Apple TV Gets Upgrades; Still Not For Me

Apple has just released a new revision of their Apple
TV
.  The main upgrade comes with the $100 160GB hard drive upgrade
over the past 40GB.  You can still purchase both, 40GB for $299 and 160GB
for $399.  I still say the product
sucks
, unless
you are a big iTunes user.

The other upgrade comes with YouTube
support.  A nice edition to show off that 720p iTunes downloads are
clearly not ready.  YouTube is a nice addition, Media Center Extender
users have
been able to do this for a while now
and to me it’s clearly a cover feature
until Apple can get 720p iTunes content.  I mean really, what better way
to show off a device built for “widescreen” TV’s other than low bitrate 4×3
Flash-encoded content (Edit: “YouTube
will be encoding its entire back-catalog in H.264 format”
).  My
question about YouTube support is if you can actually search for content?

On the subject of HD downloads, Jobs said “We’re not
selling HD yet, because of the tradeoffs between download time and quality. But
that might change in the future…” [Via
Macworld
].  Understandable reason, but somehow I think there is more
to it.  H.264 is the best they are going to get in terms of compression,
and the pipe to your house isn’t going to change all that much in the next
year.  Other services have been providing 720p downloads for years
now.  Sure, it takes a while to download but that is part of the game.

Lastly, Jobs doesn’t seem to sure that the living room is
the place for Apple, calling it a “hobby.”  He says “The reason I call it
a hobby is, a lot of people have tried and failed to make it a business. And
it’s a hard problem. So we’re trying. I think if we work on it and improve
things over the next year, 18 months, we can crack that.” [Via
Macworld
]

8 thoughts on “Apple TV Gets Upgrades; Still Not For Me

  1. All the above may be true but now answer me this: how many people know about the AppleTV and its capabilities, vs. Media Center/Extenders and its capabilities?

    MS has done a piss-poor job at marketing these things. Nearly everyone I know is impressed with Media Center and such, but few knew of it.

    Also, why is XBox STILL the only V2 extender? It’s too loud and expensive for me to want to use as an extender (and only an extender).

    Also a shame that portable media centers have been killed. Zune is a step down in many ways, and what a waste to reinvent everything (DRM, media center, stores) for it and it alone.

  2. besides current end user internet connections, you have to factor the load on Apple’s servers. If all content was upgraded to HD tomorrow then Apple will have to deal with more simultaneous connections and higher bandwidth costs and requirements. They probably have their download capped (not unlimited for those on super high bandwidth modems) and going to HD might require upping this cap from a customer experience standpoint. I have a 7mbit connection, but there is no way I can download that fast… from nearly anywhere.

  3. Mark: Very true. Of course I’ve been talking about this for a long time and it is the biggest problem with Microsoft’s platform.

    oatmeal: I don’t think Apple will have a problem finding the bandwidth to do this on their end, and I highly doubt they have any sort of cap on what they can offer.

  4. Not sure, but I didn’t say that anyone else sells 720p downloads.

    I said that that other services have been providing downloads. Bandwidth is bandwidth, doesn’t matter if you “own” or “rent” the content in terms of the bandwidth needed to get it to you.

  5. The bandwidth is the same either way, but if you own it you only have to download it once.

    I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, just wanted to point out that Apple was doing something differently, of course the real question is, “do people actually want to buy downloadable content Vs. renting it”.

  6. What shocked me about the Apple TV is how boring it is. I mean, it lacks any kind of innovation and it’s quite inferior to MCE extenders IMO. And apparently the market is proving that, as by many accounts it really only selling to Apple enthusiasts. The retail demand has been modest.

    Very un-Apple sounding.

  7. I have an Apple TV. I like it… for music and for podcasts. I’ve always found the music library portion of the MCE interface to be a bit cluttered and laggy for my tastes (perhaps because I have a pretty substantial music library, perhaps .01% of which came from the iTunes store). The Apple TV’s presentation is visually pleasant and I confess to enjoying the album art screensaver more than I should.

    That said, I use XP and Vista MCE PCs for absolutely everything else, and I didn’t pay anything for my Apple TV. If more people actually had a clue what MCE and the extenders could do, nobody would be talking about Apple TV.

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