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More evidence ATV is fast becoming abandonware

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dmm219, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502

    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."
  2. macrumors 601


    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/article..._tv_as_cable_set_top_box_apple_exec_says.html
  3. macrumors 6502

    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.
  4. macrumors regular


    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.
  5. macrumors 601


    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.
  6. macrumors 65816

    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.
  7. macrumors 68020

    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.
  8. macrumors 601


    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.

    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.
  9. macrumors 68040

    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);)
  10. macrumors 65816

    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.
  11. macrumors 68020


    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.
  12. macrumors 68020

    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.
  13. macrumors 601


    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.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    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.
  15. macrumors 601

    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.
  16. macrumors 601


    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.
  17. macrumors 68000

    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.
  18. macrumors 68020

    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.

    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).
  19. macrumors 68000

    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.
  20. macrumors 601

    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.

    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.
  21. macrumors 68000

    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.
  22. macrumors regular

    Apple should purchase Dish Network for $4 billion

    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!
  23. macrumors 601


    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.
  24. macrumors 601

    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).
  25. macrumors demi-god

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

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