Apple TV Review by Walt Mossberg

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Walt Mossberg writes in the Wall Street Journal a first review of the just-shipping Apple TV.

    Mossberg had 10 days with the Apple TV and notes that while it has some notable limitations, "it worked great, and we can easily recommend it for people who are yearning for a simple way to show on their big TVs all that stuff trapped on their computers."

    His testing involved "standard" Wi-Fi connecting to three Windows machines and three Apple Macs. Even with "standard" (g) Wi-Fi, they experienced no buffering/stuttering on streaming content. The main limitation was felt to be the inability to stream much content from the internet. According to Mossberg, beyond streaming movie trailers, the Apple TV can also preview short clips of songs, TV shows and movies directly from the iTunes Store. Despite this "preview" capability, the Apple TV can not (yet?) purchase this content through Apple TV.

    The Apple TV can be set to automatically synchronize with a designated computer, mirroring content onto the 40GB Apple TV hard drive. Meanwhile, up to five additional computers can be used as streaming sources for the Apple TV.

    Other limitations include the inability to adjust volume from Apple's simple remote, and only support for televisions capable of taking Component or HDMI inputs. Mossberg also addresses one question on the minds of some customers: despite having a USB port, it can not be used to add additional external hard drives to expand storage.

    In the end, he describes it as a "very well-designed product that easily brings the computer and the TV together".
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 31, 2005
    Wow. Talk about minimizing huge limitations.

    Basically limited to watching itunes content. Can you imagine how neat this machine would have been had they implemented Slingbox functionality?
  3. macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2006
    thats awesome.

    i'd like an apple tv, yet lack both finances and the tv
  4. macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    it's going to need a lot of good reviews to get beyond the lack of 1080p support and streaming of only iTMS material....
  5. macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2006
    I love how the main criticism of a device made for people with nice TVs is that it only works with nice TVs. :p
  6. macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Good to hear a favorable review. I can't wait to see what people here think about it.

    I was assuming this would be of no interest to me since I have a G network at home, but if it can buffer adequately maybe this will replace the old G4 I have in the living room!
  7. macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2006
    good things come to those who wait

    2nd or 3rd revision and this thing might have the features to bring the computer to the living room. The current offering won't cut it, imo.
  8. macrumors 68020

    Jul 8, 2006
    I wonder what all the anti-:apple:tv people are going to say.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2007
    i would have loved to have seen slingbox like functionality :( oh well.
  10. macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005

    Mossbert! That's hilarious! There are always old-looking guys with beards in Dilbert, and I just realized that they're inspired by the biggest 'Bert of them all.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2005
    California, US
    why wonder? they are already talking....
  12. macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2007
    What¡¡¡ can´t adjust the volume????
    So what´s the point of a minimalist sexy remote if you still need you ugly TV remote on the other hand???
  13. macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2006
    maybe someday...

    the :apple: tv seems like a good idea, i'm just not fully convinced that it's worth it yet. i'd have to buy a new t.v., which is no big deal, i'm just trying to convince my wife. but, if i get a new HDTV, i really don't want to watch movies on it that aren't that great in terms of resolution - especially when i could just go out and get dvd's for the same price with better picture quality.

    i think that after a few revisions and improvements to movie quality, upping the amount of playable content, and possibly adding features like being able view other desktop items (say Keynote presentations?), i would be all for buying one.
  14. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    It's a great product for a LIMITED audience.

    That's not slamming it in any way: 30" displays aren't for everyone either! AppleTV is not for me, or for most people, but it's a great option for a small group. I'm sure it will sell enough to pay for it's own R&D, but I don't expect it to have big success at first.

    I would guess that AppleTV, in its current form, is intended as a small but vital strategic step, rather than as an immediate top-seller with broad appeal. Where the rest of the steps may lead, only Apple knows for sure!

    High-def content on iTunes, video rental options on iTunes, and a MUCH broader selection of iTunes content (rivaling even Netflix?), could one day make AppleTV a much more appealing product. Those changes won't happen overnight.

    Or Apple could add entirely new functions--like DVR and games and better support for other video formats--but it really seems like AppleTV is meant to be about iTunes purchases. So I see it as a gesture to the industry and to content owners--a gesture Apple must make in order to keep moving forward toward something better. (Remember, iTunes for music started out small too.)

    Meanwhile, if you're one of the few who finds $299 of value in what AppleTV does NOW, then more power to you :)
  15. macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    not a bad review. clearly 1080p would be better....but it's a start i guess
  16. macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2007
    Is that really the case? I was under the impression that any media in your iTunes library could be streamed, regardless of whether it was purchased from iTMS or not. I have ripped many television shows from DVDs and added them to my iTunes library; if I can't access those, then I have very little reason to purchase an AppleTV and will continue to use an s-video cable hooked to my laptop to view content on my TV.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    To address a minor, if important, point:

    "no High-def content on iTunes..."

    Sure there is. Plenty. Guess what it is? Video podcasts. Price? Free.

    Just like audio podcasts are a great way to add plenty of cheap, versatile content to your iTunes and iPod, I predict that video podcasts will be big. I know people who have separate "podcast iPods" just for those.

    Here's an idea for the future: for-pay video podcasts of TV shows, so you don't have to go and download each episode (or wait for the whole season).
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Any videos in the iTunes library will play, provided that they are encoded in a way standard QT (i.e. without plugins) can decode. Apple's official line is, AppleTV will play anything a video iPod will. This includes properly encoded videos from any source. As long as your videos aren't referenced DivX or something like that, you're good.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2005
    Los Angeles
    That's the first I've heard of that. Hope this is a sign of things to come. It would be great to make purchases right from the Apple TV. That would seem ideal for rentals, but will Apple ever allow that?
  20. macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2006
    non iTunes games?

    Soon the fog of uncertainty will lift and Mac Rumors postings will reveal the limits of Apple TV.

    If there is OSX embedded inside as Mossberg claims then we should be able to run non iTunes programs including games. Plug in a USB mouse and keyboard or some still secret wireless remote that provides user control.

    Just wondering?
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Can somebody paste the relevant paragraph from the original article? I find this hard to believe. The remote has volume up/down buttons. Why wouldn't this work?
  22. macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    This isn't exactly surprising, as there's probably no standard way to change the TV volume via some input cable, and doing it directly via the remote would mean you would have to program your Apple remote like you would do a universal remote -- i.e.: a pain in the butt.
  23. macrumors 65816


    Jun 23, 2003
    So. Cal.
    AppleTV will NEVER have DVR functionality. Get over it. It is what it is. Sure they may introduce new features as the device matures, but recording television will NEVER be one of them. Apple wants to be your source of content. They want to kill cable and satellite and DVD. Downloading content from iTunes is their business model. Period.
  24. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    No, but the output from the Apple TV could be adjusted. But Apple apparently elected to go with line-out audio, just like a DVD player, VCR, etc. Nobody expects their DVD player to have a separate volume control. Why should the Apple TV have one?
  25. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001

    "Also, the tiny, simple Apple remote control can't control the volume on either Apple TV or your TV set or audio receiver, so you have to keep reaching for the TV or audio receiver remote."

    This is not a big deal for home-theatre folk. Those people will program their Apple remote into their universal remote and throw the Apple remote away. :)


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