This is the day that Apple lost the war for Over The Top content, not only in America, but globally. The winner can’t yet be announced, but this was the shot that Apple had to get it right, and to us it’s bungled it. We got the same story from Apple, Amazon and Sony all at the same time and a similar one from Google. And while …
Don't Agree With El Reg On This One Either
SSR is right on with both posts.
Apple TV also turns your nice big flat screen into an excellent photo frame and let's you conveniently play your digital music through your HiFi system. I say convenient because you use the TV as a big display instead of having to peer at a tiny screen on a docked player. In fact that is why I originally bought an Apple TV. The ability to rent movies was an unexpected plus because I never anticipated Apple TV for that instead of my Sky HD box. I do now though because it is much easier to browse the very wide choice of titles, get more information on them and watch trailers before buying.
Be interesting to see if Apple continue to let you buy films on iTunes that you expect to watch over and over again e.g. films that your kids watch that would make a nonsense out of the rental model.
I don't see it ever displacing traditional broadcast TV boxes though due to the fragmentation of the content industry but boy would I like to chip that Sky subscription down a bit.
"Apple TV also turns your nice big flat screen into an excellent photo frame"
Albeit one that's just pissing through electricity.
I agree with flameresistant and SSR on this one too. I makes sense to "own" kids' stuff given their unique ability to watch the same thing over and over again (Disney Cinemagic HD was very popular until i axed it from the lineup for budgetary reasons) but for the rest and the odd one or two films that you do watch more than once every 5-10 years rental is the way to go.
Kid's don't care about 1080p so it's a straight DVD for them which can be ripped and watched via aTV at any time. As for the rest, I currently rent films through SkyHD or through iTunes. SkyHD is far too expensive (£3.49 for a compressed 720p feature) and iTunes doesn't have a good selection of rentals and even then they're SD.the new aTV might solve the HD rental problem (depending on UK price and selection) but anything that moves me away from that huge Murdoch bill is a good thing.
Finally, Airplay sounds intriguing and there's clearly an idea here. I'd be interested to see/understand the technical limits of the protocol. Can it stream 720p? Does it keep the 5:1 soundtrack? When will manufacturers start implementing it?
Not really losing, already lost.
The article seems to have the tenet that the new Apple TV and associated business is Apple getting it wrong and thus losing the war. However it goes on to show that the entire market is already essentially flat, and Apple's offering simply a me-too. Which rather suggests that this isn't Apple miss-stepping on its way to a loss, but Apple publicly admitting that it has already capitulated.
The expectation (well perhaps hope is closer) was that Steve, with his inside edge in the business and corporate muscle, could swing a paradigm changing deal on content pricing. The answer is clearly that he couldn't. The movie business had learned from the music experience, and had already closed ranks and set the terms. Apple is merely joining the party, not crashing it.
Hardware wise, the Apple TV is closer to an Airport Express than much else. Indeed for music it is the required device if you stream from iOS.
Agree with SSR
Its the video version of AirPlay. Will Apple be releasing a iTunes NAS box sometime?
I very very rarely feel the need to buy/rent movies etc. But on a rare occasion the other day I had the urge to watch a good (recent) movie with my Saturday night Chicken Curry. "I know" I thought, lets see what good movies are available on Zune on my XBox360....
.....there were about 7 films (or so), three of which were Superman I, II and III, the other four were the Police Academy movies.
Having selected Police Academy 2 in HD I then discovered it would take 7 hours to download the film...
I just don't get the point of this gadget. I've never bought music or videos from iTunes and won't be starting any time soon. Not least because the network and bandwidth is lousy and unreliable.
But most of all because I just don't get 'rental'. If I download something, I want to keep it and play it on any of my devices be that a Mac, iTelly or car stereo when I want and as many times as I want.
Calling it an Apple TV just seems a misnomer. More like Apple iTunes portal with added DRM. Surely it should also be free or next-to-nothing as without downloading from Apple, it's pretty limited.
Surely an Apple TV device worthy of the name would record from air a-la Freeview box; play assorted format files; allow purchasing and streaming from iTunes; rip DVDs & CDs; run apps from iTunes; have huge storage; networking abilities... In short it's a Telly-centric iPad plus extras. Hey, a Mac Mini with Elgato device.
That sure as hell isn't going to happen as it does too much for too few bars of latinum that Jobs loves to covet.
Definite miss for this device.
"only Apple has an installed base of handheld devices with screens"
that depends on your definition of "only".
Does no other geek see a niche market in the making here? A rack TV system, like a VXI crate only prettier: room for hot pluggable hard disk, a controller (windows/mac/linux/OS 9?), a satellite receiver (or several), a digital receiver (or several), a multichannel dolby sound unit... all with the same data bus and power supply on the back plane...
Apple is last to the party this time.
> Does no other geek see a niche market in the making here?
Nope. Roku already has a box that does what the AppleTV does.
It's only advantage is iTunes.
Ultimately, it is the same old failed product in a smaller case with less capable playback hardware.
The announcement did get me to buy a device
But not an AppleTV.
I do not have a large library of files transcoded into h.264 - I have a large library of files in a range of formats accumulated over the years. I've never much liked itunes, even though I have an ipod.
I do like lots of storage, and have a 4 bay nas in the house. I wanted to be able to use it as well as netflix.
I picked up the WD live tv plus box last night, and so far I'm impressed.
It seamlessly picks up the DLNA served media. It doesn't obligate me to have a PC switched on (and doesn't interrupt watching movies if I need to reboot the system, or do work on a different box.) It costs 20 bucks more than the new Apple box but seems to support the widest collection of file formats from a media server that anyone supports today.
And it has netflix, which I may or may not keep.
...sounds very interesting!!!
not heared of one of those, but sounds like just the job, cheers!
I like my Apple TV
I have a EyeTV and an AppleTV and a nice big TV antenna. I record all manner of PBS & other shows shows for my kids using the EyeTV. Hundreds of them. Many in HD. I edit away the commercials in EyeTV and output it to iTunes. My kids' iTunes library, all 5 Tb of it sit on a disk array and my kids can pull up any show they want or play any music they want via the AppleTV. And all those shows cost me exactly nothing beyond the disk space to maintain them. Can the AppleTV do other things? Of course it can just look up FireCore's ATV flash.
Funny how Apple think...
... that the screen is still dumb these days.
Philips already publish the SDK (http://jointspace.sourceforge.net/) for their top-tier TV sets (8xxx, 9xxx models dating back to 2009 are compatible). This will allow developers to produce applications that are always there when the set is tuned on. It's a Linux OS, so it's easy for companies to hire developers for it. I can't imagine Samsung, LG or Sony not allowing a similar arrangement.
Now, NetFlix and their ilk want a way to get to their customers. Given a choice between a $99 box for their flat-screen TV or a firmware upgrade downloaded for free from the net that adds a "rentals" channel directly to their TV, which do you think they'll go for?
So, the competition isn't just Hulu or other set-top-box makers, it's also the TV makers. Some of whom (Sony) have a pretty good relationship with content providers.
No current season series on DVD will be $22, and they definitely won't be at 720p.
As to the numpty that suggested anything with zero distribution cost should cost nothing to buy... there is still the cost of creating the show/film in the first place. But out of sight, out of mind eh.
fine, bluray then
Then compare it to bluray. If you buy a season of your favourite show, you get to watch it as many times as you like. Will you? No, but you can lend it out and make a family member really happy, or give it away after a while. For that $22, you get to watch it. Once. Then you get to buy it again. Give the gift of consumerism?
Beat Me To It
I too notice that red herring of 'It costs nothing to distribute' on El Reg - in the music threads mostly but here in TV Land as well. Is it just willful ignorance to completely over look the MILLIONS that go into actually MAKING the product?
Why yes, I believe it is.
If this thing had included an app store, as had been rumoured, lots of providers come on board and bring content with them, and it would have had a chance. But it doesn't, and that makes it pretty crippled and it's hard to see how it has a chance.
In the UK at least, Sky HD with Anytime+ and Project Canvas will both likely shit on this offering from an *enormous* height. They'll both be a bit more pricey, but those Sky HD boxes are in a lot of houses already and both platforms will be subscription subsidised. They'll both offer TV tuners and "proper" HD. They'll have live content and PVRs, and blend them together to save bandwidth when it's not needed. Canvas will have all the linear catch up services offering huge chunks of free content, and in the fullness of time Sky will probably do the same thing.
Got myself a WDTV (and then upgraded to a WDTV-Plus later on so I could get rid of my USB-Ethernet adapter) and had 1080p out of the box in both cases. I have the box hooked up to a home-built fileserver (14TiB RAID5) which also runs MythTV on it to allow me to record free-to-air programs. Add MakeMKV to the mix, and my DVD collection is rapidly being converted and stored for instant access.
The one thing I *don't* use is streaming form the Internet. Why? Because for most people around the world, streaming is not an option (I'm in Oz). My line, for example, is ADSL512. Hell, YouTube at normal setting is stop-start, which is why I let it cache first then play it - but most of these boxes (WDTV included) don't have that option. It's "watch it as it streams or don't watch it at all". So I don't.
I look at the "convenience" and the pricing of these new options and, frankly, I'll just keep buying DVDs (and/or BDs, I just added a bluray drive to the fileserver) and rip them down to hard-drive for *my* convenience, at a price of *my* choosing (hunting bargain bins during sales). *And* I get to see them again and again whenever I want to.
End of Apple ...
I already have Apple tv v2 in the UK. Its crap and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Try getting one of those nasty avi movie files to play, and you realise what a curse those open video formats are, now if all media was wrapped in a nice Apple proprietary format everything would be so much simpler. So for all those with pre-existing video libraires, its time to break out the conversion tools and hit the on-line forums, then reach for a good book while the conversion runs, before you load the movie into itunes and the magic of over the air updates to your 160GB Apple TV fails for no apparent reason.
The end of Apple? I think so. After several years leading the pack with ipod then iphone, their next bit of innovation is to repackage this rubbish in the hope that all the new fanbois will believe the propaganda and shell out whatever money they have left after splashing out for the ipad, which after 8 weeks is now gathering dust.
I think the common term is 'running out of stream'. Now lets see what GoogleTV brings ...
Are channels dead?
It looks like TV and cable channels are going the way of albums, and Apple is doing what it can to push things along. Why buy an entire cable channel when all you want to watch is one show? I gave up cable two years ago and buy my shows with iTunes. I rarely watch anything twice. If I had a slightly faster broadband connection, I'd stream everything if it were cheaper.
Apple is aiming its ATV at people who have a big screen TV, but don't want to tie up a computer to drive it. I use an old laptop. Lots of people use an old PC or MacMini, but that's for people who know what they are doing. No one wants to buy a big screen TV and have to worry about it going obsolete because it can't run the latest software. Large screens are just too expensive. It makes a lot more sense to have a relatively cheap box to drive it. The ATV fills that niche nicely, and if you can control it with an iPhone or iPod Touch, that would be a huge leap forward. Using a TV remote is usually a trip back to the 70s.
The future of entertainment
Has anyone noticed the A4 (Apple TV) has a GPU on it? The future of entertainment as we know it, is about to change substantially. This little puppy is the biggest trojan horse in the history of ever. We're looking at something on par with World of Warcraft. The internet is about to go 3D, Apple TV is part of the beginning.
Apple becoming chart music?
If at first you don't succeed, re-release the exact same thing over & over!
It's pointless anyway, depending on your viewing habits...
My combo of a mythtv box (with boxee & xbmc), just wipes the floor with Apple TV.
Completely free from any 'big company' intervention, not dependent on specific software, records TV, plays DVD's, plays streaming media, browse the web, stream music, control via web interface, schedule recordings from any net connection on the planet.
Sorry Apple, too late to the party, too much lock-down, not enough features, not even slightly relevant to how we consume media in my house.
In short, pointless piece of crap.
...so many people taking television so seriously. And not the producers/streamers who at least are financially interested in bigging it up.
These are addicts to the electronic teat.
Excuse me Mr Apple
But I am a consumer and you are not the producer so why should I pay you a penny for not letting me purchase media the way I want to?
another almost but not quite from Apple
I discussed this with my *mate* recently and he thinks it's all over-priced and, maybe more to the point, over *there*. Flat rate is the way forwards - sod a PPV model for regular consumer TV (but that works for movies IMO, sorry, in his opinion).
They have to view the world as a global marketplace - otherwise we'll just see the same thing happening as with DVDs (region-free players meaning certain domestic markets suffer as other regions' discs are exported).
Ah, hang on, we have that already. It's TPB, eztv.it and so on.
My mate also wants to make it clear that he would pay if a fair solution existed for him (which includes him not being treated like a 2nd class citizen because of where he lives).
He has to go now as last night's Eureka in 720p is awaiting his attention ;-)
People will pay for the user interface, ignoring the qualities that are most important.
I buy a phone which doesn't lose reception when I hold it
I buy an MP3 player that produces a quality sound
I use a media center (XBMC) that can stream pretty much any movie or TV show for free (NaviX, Iplayer, MSN player, ITV player etc)
Apple & Reg Missing the Point
You can stream content from your iPhone, IPod or Computer to your TV with iStream - only £99:
Play music from your iphone or itunes library through your tv speakers/surround system Great for parties, tv screen display looks cool too. You can also stream any films or photos to your TV from your iphone or itunes so the whole of the family can enjoy them.
Comes with full remote control as well!
Apple are selling the wrong bit! if they could sell it like this they would have a big success on their hands. iStream ;) is the future, i've got my order in already.
This isn't a device for me.
I'd never get something like this, but then I'm a person that always has a powerful desktop PC hooked up to their TV.
However that doesn't mean its not a good choice for others.
The price is right and they have had favorable experience with other apple products and apple does a great job of marketing.
Yes they can already get something cheaper and better to get the job done, but they are not geeky enough to do the research to purchase the right product and when they got it they are not tech savvy enough to hook it up.
What they do have is an iPod, or an iPhone or an IPod Touch, or an IPad, and have a positive experience with that.
I know people who'd want this just to get music from iTunes to their home theater system.
Its not for me, its not for people like me, but if they do it right they could still make it popular.
Sling is far superior
Sorry, been able to do this for along time. Nothing to see here at all. It's just Apples typical marketing crap claiming they are being innovative when as always they are just rebadging and whacking out ideas done by others.
As for me, I'll go back to getting the Sky HD (yeah it's not perfect and only 720p) streamed to my Android devices, and PC, lappie, netbook, or anything else I want it on quiet happily from my Slingbox. The advantage this way is simple, you can run multiple devices through the Slingbox, my Sky box, my DVD player (with upscaler to 1080p so yes, thats well worth it to be transmitted off to the lappie or phone), whatever else I decide to plug into it. Is there a subscription after my Sky subscription? nope. I want Boxoffice movies while on the move? click buy on Skybox, watch on phone at the other end of the country.
The big advantage to my way is I can use it on a huge choice hardware and not be tied to Apple Smugware (even though it can also run on it). I am open to using any service to get my TV content off. And once I have bought the content, I use it on my devices, and I use it how I want to since I've paid for it. Yes, I had to plug into a box with lots of cables, and download an application. But really, it was simple and very easy. And paying to stream, Apple can go stick it.
Just what we need - More TV... Not!
My family has online recorded content available from Verizon/FIOS which includes movies and TV shows and shows recorded via DVR. We have access to Sony's online movie service... Plus 25/25Mbs of internet bandwidth.
I personally have about 6-12 hours a week I could choose to watch "TV" but there really is not a huge amount of new content to see.
What magic device is going to create new and interesting content I would want to take the time to watch?
What magic device is going to create additional time in my life to waste watching junk on TV?
Lobster season is about to start - I will be the one scuba diving while others watch reruns on their magical Apple TV.
Missed the most important reason
The article and all (OK, all those I bothered to read) missed the most important reason why the new Apple TV will be a dud; it's not visible enough.
Apple products succeed when they capture the zeitgeist, are 'cool' and you can show them off to everyone you meet - see iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook etc. Their desktops are still visible and shiny to anyone who comes to your house/office too, so that works OK as an Apple product.
A small, dusty box behind the back of your telly with some cables coming out doesn't capture anyone's zeitgeist and you certainly don't want to show it off to people.
If Apple are desperate to do something with TV, they should make an actual telly which looks like a giant iMac or iPad, runs a version of iOS (that you could optionally control with your small iDevice), and integrates the Apple TV gubbins. They could then charge twice the price of a normal set because of its shiny-Apple-ness, it would still sell to all who value an integrated Apple lifestyle, and push Apple TV towards being some sort of standard.
The technology and price comparisons are spurious - Blu-Ray beat Aitch-Dee-Dee-Vee-Dee not because of price or performance, but because Blu-Ray sounded cooler and shinier, and came in an electric blue box rather than a reddish-brown one.
what comes to my mind
You know that saying that we only use 10% of our brain, its not totally true we only use 10% at any given time but we use the whole of our brain.
Like a smart it can do a lot but not everything at once. Phone as a remote control?
What happens when you get a phone call and need to lower the volume or the person on the phone tells you to watch a certain channel to have a gossip about something, great idea but a novelty people will buy it and only use at christmas times to impress the under 8s.
Apple TV and other TV boxes are kinda pointless when
1) they are being built into televisions making the front room tidier
2) a vga/dvi cable (which most modern TVs come with the connectors) costs about £5
3) if you own a modern console you can stream films from your PC or watch their services already
Whay are Apple planning to waste their time money and s**t on their reputation. I think it could be time to search for a new CEO one who will stabilse the ship rather than pushing them forward relentlessly into areas that are pointlessly dangerous
PS3 has this...??
Maybe I'm dumb but the PS3 has a film rental service already.
You can download standard or HD. It streams it and stores it on disk. So you can watch it as comes down or watch it later (sometimes necessary if the streaming speed isnt so good on your connection).
So what am I missing here that different?
RE: Completely Blown
I don't disagree with your conclusions but one of your points is incorrect - Sky HD is actually no better 'proper HD' that ApleTV is. AppleTV can output at everything up to 1080p but can only process 720p (I have no idea how good its scaler is though). Sky HD shows are either 720p or 1080i and they have, as far as I'm aware, no 1080p content. So, to be honest, in pure picture quality terms the AppleTV and Sky HD are pretty much of a muchness and both are some way behind BluRay.
There are a myriad of reason to criticise AppleTV, particularly the new one, but pure picture output compared to 'over the air' HD (be it Sky, FreeView or FreeSat) isn't it.