Why doesn't AppleTV support USB drives?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by godslabrat, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. godslabrat macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2007
    Natively, I mean. I know there is a hack for this, but for the life of me, I can't understand why. Apple PUT the USB port on there, so clearly we might as well make use of it. I've tried every possible approach to this problem, and still I come up empty-handed. Why does Apple insist on the sync-or-stream options?

    1) "External drives increase the risk of piracy, and iTunes content must be protected."
    I don't buy this. You can take iTunes files and transfer them to another computer, you just can't use them without verifying the DRM. It would be no different with video

    2) "Apple doesn't want to cannibalize their own sales."
    Sales of what? Apple only sells external drives as an accessory, they don't make them a huge part of their product line. It might steer someone buying a 160GB ATV toward getting a 40GB one, but 160GB is still pretty small anyway,.

    3) "An external drive robs the device of its Apple-esque simplicity."
    It seems a lot simpler than streaming content from a computer, even if that too is fairly simple to set up.

    4) "It's not a computer, they don't want to treat it like one."
    Well, how much money has Apple made selling computers this year? How much on ATVs? Could this product be more successful if Apple gave it more features? Just maybe?

    I'm not trying to bash the AppleTV or say Apple is stupid. I don't think either of those things. But the more I think about it, the sillier it seems that Apple doesn't think this very easy-to-implement feature is worthwhile. It's like they're intentionally crippling the AppleTV unit. Why? What's the sense of it?
  2. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
    I see it the opposite way: Apple gave us a USB port (for whatever reason - "diagnostics" sounds a bit strange) and now we can happily use it ( for patching as well as for external hd's, keyboards etc.)
  3. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I think it's likely that Apple has a model, an architecture if you will, of how all their devices work together. The Apple TV, in their model, is a living-room iPod.

    The home computer holds and manages all the content and keeps it safe and secure from loss. The Apple TV, the iPod, the iPhone are all 'display' devices with some storage space as a cache. If you like, the Mac is the web server and the iPods and Apple TVs are the browsers. It is not expected that the content on any of the satellite devices is permanent. If you accept this model, then supporting external USB storage doesn't make any sense.

    I think it's a good model. It's a lot easier for most people to manage content in once place rather than half a dozen. Certainly there are some who expect or want it to be different. I think folks who try and store their files only on their Apple TV (or their iPod!) and not in iTunes are creating grief for themselves. Obviously you can do it if you try hard enough.


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