Will Apple TV be around for a while?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by rscott505, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. rscott505 macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2008
    I really love my :apple:TV. It's great to have an iPod for my TV. As I mentioned in another post, I feel the only true drawback is not being able to buy movies directly from the iTunes store. Quality of content is good to very good. Not great, but I'm o.k. with that. (I realize that this is a deal breaker for some, and can appreciate that.)

    But I'm concerned that :apple:TV is simply not gaining traction. I saw a story today that hyped a device that is coming out that can play YouTube on your TV. The story made this seem like this is the greatest thing ever, and practically ignored the fact that :apple:TV already has this functionality. Moreover, I've seen other threads where people related their experience in Apple Stores as not being positive when it comes to the salespeople helping them with the :apple:TV.

    I'm curious as to others thoughts. I know that not all technology sticks with the public, but as I said at the beginning of this post, I love my :apple:TV, and I would hate to have all this content and no place to watch it if my :apple:TV goes bad in several years, or the alternative of having my :apple:TV sitting there with no new content.

    Just curious as to others thoughts?

  2. JonHimself macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2004
    Toronto, Ontario
    I was actually thinking about this today (and also saw the YouTube thing, I think it's Tivo that's adding the feature). I had my doubts and wondered if they would just drop it completely but then realized that they really seem to be getting a lot of the new support from the movie studios based on AppleTV. The HD rentals sure aren't for the iPod and I don't think are even available on computers. I think that the studios will decide this for Apple. If they get behind and add movies quickly and in large numbers then I think Apple will respond by advertising it more and even adding more features (ie keyboard support, maybe widgets or a web browser, etc). But I think if the studios don't support the new rentals and aren't quick to add movies then it will eventually fade out.
    I know that even if that even if it does fade out I will most certainly try to pick up one or two more before they're all gone. I use it for my own content that I've ripped to my computer and that is not affected by the studio's support. Also, because I'm in Canada the video content is limited.
  3. OlBlueHair macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    Look at it this way - if they stopped making iPods tomorrow, your old iPod would still play all of your music.

    Same with AppleTV. If they stopped making them tomorrow you can still rent and rip.
  4. jwalker99 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2006
    until they offer a monthly subscription type service for movies and tv shows, i just don't see how it takes off.

    if they teamed up with blockbuster or netflix, or offered a similar library of downloadable content, i think it would be a huge success.
  5. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I don't mind the rental model. And I like the weekly $.99 rental promo. I prefer to buy than to rent though. $3.99 or so for a rental vs. $10-20 for a download or DVD. And since the iTunes sales model is still 640 resolution, while it looks good, I still like the idea of buying, ripping and storing. Then put the DVD in a box where the kids can't ruin it.

    As far as the success of the Apple TV. It is still less than 1 year old. The iPod did not gain popularity that fast. I don't think that many people know about it, or for that fact really get it. And they might think it is Mac only. So education is also part of the problem. Think about broadband. Now it is very commonplace but it took quite a while for that to be the case. And still there are a lot of people out there still using dialup. Anyone can use an iPod, own a DVD player, but something like the Apple TV is a smaller niche market and it will take time for that to grow. Come back and ask that question in a year or two or three and see what its growth has been like.

    And don't try to compare it to the iPhone. A phone is a different animal altogether.
  6. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    As most here have maintained, the success of the :apple:TV rests with the availability of media to feed it. Nothing else.

    When ITMS reaches "critical mass," Apple will start advertising. It makes no sense to do so before that.

    Launching a rental service like this requires the studios "believe" that it can work. Self-fulfilling prophesy and all.
  7. Avatar74 macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2007
    Let's talk a bit of history...

    iTunes and the iPod began as concepts around 1997 immediately upon Steve Jobs' return. About that same time, I wrote a research paper exploring internet distribution music. Progressive Networks had just released the Real Player and Quicktime became capable of streaming CD-quality audio somewhere around that time.

    iTunes launched in 2001 and iTunes Music Store two years later, in 2003. Finally iTunes Music Store is proving a formidable retail channel, #2 only to Wal-Mart... and it has taken more than ten years to get there.

    AppleTV has been shipping for exactly one year. One year in, iPod was deemed a me-too product. It took another three years before iPod sales began to skyrocket.

    Part of the problem with this type of product revolution is that people have to be eased into new concepts. Few companies want to commit to that kind of product development roadmap. If it can't make money in one fiscal quarter, most companies don't believe in it.

    Granted, other portable media players had been around but none of them really took the market by storm. What Apple had to do was build an ecosystem around the product, taking a little lesson from the telecom failure of the early 1990's... Telecom companies beefed up their networks but it took several years before anyone figured out that what was going to DRIVE demand for bandwidth was content, not the other way around.

    Apple's playing it smart, though. Steve Jobs did one very great thing when he became CEO. He canned all extraneous projects and got Apple focused on a very short list of products and roadmaps... These products were not "all out" products, but a series of successive baby steps toward a larger concept that has their product development roadmap loaded for the next ten years.

    The concept? In a nutshell: Technological convergence. The goal? I'll come back to this further below.

    Broken down, however, we can look back and see what Apple did.

    Phase I involved corralling their skillsets and technologies into a digital "lifestyle"... the iLife suite as it's now called. Getting people used to the idea of content creation and management, where their computer would be the hub for a digital lifestyle. In that sense, its the appliances, not the hub, that matter.

    Phase II required development of appliances to utilize these tools. iPod was the first. AppleTV the second. iPhone the third. You could look at this phase as being broken into successive steps. First it meant bridging content directly with "offline" appliances like iPod. Then they extended the boundaries of the digital hub to your home theater and now your mobile existence. I think that a subsequent goal may be also to bridge your home network and your mobile existence in a user friendly way... say, streaming movies from your AppleTV to your iPhone over a high bandwidth 4G mobile broadband.

    Phase III involves deploying the content and access to it. This is where things get very tricky because the ecosystem is no longer entirely within Apple's control. But in Phases I-III of iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, etc. they have realized that these models simply cannot flourish without content.

    This is where the industries furnishing the content get tepid... because if you've paid close attention to what else Apple is doing, you realize that piracy is not the biggest concern. The question to which my research inexorably led was this, "If such an ecosystem were to enable the user to create, distribute and exhibit their own content to the broader market, who would need a record label or a studio?"

    Needless to say, if the public didn't see it with the inclusion of Podcast feeds on iTunes and AppleTV, they're starting to see it with the distribution model of the App Store for third party apps on the iPhone... Apple is opening a door to making record companies, movie studios and even game distributors obsolete. In the conventional sense, anyway.

    This is what the holdup is... the record labels, studios, etc. know they have a problem because they're competing against a distribution model no one entity can control or monopolize. The internet levels the playing field between big distributors and independent artists. The big guys can't win, so they throw lawyer after lawyer at the problem... hoping only to slow down the inevitable and possibly lobby Congress to cut the legs off internet distribution as a viable medium through Copyright "reform" under the guise of anti-piracy.

    That, however, is starting to wear thin and people are fighting it. DRM is also failing. The industry is faced with a critical problem... how to make entry into a channel they don't control, don't understand, and still come out making money. Well, the short answer is they can't win and they know it. They CAN participate, and it may mean that they'll make only gobs of money, not obscene gobs of money. That is a reality they are going to have to get used to... or find a job in a different industry.

    Manufacturers like Apple have to remain committed at chipping away the roadblocks as they did with iPod/iTunes Music. We as consumers have to do the same. Your pocketbook is what speaks... and if you really want to see this model flourish faster, the only thing you can do is what I did... reject the other models. Sure it may limit you, but you can't have both... you can't complain about lack of content and simultaneously keep falling back on Netflix, etc. just because you absolutely have to watch some show. That gives them no incentive to change. And you can't just resort to piracy because that still gives them no incentive to change, because piracy undermines the argument that internet distribution can be profitable... giving them no reason to care that they should give Apple more content to distribute. If you don't have the discipline to tell the studios with your pocketbook, "I'm not watching this show or listening to this song unless you distribute it over the internet, without DRM, at a price I accept," then you're not using your power as a consumer to make change... and you'll have to accept the status quo.

    We live in a world where on a shoestring budget, people can record albums, make movies/tv shows, etc. and distribute them to millions on the internet. We have devices like AppleTV that can deliver thousands of podcasts into your living room in HD. There's something going on here and it's far bigger than most people realize. It's just in its infancy, but with time, the ultimate motive of Steve Jobs and Apple will come to the surface. This is and always has been about one thing: The decentralization of the information economy.

    That has more implications than you watching the latest episode of "Lost"... The decentralization of the information economy is the single greatest threat to tyranny in the history of humanity. I don't know about you, but that's an objective for which I'm willing to hang in there no matter what.
  8. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2003
    Avatar74... that is a well reasoned, well written essay. You make many valid points. Thanks for posting!
  9. stagi macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006
  10. JimmyDreams macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    Ya know, it's people like Avatar74 that go off half-cocked, shooting their mouths off without thinking or even researching their info that makes the rest of us look bad!!!

    Avatar74, that was possibly the most reasoned and perfectly explained 'white paper' on where Apple has been, where it's going, and what roadblock stand in the way. Out-frigging-standing!!

    1000 thanks for making what's floating at the edge of my brain easy to understand. I couldn't agree more with your concepts and arguments.

    You deserve a Michelobe!!:D
  11. MikieMikie macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    Avatar, it was a true pleasure to read your reasoned comments. Well researched and, oddly enough, in complete agreement with what I myself think. :D

    Seriously, though, thanks for your insights. Much appreciated.
  12. yocko macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2008
    absolutely great, avatar... even Al Gore's position on the Apple board suddenly became clearer
  13. bhop123 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2008
    Richmond, Va
    I agree, well written and very insightful. Thanks.

    Hopefully you got an A!

  14. MacFanBoyIIe macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2008
    Answer to thread title question: Absolutely.

    Patent leaks suggest Apple is looking into DVR capabilities for the Apple TV.
    Imagine an Apple TV that tivos!
  15. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    No! No monthly fees! I like the pay-as-you-go model. It's the reason I bought it in the first place. I think ATV is gonna be around for quite a while. I've been telling everyone about mine and they all want one.
  16. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Nov 26, 2006

  17. jwalker99 macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2006
    why does it have to be one or the other? can't apple offer a monthly subscription along with pay-as-you-go? not suggesting they take anything away from people who like to own their movies and TV shows, i just think it would attract more users (like me for example!)
  18. godslabrat macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2007
    I was on the fence about AppleTV for several months. I finally decided that it just wasn't for me, but I find the idea interesting enough to keep reading up on what Apple's been doing with it. It's very possible that it may one day morph into exactly what I'm looking for.

    The thing is, the AppleTV has exactly one function: it takes media from iTunes and puts it on your TV. That's fantastic... but if you aren't overly concerned with this, then the machine has nothing else to offer you. I count myself in this category. I, and others like me, have looked at AppleTV and said "Well, it's a good concept, but it would be much better if they added a PVR/Optical Drive/Web Browser/Game Deck/Distance Viewer/etc." AppleTV fans have pointed out that the machine does its single job well, and that should be enough. They're right, but the conclusion people like myself continue to reach is that the AppleTV form factor lends itself very well to adding these other features. To not add them when the opportunity so clearly presents itself makes the AppleTV only a fraction of what it has the potential to be.

    I say that without in any way intending to disparage Apple or the AppleTV. I admire the work they do, and don't feel emotionally wounded that they designed a product that doesn't appeal to me personally. However, just like the iPod gradually added features and iTunes expands to be able to handle more media, the AppleTV should be able to grow and develop. If video and wifi can be added to the iPod, a PVR can be added to the AppleTV. This will give the device a broader appeal, and bring in more consumers. And the more people buy it, the longer it will be around.

    In short, if Apple treats AppleTV like the rest of its ITMS product family, AppleTV likely has a bright future. If they continue to treat it like the red-headed stepchild, and let it its development stagnate, then it will go the way of iPod HiFi.

    Note: Yes, I know the AppleTV can be hacked to accomodate at least some of the features I mentioned, but for the sake of clarity, I decided to focus on features offered and supported by Apple.
  19. cohibadad macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    :apple:TV may not be around in it's present form. Apple products evolve. But Apple is committed to multimedia and a way to present this content will be around for quite some time IMO.
  20. Scarpad macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I've had the ATV since Launch it does what I wanted it to, stream my Content to my TV so it's available to my Ipods and my Television. THen came 2.0 which added Rentals, which is nice, but even if all that was gone tommorrow it would still do what I bought it for.
  21. pseudonymph macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2007
    I don't have anything against buying but I'd rather have subscriptions for TV/movies personally. If a subscription was a reasonable enough price ( <$70, my current bill) I'd dump my dish and install apple TVs on every set in my house.
  22. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Feb 2, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    I think apple TV will do better and better as the demand for at home rentals increase think of it this way with gas prices on the rise people aren't going to want to search around for movies when they can just buy them from their sofa and now in High Def it's even more appealing.

    The demand for apple TV will greatly increase it's convenience and cheaper in the long run. Apple TV will be a huge hit in the future I think especially when 1080P comes the apple TV.

    And with High-Speed Internet becoming the Norm, It will make even more sense. There's also no way of apple running out of copies of movies because it's all digital. It make renting from block buster look like crap right now.

    The only thing apple must do is make it more reliable and faster. They will have a hit.
  23. rscott505 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2008
    I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts on this. Certainly a lot of things to consider as we potential mov from tangible media to digital media.

    One more thought from me on this.

    Today I had very little to do so I went to my local Apple store, and watched the :apple:TV display area. First, there was only one, but there was a placard highlighting :apple:TV on an easel. (I guess that's "trying.")

    The problem is that in my nearly one hour of loitering in the store, only two people approached the display. Both times I went over to listen in or if possible throw in my positive thoughts. Both times the people walked away within seconds, as they said it was a waste.

    Very disappointing. Not much sales support, and no emphasis on the product. In fact the day I bought mine, I had to wait for sales help for over 20 minutes, and even then the guy couldn't answer several questions.

    If it wants to move the product, and push this media, Apple needs to step up.

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