What happened--Apple's bastard child?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Frisco, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Jersey
    #1
    Ask Jobs about Apple TV and he'd do a double take, "what's that?" I know his excuse it's only a hobby, but Apple gave up on it way to quickly--very little marketing, etc.

    When originally released it had its issues and they have had some minor updates, but if they were really focused they could have done so much more.

    Is Apple TV--Apple's bastard child?
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    TRAG

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    #2
    I think it is. And it's messed up because I here so many good things about it. But … for every good thing there are bad. Many people hack it, use a Mac mini as an HTPC, ATV can't play 1080p (retarded)(probably due to the size of the file), and the list goes on. I have no idea why they didn't market this thing. Never even saw a commercial …

    I personally want an ATV, but can't see myself getting one until it offers you to connect an external HD for more media without hacking. Not because I download movies and TV shows. I only get music videos because iTMS is a great pace to get music videos at a good quality. [If anyone knows of a better place please let me know.] I rip DVDs and play VIDEO_TS files on the fly. But I just do not think for a second that downloading will take over. Not a chance. Blu-ray has a better chance at being in Macs. There is just nothing better than having hard, tangible media in your hands that won't disappear with a HD failure. With that being said, the ATV is only desired by few people.

    But still, with aTV Flash, I could be a happy camper. I might take the plunge. It hasn't been updated in 2 years. Maybe it will soon … :confused:
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    #3
    Untether it from iTunes, remove gimped functionality, and open it up to play common formats that everyone uses and that would go along way. Their support for buying movies on it definitely helped. However, most people don't have a 3 Mbps download connection. Steve kept saying they've listened to what people wanted in the latest version. Well Steve, make it practical and cost effective as a cable replacement, now you have a product that sells.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    #4
    I love my AppleTV

    I really enjoy my AppleTV... it's extremely simple/user-friendly and has an elegant user interface. I've synced all my music/photos to it and when friends come over I play music while the screen saver rotates through my photos (great conversation starter). I have a 1TB drive on my mac so I ripped all my ~250 DVDs to my HD and stream it to my AppleTV. It's awesome to have instant access to so many movies...no disk-swapping. I also have my mac backed up with Time Machine so I feel safe about having my files in a digital format. I also have the elgato TV tuner which I use to record shows and automatically push them to the AppleTV. Lastly, I can use my iPhone as a remote for the AppleTV...this is really great b/c I have some speakers on my porch so I can change songs/adjust volume while I'm sitting outside...all via wifi. :)

    All my friends who come over are impressed and amazed by the power of the AppleTV. The shame is that because there hasn't been a marketing push, nobody knows that it even exists.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    Saladinos

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    #5
    Apple wanted the AppleTV to replace your DVD player, but there's a design flaw in that respect: it doesn't play DVDs. If you did want to do things as Apple intended, you'd have to throw out all your DVDs and buy your content again from the iTunes Store. For most people, that's simply unacceptable.

    The product isn't totally unsalvageable: add a DVD drive and lower the prices and it'll be workable. If it did play DVDs, I'd buy one in a snap. I simply don't have enough digital content to justify a box for that alone. The vast majority of us are still in a physical to digital transition (if we own any digital content at all), and the AppleTV is not a transition device -- it's a digital media only device.

    If they added a Blu-Ray drive, they could position a model as a HD media device rather than a digital media device. That could allow it to grain more traction.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    Santa Rosa

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    Indiana
    #6
    Make it a high quality freeview box as well as an Apple TV and they would have a sale from me.

    It is a shame that they seem to be letting it stagnate a bit, September iPod event though, you never know what they might be cooking up.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #7
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you want this thing flying off of the shelves, simply enable iTunes to rip and encode a DVD. Done. Can't build enough. Everyone who comes over to my house and sees 500+ movies and 600+TV shows at my fingertips (from my collection, I might add) wants the same thing for their DVDs. The problem is, when they see the workflow, despite how simple it is, it mellows their enthusiasm. Automate that via itunes, and this thing becomes a sales winner. Do it with Blu-ray, and suddenly you've just given the Blu-ray format a big boost as well. But I can gaurantee on thing - the MPAA is much too stupid and backwards to do this.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #8
    If only iTunes just had the DVD copy feature and made it mainstream. I think it is 8 Track Tape of the 90's.
     
  9. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #9
    ...how long did it take for the mini to be updated?

    Maybe the ATV is on the same time line...:eek:
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    skinnylegs

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    #10
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    #11
    I agree

    I agree. Isn't RealDVD or somebody in a lawsuit with the MPAA about this feature? If they win the case then it may give Apple the opportunity to do that with iTunes (although they may make their content providers angry...they'll probably threaten to remove what few movies they do have in the iTunes store if Apple enables ripping). :(
     
  12. macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #12
    Ripping DVD
    Blu-ray support

    Someone wake these guys up from this dream. These aren't going to happen and both are out of Apple's control.

    If the next Apple TV supports 1080p and is cheaper it'll sell like hotcakes. I already have a DVD player I don't need one in the Apple TV. It doesn't have to be all things to all people.

    The software could get smarter as well if you have multiple TV. I'm guessing you could do what Tivo does and be able to watch a movie in the living room and then send it to the bedroom to finish.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    chelseasian

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Location:
    New York, NY (Chelsea)
    #13
    It's interesting that the TV output from AppleTV can be 1080p but the video files only go as far as 720p. I do enjoy my ATV but I do wish Apple will at least offer a 3.0 software update or something. It's been eons since.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    Leeds UK
    #14
    I think we'll see another software update to the AppleTV at the annual iPod event that Apple has.

    The killer app for this thing is being able use things like Hulu and BBC iPlayer, like you can with YouTube now.

    A smart move for Apple to make would be to create a AppleTV SDK and App Store. That way, they can outmaneuver people like MS and Sony by having a big group of developers rapidly add functionality to the AppleTV through 3rd party app's.

    Think how long it's taken MS to get stuff like Last.fm and FaceBook onto the 360, and now think how quickly those guys got their apps onto the iPhone.

    Apple needs to learn from it's success with the iPhone, and repeat it with the AppleTV.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    #15
    Ripping DVDs unfortunately is. Blu-ray support is completely within Apple's control, they just don't feel like implementing it.
     
  16. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #16
    Hulu doesn't want its app to be used with your TV, its strictly for supplemental viewing on your laptop and PC. Since the Apple 'TV'! is for your TV, good luck in ever seeing it on there.

    And I'm not sure why getting 1080P viewable would help sell them. Consumers don't care about 1080P. The fact is that the ATV is yet another box that doesn't have much value add. Consumers already have a cable box and DVD player under their TV, they dont want another.
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #17
    I think AV is far more than a hobby, but they're gimped by the MPAA/studios.

    The RIAA allowed Apple to distribute digital music files with DRM, so I can imagine it wouldn't be too hard to persuade the MPAA to allow DVDs to be ripped so long as the resultant file was DRM'd too - but of course Apple want you to rent/buy the film from them, so until they realise that people don't want to rebuy their collections I can't see this appearing. The ATV preset in Handbrake really is pretty fool-proof for most discs so with a bit more fine-tuning on the gui end (ie help with multiple soundtracks and soft-subs for people who get nervous at phrases like "patch" or "command line") that could indeed be a one-stop app for ripping.

    1080p looks like being the dominant format for the foreseeable future so the next version of the ATV should at least support it, even if films at that resolution come later.

    Internal drives will always fill up and be superseeded by larger models. I'd like to see the future ATV with 16 GB or so of flash/SSD for the OS/buffering and a replaceable HDD so it could function without a HDD as a pure streamer or users could upgrade the drives over time.

    On the software side, the interface is really good (bar the odd caching/slowdown problem), but an App store (more likely, a widget store) to allow Hulu and iPlayer apps to be provided by 3rd parties if they want to would be really good. The whole point of the ATV is to stream files, so the obvious thing is to allow streaming from NAS units meaning you don't have to leave your mac on but how about also being able to stream from ATV to ATV if you have more than one - this could also function as a WiFi backup for the disks - seeing as they are always on. Building on this always on feature, how about adding airport express functionality - ie the ATV acts as a wireless bridge and further items (eg Xbox 360) can connect to the network port and join the WiFi network.

    Finally, Apple need to finally move away from the idea of having files stored on one computer - allow the ATV to act as a media server and adapt computer software to keep up (ie in iTunes X and iPhoto X your libraries are on a shared drive) - they could even market it buy saying - the more ATVs you buy, the more backups you have!

    The current model could be marketed as a pure streamer - I'm sure most people would hang on to theirs for a secondary TV, but I'm sure it could be soft-updated to include some new features (such as widgets, AP express features and ATV-ATV/ATV-computer streaming).

    Like the Mac Mini before it, it's not dead...I can imagine heated debates between Apple and the movie studios are raging as we speak.
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    skinnylegs

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    #18
    IMHO, one way to increase enthusiasm for ATV is to interface it with the iPhone. In other words, Apple would need to have an ATV update that includes iPhone OS 3.0 on the ATV (easy enough) and allow the iPhone to essentially work as a remote control. Wouldn't it be cool to have Safari and text messaging and email and all of the other features of your iPhone on your widescreen LCD in the living room? :D
     
  19. macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #19
    This is a good idea.

    Apple has a lot of room for growth here. They really don't need to do Hulu or Netflix because those features are being integrated into TV and Blu-ray players.

    They should deliver an Apple media server that can send out streams to multiple ATV and centralize the storage. This would allow Apple to ship a low cost ATV with 8GB of NAND for buffering.

    They should have some sort of routing features a la Sonos where you can zone parts of your home and play different music in each zone all controlled by a master iPhone/iPod Touch

    The ATV should allow for light gaming as well.

    Take the guts of the current iPhone and add some specific decoders for 1080p playback and voila you have a nice low energy consuming device that can be delivered cheaply yet still be an effective multimedia device.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    skinnylegs

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    #20
    Exactly!

    I also envision being able to run OS 3.0 in window mode which would effectively allow you to continue watching whatever it is you are watching while doing something like texting or checking the weather in a window.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #21
    I bought my AppleTV about a year and a half ago and recently sold it. I decided I couldn't live with its limitations any longer and Apple doesn't seem to have any desire to actually improve the device.

    I bought a used 3.4GHz Pentium 4 HT microATX desktop computer and upgraded it with 2 gigs of RAM, ATI Radeon 2400HD video card, Soundblaster Audigy 7.1 surround sound card, and full wireless keyboard with built-in trackball. It came with a 400GB hard drive and dual layer DVD burner. Total cost: $200. Less than the price of an AppleTV.

    The difference in user experience is incredible. Boxee on AppleTV was unbearably slow, almost to the point of being unwatchable. Boxee on my HTPC is an absolte thrill. I've had zero problems getting Boxee to play with the video and sound cards. I installed a 1TB internal hard drive and copied all of my video files to it, clearing lots of valueable space on my iMac. I can easily run iTunes to stream music files and download and rent movies from the iTunes store. And since it has a full web browser, I can access things like ABC's online HD programming as well as HULU's HD library. I can also access full netflix. I can play DVDs in the DVD drive without having to rip them. 1080p support. All of this without having to do any hacking, patchsticks, or anything else like that.

    Selling my AppleTV and replacing it with an HTPC was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and it has substantially improved my home theater experience. AppleTV's main limitations are lack of full web browser and unbearably slow speed. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Apple is interested in breathing life into a fading platform :(
     
  22. macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #22
    I certainly do not think Apple's going after the HTPC crowd. The Mac mini in the hands of a skilled home theater nut can accomplish that.

    They need something that is distinctly "not" a computer. No fans, no desktop just a simple appliance that works with iTunes content and supports 3rd party codecs to a point.

    I'm a bit different that many. I don't generally watch a bunch of TV shows I'm more of a movie fan so Hulu or Boxee isn't all that appealing to me. Now that HD camcorders are fairly cheap and plentiful and iMovie 09 can edit them nicely I'm interested in viewing my own content in HD.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    skinnylegs

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    #23
    You're not alone.....
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    TRAG

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    #24
    If it had more apps like Comedy Central, Hulu, CNet, Netflix, The Colbert Repoer etc (basically everything that Plex can do) I'd be all over one. And the ability to play VIDEO_TS files.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #25
    Apple has said they are going to continue investing in it...I think that it is getting an update before the end of the year...it's long overdue.
     

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