Apple TV "still a hobby" - Jobs


jaw04005

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
4,369
15
AR
What is Jobs’ problem with the Apple TV?

I guess he sees the Apple TV as a dying market since the set-top box business will likely be replaced by HDTVs with integrated media features (Netflix, Vuuduu, Amazon Box, etc) eventually.

But it seems like Jobs is drawing a line in the sand with TV show and movie content.

Apple hasn’t updated the Apple TV since it shipped in 2007. Jobs calls it a hobby. They haven’t updated Front Row since 2007. The current version of Front Row is based on Apple TV OS 1.0. Apple refuses to support Blu-ray. There’s no HDMI support on the Mac mini. And they won’t license FairPlay to other companies.

Their stance is just bizarre. Are they trying to make it as hard as possible to play iTunes content on your TV?

If Apple doesn’t do something soon, I’m done purchasing TV show and movie content from iTunes.

I’ll buy DVDs and Blu-rays and rip them with Handbrake. I’m not going to be tied to watching TV show and movie content just on my Mac and iPhone. You would think the living room would be one of Apple’s top priorities for iTunes content.
 

yancey47

macrumors regular
May 21, 2008
185
0
Drag. At least he didn't say it was being discontinued. Still think an update will happen.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
5,425
263
Home
It's a placemark, in stasis. iPad brings in the market and it comes more significant.

Nearly three years after its introduction, the Apple TV remains a hobby in the eyes of Apple. This view was confirmed by CEO Steve Jobs during a post-iPad Town Hall meeting among employees, where he reiterated that the company still views the set-top box as experimental.
It's hobby till it's not. Seeing as Apple didn't get the movie people agreeing prior to the iPad announcement, maybe we don't hear ATV updates till they've sorted that out. Or maybe not.

It covers an area for them. Seeing as they can come out with the iPad, why not?
 

Tilpots

macrumors 601
Apr 19, 2006
4,191
71
Carolina Beach, NC
Sad, but not surprised. When Apple can't rule the sandbox, they take their ball and go home. Luckily for us, they still make good computers, for now.
 

Tech-Minded

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2010
100
0
I guess he sees the Apple TV as a dying market since the set-top box business will likely be replaced by HDTVs with integrated media features (Netflix, Vuuduu, Amazon Box, etc) eventually.
You are probably right on that one. If they wanted to compete in such a market, they would have to make an Apple Television.

Though, since it it seems like integrated features such as those will only become mainstream in televisions in another several years, I don't see why Apple can't just put more focus on their current product.
 

suss2it

macrumors regular
Sep 9, 2009
176
0
It's such a shame because the Apple TV could have revolutionized the world of TV just like the iPod & iPhone each did in their respective markets.

If only the movies and TV shows in the iTunes store were 1080p and all had iTunes Extras the Apple TV would be perfect.

Speaking of, does anyone know why the iTunes store doesn't have 1080p movies? Apple does realize that it's a good thing hence why they offer their trailers in that, but for some reason not their movies?
 

BORIStheBLADE

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2008
138
0
Their stance is just bizarre. Are they trying to make it as hard as possible to play iTunes content on your TV?
I couldn't agree more. People will buy apple stuff for their living rooms, But not something 4 years old.

They are totally letting the streaming business slip right out of their hands.
 

jaw04005

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
4,369
15
AR
Sad, but not surprised. When Apple can't rule the sandbox, they take their ball and go home. Luckily for us, they still make good computers, for now.
What’s funny is Apple may very well be actually ruling the sandbox. According to some analysts, Apple TV has sold somewhere around 6.6 million units as of the end of 2009. Those numbers are conservative. We don’t know the official number because Apple refuses to disclose it.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/ByteOfTheApple/blog/archives/2009/08/munster_appletv.html

Many of those same analysts peg the $99 Roku box as Apple TV’s primary competitor with it having sold less than 1 million units. WDTV, Popcorn Hour and the other set-top boxes are still in the 100,000’s.

Of course, Boxee Box has yet to come, but personally I think it’ll suffer the same fate as the Popcorn Hour due to its $199 price point. Apple is about the only company that can get away with charging $200 for a set-top box. Not to mention, the Boxee software is available for free on both Mac and PC.
 

ayale99

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2007
334
143
I don't care what Steve says. Apple wants to be in the living room no matter what. If it doesn't come in the form of an AppleTV, it will be something else. Not a question of if but when. We will have TV's with Apps on them eventually.

Wasn't there talk of an Apple branded full size HDTV a while back?
 

NathanA

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
739
16
Can you imagine being such a success in other areas that when you had a product that was perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a flop, that you could just claim, "oh, well, it wasn't anything we were taking seriously anyway...it was just a 'hobby project' of ours," and people would get off your back? ;)

-- Nathan
 

fpnc

macrumors 68000
Oct 30, 2002
1,913
93
San Diego, CA
It's such a shame because the Apple TV could have revolutionized the world of TV just like the iPod & iPhone each did in their respective markets.

If only the movies and TV shows in the iTunes store were 1080p and all had iTunes Extras the Apple TV would be perfect.

Speaking of, does anyone know why the iTunes store doesn't have 1080p movies? Apple does realize that it's a good thing hence why they offer their trailers in that, but for some reason not their movies?
It's pretty simple, the infrastructure isn't ready for 1080p. Very few are going to wait an hour or more to download or begin playback on a 1080p movie. For the vast majority of users 720p is about all that their internet connections can handle. Besides that, it seems like the content providers are mainly interested in protecting their current cable, DVD, and Blu-ray distribution models and thus they (the content providers) really don't want internet-based delivery to succeed (at least not with any type of cost/quality parity -- i.e. iTunes movie rentals and TV show purchases are just too expensive right now).

Given the above, why should Apple rush to update the Apple TV hardware? The factors that will make or break the Apple TV are for the most part completely out of Apple's hands (internet infrastructure/bandwidth and the relatively high cost of the content). Note that Netflix's CEO says that it could be another three years before internet-based streaming becomes a majority delivery mechanism over physical discs (for Netflix, and Netflix is rumored to be the largest streaming provider in the business).

About the only reason I could see for Apple to update the Apple TV hardware is if a new design could increase Apple's margins (or if a new design could be sold for less while holding margins about the same -- possibly resulting in more unit sales and thus higher total profits). We might be getting close to that point, but I'm not expecting Apple to introduce a new design with radically different capabilities. In any case, 1080p decode might be possible without increasing costs or lowering margins, but I really don't expect Apple to offer content in that format so new hardware alone can't make the iTunes Store experience any better than what we have today.
 
It's pretty simple, the infrastructure isn't ready for 1080p. Very few are going to wait an hour or more to download or begin playback on a 1080p movie. For the vast majority of users 720p is about all that their internet connections can handle. Besides that, it seems like the content providers are mainly interested in protecting their current cable, DVD, and Blu-ray distribution models and thus they (the content providers) really don't want internet-based delivery to succeed (at least not with any type of cost/quality parity -- i.e. iTunes movie rentals and TV show purchases are just too expensive right now).

Given the above, why should Apple rush to update the Apple TV hardware? The factors that will make or break the Apple TV are for the most part completely out of Apple's hands (internet infrastructure/bandwidth and the relatively high cost of the content). Note that Netflix's CEO says that it could be another three years before internet-based streaming becomes a majority delivery mechanism over physical discs (for Netflix, and Netflix is rumored to be the largest streaming provider in the business).

About the only reason I could see for Apple to update the Apple TV hardware is if a new design could increase Apple's margins (or if a new design could be sold for less while holding margins about the same -- possibly resulting in more unit sales and thus higher total profits). We might be getting close to that point, but I'm not expecting Apple to introduce a new design with radically different capabilities. In any case, 1080p decode might be possible without increasing costs or lowering margins, but I really don't expect Apple to offer content in that format so new hardware alone can't make the iTunes Store experience any better than what we have today.
Generally, I can agree with these comments, though I'll differ a bit on the last one.

I see it a bit more harshly than presented here. These video-side producers fully or partially own music-side companies or are closely affiliated with the music side. They know very clearly what happens when you allow Apple to get too much hold over music, and they don't want the same thing to happen to their content. People will tout that Apple iTunes saved the music industry, but that industry would like nothing better than to get out from under Apple's tightly controlling thumb. These video-side players don't want the same fate.

The broadband capacity argument is a good one, though I offer that the owners of the pipes will not expand their pipes until they have to do so. Either they feel pressure of competition (which is unlikely since so many of us have 1- maybe 2- choices for broadband internet, (both) priced about the same for about the same speeds; as service monopolies- or pseudo monopolies, the established Goliaths will gobble up or crush any new competitors), OR they must feel the pain of revenue loss (people quitting their service in sufficient numbers that they have to do something; this is unlikely when they are the only (or 1 of 2) broadband game in town). To this point, I've made the case in similar threads that Apple should LEAD this charge, since they only have control over what they build. If there isn't greater demand for more bandwidth, there is little chance that such bandwidth will be created (as an example, look to the greater broadband created then filled with telephone VOIP service, or by the bandwidth freed up by converting analog television to digital, then filling that space with services like VOD; thus, even opportunities to expand bandwidth within existing pipes doesn't result in such bandwidth getting passed on to broadband service. Or, another way to say this is that additional bandwidth appears to be readily available, but it is allocated (in some cases you can see it in BUSINESS broadband packages offered through the same pipes... at higher prices of course) away to other revenue-generating services). So putting more demand on the system (with Apple making this move- the one Apple has total control over) seems like it would have to come BEFORE these related players play ball.

Similarly, there is NO reason whatsoever for any Studio to test the market demand for 1080p video via iTunes for :apple:TV until there are lots of :apple:TVs in homes that can play 1080p video. It is IMPOSSIBLE for them to even find out if there is a big market for 1080p video for :apple:TV as long as there is no such :apple:TV hardware on which to play it. It's not hard to imagine video-industry executives even wanting to test this likely cheaper distribution medium (as opposed to printing discs & packaging and giving a big cut to Walmart, distributors, shippers, etc). But they can't even find out if this is a profitable alternative until there are lots of 1080p :apple:TVs in homes.

It is for these kinds of reasons that this "chicken & egg" situation probably must be resolved by Apple making the move to 1080p hardware. And by promoting this hobby to a more mainstream focus, they can push a 1080p :apple:TV into many more living rooms. With entrenchment of each additional unit, the lure for potential profit will tempt every Studio to consider testing 1080p iTunes content. With success, the iTunes Store could quickly deliver an enhanced experience.

We don't have millions of songs available in iTunes because 6 Million iPod units have been sold. It was selling tens of millions of iPods that enticed every Studio to want to have their product in iTunes, and almost every musician to find a way to get their songs there too. The Studios don't want DRM-Free music, but they had to go there (too) because that's what the market demanded. Since that market is mostly iPod owners, they had to play ball with Apple.

Similarly, if Apple would build the :apple:TV that the mass market wants- not one that is 3+ years old that can just barely play back a minimal version of HD video- and then push it as an iPod for your TV, with similar levels of entrenchment comes (video-side) Studio support. With numbers, the lure of potential profits will motivate at least one Studio to test 1080p content, and success (profit) will motivate the others to (quickly) follow. Stick with a 720p :apple:TV platform and it is IMPOSSIBLE to even test the profitability of 1080p content on :apple:TV. Thus waiting for the content to come BEFORE the hardware is putting the cart before the horse.

Hobby or not- Apple should LEAD the way. It is the ONLY way to get the other players to step up and deliver their parts. Waiting for those others to move first means almost never getting there.
 

dont24

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2005
241
2
Northeast
How many people buy an Apple TV with renting or buying movies from iTunes at the top of their list? Not many I'll bet. Look at what Dish charges for their 1080p offerings. Can't compete with Netflix or Redbox. ( if you happen to have one that dispenses BR movies in your area ) I'm looking to purchase an Apple TV soon. Will not rent/buy a single movie or TV show.
 

randy98mtu

macrumors 65816
Mar 4, 2009
1,419
113
Glad to hear that since I gave up waiting yesterday and bought a Mini. If I bought it and they announced a new ATV the next day, I'd be a bit bummed.

I also believe they will still update the ATV at some point. They may be waiting for infrastructure for 1080p volumes of data. Maybe they are working on content providers, though it seems they like to present the device, then bring in the content. Who knows? I'm done waiting though.
 

themoonisdown09

macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
4,312
15
Georgia, USA
I’ll buy DVDs and Blu-rays and rip them with Handbrake. I’m not going to be tied to watching TV show and movie content just on my Mac and iPhone. You would think the living room would be one of Apple’s top priorities for iTunes content.
That's what I do anyways. I can't see myself paying for digital-only movies... at least not right now. I love the fact that I can buy a DVD, rip it with Handbrake, and put it on as many of my devices as I want and not be restricted at all.

As it is now, I feel better using my PlayStation 3 (using MediaLink) to stream movies and music from my iMac to my HDTV.

Gut feeling is that the Mac Mini and Apple TV will be combined in the future.

Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.
I've been wanting this to happen for a while.
 

dont24

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2005
241
2
Northeast
Was at or near the top for me...so I could dump DirecTV. :D
I stand corrected :) *Did you dump Direct? Seems like it'd be more expensive in the long run renting TV shows and movies from iTunes. I hardly ever watch a movie more than once. Have all the premium movie channels from Dish. I'm looking at an ATV to play music, photos, and home movies in the living room. My 4 season room is wired for sound off my main system. The ability to use the Remote App on my touch and control the ATV from that room is very appealing. I plan to check out patchstick and see what else I can do with it. Sorry Steve, I'll buy your music but will not rent any movies or tv shows. He needs to realize people want these type of devices in their living rooms to do much more than rent over priced shows and movies. You can't compete with Netflix and Redbox.
 

mstrze

macrumors 68000
Nov 6, 2009
1,916
0
I stand corrected :) *Did you dump Direct? Seems like it'd be more expensive in the long run renting TV shows and movies from iTunes. I hardly ever watch a movie more than once. Have all the premium movie channels from Dish. I'm looking at an ATV to play music, photos, and home movies in the living room. My 4 season room is wired for sound off my main system. The ability to use the Remote App on my touch and control the ATV from that room is very appealing. I plan to check out patchstick and see what else I can do with it. Sorry Steve, I'll buy your music but will not rent any movies or tv shows. He needs to realize people want these type of devices in their living rooms to do much more than rent over priced shows and movies.
Well, instead of paying 85 bucks a month I have paid about $150 bucks total for complete seasons of our favorite shows....a one-time purchase. We also watch many not-so-favs over-the-air in HD. So far, 6-months later, we are hundreds ahead of the game.

I also don't have a BluRay player and prob won't buy one anytime soon and rent movies once or twice a month in all their HD glory. Again...still saving hundreds in the last 6 months compared to having DirecTV (or Dish in your case).

Heck, with all the premium channels on Dish that you have I assume you are paying closer to twice what my monthly cost was, so your cost savings would be even greater than mine.
 

BORIStheBLADE

macrumors regular
Jun 15, 2008
138
0
Gut feeling is that the Mac Mini and Apple TV will be combined in the future.

Maybe just wishful thinking on my part.

I don't think anyone would mind this, but with the prices of the mini's compared to the rest of the streamers it would be way over priced. Unless they made a stripped down one as the entry level..... time will tell.:cool:
 

randy98mtu

macrumors 65816
Mar 4, 2009
1,419
113
Well, instead of paying 85 bucks a month I have paid about $150 bucks total for complete seasons of our favorite shows....a one-time purchase. We also watch many not-so-favs over-the-air in HD. So far, 6-months later, we are hundreds ahead of the game.

I also don't have a BluRay player and prob won't buy one anytime soon and rent movies once or twice a month in all their HD glory. Again...still saving hundreds in the last 6 months compared to having DirecTV (or Dish in your case).

Heck, with all the premium channels on Dish that you have I assume you are paying closer to twice what my monthly cost was, so your cost savings would be even greater than mine.
That's my thought, but the wife won't let me drop Dish. She loves her MTV, Food Network and HGTV too much. We have it all on for background most of the time. I haven't pushed too hard yet because we are still under contract, but I see the same potential for massive savings even if we bought more than our favorite shows.
 

dont24

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2005
241
2
Northeast
Heck, with all the premium channels on Dish that you have I assume you are paying closer to twice what my monthly cost was, so your cost savings would be even greater than mine.
Don't remind me :( The premiums are ~$40 a month. With Dish raising the damn receiver fees, I'm thinking about dropping a dvr and the premiums, grab a standalone BR player and start using Netflix again. Unless I can find a Redbox that has BR in my area.