Apple TV: Why?

Can someone please explain to me just what the excitement about the Apple TV is all about? Personally this seems like such a crippled useless, product I can’t believe any sane individual would pay $99 for it, much less $299. Is this just the famous Steve Jobs reality distortion field at work or is there something I’m missing?

Near as I can tell the AppleTV does nothing but beam videos from my Mac to my TV, except it doesn’t work with any video I actually have on my computer. It only works with videos I purchase from the iTunes music store. Possibly it also works with QuickTime videos from other publishers (I’m not sure about that) but all the AVI files I’ve downloaded? It won’t play a one of them unless maybe I’m willing to crack open the box, void my warranty, and hack it. And even if it would play all the videos I actually own, I still don’t think I could talk myself into paying more than about $49 for it. It’s just a funky network adapter when you get down to it.

If you threw in a DVD player, a TV tuner, and/or a DVR it would get a little better. I’d love an Apple designed settop box that could replace the hideous Scientific Atlanta boxes I have now, but the AppleTV just isn’t that. It’s just one more box next to my TV to do something I don’t have any particualr reason to do. As is, this is like paying $299 for a cable box that plays nothing but pay-per-view. What exactly is the point here?

8 Responses to “Apple TV: Why?”

  1. Jeffrey W. Baker Says:

    I think cracking it open and hacking it is pretty much the entire point. It has most of the features of a mac mini, plus some extras, at half the price, in a package only half as large and without the external power brick. It will run Mac OS or any other full-blown operating system. So it can basically do whatever you want it to do. That seems like enough reason to me.

    I tend to agree that the included software and the state purpose are pointless. But in the context of the quest for compact and quiet computers, this is an excellent product.

  2. Tim Patterson Says:

    Bob Cringely thinks he knows and wrote about it in his weekly column.

  3. Jerry Kindall Says:

    Apple doesn’t want to put a TV tuner into the box, they want you to download your TV programming from them. They want to cut out the cable and satellite companies, not work with them.

  4. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    If they want to cut out the cable companies they’re going to have do a lot better job of delivering a lot more content. They don’t have 1% as much content as the cable company or even my local BlockBuster does. + Cable and satellite companies often give away boxes to sell subscriptions. Apple’s charging big bucks for the box.

    I just don’t see how the AppleTV is any way competitive with cable and satellite. Would you consider replacing your cable with an AppleTV? Would anyone? Until Apple can provide 100+ channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week including my local channels, they aren’t even playing the same game.

  5. Colin Says:

    I’m still waiting for a method to play *in iTunes* the Xvid avis that can be found on Bittorrent.



  6. VHF Says:

    You are not the market for this product. It is more like an iPod for the living room. First and fore most the content everyone is complaining about is likely pulled from web sites or via P2P without copyright permission. Expecting full support every codec under the sun isn’t realistic given the lawyers involved in any content player( or for that matter Apple’s own need to push the iTunes store )….

    Yes, it is overpriced and it doesn’t do everything we want. But for many it is exactly what they want, which is an easy way to bring content to their living room. I might even consider it if it was $99 rather than $299.

    It would be nice if the hardware and content verdors got together and really fixed the mess that has become of the living room entertainment system and maybe we were expecting too much in hoping Apple could do it.

  7. Joseph E. Davis Says:

    I bought one for the following purposes:

    1. As a convenient way to host and display a library of children’s videos that are repeatedly watched and where the physical media is always scratched and destroyed quickly.

    2. To easily display family photos on a large screen.

    3. For video podcasts, trailers, and (maybe later) other downloads.

  8. Mokka mit Schlag » Mac Mini to be Discontinued? Say it isn’t so! Says:

    […] a cable card, and DVR software; and the Mac Mini could become the digital hub that AppleTV so much isn’t. We need more Minis, not less. Please Apple: don’t kill the Mini. « NetBeans 6.0 M9 […]

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