What would you do to change Apple TV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mcmlxix, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. mcmlxix macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #1
    I like my Apple TV, but in my final assessment, it gives more promise than real satisfaction. So I have two questions:

    What hardware/firmware changes would/wouldn’t you make to Apple TV to make it a superior home media system? Why?

    or

    What hardware/firmware changes would/wouldn’t you make to Apple TV to make it a game console in addition to a home media system? Why?
     
  2. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #2
    It currently already does everything I want it to do, but then I only use it for lossless music into the hifi system via an external DAC. The one glaring issue which would be so easy to fix is the limited size of the hard disk. I don't particularly want to stream from another server - I want it to be effectively standalone except for when syncing, like a big iPod. Putting a 500GB disk in there would be a start. Also it would be good if it didn't get so hot you could fry an egg on it. And it didn't keep forgetting the WiFi password every few days.
     
  3. mcmlxix thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #3
    Interesting...I don't use mine to sync...I use it as a pass through, or that is to share wirelessly with many other libraries. As a result the 40 GB hard drive mine has is sufficient.

    Though, I can validate the use of a larger hard drive, but to keep costs in check, I think currently keeping it at 160 GB, at least for now seem seems reasonable...if and only if...official support is added to mount external USB hard drives. Of course this then raises whether this should include mounting external optical drives (which may put a wrinkle in Apple's business model) and whether an 2nd USB port or a 1st FireWire port should be added.

    Mine gets warm, but not really hot, maybe because I currently use it primarily for music and not video. I can see that raising the CPU/GPU specs would increase the need to deal with heat dissipation, and raising those specs would be essential for evolving the ATV into a gaming console.
     
  4. seamer macrumors 6502

    seamer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #4
    The heat request would be moot; it's designed to be hot to dissipate heat via convection without a fan. Adding a fan would raise ambient noise to the room, which negates the point of having a silent solution in the first place...

    I'd like a more robust wifi signal, my ATVs have to be rebooted at least once a week to reconnect to the network. Restarting itunes does not fix it, the ATVs have to be.

    External storage, and the option to set the ATV as the network media server rather than a client connected to itunes.
     
  5. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #5
    The heat issue is OK if I have it in the open under the TV. I really wanted to hide it away in the same glass cabinet as all the other audio kit, which is well ventilated, but because cooling is marginal I feared it might be a fire risk - it got unbelievably hot after a couple of days. I wouldn't want a fan either - maybe more thermally efficient processors and memory might come to the rescue in a future version. Also it might help if the power supply was external rather than built in.
     
  6. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    #6
    1. New Wii remote type UI or touchscreen remote. Give it a beefy Intel processor and graphics chip, gaming capabilities and an App Store. They can make the "box" a lot bigger, maybe half the size of a typical cable box today.

    2. iTunes Unlimited for Apple TV: for $199 per year, you get all you can eat access to HD movies, TV Shows, and music. Comes bundled with high end AppleTV.

    3. Ability to act as a cable box / DVR. Watching TV is as seamless as watching one of your iTunes movies, with a fantastic on screen UI. You can go from playing a game to watching TV in seconds. Apple is deluded if they think they can replace live TV overnight with one box. Their strategy should by making the best DVR in the world, they get the box in homes. Then, they can slowly wean people off TV and onto their own content.

    4. Apps + Games. Allow devs to take full advantage of surround sound 5.1, and the new remote to build killer apps and games. As AppleTV grows, console devs will start making their games for it and will make the Mac a successful gaming platform overnight (because ATV runs OSX and uses standard Mac components).

    5. Browser. Depending on how good the Touch UI is.

    6. iPhone integration. If your Phone rings, automatically fade out and pause the movie. If you are on a call, you can "share" the call with your home theatre so everyone in the room can listen. Maybe you can even answer the call on your TV!

    7. Blu Ray Player. Sometimes people want a hard copy.

    This thing will replace your game console, your cable box, and your DVD / Blu Ray Player. They could charge like $999 for it.

    That's all I got for now. But the bottom line is that Apple has all the know how and technology to make the AppleTV their most successful product, instead of just a "hobby". It's just a matter of whether they want to get serious about it or not.
     
  7. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #7
    The more that's added, the more the risk of duplication with things people already own, which may make them less likely to buy it. It's just a media player right now, but a good one.

    PVR functionality would be nice but replacing cable/satellite boxes means you need a whole range of different products to cover the world market. For example the EU as a market is bigger than the US in both population and GDP, but comprises dozens of different often incompatible broadcast services. Also, some services such as Sky Satellite are locked down so that no-one else can build a set top box for it due to restrictions on access to the decryption technology. If Apple want a global product, PVRs with inbuilt tuners probably aren't the best strategy. TiVo couldn't manage it.
     
  8. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    • 1080p full bandwith hardware to future proof it
    • basic hardware expandability- for example, use a standard ram card for onboard ram, which could be upgraded to a larger size for those users that would want more "buffer" and UI throughput
    • open software platform so others can build software options that Apple chooses not to add
    • app store through which such software can be distributed
    • open hardware platform so others can build hardware options (like a BD drive, DVR functionality, etc) for those who want such features
    • normal USB jacks (note that's plural)
    • a bigger box more toward "normal" sizes of AV gear, creating the internal space for 3.5" drives (note that's plural), maybe some internal USB jacks so that a company like Elgato could build a USB DVR bit of add-on hardware that would fit inside the box and show only as relevant ports on the back (just like internal computer cards in a desktop, but using a USB port to keep it low cost).
    • "advanced" menu option so that geekier users can selectively configure certain functions (like how much of a streamed video should be transferred before starting playback, server based media storage (direct) access, etc)

    The above list shouldn't add much to the current price, as they could still package a base unit with minimal specs, and leave it to those users who want more storage, more ram, BD drive, DVR functionality, etc to BUY those options as add-ons. We know from many competitor products in the marketplace that the 1080p platform can retail at well below current :apple:TV pricing. And there are plenty of AV hardware examples in bigger boxes that retail well below :apple:TV pricing as well. So the 2 key hardware adjustments (for Apple to make) in my list look doable without having to jack up the price of the next-gen :apple:TV. Everything else is mostly software, shifting some of that software development to outside programmers probably hungry to create and/or port great apps for the platform.

    Frankly, I'd pay several times the current :apple:TV price for the above. But I'm convinced Apple could deliver it at about the current price and still make the Apple margin.
     
  9. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    #10
    The problem is mostly content and pricing.

    More content at better prices would make the ATV much more attractive. The content can be iTunes or partnering with Netflix and Hulu etc too.

    And as the ATV gets cheaper it also gets more attractive too. I'm more likely to put up with content deficiencies the closer it gets to $100.

    They could let users plug in Usb hard drives for extra storage.

    Hell I wish they'd let users plug in their own internal drive well if it accepted 3.5" drives. I have a few hard drives laying around of lower-end capacities I don't need. Not sure why I have to buy another 40gb or 160gb drive.

    The other solution is to build a nicer dock for the ipod with some more functionality and a not so over the top price with wi-fi built-in

    Or a pure wireless N streaming device like the Roku. A wireless N Roku is $130. Apple can't do that? They could have an option to connect some storage. Flash drives or hard drives or ...

    I think Apple needs to give us the ability to re-download our content too.

    And Apple might be able to do some neat things if they could overlay the ATV signal with the TV channel signal you're watching. Give us an electronic TV guide with much more responsiveness than a cable box tv guide. Give us access to sports stats. Let us look up information on the net. I wonder if they could let eliminate that scrolling bar on the bottom of some tv channels?
     
  10. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #11
    "2. iTunes Unlimited for Apple TV: for $199 per year, you get all you can eat access to HD movies, TV Shows, and music. Comes bundled with high end AppleTV."

    You're really in the land of rainbows and unicorns now. Have you not read about the troubles Apple has had just trying to get ONE studio to agree to the 29.99 per month model? (Thats $360 a year).

    Not one chance in hell you will see $199 a year. And you can't blame Apple for it, its the studios holding this back...
     
  11. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    #12
    I believe Apple is trying to get iTunes Unlimited for iTunes on Mac/PC.. not for AppleTV. Restricting all the unlimitedness to AppleTV (i.e. you can't sync back to your devices or Mac) will keep everything in the box, and will be an easier sell to the networks.
     
  12. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #13
    If you had asked a month ago, I would've said put a BluRay on it and i'll take 3.

    But now that my DVD collection has been ripped, cataloged, and i'm buying some HD content from the iTunes store...i'd say just give me a hardware bump to support 1080i and 1080p and i'm good.
     
  13. ventro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    #14
    Apple has the ability to build a product of such high quality that the distributors come to THEM. Once the AppleTV w/ DVR takes off in the states, all the other countries' cable providers will be clamouring to be the first to offer it to their markets.
     
  14. slothrob macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    #15
    I'd rather, if I was watching a movie, that it silence the iPhone and send it straight to voicemail.
     
  15. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #16
    I would like them to add the BBC iPlayer for UK users. The Wii has just got and it would be a great addition to the Apple TV.
     
  16. jlasoon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #17
    I don't get the fuss and oozfest with 1080p video. Sure it looks good, but it's far from being miles ahead of what iTunes sells. I have a 1080p 46 inch television, I have a Samsung BD1600 BluRay player, I also have an AppleTV, and I watch Netflix HD streams quite a bit through my BluRay player.

    The Netflix streams in HD are good. The AppleTV HD downloads are superior, and some BluRay movies shine (animated movies). BY the way, if you haven't seen WW2inHD available on iTunes (720p), do yourself a favor and buy it, it looks stunning for a 720p video. Don't get bogged down in the technicalities of high definition video. Videophiles don't dictate market trends. 1080p video downloads will be hear shortly and BluRay will eventually fade into the abyss alongside Sony. Digital media is the future, whether companies such as Sony want to admit or not is a different story.
     
  17. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a

    kiranmk2

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #18
    hardware:

    Drop to a dual (or more) core ARM cpu/gpu with 1080p decode ability and powerVR gfx. The extra cores can then cope with more complex codecs which will get close to bluray quality at lower bandwidths. This should also reduce the heat and power requirements

    Switch to SATA drives and offer either 3.5" drives with a taller case and/or support usb (usb3?) external drives.

    software:
    Update the YouTube application - allow basic browsing of sub sections such as youtube.com/shows and allow favourites to be saved

    Allow the device to function as an airport express - i.e. it connects to your internet via wifi and allows you to plug a hub into the network port to bridge the connection to things like you tv, xbox etc. and also act as a wireless extender.

    Allow Appletv-to-Appletv video streaming even when you are watching something.

    Sync all media (music, movie, photo) to the AppleTV and back it up wirelessly to a TimeCapsule aswell as act as a home server, serving content to multiple clients (even over internet if connected to base station/time capsule).

    Add catchup streaming services - in the UK, the main ones are BBC iPlayer, ITVplayer and 4OD. They wouldn't cut into Apple's business as programs are only available for a limited time after broadcast.

    Add widgets as in os x.

    computer software:
    Update itunes to remove video part - itunes store links to music section. Music library streamed from AppleTV with option to sync to computer drive and ipods etc.

    Introduce iVideo which is iTunes optimised for video - itunes store links to movie section. Library streamed from AppleTV with option to sync to computer drive and ipods etc.

    Update iPhoto to use library on AppleTV and allow multiple users access the the ability to customise personal libraries. Option to sync albums to computer drive.
     
  18. Extreme Red macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    #19
    Keep it Simple

    The two big ones for me are more hard drive (both larger internal + external by enabling the USB port)....to me this is key

    enabling 1080p would be great

    Beyond that I love the simplicity of the Apple TV as do family and friends...I was thinking of going with a mac mini, but at the end of the day simplicity won. I don't want extra functionality at the xpense of simplicity.
     
  19. bonsaidetective macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #20
    6 things for a successful apple tv

    1. New remote based on the Magic Mouse.

    2. Ability to use third party joysticks/controllers.

    3. HDMI/video switcher which allows appletv to control other devices like blu-ray players.

    4. App store.

    5. App store.

    6. App store.
     
  20. MacUser09 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    Can you post a link to that WW2 prog? I have searched iTunes UK store, but cannot find it.

    Thanks
     
  21. jlasoon macrumors 6502

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    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #22
  22. Feek macrumors member

    Feek

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    #23
    All I need is the following:

    1080p
    2Tb hard drive
    Gigabit network


    At the moment I have about a terabyte of media in iTunes, this is streamed down to my TV so the hard drive size isn't important. It would need a 2Tb drive to be worthwhile as I'm still in the process of ripping all my DVDs. Then of course it would need the Gigabit network port to make it practical to copy that data onto it.
     
  23. stealthman1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Location:
    Ca
    #24
    I'd just like it to work like an Apple product, not like a M$oft product.:mad: I bought it when it was first released, I've ripped hundreds of movies. I thought it would make it so much more convenient that getting up, getting a DVD, playing. LOL! I wanted to watch a movie an hour and a half ago...3 trips up the stairs, an AppleTV reboot, a software update...It would be ok, if this was a once a year event...but not every third time I try to use it.
    Huge FAIL.:(:apple:

    Oh look a new interface...oh look, the same results...
     
  24. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #25
    I would like it to pop popcorn and make toast.
     

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