So, after a few delays, Apple finally released the iPod for the TV - the Apple TV. Will this (or similar devices) eventually replace the DVD?
The Apple TV is a $299 box that acts as a bridge between your PC and your TV. You buy your audio and video content at iTunes, download it to your Mac or Windows box and then squirt it to the Apple TV's 40GB hard drive via a wired or wireless network connection. You then wire up the Apple TV magic box to your TV (you have to provide the HDMI, HDMI to DVI or component cables yourself) and away you go.
What DRM giveth, DRM can also taketh awayNow, once you've set up the system, to me it seems like it could be a real timesaver. No more going out to buy or rent DVDs, no more having to get up and load the DVD player, no more having to wipe the mucky fingerprints off the disc. It's just a matter of pressing a few buttons (and where Apple is concerned, this will be as few as possible) and away you go. While Apple TV isn't designed to replace a DVD player or TiVo (it can't play DVDs or record shows), it certainly might make both obsolete in some households.
But as always, there are catches. First off is that everything that comes from iTunes is loaded with DRM. You don't own the content as much as have a right to view it. What DRM giveth, DRM can also taketh away. If you want to keep anything that you buy that means having to back it up since Apple's policy on re-downloading lost content is, well, unwritten (if you are Wil Wheaton you'll be given a second chance, but if you're not, you're relying on hope). This alone makes Apple TV a total non-starter for me and makes it hard to recommend. Despite all the limitations that are associated with DVD, I still own the disc, and I've not yet lost or scratched a single disc. When it comes to DRM time-bombed content, I wish I could say the same.
The fact that Apple TV isn't a replacement for a DVD player or a HDD recorder might mean that it's simpler to use, but it also means that it's yet another box and yet another remote control. Without a doubt that's a problem if you don't like clutter.
Are you interested in what Apple TV has to offer? How would it fit in with your lifestyle? Would it replace your DVD player or do you prefer to actually own you media content?