Apple TV: More Hype Than Content Adds Up to a Set-Top Flop

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacBytes, May 26, 2008.

  1. macrumors bot

    Jul 5, 2003


    Category: Videos
    Link: Apple TV: More Hype Than Content Adds Up to a Set-Top Flop
    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
    Approved by Mudbug
  2. macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    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.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2006
    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.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2003
    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. ;)
  5. macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    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.

    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. :)

    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.
  6. macrumors member


    Mar 30, 2008
    Metro Washington DC Area
    Go buy a Windows Media Center, You're Forbidden to Use Apple Products Forever

    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...
  7. macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Dubuque, Iowa
    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.

    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.
  8. macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2008
    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"
  9. macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Dubuque, Iowa
    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.
  10. macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    A dual tuner PVR Apple TV with Flash streaming support could be a real winner for Apple. But they ain't done one.

  11. macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2006
    Green Cove Springs, FL
    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.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2008
    Tampa Bay Area
    I love my Apple TV

    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.
  13. macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    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.
  14. macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    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.
  15. macrumors 68030

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I think I can say why the Apple TV hasn't replicated the iPod's success:

    *iPod requires computer
    *AppleTV requires widescreen TV

    *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

    *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.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    Out of the box.. What good is the AppleTV in Australia?

    None. Lets see

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

    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
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2005
    Los Angeles
    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.
  18. macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Dubuque, Iowa
    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.
  19. macrumors G3


    May 18, 2008
    Hartford, CT
    do you even research your products before you buy them?
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2007
    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.
  21. macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2002
    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.
  22. macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    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.
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Victor ch

    Jun 19, 2007
    San José, Costa Rica

    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.

  24. macrumors G3


    May 18, 2008
    Hartford, CT
    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.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2003
    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!

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