Apple TV's Future?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hawkeye126, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. hawkeye126 macrumors newbie

    Dec 8, 2009
    Is apple planning on keeping the Apple TV line? I think they need to add a DVR and a blue ray player as well. I'm sure apple could take over this market as well. Comments?
  2. gibbz macrumors 68030

    May 31, 2007
    I don't think they know what they want to do with it.
  3. JonHimself macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    If you're in Apple position - you're Steve Jobs - explain why you would put a DVR and a Blu ray player in the Apple TV.
  4. Nedman42 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2009
    my 2 cents

    My thoughts are that Sony and Toshiba's war for format was much money wasted. Whereas the DVD format was able to survive in the consumer market for 15+ years, today's options for media now has on-demand "soft" services that require (at the minimum) a home computer.

    Other than the obvious audiophlies demands, 90% of the buying public can take advantage of on-demand services today without spending hundreds of dollars for another play device.

    I submit that blu-ray will not have the staying power of it's predecessor. A similar situation is that of the CD.
  5. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    More importantly, how do you then keep the price point below $200, which is really what they have to do to keep this thing going. DVR I can see, but not Bluray. The whole point is to get away from disks - if you want disks, you encode them with your PC and put them into iTunes. That's the Apple model.

    I'm ok with the Apple model, I just wish they had some sort of home media server option instead of duplicating everything on multiple hard drives. Of course, Apple's vision is that everything resides on a single computer and is served out from there - more problematic now that portables are so dominant.
  6. Nedman42 macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2009
    Apple needed to work with the constraints and demands of the entertainment industry and DRM, thus their model. Those rules are quickly disappearing or being reworked and future distribution models will benefit us all.

    I think the next model of ATV or media device from Apple will have new and exciting population and management tools.
  7. randrade macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2008
    Tampa, Fl.
    my 2 cents....they need to update the drive...again.

    Also they should allow a hulu/netflix. a monthly usage service.

    a DVR would be a nice add on feature.
  8. mhdena macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2009
    My advice is to utilize the DVR you get with your cable or Satellite or a stand alone dvr like dish pal for over the air programs.

    What would an apple dvr record? They will never make one for other people's content (can't blame them). After all they sell episodes of tv shows.

    Or are you wanting to pay per episode recorded use of a dvr? like itunes music?
  9. ziggyonice macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2006
    Rural America
    Get iTunes a monthly subscription-based service for movie rentals that can compete with Netflix.

    Or buy Netflix.
  10. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Hulu has said they can’t be on set top boxes because it competes with their owners' (NBC, Fox, Disney) main source of revenue (broadcast advertising and cable subscriptions).

    Hulu will never happen unless they offer some type of premium subscription service.

    Set top boxes that offer Hulu are doing so by tricking Hulu’s Web site into thinking they’re just a regular PC. Same with a lot of the Netflix streaming boxes too. In fact, even Google is starting to crackdown on set top boxes like Popcorn Hour that use their YouTube API without permission.
  11. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2008
    I'm thinking that the AppleTV development is very much alive and kicking and Apple knows what it wants to do with it. The problems is getting the agreements in place with the content owners.

    If you think about it, why update it now when an agreement with with the providers may be six months away instead of using even better hardware in 6 months time (better means more powerful and/or cheaper and/or small/less heat and power). The release of 3.0 seems to be further proof - I mean why would Apple "waste" all the development time to produce a software update that actually does very little different from the previous version on a product that was about to be discontinued. The only thing I can't answer is why they didn't add a 250 or 320GB option as the IDE disks are readily available.

    I have no experience of Hulu as we can't use them in the UK, but over here our TV networks are championing the use of "catch-up" services - programs are only available online for 7 days after airing, so there shouldn't really be that much of a problem adding them on to a future product. In fact the BBC are trying to get their iPlayer onto as many boxes as possible - Wii and PS3 have their own apps and it's being rolled out to satellite and DVB-T2 boxes at the moment.
  12. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Amen. I'm really tempted to pick up a Patriot Box Office box to replace my :apple:TV. All I would lose is iTunes purchased video, which I can get by connecting one of the laptops to the TV. (Ultimately, I think I'm still headed to a Mac mini permanently connected to my HDTV).

    The Patriot box seems well worth the $99 (after MIR) for streaming only, and I can add a 500 GB 2.5" drive later and still stay below $200.

  13. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I used a WDTV for awhile and while it plays everything the interface is just not very usable. I'm perfectly happy with my ATV as it Now Stands 720p encodes for TV Shows works well. I've encoded many of my Blu Rays and they look fantastic on my 46in Bravia. Regular DVD Upconverts well. I get accesss to all my TV Sets at the click of a button all layed out neat and clean. I can buy and Rent Itunes content if I opt to.

    If I were to put a new ATV Out I would of course put a new processor in it, make it 1080p capable. Take out the Hard Drive all together, would would eliminate alot of the Heat. Make it a strict Streaming Box from Itunes. I would Jump at an Itunes TV Pass Sub program, and make it easy to convert any of those subbed vids to own if I wish for a nominal charge.

    There is no need for a Blu ray drive, or DVR at all. Make the Interface a bit more customizable. Add an App store where you could buy widgets to do all sorts of things.

    Just A Few Suggestions. But if apple does nothing I still Love my ATV.
  14. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Because I (if I'm Steve Jobs) am in the business of selling hardware, and the market wants to buy a BD player anyway. So if I build a next-gen :apple:TV platform with an OPTION for a BD player, all those people that are going to buy a BD player anyway can instead opt for ONE box from Apple that will cover both bases. Sure, (being Steve Jobs) I want the world to want to buy discless content via iTunes, but trying to force that part of my will on the world is not getting a lot of :apple:TVs into the marketplace. So, much like "my" original iPods could work with mp3 and CDs (not making people buy the music they already owned on CDs again) which helped me eventually dominate the music player space and move much of that following to routinely buy subsequent content from iTunes (as I want them to do), the more :apple:TVs I can inject into the market, the faster those people can discover that instead of having to go to the store to buy a BD disc to watch that latest movie, they can just download it (right now) from iTunes, eventually making the BD OPTION fade to obscurity. Plus, if I can inject an :apple:TV into every home much like an ipod in every pocket, the MOVIE & TV studios will be under increasing pressure to sell their content through iTunes at full 1080 HD resolutions.

    I offer a DVR OPTION for the very same reason- to entrench more :apple:TVs for those who want their :apple:TV to also offer DVR functionality. Sure, I would rather they buy ALL of the same content they are getting from their cable or satt subscription from iTunes, but I can sell more :apple:TV hardware by giving the market what it wants- NOT trying to force the market to want it the way "I" want them to want it. Again, an entrenched :apple:TV in every home would give "me" more bargaining power with the studios, so that I could eventually make the iTunes video side ever more appealing, probably making the DVR functionality practically obsolete over time. But since my market pretty much already pays for cable/satt and are unlikely to buy (again) some of that content they are already getting from those sources, if I give them a DVR option now, I can sell them my :apple:TV now, then leverage its connection to iTunes to phase out the use of that DVR over time. That way, I still get the market to the ultimate destination, only faster than waiting for the world to somehow magically come around to that model on its own.

    Being "Steve Jobs", my business is not about selling iTunes content: iTunes exists to help me sell more HARDWARE. So, if I offer hardware features that the market SAYS IT WANTS TO BUY, I can create those as options for those who want them (much like "my" Macs have options for expanding their functionality beyond the stock units I sell) and thus, SELL MORE HARDWARE.

    Or, I can stubbornly stick to this idea of wanting the market to want it the way I want them to want it, NOT entrench :apple:TVs into every home and thus NOT sell a lot of :apple:TV hardware. In the meantime, my Consumer Electronics competitors will be happy to keep taking all that money buying BD players and DVRs while I choose to NOT compete with them because "my" way is THE way of the future.

    The solution is simple:
    1. build a next-gen :apple:TV with a basic, futureproof hardware platform capable of playing back "full" 1080p HD video (we know from other products in the marketplace that that can be done at prices well below the current price of the :apple:TV "as is" now). :apple:TV is long past due for a hardware update anyway, and the lack of capability above "handicapped" 720 is what is holding back a number of buyers now
    2. Make it have "open" options if Apple doesn't want to offer BD or DVR options in the stock unit themselves, leaving such solutions for other companies (like Elgato). That way those people that won't buy an :apple:TV until they can get those features will have a way to get what they want, and those people who don't want to pay for features that fall outside of the iTunes ecosystem won't have to pay more for features they don't want. Win:win.

    If I'm Steve Jobs, I look at the massive success of the "open" iPhone/iPod Touch, App Store, etc and apply the same solution to my "hobby"... the :apple:TV, with an update to the base platform to make it so that it is perceived to be as 1080p capable as many other (some cheaper) players on the market. Then, I can market it- and it's own app store- much like I market the iPhone/iPod Touch now, and take big bites out of the sales of stand alone BD and DVR players by showing that it has OPTIONS so it can be "one box to rule them all". Innovative developers will extend such an :apple:TV beyond what even "I" can imagine it to be, keeping it in the news and making it an ever more compelling proposition for everyone to add it to their AV stack. I'll sell a lot more :apple:TV hardware that way. And then my "hobby" will finally become a major (fourth) leg supporting the Apple table.

    I have an :apple:TV and it is great. But the above next-gen should have been released about 12-18 months ago, yet its almost never too late to get this (finally) right.

    Lastly, if I was Steve Jobs, I would take this next-gen :apple:TV to CES and steal that show like some January MacWorlds used to steal some of the thunder- and press- from CES in years past. A 1080p capable, open, next-gen Apple TV with app store would dominate the CE space like the iPhone is building domination of the smart phone space. This is well within Apple's grasp. It's only a matter of summoning up the will to deliver what the market wants, rather than trying to make the market want it the way "we" want them to want it.
  15. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    I'm thinking the direction Apple wants to take with the ATV is not one of physical media but rather streaming and downloadable media. For that reason alone, I don't think we're going to see a DVR or Blu-Ray on the device.

    Why allow you to play a movie you rented elsewhere when Apple gives you the option to rent it? Why would you need a DVR when you can just purchase a TV show and watch it whenever you want?

    The idea I'm most intrigued by is the rumored subscription service that would allow you a la carte television downloads for $XX/month. That could almost replace cable. The only other thing they'd need to provide would be some sort of option for live streaming TV networks (i.e. news networks, local TV, and sports events).

    I'm guessing if Apple can't work out a subscription deal with content providers, that they will quietly pull an Old Yeller on the device.
  16. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Don't forget to remove the internal power supply and use an external power brick, Airport Extreme style. Give the Time Capsule an iTunes compatible media server/collector (like the HP Mediasmart Home Servers) and we're in business.

    My biggest problem with the :apple:TV is that it is not designed to sleep unlike every other Home Theater device (with the notable exception of PVRs). If I had a Mac mini hooked up to my TV 90% of the time it would be in sleep mode just waiting to be awakened. As it stands today, all the :apple:TV does 90% of the time is dissipate heat.

    Heat is the main reason my :apple:TV is not currently hooked up. If I keep in in the closed cabinet where it belongs, it generates so much heat along with the always on TiVo HD XL that the :apple:TV overheats and locks up. I have no open shelf space for it, but I guess I could probably mount it to the wall with one of these:

  17. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Exactly. The fight over the HD disk format was ridiculous on many levels, but mostly because hard media is a dying format. Eventually, most people will view most of their media from "on demand" streaming services, or buy it as a soft copy. Some people will still buy disks only, and some people will have a mixture of hard and soft media but, as the dominant medium, disks are a short term proposition.

    To be honest, I see no reason for Apple TV to have a big hard drive. It streams so effortlessly from a Mac or PC now, even when watching a rented HD movie (which is downloading as it's streaming), that an on board drive is only really necessary for buffering. I'd like to see the HDD nixed for a flash drive of circa 40GB, which eliminates a lot of the heat and power usage issues, and is plenty for buffering a streamed movie. With wake on network capability now built into Macs, this should be a no-brainer. It also would go some way to reducing the unit's cost

    However, they need to up its capability to 1080p. I realise that it's not practical to download a 1080p movie currently, but there's no reason for Apple TV not to be able to play it, if it's streamed from a Mac or PC. That way, even if you have a movie in disk format only, you would be able to stream it from your Blu Ray-equipped Mac or PC. Further, any hard copies can be ripped in native 1080p format for viewing via Apple TV. I realise that this goes a little against my assertion above, but such capability would be valuable during the transition from hard to soft media, giving Apple TV a foot planted firmly in both camps.
  18. ddh716 macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2009
    "If I'm Steve Jobs"

    If you're Steve Jobs, you are in the hardware AND content business. AppleTV is about selling content (which may explain why there is no apparent rush to upgrade the hardware). I agree with Daryl that Apple is in the hardware business - but not with this product. No reason to encourage AppleTV users to buy BluRay discs instead of buying content from the iTunes store. Apple TV is a "sell it cheap - make your money on the content" product.
  19. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Can't make much money in this model unless you have a ton of :apple:TVs in homes. Can't get the mass market interested in buying an :apple:TV if it doesn't have the features that make them open their wallets.

    What is going to sell more units this (and next) Christmas: :apple:TVs or BD players and/or TIVO/DVRs? If hardware BUYERS are going to spend money anyway...

    Apple can make a ton of money by building the next-gen :apple:TV we all know they can build, sticking with their (we're a hardware company) model, and taking 30% of app store sales. They'll get the content sales anyway- only more content revenue because more people will own an :apple:TV and thus buy more itunes content.

    Even if Apple is seeing :apple:TV as a "sell it cheap - make your money on the content" product, that doesn't seem to be working very well, so maybe they should try something else (more familiar to their normal drive (to sell hardware))?
  20. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009

    Steve Jobs really didn't care that 'everybody' needed a physical floppy disc drive in their computers when he created the first iMac without one...turns out he was right and that technology was out the door....even though no one seemed to realize it yet. ;)

    I agree with most that a BluRay option on an AppleTV unit will not happen, but a DVR with a tuner may. BluRay is likely to become the new storage optical drive of choice...but unsure how long that will last honestly before something more impressive comes along.

    The only way I will buy a BluRay drive is if my current DVD player/burner goes belly-up and I can find one for under $150 with burning capability. Otherwise, I am fine with my current situation of viewing 720P on my 42" LCD thorugh AppleTV or my large collection of DVDs which look great (IMHO) on the TV without any upconverting. And if I buy a BluRay player, I don't expect to buy many movies unless they are cheap....and in line with what I can get them for on iTunes.

    I am one of those people who don't want to have to deal with clutter anymore. Life is too short to lug around all this stuff! :)

    (Now if I can just get enough 'gumption' to rip my DVD and Laser Disc (I know, I know) collection (120 discs) into iTunes...I will be much better off. LOL)
  21. fpnc macrumors 68000

    Oct 30, 2002
    San Diego, CA
    If you remove the hard drive how is it going to support standalone operation with your own content (purchased movies/TV shows, CD rips, home video, pictures, etc.). Yes, they could use flash memory but that would be more expensive and/or severely limit the amount of content you could store on the device. Then again, they could just stream everything from your PC/Mac, but that would be a definite step-back in the quality of the product (IMO).

    In any case, if you're going to have local storage for your purchased content then it almost has to be internal to the device since the media companies want a completely closed device to try and prevent piracy of their HD content. In fact, this may be the reason why the Apple TV's USB port has never been enabled for external storage.
  22. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    But that's one of the problems with the current :apple:TV. It's just not all that compelling for standalone use for video when limited to a 40 or 160 GB PATA HDD with no expansion capabilities. 160 GB of video is only 20 full length DVDs assuming no further compression. Maybe if you could use it as a sync point/dock with your iPod/iPhone, but you can't.

    You may be right about the USB port, but there are inactive USB and/or firewire ports on lots of AV equipment, which are there either by legal mandate or for other "diagnostic/future use" reasons.

    Also, the media companies don't seem to be trying to shut down HP/Microsoft and their line of Mediasmart Windows Home Servers which are perfectly capable of streaming tons of HD video to any client (Mac/PC, Xbox 360/PS3, TiVo or WDTV/Patriot Box Office, iPhone/iPod touch) in your house.

  23. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    The Apple TV's job is to stream and sync content from an iTunes library to your HDTV. It's not meant to be a standalone set top box, or to be a Blu-Ray player or DVR. It's meant to be an extension of your PC running iTunes. More features would be nice, but they aren't necessary, since the ATV does what its supposed to pretty well.

    But Apple isn't expecting people to rip DVD VOB files to place them on the device. A movie with H.264 compression is only 1 - 2 gigs, roughly. So you're looking at 80 - 100 or even more movies on a device.

    And because its integrated with iTunes, its not meant to house your entire digital collection (though with many homes, I'm sure it can). It's meant to sync material and stream material from your main library.

    I'm probably in the minority, but I sync nothing to my ATV. I just stream. And as long as my PC is on, my entire iTunes library is on my HDTV at any given time.
  24. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    You've hit the nail on the head. It's an iTunes storefront and it's flawed. Most people don't want this. It's a failure for the mainstream consumer and even for many Apple fanboys.

    HobeSoundDarryl is correct on almost every point.
  25. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Let me reframe my point. I agree that digital downloads are the future. If Steve thinks so (too), I think he is absolutely right. However, in the present people who are getting HDTVs this year (and last and next) want to put the highest quality HD picture on those TVs. iTunes currently has NOTHING available in full 1080i or 1080p that can get pumped to their HDTV's via :apple:TV (the :apple:TV "as is" can't even do it if such content was available via iTunes store).

    So, people are going to buy the ONLY source that will let them max out the showing of movies & TV shows on their 1080p TVs. That money is going to be spent anyway. It sounds like NOT by you and NOT by me, but they're going to spend it. If a next-gen :apple:TV offers it as an OPTIONal add-on, those who are interested in an :apple:TV ("but not until it has a BD drive") can then choose to spend their money on an :apple:TV instead of a dedicated BD player. Similarly those interested in buying a DVR could buy an :apple:TV plus OPTIONal DVR add-on for those that "won't buy one until it has DVR functionality."

    It just doesn't work very well to decide to try to force the market down the discless and DVR-less path unless that path has options that are at least as good as what it is trying to replace. I am a HUGE :apple:TV fan, but I won't buy another myself until it is 1080p capable, ideally with some "open" platform options.

    There's all kinds of changes coming in the future, but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice the present- or more applicably take quality steps backwards- to get there. In this case, I genuinely believe that Apple could get us all to the discless/DVR-less vision MUCH FASTER by offering those as add-on options to a next-gen :apple:TV now, dominating the lock on the home theater equipment stack (heavily entrenched like iPod entrenchment), then leveraging that "hold" on the masses to negotiate ever better deals with the studios to make it more desirable for most to download from iTunes rather than buy/rent a disc. The convenience of iTunes on demand will trump the physical media "wait", and the low-cost availability of all kinds of programming also on demand can trump the DVR functionality. Apple will still sell just as much iTunes content (because there will be a higher volume of :apple:TV owners); so it's not like a DVR option is going to kill the demand for iTunes content.

    This other way of just locking into the future and expecting the mass market to come around just doesn't work that well, as evidenced by :apple:TV being labeled a "hobby" when it could be Apple's "next big thing" (certainly bigger than the rumored tablet). Sales/attention/promotion show that it's not selling that well, so the mass market isn't embracing the vision in big quantities, opening the door for someone else to replicate the great UI experience in next-gen hardware and take this market from Apple. This begins showing itself in add-on functionality (like Netflix streams in BD players, hard drive and network streaming in TVs, even hard drive companies making set-top boxes, etc), but it's only a matter of time until someone- hopefully Apple- will pull the "best of" pieces together in one unified solution.

    We might even see a related surprise at this year's CES.

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