

Either way, my point is mute. They should add 1080p play back support just to shut you guys up. :D

Putting aside the debate over whether there is a discernible difference between 720p and 1080p for most viewers, there is also the fps ceiling on the ATV. The ATV can't handle 720p/30fps, meaning that all progressive HD camcorder content needs to be scaled down. Now we're not talking about 720 vs 1080, but 540 vs 1080.

Actually, it can handle 720p, 30 FPS as Dynaflash likes the point out. It's just the iTunes won't let it. If you manually copy the content over (avoiding iTunes' artificial limitation) it plays fine.

I think the 24/25 FPS limitation is there so Apple wouldn't have to encode movies at 24 FPS and TV Shows at 30 FPS on the iTunes store. Or maybe 30 FPS really pushes the GPU, I dunno. Either way, that needs to be lifted.

NightStorm
Sep 9, 2009, 09:32 AM
Nightstorm, you might want to think about the idea of storing 2 sets of content for the 2 TVs. For example, if you have a lot of HD content, and you "max it out" for the 720p TV in your bedroom, that content won't look as good on that future living room set, capable of higher resolution. Upscaling from a lower resolution master can't create as good of a picture. On the other hand, if you render your content for the future (living room 1080p) set, downscaling those videos to 720p from a higher/highest quality render is generally no problem (looks fantastic on both sets).

Of course, relative to the current :apple:TV hardware, this is all for nothing, as it can't handle full bandwith 720p or 1080i/p (though 720p output can look better than DVD even compressed as it is for the current :apple:TV limitations). But, should Apple finally roll out 1080p-capable :apple:TV (or should you use a Mac Mini or many other current hardware options capable of outputting 1080p), you may find it simpler to simply render your video for max resolution and then downscale to lesser resolution devices.

Downscaling from a great source yields a fantastic picture at any lower resolution. However upscaling from a lower-resolution source yields a less-than-optimal picture at higher resolution. More simply, if you scale down a big jpg, it will still look great as the picture size shrinks. But if you scale up a small jpp to a bigger size, the jaggies appear. Same basic concept applies (though it is better disguised in moving pictures).

TVs upscale all the time... all major broadcasters in the US use either 720p or 1080i. The newer generation of upscaling chips do it very well.

As you alluded to, to support a 1080p AppleTV along with my current 720p one (which would move to the bedroom) with the best picture on each, I'd need to create 2 HD versions. Of course, this would be on top of the iPhone-compatible version I also create, so I'd end up with three copies of the same movie. Because I can't imagine trying to manage this very efficiently, I've already decided that I'll keep my 720p encodes for casual viewing, and go back to the Bluray/HDDVD originals if I want 1080p.

MikeDTyke
Sep 9, 2009, 09:34 AM
As much as i'd love an :apple:TV update i'm loath to say it's unlikely to happen tomorrow (irk, EDIT, TODAY).

Sure we might get some new content deals and a firmware update with some minor enhancements, in the similar vein that we've gotten over the last 2 years. But what everyone here seems to be looking for is a little further out.

:apple:TV as it stands is too expensive to build for :apple:'s taste. Their profit margin is much tighter than any other product. This is due to the Intel processor and ATI GPU coupled with a laptop class HD.

For it to compete it needs move to iPhone class hardware, which is an order cheaper being an embedded SoC. Only problem is that up until now this chipset couldn't do HD decoding. The samsung chip in the 3G (S) can do 720p decodes. But then why redesign the whole thing just to deliver the exact same specs, unless your only purpose is to save costs?

I believe the rumours about PA Semi building 2 processors for Apple are true. One is a low end chip for mobile phones/iPods, the other is in a new class sitting between the standard ARM and ATOM processors. ie. a device that has a standby usage like an ARM but a peak throughput like a dual core ATOM.

Such a chip would be useful for devices like tablets/netbooks, but also by virtue of reducing chip count and basic cost compared to the intel solution you end up with a much more embedded solution.

Based on the fact that Apple is currently sitting on a number of awesome UI patents for TV interfaces and remotes and the fact that the current platform seems to be at a dead end (hardware wise). I think they'll just keep things ticking over until the new platform is ready. As the PA Semi deal was completed last summer and the shortest lead time is about 18 months from start to working silicon, i suspect we won't see the next gen embedded platform from Apple til early next year.

NGEP, i likes the sound of that.... must use in more posts. :D

ftaok
Sep 9, 2009, 11:19 AM
I'm a very vocal supporter of AppleTV including a DVR. But only for OTA content. Forget the cable companies, because they are the iTunes competition. Spend your $ with them or with Apple, spending on both, though, is ridiculous. However, the major network OTA stuff is being beamed into our homes for free. Let us record that and then buy our cable content from iTunes.

If Elgato, TiVo and even Microsoft can make DVR hardware and software, then Apple can too. Apple will then have the benefit of offering supplemental content thru iTMS, something they have perfected. Sure, you can get a mini and then buy Elgato's offering, but it's overkill and expensive.

Adding DVR capabilities to the aTV would increase the unit price for something that few people will use. Limiting it to OTA will further marginalize it's usefulness.

Personally, I'd rather the aTV get a couple of useable USB ports and have Apple issue an SDK for the aTV OS. That way, companies like El Gato and Hauppauge can bundle their DVR software with a hybrid type tuner for USB. Doing it this way would encourage a healthy developer following for the aTV.

If Apple wants to get into the DVR game, they could write their own software, etc. However, I doubt they want to get into the headaches that accompany TV Listings. They'd have to deal with Rovi to get the TVGOS listings or do it themselves. Big hassle.

Macwick
Sep 9, 2009, 11:26 AM
I guess. :) Although, I donít think the vocal minority that keeps demanding 1080p support is wanting it to watch their kids in full 1080p glory. :D

The main reason Iím indifferent to 1080p is simply because I donít think most people care. Theyíre perfectly content with watching SD in stretch-o-vision or over-compressed 720p and 1080i on their cable or satellite systems.

But point taken. I think they should add it just to fill that checkbox.

It's not just 'watching their kids in full 1080p glory'. I have a 1080i 30fps camcorder. In order to watch the footage on Apple TV, I have to downconvert it to 720p and 24fps. It is the frames per second that really sucks - the movies look like Charlie Chaplain movies - they are very jumpy and hard on the eyes. I would be happy with 720p/30fps....

Flynnstone
Sep 9, 2009, 12:02 PM
Bah. You can't even tell 720p from 1080p in most living room setups. And your 1080p camcorder is heavily compressed anyway.

Resolution belongs in the same category as megapixels and thread count - over-rated marketing pitches.

Get a Tivo HD if you want a nice DVR.

ATVs problems are almost entirely price and content related.

That may be true, but ...
If you have a 1080P TV and you think Apple will come out with a 1080P AppleTV, then you wait. Well thats what I'm waiting for.

dmm219
Sep 9, 2009, 01:18 PM
well well...new build of iTunes...not even a MENTION of ATV.

Face it folks, ATV, in its current form...is now dead.

Again, they may have something brand new in the pipeline, that will replace the ATV in the future...but the current configuration is now dead.

Hopefully, in a year or two, we will have a brand new Apple TV 2, that is better in every way, and probably operates entirely different from the current (failed) ATV model.

fpnc
Sep 9, 2009, 02:29 PM
...Face it folks, ATV, in its current form...is now dead...
It isn't dead, it's just in an infrequent software update cycle. As I and MikeDTyke noted, the Apple TV is by far the lowest margin hardware product that Apple makes. Thus, you can't really expect them to remain busy at improving the hardware when they have so many other products that are making tons of margin and money. Besides, as I noted in my original post the Apple TV hardware is still perfectly adequate for its intended purpose -- which is principally to display iTunes content. It's also still relatively competitive as a media extender when you consider that some of its features are still unique or rare in the marketplace.

I'm not saying that the Apple TV is a state-of-the-art, best-in-class product, but it's at least okay and then some. My only current wish is that it could display 720p at 30fps, that would make it far easier to use as a display device for HD cameras.

dynaflash
Sep 9, 2009, 03:14 PM
lol. nothing but iTunes and iPods were going to get updated at this event. Its not like it's a big surprise. Even the vaunted tablet was not going to get introduced here. Maybe the atv is dead, maybe not. Only time will tell. Personally I very much doubt it. Too much invested at this point.

hitekalex
Sep 9, 2009, 04:06 PM
Again, they may have something brand new in the pipeline, that will replace the ATV in the future...but the current configuration is now dead

And your point is what? Current configuration of anything is always "dead", relative to the upcoming new versions.

Apple released v2.4 firmware for ATV little over 2 months ago. So I don't know why you're being so dramatic about it not getting any updates at today's iTunes/iPod event.

Buzz Bumble
Sep 9, 2009, 04:25 PM
Though there had been speculation that a possible refresh or price drop of the Apple TV could occur at the Sept. 9 event, one report said industry watchers should not expect an appearance by the hardware at Apple's media-centric keynote.

The only "speculation" was by people who know nothing (mostly "journalists"). It's a "music event", so was always going to be only about iPods and iTunes. Despite what that same story claimed further up, the ATV is not an iPod.

Tilpots
Sep 9, 2009, 08:48 PM
The only good thing I'm taing away from today's event is that the iPod's finally got an FM receiver. That gives me hope that an OTA video tuner is in the realm of possibilities.

BTW, the AppleTV is an iPod, at least that's how Apple classifies it. Look at their site and where it's listed; under the iPod+iTunes tab. So for there not to be even a mention of it today during an iPod and iTunes event, certainly says a lot about what they think of their own product.

zedsdead
Sep 9, 2009, 09:09 PM
I am actually happy. The iTunes Extra and iTunes LP seem a perfect fit for the Apple TV. Apple needs to vastly expand the HD Purchases in addition to this.

BORIStheBLADE
Sep 9, 2009, 11:22 PM
I'm glad they put a camera on a ipod... SO needed that.:rolleyes:

Its not like everybody's phones dont have them..