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back to article Apple TV revamp rumours resurface

Apple is gearing up to release its fourth overhaul of the Apple TV user interface in as many years, part of a plan to revitalise the telly-connected device. So claim moles cited by the New York Times, though they don't know whether the UI revamp will sit on top of the Apple TV's existing, Mac OS X-based software or involve a - …

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Stu
Joke

Careful now everybody!

It'll be fraught with reception issues and it'll put yellow blotches all over your videos.

Apple will just say you sited it wrong because it will be enclosed in your video cabinet, interfered with by your TV, Satellite receiver and co. Oh and the yellow blotches will disappear in 1 to 5 years.

But its okay, it worked fine in the lab so it must just be a software fault.

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A much maligned device

I'm a geek. I buy gadgets. Often I buy gadgets and soon think 'WTF? What a waste of money!' The Logitech Harmony being a prime example. The Apple TV, on the other hand, was one of my better purchases. Sure, it's a flawed product - but it does what it does so well that I don't really mind.

The biggest flaw isn't actually a flaw in the product. It's a flaw in the name, and in the marketing. Apple TV? Apple 'TV'? I don't watch much TV. But I do listen to a lot of music. And, with the music that I really love, I want that music to be lossless. There aren't many systems out there which can play lossless formats - at least, not for a reasonable small outlay. But the AppleTV does sterling service as a lossless music player on my HiFi. And, of course, for the throwaway background music, it also does MP3.

Sometimes, of course, I do watch TV. And on those occasions my AppleTV plays films that I've ripped from my own DVDs or bought from the iTMS. My DVDs are now languishing in a big box in the loft with other obsolete formats. No need to hunt anymore. I just search for a film and play. In fact, it gets better - because I can rent films too, although it has to be admitted that the quality of films from iTMS is a little hit or miss in terms of picture quality. Some of them were clearly converted by the night watchman. Still, looking on the bright side, films from iTMS don't subject you to interminable adverts or admonishments not to pirate film.

The only real flaws I can see are that it isn't possible, without hacking the device, to add third party applications. I'd love to be able to buy apps for it from iTunes. And it's also annoying that it doesn't have a proper on/off switch - I have to turn it off at the wall. But, other than that, it's excellent - and I look forward to Apple marketing it properly.

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Jobs Horns

Apple will probably destroy a good thing.

The AppleTV was a great little product that didn't really go anywhere and had a somewhat misleading name. It was so cool because you didn't have to buy into Apple's vision in order to like the device. It was useful just because of what it was and plenty of people happily hacked them (myself included).

"apps" are cool, but the fact that the device is powerful enough to play content that is not blessed by Apple is even cooler. An ION style update for the AppleTV could be really cool. However, all of the rumours point to the new AppleTV being another PhoneOS device.

"apps" could be emulated or recompiled. Hardware capable of doing good video decoding is something that can't be adequately addressed with technological sleight of hand.

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Grenade

I suspect

They will consider the ipod touch to be a Remote Control/Joypad for the device so they can come up with a gaming function to the rig too.

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Already there

You can already pair your iPod Touch or iPhone with an Apple TV. Makes for a great Sonos type device -- especially with a few well placed Airport Expresses to give multiple room capability. The only downside is each room has to listen to the same thing.

All I'd really like the Apple TV to do is to be able to access video on a shared drive without having to have iTunes open on my laptop first.

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movies and TV series

They also need to pull their fingers out their collective buttholes and ensure decent access to content

here, in the Netherlands there is no tv content or movies.

as much as I love the apple thing, a PS3 simply makes more sense. Just make sure your PS3 can't install any root-kits on the TV, fridge, etc...

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Flame

Put a blu-ray drive in it

I know, I know.. they want to make revenue from movie rentals.

But for god sakes people already have collections of dvds/blu-rays, and people actually occasionally still buy those shiney metal discs when theyre in real world stores.

So put a drive in it!! Apple you're in the bluray consortium, its not hard for you!

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Unhappy

@Ian 62

No, do *not* put a blu-ray drive in this, it is a device for streaming content created elsewhere. The future is not in physical media (i.e. DVDs or blu-ray disks, or whatever else they come up with), it's in digital content no attached to an optical device.

Task specific functionality is the mantra, and this isn't anything but a streaming device.

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Flame

So what do I do with all my existing media?

I've a collection of those old fashioned discs.. How do I play those on my HD tv then?

Another box added to the collection undet the tv? another remote? another cable?

Or do I rip (eeek no, lawsuit!) my media to some SAN somewhere? And buy a few dozen TB of storage for it?

Do I buy (again) the same movies, at a lower bitrate, that I have to d/l over my "*unlimited" connection? For apples chosen price?

The pain we all had with the iPod, ripping our music to mp3 etc is multiplied x5 for each movie disc we own.

I'd love to have an archive of movies I can stream on demand (and do currently have about 1TB of them) but why force me to do this, when Apple could put a drive in it for next to nothing?

I get rid of having an extra box under the tv, i can play the movie instantly, not wait for a D/L buffering, I dont have to pay for another media shifted version, or more storage for it.

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Anonymous Coward

Ten a penny?

> With decent devices that play downloaded content back on the big screen ten a penny

Did you miss the word "illegally" before "downloaded content" in that sentence?

I can think of dozens of devices that will play AVI and DivX movies, and movies ripped from copy protected DVDs, but I can't think of many devices that will play legally rented or purchased downloadable movies.

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Linux

The field is hip deep with competition.

> I can think of dozens of devices that will play AVI and DivX movies, and movies ripped from

> copy protected DVDs, but I can't think of many devices that will play legally rented or purchased

> downloadable movies.

Are you mad? Is is really that rough over on the other side of the pond?

Devices that do LEGAL video streaming are a dime a dozen. Every sub $200 BluRay player these days seems to handle multiple variations of video streaming. Plus you have dedicated devices that do this.

Then there's what you can do with a $200 PC and a copy of MCE or MythTV.

Your average modern shiny metal disk player will play legally rented and downloadable movies.

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Silver badge

Put a TV tuner on it?

The main thing that stops me from buying an Apple TV is the fact I can't watch TV on it. If it had a DVB-T2 tuner on it, together with the ability to watch iPlayer etc videos on it, I would be much more interested in it.

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@jonathanb

And if it had a satellite tuner for every country, and FTA and every other tuner it would be a set top box and then they could put recording capabilities in it and it'd be a DVR set top box.

That isn't the purpose of this device. There are many DVRs and tuner devices out there already - this device is not that one, and it never will be (thankfully). I own the current model (hopefully soon to be outdated and obsolete??) and I love it - I got rid of cable 2+ years ago and haven't missed the monthly payment once.

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SSR
Jobs Halo

Underrated

The cited weakness of the Apple TV is also its strength though, in that it does a lot of things.

If you want music on your TV, wirelessly from a machine with iTunes...

If you want a dedicated box to download from iTunes...

If you want to watch TV/video from iTunes in HD...

If you want to view your Flickr photos...

If you want to view YouTube videos...

Don't knock it until you've tried it, particularly if you are a heavy user of iTunes.

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@SSR

It's overrated. I can do that on a WD HDTV Live and it's low cost and low size. Local storage or network streaming.

The main problem I see with a lot of these boxes is the fact that it's "yet another bloody box" under the TV. PVRs with file streaming etc like those from Topfield are a touch more practical.

As for the TV/video from iTunes - ye..nah, too pricey. That's why a lot of piracy still goes on - too many services offer too little flexibility. Poor quality or overly restrictive etc. More than likely reflects the fact the movie industry isn't as on-board as the music industry now is. They'll learn.

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Tried it, sold it

The locked-down aspect of it is a pain, but it's solvable by hacking into the machine (just plug in a USB stick) and installing custom code.

The real problem for me was the hardware just not having enough grunt. Most of my TV consumption these days is through Hulu and the like (or, yes, iPlayer when in the UK), and the Apple TV didn't have the power to play Flash videos without jumping and skipping horribly. Before anyone says anything, yes, I'm sure it's to do with Flash being horribly inefficient etc. etc., but I don't care, I just want to watch stuff.

I sold it, and bought a Dell Studio Hybrid for $350. A bit more cash, but a million more features- the full install of Windows 7 means seamless web browsing, and Boxee makes watching online videos a simple, sit back experience.

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WTF?

Maybe updated TV product ties in with new data center.

"If Apple's game is sales, it needs to make the Apple TV better able to play with users' storage needs, either by offering lots of on-board storage" -- may be thats what the data center in North Carolina is for. Any way I think the PS3 makes a much better TV connected device.

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ATV + XBMC = Win

One of the best gadgets I've ever bought, love this little box.

Only problem I have is that the CPU in it isn't quite fast enough to render 1080P video in .mkv format so I have to convert them first. but as a hub for watching media 'on the bigg telly' it cannot be beaten IMO.

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