The real strength of AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wh!plash, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. wh!plash macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2008
    Sarasota, Fl
    The other thread i was following was getting ridiculously long, so here goes.

    Tons of people rag on the AppleTV because I think they miss the biggest points in my opinion. Sure, i can see why you want DVR functionality, etc. But thats not the point. Just follow me for a second here.

    Everyone agrees that an iPod is a million times nicer than a CD discman with a huge carrying case of CDs. Its so nice in fact, that the iPod has become a household name.

    Now shift for a second from the portable devices and lets go back to where a lot of other music listening goes on: my living room (and the rest of the house).

    The AppleTV + iTunes has replaced my 300 disc CD changer on my stereo and AV system. No more sifting through CDs and burning new discs of content that I download. I just scroll the the list right there on my TV and choose what I want (all in HD, with album art intact). It finally brings all the great upsides of iTunes/iPod to my main living room stereo.

    Lets say that I dont care about online rentals or the iTMS. I'm just a person who listens to music (and judging by the number of iPod owners, thats quite a few of you).

    If you're into music and you listen to music at home, what's your alternative? An iPod dock sitting on my stereo rack? Then i have to walk up to the thing and spin the dial on a little bitty screen to play music (which is somewhat akward when its sitting on a dock). Or how about Airport Express? Nice, but now i've got to go to my main computer to play music, or keep a Macbook in the living room as a remote.

    AppleTV is to my living room as my iPod is to my car.

    All this without even mentioning all the TV shows and movies that i can download online. I know some of you are against pirating and whatnot, but think of it this way: the AppleTV is basically your "ThePirateBay" player right on your TV.

    For me, i can't understand how I could justify the purchase of an iPod but not the purchase of an AppleTV. Is the portable music market just a million times bigger than the home theatre and stereo system market?
  2. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I sort of disagree. What you're explaining could also be done by turning up your computer speakers, or using Airtunes to send music to your living room. You could use an iPhone to change the songs wirelessly.

    The AppleTV has to be centered around making movies and TV shows as easy as the iPod made music. The AppleTV shouldn't be centered around music, as you say.

    Just my opinion.
  3. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007

    I gotta agree with Fivepoint on this one. I was having some of the same thoughts as I read through your post. The focus of the ATV is for video and accessing that through a tv/monitor. Not to so say that it doesn't handle music as well, but that's not the primary purpose. If it were, I'd say it doesn't do a good job since it relies on the tv aspect to interface. An Airport Express with iPhone/Touch would to control iTunes would be more suited to that application. It's more of a similar setup to Sonos or offerings from Logitech than the ATV is.
  4. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    Well said. For once we agree!:)
  5. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    Its real strength, for me anyway, and aside from it's media consolidation ability, is that it has virtually replaced cable television for me, saving me around $110 per month. When I upgrade to faster internet, it will also do away with my desire for Blu Ray as I'll probably download HD exclusively. Though an -- at least optional -- BR drive would put this appliance over the top.

    It still needs an eSATA port, but I understand limiting drive capacity is a standard strategy in this industry.
  6. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    You should try to agree with me more often... it's fun to be right. ;)

    Blu Ray, eSATA, larger HD... sign me up.
  7. TuckBodi macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2007
    I'm actually a cross between all you guys. I probably use it 50% of the time streaming music and the other 50% watching video stuff. Since Apple updated the ATV w/AirTunes connectivity it's breathed new life for music for me. I have multiple computers around the house using Signal to connect and I use the Remote app on my iPhone. Killer. I just wish they'd enhance the viewing experience of my videos a little better.
  8. TomP80 macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    The ATV does music very well.

    But so do a lot of other devices. There are endless options for digital storage and playback through your home theater setup.

    If ATV wants to become as successful as the iPod/iPhone/iTunes, then it can't just rely on music - it needs to do video equally well.

    And at the moment it doesn't.

    There are lots of reasons for this - legal issues, issues with studios, technology issues, file type restrictions, Apple's overall business plan etc. etc.

    These issues have been covered endlessly on these forums, and there are no easy answers to any of them.

    And I can't see any of the current issues being solved any time soon, to be honest.
  9. dbwie macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    A convergence device

    :apple:TV is a convergence device. I have an HDTV and digital AV receiver, and the :apple:TV is the best option for bringing the media from my computer (music, video, photos) to my entertainment center. It can do better at bringing media from the internet to my entertainment center. Supporting more video formats, having a web browser, and building up the library on the iTunes Movie Store will help towards this end.
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Anyone who says that AppleTV is for video first, music second, is wrong.

    Anyone who says that AppleTV is for music first, video second, is wrong.

    AppleTV was designed to allow you to get content from iTunes and iPhoto on your computer to your main HT. Period. Whatever you had in iTunes/iPhoto was what it was good for. Music, video and photos. This is what the AppleTV was designed for.

    In my case, I used to use my computer as a music server. I already had a way to get it to my main HT and around the house, but it was not very elegant. I bought an AppleTV mainly for music, but also for photos and home video. This way, we could listen to music, watch our digital photos as a screensaver and my wife can watch her horse show videos without my having to burn them to DVD. And all of it without turning the computer on. This works great and, for people like me, can justify the expense by itself.

    The problem is that not enough people wanted to pay money to get stuff from iTunes on their computers to the HT system. So, iTunes Store access was added, movie rentals were added, YouTube access was added. The AppleTV does many things well and can play very different roles in different households. So, yes, it is great for just music. Yes, it can be great for video only, though the development of the online rental model is still evolving.

    The AppleTV is not just for music or video, unless that's what you want it to be.
  11. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    The AppleTV is for video first.

    Make no mistake, the foundation of the device is video. That is also the foundation of the living room, the foundation of your TV, and this is not something in question. That being said... what separates the AppleTV from it's competitors (besides the excellent interface) is the seamless integration with iTunes and it's ability to bring other media from your computer.
  12. DimeTech macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2003
    Sorry to deviate from the original topic, but I didn't want to start another thread. I've always been interested in AppleTV but have a quick question. Why does the ATV have a hdd if you can use it to stream content from your mac? is it just another place to put content? thanks
  13. basesloaded190 macrumors 68030


    Oct 16, 2007
    yes if you don't want to stream your content, you can store it directly on the hdd without having to have your computer on and itunes open.
  14. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    This might be true now, with the advent of movie rentals, but this is absolutely not true in its original incarnation. The AppleTV was designed to get iTunes and iPhoto content from your computer to your HT system. iTunes is much more of a music application than a video application. You say the TV is the “foundation of the living room”? In most houses, the HT system is also the best audio system, plus you need a display so you can select what music to listen to. There is absolutely nothing in the original design that supports your statement that the “AppleTV is for video first”. For your wants and desires, it may seem that way. But it’s not true.
  15. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    Well, agree to disagree then.

    Video is the foundation of the TV and the foundation of the living room. I would also say that the living room is NOT where most people's best sound system is. VERY few people relatively have surround systems and the like. When most people want to listen to music way more of them turn on their iPod or their bedroom stereo than their living room system (for most people, just a TV)

    If you gave ANYONE an appleTV and hooked it up to their TV, the first thing they would ask is "how do you get video on this thing?" and wouldn't think about music at all.

    No one is saying that the AppleTV isn't just as good at music and photos than it is at video... but that is not the fundamental intent. It was designed as a replacement for satellite TV. It was designed to help validate the video-download business Apple was entering with iTunes.

    Why this even matters... I will never know. :)
  16. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Most people have some kind of ability to listen to music in their main living area. It may not be surround sound, but they’ll have a simple stereo receiver or a nice boom box or maybe a home theater in a box. Regardless, to state that “the living room is NOT where most people's best sound system is” is somewhat ridiculous. For most people, their best sound system is in their living room. It may not be surround, it may not even be “good” stereo, but it’s probably the best they have.

    If you “gave ANYONE an appleTV”, they’d be more likely to ask “what does this thing do?” In its original incarnation, the AppleTV’s capabilities were equally well-suited to music and video, and you could probably argue the music capabilities were more fully realized. It is very obvious that the designers of the original AppleTV had music as an equal (if not higher) priority in the design scheme.

    At the time the AppleTV was introduced, the iPod was the primary Apple-designed digital lifestyle device. It could “do video”, but it was all about music (the iPhone hadn’t been introduced yet). With the success of the iPod and the iTunes Store, people started building large music libraries on their computers. But their computers often were not in their main living space. One of the primary objectives of the AppleTV was to allow these people to get their music from their computer to their main living space.

    I won’t argue that the AppleTV was originally more about music than video, but I think a strong case could be made for it.

    And what do you base this on? Certainly not the initial capabilities of the machine.

    It really doesn’t. However, a lot of people think the AppleTV is all about video and that isn’t true. It’s more true now, but certainly wasn’t the case when the appleTV was introduced.
  17. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I think you're making massive generalisations here. People have all kinds of weird and wacky audio & video setups in their homes, and its become more and more diverse by the day. There is no one-size-fits-all setup.

    Obviously, with Airport Express already on the market people were going to focus on the video element of AppleTV. But, having said that, most people have a music collection which dwarfs their video collection; and listen to their music a lot more than they watch their videos.
  18. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    If you're so sure about this... prove it. Post a link. Let's see the data. At any rate, it doesn't matter. It isn't about the speakers, it's about the TV!

    To tell you the truth... this isn't even worth it. Pointless conversation. ;)
  19. IrI macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2004
    Can you house your Music library on an AppleTV and then using Remote App send the audio to various Airport Express'?
  20. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    Apple TV can be used for lots of things, even though it's best strength would have to be for video since that's usually what you'd use it for...

    I bought it in January, ripped a giant DVD collection (closet-full) and I stream all films to Apple TV and I have not watched a single DVD on our big screen TV in the living room since then.

    It even eliminates the need to burn DVD-Videos, I just have to encode in H.264 for Apple TV and I can watch it on the TV within 10 minutes depending on video.
  21. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    Blockbuster in your living room.

    I think what everyone is "missing" is the fact that data is being delivered soooo much faster and sooooo much broader than ever before.

    Think about it:

    - NO storage is needed for 'purchased' movies. You just select a movie which you either rent or purchase and it is delivered to you near instantly.

    - If you want to see again the movie is 'tagged' by your profile.

    - You need maybe 40gbs to accomplish this service because the HD is just a buffer.

    The Idea is simple, Netflix aside, you should be able to rent and buy movies without having to 'hoard' your collection.

    This is a very very possible scenario, in the not too near future.
  22. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I know that I am in the minority here, but I bought my :apple:TV specifically for audio, knowing at the time that it did not support 4:3 (my tv has component inputs, but no widescreen mode), and it works well for the purposes for which I bought it. I do wish that they would add 4:3 support (the iPods have it), but I'm not holding my breath either. I would love to use my :apple:TV for video if Apple would make that one change, but unles they do it is an audio-only box for me.
  23. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I'll agree with FivePoint saying the ATV is for video first. There already was the Airport Express if Audio was your primary media and the ATV has the two little letters "T" and "V" in the name, which I'm pretty sure is a good indication of its primary function.

    I regress, I use a Mac Mini as my ATV and I do this because my "downloads" are more enjoyable on my Television than on my Mac (regardless if I have a 24" iMac). The point of using the Mac Mini and Front Row is the simplicity of it all. Using a keyboard or a mouse in the living room is a turnoff because these input devices scream "I'm a computer!" and in a sense that is mentally defeating to someone who can't be bothered with using a computer regardless of how easy it may be.

    So my point is that the Simplicity of AppleTV is its greatest strength. Cause people have not sprung for a keyboard and mouse in the living room, yet people have more and more digital media that they would like to watch on their TV. So Apple has provided a makeshift Mac Mini with a beefed up Front Row that has the immediate use of being used in any of your homes living spaces. Though with the ATV not blowing up like the iPod, it is obvious that Apple (or anyone else) still has not quite found the magic recipe for living room media.
  24. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Video is not necessarily “its best strength” or “usually what you'd use it for”. For many it is, for many it’s not.

    Actually, I don’t believe this is a pointless conversation.

    I thought about this for a while since my previous post to try to figure out why I was bothering to spend so much time responding here. The answer came to me: because the AppleTV is a strong device for music and a lot of people don’t realize that. Many people think it’s only about video, or at least mostly about video. Many people have huge collections of music on their computer and then use their iPod to listen to it. The AppleTV is a great way to make that music accessible in your living room.

    Trust me, I’m not downplaying the video capabilities of AppleTV. It’s just that a great deal of people have a very closed view of what the AppleTV was designed for and what it can do besides video.
  25. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I agree it is good for audio, but it is in serious need of a search function. I don't use mine nearly as much as I used to because it is simply too hard to find the music that I want. Perhaps if I were better at playlists that might help...

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