Apple TV - Will you be throwing out your DVD player?

Apple TV - Will you be throwing out your DVD player?

Summary: 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 or will DRM hold back adoption?

SHARE:
TOPICS: Apple
26

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?

Apple TVThe 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?

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

26 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • DVD Player replacement?

    I am excited at the prospect of not needing my 300 DVD changer in the living room anymore (it is huge). I have already checked out products from Nidesoft and Xilisoft to see how well they convert my existing DVDs to AppleTV format (sans DRM). I am pleased with the Xilisoft product but I am hoping that Nero will come out with settings for the 640x480 format (at least). Nero has made great little movies of my kids DVDs for the iPod and they have saved me especially in the Emergency Room!
    pagarodog
    • I don't own a widescreen TV

      so nope, not gonna buy one. Sorry Apple, but requiring a TV upgrade makes this a bit unreasonably priced. :-)
      mtgarden
      • Will work with standard format

        AppleTV does have a 480i mode and will work with standard TV screens that aren't
        HDTV as long as they have component inputs. So it won't work with most older TVs
        but will probably work with any non-HDTV TV purchased in the past 2-3 years.
        Len Rooney
  • Doesn't fit at all

    I already have a computer dedicated as a PVR, and would hate to step down so far in functionality.

    If this type of device does interest anyone, I'd recommend waiting a little for the SlingCatcher, and see how it compares. They have done some really interesting work in the past, so I am curious to see what they pull out of the box
    mdemuth
  • oh, give me a break

    Your DRM point is neither here nor there. who in their right mind would expect a
    retailer, online or brick/mortar, to keep backups of a product that you purchased?
    Guess what, that DVD that you proudly claim to be scratch free? Lose that DVD and
    see if the retailer you bought it from would replace it with another copy free of
    charge.
    William Chu
    • Microsoft does

      with the Zune Marketplace. Unbox does as well.

      Perhaps, not being a follower in the Cult Of Apple, I simply expect more, not just what Steve gives?
      mdemuth
    • For the intellectually-challenged Apple fanatics...

      the big problem is that DVDs not only hold more high-quality data than you can reasonably stream to your Apple TV, but they also don't fill your limited disk space to overflow.

      When you've filled your computer and your Apple TV with its pathetic 33 Gb of usable space to the brim, then which show are you going to get rid of??? Oh, and without a "backup" from iTunes (which would be simply a record of your purchase so you could re-download--how simple, yet complex for the Apple crowd), your purchase is toast.

      Stupid Apple and stupid Apple fanatics. The company produces only expensive, proprietary crap. They are dinosaurs and an example of antique thinking. The future is open-source, collabrative products for the good of humanity...
      JohnBoyTheGreat
  • Hmm let me think....

    [url=http://direct.tesco.com/q/R.100-8541.aspx]Tesco Value DVD Player[/url] @ ?17.74 / $34.88 (and that includes 17.5% sales tax, as do all luxury item sales in the UK).

    or

    Overpriced pretty looking paperweight - $299.99

    Do I need a network connection for my DVD player? [b]No.[/b]
    Do I need a PC / Mac for my DVD player? [b]No.[/b]
    Do I need to use iTunes and further promote DRM C.R.A.P with my DVD player? [b]No.[/b]
    Do I need an Apple TV? [b]Not while there is a hole in my ...[/b]

    What was it that Ballmer said about "one trick ponies"? Apple's attempts to recreate the buzz and success of the iPod are not going too well. Maybe everyone will be brainwashed by the iPhone? I think not.

    Maybe the [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcjLEwZqcQI]iRack and the iRan[/url] will be bigger successes for Jobs.
    Scrat
  • No freakin' way

    You want me to pay $300 to gain the ability to throw away all my already purchased DVDs, and repurchase lower quality crippled versions from iTunes? Gee, what a great deal!
    tic swayback
    • drink more caffeine before posting again Tic

      Come on Tic, you're smart enough to know you can use your DVDs thru iTunes. The
      pro-MS don't need more help. I use Handbrake to get my DVDs at max res onto my
      HDD, I still have a disc for archive purposes and I can stream the video where I want
      it. BTW, I have seen video ripped to the iPod video size displayed on a HDTV and it
      isn't that bad. Of course it looks much better at full res of DVD. The thing is I can
      have a buddy come over with files on his iPod and still have a decent viewing
      experience.
      Mr_Dave
      • Sorry, I'm a law-abiding citizen

        I don't want to circumvent DRM, as it may result in my being prosecuted as a criminal under the DMCA. So ripping DVDs is not something I'm willing to risk.

        And even if I did, it's not worth $300 to me to do a whole bunch of extra work just to watch a DVD via a wireless network. It's a lot easier just to pop in the DVD. There's great potential in the AppleTV, it's just not there yet.
        tic swayback
        • RE: Sorry, I'm a law-abiding citizen

          I would have no moral issues about ripping DVD movies I already own, regardless of what the laws may say. And of course that assumes that I'm not distributing those digitized files to others, which WOULD be wrong.

          gary
          gdstark13
      • drink more caffeine before posting again Tic

        Mr_Dave,

        Can you elaborate on this? I too already have a collection of DVDs and, without the ability to rip them and play on the iTV, I wouldn't purchase one.

        gary
        gdstark13
  • Stupid and misleading question ....

    For a tech writer you don't seem to get it.
    An_Axe_to_Grind
    • He's asking a rhetorical "teaser" question...

      but you don't get it.

      Why are you such an ass on these TalkBacks? Do you have so absolutely nothing to do with your life that you can sit around and irritate others all day long?

      The headline was a good one for those that don't know what an Apple TV is. "What's it good for? I don't know. Does it replace my DVD player?"

      The Apple TV is a bad idea. All ideas that lock you into one vendor are bad ideas.
      JohnBoyTheGreat
  • Why bother?

    For slightly more money you can have a functional Media Center PC.
    Beat a Dead Horse
    • For far less money...

      ...you can buy a TV cable for your iPod and get the exact same functionality.
      tic swayback
      • or for you mac you can get...

        http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=M9267G/A

        when it's time to retire my mac mini I'll use one of these.

        gnu/linux...giving choice to the neX(11)t generation.
        Arm A. Geddon
        • Or for even less money than a Mac...

          you can get a non-proprietary PC that will do all the Mac can do but more, with a whole lot more software available.
          JohnBoyTheGreat
  • Will it also come with designer cracks? (NT)

    ...
    Scrat