Theories on Apple TV

Theories on Apple TV

Summary: While Apple TV is more or less an Airport Express for video (streaming iTunes video content to a TV like the Airport Express streams music to speakers) it has the potential to be so much more - if it weren't for all the limitations.


Apple TVWhere is Apple heading with the Apple TV?

While Apple TV is more or less an Airport Express for video (streaming iTunes video content to a TV like the Airport Express streams music to speakers) it has the potential to be so much more.

Apple TV has the potential to be a trojan horse into the living room and PBS' Bob Cringely, in his The Pulpit column, theorizes that because Apple TV is an always-on device with a 40GB hard drive, Apple may move to content distribution via a P2P network. From Slashdot:

The ISPs will incur higher bandwidth locally, possibly lose some subscribers to cable TV, but have fewer costs through the Tier II Internet backbone providers. Bob also expects that Google will be involved with their fiber network and advertising expertise, and my hope is that they'll bundle in YouTube content as well... Eventually, he hopes, we'll see a real HD revolution from Apple and Google for this service."

After reading through the Apple TV product pages in more detail I am concerned by three things:

1. Apple TV can only stream content that's in your iTunes library and Photos from iPhoto - at least initially. Which means that other content (including DVDs, DiVX, .AVI, .WMV, etc.) will not be able to be streamed to Apple TV - unless you convert them to something that plays in iTunes first. This will be a deal-breaker for many people. Hopefully a third-party developer is developing a workaround (like Rogue Amoeba's excellent AirFoil). And what about us Aperture users, Apple?

2. Apple TV only connects to TVs that have either HDMI (digital) or component video (analog) inputs. Component video inputs are (R)ed (G)reen and (B)lue and are not to be confused with the yellow RCA cable, which is composite video (also known as "S-video"). RGB was never popular in North America for consumer electronics, as S-video was considered good enough. This effective limits the Apple TV to consumers that own a relatively modern TV set.

3. Apple TV requires a widescreen set. While many people are upgrading to widescreen sets, I wonder what percentage of the TV-owning public currently owns either an Enhanced Definition (ED) or High Definition (HD) set? According to Apple's system requirements you need:

Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz

Check the your TV carefully before you run out to buy an Apple TV!

[poll id=38]

Topic: Apple

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  • No need to convert

    If Quicktime can play it, so can iTunes. All you need is the right codecs for quicktime
    and you can play DiVX, AVI and WMV in iTunes without conversion.

    DVDs, being a physical medium, will need to be converted, though.
  • No need

    Seems to me that with my Xbox360 and my windows media center I already have this without all the format restrictions.
    • Yup, MS leads the way, Apple follows...

      with massively crippled copies of what MS has had for years.
      • Your right Apple has a lot of catching up to do...

        Apple doesnt have any decent Virus's while Microsoft has > 100,000 of them. Nor does Apple have any decent spyware.
        • How does that affect me?

          I've never gotten a virus or any spyware and I've been using Windows for many years now. So why should I pay twice as much for half the functionality just to get something with an Apple logo on it?
          • Does that mean....

            You are running Spyware/Virus Checkers ???
          • Speaking of personal experience...

            ...doesn't translate into grand generalizations about public acceptance of Media
            Center or Xbox.

            AppleTV has 'ease of use' engineered by reknowned Apple, which consumers (not
            nerdish PC hobbyists) prefer over overly complicated offerings from pie-in-sky
          • You are saying that you have used these devices?

            [i]AppleTV has 'ease of use' engineered by reknowned Apple, which consumers (not nerdish PC hobbyists) prefer over overly complicated offerings from pie-in-sky Microsoft.[/i]

            I did not know that this unit was marketed at this point in time, otherwise how would you know how "easy" the unit's operation is?
          • He/she could not however based on Apple's long history...

            it's a pretty safe bet:P

            Pagan jim
          • Yes, I have.

            I've been using AirTunes and Airport Express for a couple of years to wireless stream
            my music throughout my home. I've been downloading movies from iTunes and
            watching them within minutes of beginning the download. AppleTV is just more of
            the same high quality services and products.
          • I should add

            Apple only delivers what works, not what will KILL the competition.
    • Xbox 360 is more capable in some ways..

      But it's alot more expensive and doesn't have access to itunes, which is the worlds largest provider of online media.

      That said, Apple TV doesn't blow my socks off. I was expecting a little more, but for only $299 It's not that bad.
      • What a riot!!!!

        A Mac zealot complaining about the price of something? Hey buddy, did you notice what color the XBox came in? White. Do you have [b]any[/b] idea how expensive it is to put a white case on something? Well, you probably do. After all, you are a Mac zealot!

        [i]doesn't have access to itunes, which is the worlds largest provider of online media.[/i]

        Ah, now you are beginning to see how Apple is illegally leveraging their online media monopoly to get into other markets. DEFEND, DEFEND, DEFEND!!!!
        • Where do you get your delusions laserbrain?

          Did you even read my post?

          Mac Zealot? My post was basically a criticism of the AppleTV which in my opinion is far from applealing compared to the features of the Xbox or Media Center. But I did concede that it's greatest advantage was it's integration with itunes.

          You are daily becoming the most irrational poster on this forum.
          But hey, Norway is on your side now, how can you go wrong?

          And I thought you didn't exist...
      • What's more useful

        XBOX is just a possible STB, and the functionality in the XBOX 360 from a TV standpoint is less impressive than Media Center.

        You could buy a lower cost extender, however, and use it against your Media Center PC, and you can put ANYTHING in Media Center, plus access digital cable signals (provided you have a CableCard system Media Center PC).

        MS really is ahead of the game on this.
        John Carroll
        • but iTunes has the best library of content I've seen

          I nearly bought a set top box running MicrosoftTV, but at the last moment saw the content provider had a really lousy library.
          The hardware doesn't matter, it's all about the library.
        • This arguement sound familar too me...hmmmm?

          Oh yeah the iPod vs the "Others" I remember of the years
          manufacturers touting their other players many "features" against the
          iPod's limted ones. Never realizing two key factors the lesser of the
          two being using the iPod was simple and easy. And the other factor
          being the hand n glove relationship with iTunes. Making the over all
          experience of using the iPod....well SWEET!!!

          I can't say for certain the Apple TV has the same things going for it as
          of yet cause I haven't used on yet but if it does then it frankly does
          not matter how many featues the XBox 360 has, nor how many add
          ons etc...etc. It just won't matter.

          Pagan jim
          • Apple needs to be broken up

            Do we need any more proof that Apple is leveraging its online media library monopoly to expand into other markets? Time for the DoJ to investigate! Norway has already declared Apple an illegal monopoly.
          • Microsoft first

            Let the 90% market share titan go first.