Making Apple TV Stickier - Your Thoughts? | iLounge Backstage

2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Backstage

Making Apple TV Stickier - Your Thoughts?

Author's pic

By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, April 21, 2008
Backstage Categories:

Successful electronic devices are “sticky,” meaning that you keep wanting to use them rather than doing or using something else. If the device is designed from the start with the right set of features, it will be both appealing and sticky to all of its potential buyers; otherwise, it might take a few iterations—and added features—to get to the point where people can’t live without it. A few examples of stickiness:

* iPods. Being able to play any piece of music from your collection, at any time, originally made iPods hugely sticky for audio fans. The additions of photos, podcasts, videos, and games have helped the iPod increase its portable entertainment value, and thus its stickiness. An iPod owner generally won’t turn to another portable device for audio or video on the road.

* Web-connected computers. Before the web took off, it was easy for everyone except for hard core fans to walk away from their personal computers and, say, go outside. Now kids, parents, and grandparents alike are computer users, and it’s hard to imagine a modern home without a computer connected to the Internet.

* Mobile phones. For people who love to communicate, mobile phones didn’t need anything more than decent reception and reasonable billing rates to become necessary, take-it-everywhere devices. The additions of text messaging, e-mail and web access have only made these phones stickier over time.

Any common threads above? Apple makes iPods, web-connected computers, and mobile phones—devices that are now widely regarded to be “musts” because of their features and interfaces. It also makes a little device called Apple TV, which very few people would claim to be “sticky.” As most people know, Apple TV connects to certain TVs and lets you enjoy your pre-existing music, videos, podcasts, and photos on a big screen. Recently, it’s also started to let you acquire additional content from the Internet—more music, videos, podcasts, and photos—but that’s pretty much all that it does.

Apple initially justified Apple TV’s existence by calling it a “DVD player for the 21st Century,” capable of playing mostly video content on TVs with better-than-DVD-quality display capabilities. However, it was obvious then, and more so now, that such a product was not going to match the gotta-have-it nature of Apple’s other key products: a DVD player, even a next-generation DVD player, is just not sticky. At a time when living room entertainment is increasingly multimedia, rather than limited to just playing back videos, there needs to be something to make you want to use Apple TV more often than you’d want to watch DVDs.

Past Backstage entries have made suggestions on how this might be accomplished. Nintendo’s Wii, for instance, has launched a global news reader, a weather forecast page, and a vote-against-the-world channel, all essentially widgets to keep you entertained and Wii-connected even when you’re not playing games. There’s also a web browser. And now Wii Fit, the exercise accessory and software package, which is about to sell its 2 millionth copy. Clearly, people enjoy interacting with their TVs, and the launch of Apple TV made plain that Apple wants to be involved with that—somehow.

Apple has been exploring potential expansion options for Apple TV since before the device was even announced. Back in August 2006, it filed for a patent that suggested people might be able to use widgets to do video chats with the Apple TV, and perhaps access web pages, or interact with DVDs—each most likely requiring additional hardware not included with the current device. Another patent suggested that Apple has envisioned the device extending into DVR functionality. Unfortunately, the only expansion it has actually received—apart from a new menuing system—is the ability to stream and download photos, video, and audio from the Internet via Flickr, .Mac, YouTube, and the iTunes Store.

No one seemed to remember its birthday in late March, but Apple TV’s now a year old. What do you think Apple should add to the device in order to make sure that there’s something worth celebrating next year? Does it need something as simple as composite video ports, or more complex features, like DVR, disc, or widget functionality? We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments box below.

« iChat Video Problems + Solutions, or Don’t Return Your New Mac Yet

Blue’s Snowflake, the Cute Little USB Mic That Could »

Comments

1

Quite simply:
DVR capabilities.
And maybe Bluray/DVD drive.

Then, while it might not become completely ‘sticky’, people wouldn’t need to use anything else for their TV input options.

Posted by Jonathan Reed on April 21, 2008 at 2:25 PM (PDT)

2

A videochat widget would be the killer app for the Apple TV. Imagine grandparents gathering in front of the TV to chat with their Grandchildren-a half a world away. Yes, you can already do this with a mac, but the Apple TV is so much simpler than a regular computer, plus it would display on a large TV, rather than a small screen.

Posted by anti-luddite on April 21, 2008 at 2:31 PM (PDT)

3

What we need is a system to deliver TV programming.  The best thing is that we already have that system in place.  It’s called “podcast subscriptions”.  The networks should offer their TV shows as ad-supported podcasts.  We could subscribe to our favorites, and they would automatically be downloaded.  Apple could build in a way to purchase an ad-free version of the show for the usual $1.99 price.  By allowing us to watch what we want, when we want, where we want, great shows like “Firefly” and “Futurama” may have not been canceled.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on April 21, 2008 at 2:51 PM (PDT)

4

What makes Apple TV ‘sticky’ for me is not having cable tv service.  I have highspeed internet through my cable provider, but I opted out of tv several years ago.  I can get local network programming in HD for free with a small antenna, and I can purchase and watch almost every tv show that I want to watch from iTunes for *SUBSTANTIALLY LESS THAN CABLE TV*.  People spend nearly $200 a month for access to hundreds of channels that they never watch and they’re never home to use.  Why pay for what you don’t use, when you can pay for exactly what you want, without commericals, for way less than what you’re paying now.

That’s made Apple TV very sticky in my house in the year I’ve had mine.  The addition and expansion of the podcast directory has made it double-sticky with the recent proliferation of high-quality, high-def content from providers like NASA, PBS, many major networks, and the like.

There are three additions to the Apple TV I’d like to see:

1) An easy to use web-browser with a smiple wireless keyboard so when my friends are over we don’t have to huddle around the laptop after just having relaxed around the living room to watch a movie, tv show, podcast or something on YouTube.

2) An RSS reader.  When I’m at home, I use my Apple TV for most all of my distraction, except for keeping up on my news via RSS.  For that, I’ve got to open up my laptop.

3) I would also like to see Apple explore gaming on the device.  A simple wireless game pad and some fun games might be nice.  Nothing like the shoot-em-up games that people buy X-Box and Playstations for.  If you look again at the success of the Wii, it’s not because it’s a screaming hardware box like other consoles, but because it has an innovative interface to reasonably addicitive games.

There you have it.  I think the lack of stikyness people perceive is because they’re paying for the wrong thing every month.  Dump your over-priced cable plan and start saving by buying what you actually watch.  You’ll have a whole new appreciation for the device when you actually use it.

Posted by pwhutchi on April 21, 2008 at 2:59 PM (PDT)

5

DVR Functionality
Widget Dashboard
Games
Web Browsing or more tie-ins to web-based video content like Hulu

Posted by Adam on April 21, 2008 at 5:06 PM (PDT)

6

I’ll second pwhutchi’s comments with regards to how the Apple TV has replaced cable TV services for me.  I still maintain basic cable due to the need for local and current content such as news, but most network programming is acquired through iTunes.

If I had to choose between my digital cable box and my Apple TV, I’m quite certain the Apple TV would win.

That having been said, what the Apple TV is missing that would make it take a more central place and expand it to a wider audience at the same time:

More HD Content from iTunes. As a device targeted exclusively at HDTV owners, the Apple TV has a hard time competing with HD cable services simply because the network TV programming from iTunes has not evolved to an HD level.  HD movie rentals is a good start, but it needs to be taken to the next level.

Support for non-HDTVs.  I have several friends who would love to have an Apple TV, and since most of the content they’re interested in watching isn’t HD anyway, they see no point in paying the “HD tax” just to get an Apple TV.  While it was nice that Apple wanted to try to be futuristic, they’ve limited their consumer base dramatically by not putting a simple composite output on the box.  The result is that the ultimate cost of an Apple TV for some folks is well over $1000 by the time they’ve purchased the necessary additional hardware to support it.

RSS support. As mentioned above, news headlines, weather, etc, should be available on the Apple TV.  RSS feeds could be synced from a back-end computer, or pulled from an online aggregator/directory to avoid the end-user having to type in a long and cumbersome URL using the on-screen keyboard.

More prominent podcast and/or real-time web streaming support—Replacing local cable services is gradually becoming feasible as more news services become offering podcasts.  The current podcast implementation, however, would risk burying this sort of information where the user can’t actively see or use it.

I personally don’t see an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” approach really being the right way to go, however…  Firstly, this is not typically Apple’s approach, and secondly it would risk increasing the cost of the device to the point of making it inaccessible to most users who didn’t want all of those high-end features.  Things like PVR support, DVD playback, and games support are all better left to the single-purpose devices that do these things very well, lest it risk becoming a device that does everything poorly rather than merely one or two things well in and of itself.  Web browsing on the device sounds appealing to some, but this is a feature that’s been tried and failed by many other companies.

(As an aside, PVR support would be nice, but it risks being too much of a niche feature due to the complicqtions of cable provider support out there—it would be difficult to make it work with all providers, particularly outside of the U.S. market).

Unfortunately, the most serious limitation to the Apple TV has likely been in its limited format support and more importantly in the time and effort required for people to get their own video content onto the device.  This has probably been Apple’s biggest uphill battle in the video market in general—be it for the iPod or the Apple TV.  iTunes content is much more limited both in selection and geographical availability than broadcast TV programming or commercial DVDs.  Apple’s ease of getting music on CD onto the iPod was a great reason for their success in that area, but the legal complications around DVD ripping have made it impossible for them to reproduce the same “just works” philosophy when it comes to video content.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on April 21, 2008 at 5:26 PM (PDT)

7

1.) An SDK. Developers and hackers would create all the killer apps for this device.
2.) More content like ESPN360, Disney on Demand, WCSN sports, etc.
3.) An iPod dock - no need for a computer to sync an iPod/iPhone with Apple TV.
4.) And yes, an RSS newsreader - plus weather widget and sports scores.

Posted by C. Lee Smith on April 21, 2008 at 7:07 PM (PDT)

8

Oh, and one more thing…

5.) The device would automatically convert ANY video from any device plugged into it to H.264 format. Now all those old family videos on Betamax, VHS, etc. can easily be converted to digital format and shared on your iPod, iPhone, Mac, etc.

Posted by C. Lee Smith on April 21, 2008 at 7:16 PM (PDT)

9

I’d like to replace my EyeTV with a PVR function. I’d like to see Apple put some real effort into the performance issues I’m having, specifically, the interface constantly “locks up”, not responding to button presses, even if it’s not doing much. Very annoying. Also, since 2.0, videos often choke about 1 minute in and I have to rewind to play the section again.

And of course, iTunes movies and TV shows for Australia would help sell this thing here.

Posted by Japester on April 21, 2008 at 7:52 PM (PDT)

10

The AppleTV needs a more complete movie rental library first and foremost.  Besides that I would add widgets and RSS.

Posted by J-F on April 21, 2008 at 7:57 PM (PDT)

11

I’ve been living with one for some time. I love it and it really annoys me.

1) Video Podcasts are great. I have about 15 in my favorites. Every damn day I have to check them to see who has updated their content. Apple needs to provide a way to identify those with new content, either by visual tags or a “New Content” List. It also needs to visually distinguish audio from video podcasts.

2) Still no streaming internet radio. Fix that please. (And provide a means to buy what’s playing on the radio single-click at the iTunes store.)

3) Airtunes has issues, especially with internet radio streams. At least fix that.

4) Screensaver. Boring. Provide more of ‘em. If not, at least black out the screen after 20 minutes.

5) Widgets would be nice, maybe even killer. I’d love a weather widget.

6) The remote works well for menu access, but we need something more powerful (and just as easy to use). iPhone/iPod Touch anyone?

7) More selection. But that will come with time and I’m prepared to wait as I always have 3 movies in the queue. 30 day limit OK, but please double the 24 hour limit once the movie starts to play. Stupid studios.

Posted by John M. on April 21, 2008 at 8:17 PM (PDT)

12

There is nothing wrong with Apple TV.  What’s wrong is how it’s being marketed.

Apple is trying to pass this off as another set top box and it’s trying to compete in the wrong space.

Apple TV is an iPod for your home theater.  That’s what it is, and that’s all it needs to be.  Apple just needs to tell everyone and not be coy.  When you travel, an iPod and a headset is all you need.  When you are at your computer, iTunes and some speakers are all you need.  When you are in your office, an iPod and a simple dock to a mini system will suffice.

Ah, but your most expensive stereo?  The one that cost you thousands?  The one that’s tethered to your flatscreen TV?  That one’s a problem.  Plugging an iPod into it is inconvenient and it’s not a solution that’s worthy of your home theater.  Apple TV solves this.  Puts your music collection on the most important, best sounding, and most expensive system you’ve invested in.

We’ve already got HDTV, we’ve got cable/satellite, we’ve got movies, we’ve got DVR’s.  We’re not giving those up for Apple TV.  What we don’t have is an iPod for our home theater.  That’s what Apple TV is.  They’d sell a hell of a lot more if they’d just pitch it properly.

Posted by James B on April 21, 2008 at 9:47 PM (PDT)

13

I’m an ipod user but I haven’t yet taken the step to buying an Apple TV ad the reason is simple: Content is King, and content on Apple TV is limited, especially here in the UK. Sure the ipod is brilliantly designed, usable, good-looking, but it’s sticky because of the content you can put on it - from your music collection or from iTunes. So I think Apple TV needs to mirror that and make as much content available as possible - at the moment the video content you can get is just too restricted.

The number one improvement would be to add a web browser, but unlike the Opera-one on the Wii, one that is fully-functional, to allow watching of streamed content. People get their streamed entertainment, be it music, videos, TV shows etc, from all kinds of sites and sources these days. I subscribe to a sports channel via the web, which I can only watch on my PC at the moment (unless I connect it to my TV via a cable). I’d do that on the Apple TV if I could. Once you have a web browser, add more hard disk space to enable recording of content…

The other improvement would be to make more content available through iTunes - rented movies I know are on the way here, but get more TV shows too - for example BBC iPlayer, the service which allows UK users to catch up on BBC programmes from the last 7 days, should make its content available via iTunes ASAP.

Yes, a built-in DVD player might be nice, and yes a converter to allow me to digitise my existing video content would be nice, but at the moment the big gap that no product is filling is a device that lets me watch PC content on my nice big TV.

(Just to respond to post 12 - I can see where you’re coming from but personally I think Apple TV should - and does - aspire to be more than just a music player - it’s why it’s called Apple TV and not iPod home. I can play my music through my home theater using an airport express and airtunes, albeit controlled from my PC.)

Posted by Andrew Rigby on April 22, 2008 at 4:08 AM (PDT)

14

(1) The big one is PVR capabilities, as most everyone knows. It’s already an established type of product (Tivo, DirecTV, Dish, and lots of others) so Apple could be a “strong second” into the market. This is especially critical if the movie labels don’t release a lot of their content to itunes.
(2) Vastly more video content downloads from itunes. Duh.
(3) A DVD/BR slot.  Needed for simplicity, and so people can get rid of one device they’d otherwise have to buy, store in the same place, hook up to the same TV/stereo, and manage with the same remote.

Anything else is a waste of time.  Especially chat and web browsing.

Posted by Jim G on April 22, 2008 at 4:38 AM (PDT)

15

(1) STABILITY! Look on the Apple boards for all of aTV’s problems: HDMI handshaking drop-outs, broken iTunes Store connections, unreliable home network connections, the list goes on. aTV seems more like version 0.99 then 2.02. (The iPhone is drawing too much of Apple’s resources, methinks.)

(2) Larger drives. 160GB isn’t nearly enough to hold a library of Lossless files (why play lossy AAC’s on a high-end home theater system?), TV shows, and 720p (nevermind 1080p) movies. In the meantime, Apple should enable the USB port to accept external drives for added storage.

(3) Live up to the “If it plays in iTunes, it plays on aTV” slogan and give aTV all of the same codecs as iTunes. The necessity of a “Convert for Apple TV” function is inane.

(4) A barebones version of Safari. Add in a Flash player if possible.

(5) OS X’s Widgets.

(6) 1080p video content from the iTunes Store.

Posted by The Doctor on April 22, 2008 at 7:08 AM (PDT)

16

I could not agree more with James B.‘s post. If you view Apple TV as a set-top box, you almost instinctively criticize its many limitations. The home theater “culture” changes often and dramatically—a couple of years ago, 720p was the gold standard, and the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war still raged even though the players hadn’t been released yet. Now we’re 1080p obsessed, and Blu-Ray has emerged as the HD format champ.

The iPod has changed in form over the years, but not in function. It’s still the ubiquitous portable music/media player in whatever iteration you choose. Apple TV could fit nicely in that comfort zone, too. Just as the iPod was a simple, masterfully-designed little white rectangle, the Apple TV can be the same. It shouldn’t be marketed for versatility, but for simplicity.

When you start talking about making it a Blu-Ray/DVR/On Demand/mass media storage/burner/browser/Internet radio/RSS reader/[FILL IN AS MANY ADDED FUNCTIONS HERE AS YOU LIKE], you tend to forget that Apple has never been about innovation for innovation’s sake. There’s no question that Apple TV needs to offer more than it presently does, but I’m not sure it’s prudent to, as Jesse said, make it the one-stop shop for anything and everything.

Give it some substantial but practical additions in the next version, and the stickiness will increase over time. Don’t try to take down Sony, Comcast, DirecTV, Rupert Murdoch, et al, in one fell swoop.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 22, 2008 at 8:12 AM (PDT)

17

It sounds like everyone is in agreement that the Apple TV doesn’t have that “X” factor.  (Sorry for using Simon Cowell’s catchphrase.)

The iPod began as a music player.  It did that and only that (for the most part) and it did it very well and was simple to use, especially compared to everything else in the market.  In addition, the iPod was something tangible—it could be seen, touched and was portable.  There was a certain honor associated with having one by your side.  The Apple TV has none of that.  Worse, the Apple TV, unlike the iPod, doesn’t do any ONE thing particularly well which can’t be done equally well through other devices, with the exception of collecting media and displaying it on your TV in a seamless way.  Sorry, but that’s not enough for the moderately technologically-savvy household these days.  In fact, most of them haven’t gotten beyond using their iPods for music.

Instead, the Apple TV has tried to ‘catch up’ with the iPod by offering everything under the sun.  Now, when you try to describe all the things the Apple TV can do, people’s eyes glaze over after you mention item #3.  It’s just too much for people, even though who are very technology-savvy and frustrated with having too many devices.

The “moderately technology-savvy household” needs a hook.  It needs to be simple to convey and have clear value.  Everything else becomes gravy.

To me, that ‘hook’ or X factor is…. (drumroll please)...  sharing what you love with your friends and family.  I’m talking movies, music, TV shows, podcasts, etc…. right from your Apple TV.  You watch a great movie on your Apple TV, then have the option to send it to certain friends/family as a recommendation.  (It could even use Contacts as an address book.)  Same for any Youtube video you watched, podcast, TV show, album/song, etc.  I think this would be a ‘fun’ interactive way for everyone to share what the enjoy, and from Apple’s perspective, it would likely push iTunes store purchases through the roof.

Posted by Greg on April 22, 2008 at 10:18 AM (PDT)

18

The best way to make the Apple TV more sticky is for the movie studios and TV networks to make more of their content available. I’ve recently begun thinking about ditching my pricey cable TV service and getting one of these, but I really want easier ways to get the shows that I’m interested in. If season passes for these shows were available in podcast form for free (with advertisements in standard definition) or for pay (without ads, and possibly in HD), I’d drop cable in a heartbeat and order an AppleTV the next day!

Posted by Dan LaMee on April 22, 2008 at 10:37 AM (PDT)

19

I see the Apple TV as a player of multimedia content.  It wasn’t conceived as a recorder or PVR.  However, I an see this being considered as maybe a stackable add on or an integrated option in a “pro” model.

As a player of multimedia content:
-It is too dependent on the iTunes Store
-UI in ATV 2.x is becoming awkward
-It doesn’t support enough media formats

1.  Allow us to import video from our existing DVD collection just like I can import music CDs in iTunes.
2.  I’d like to get video streams from the Internet designed to be displayed on HDTV’s.  Youtube is lame.  Let independent content providers get content to the Apple TV.
3.  Return to the minimalist user interface.
4.  Support more codecs such as DivX and XVid.
5.  Have an option for playing content from a DVD either as an add on and stackable device or integrated into a “pro” model.
6.  Provide an SDK so others can extend functionality in ways Apple hasn’t even thought about

I understand #1 has some legal implications but I’d like to see Apple innovate and come up with something acceptable to the studios (maybe if itunes rip’s the content and encodes to a file it will include DRM linking it for use only with my iTunes account).

Posted by Brian on April 22, 2008 at 11:37 AM (PDT)

20

As a follow up to my comment above, there would be no requirement to decrypt DVD content.  According to DVD COPY CONTROL ASSOCIATION, INC. vs KALEIDESCAPE, INC. case it is not a violation of the DVD license agreement to copy and store CSS encrypted content on a hard drive and playback without the presence of the original DVD.  I understand cracking or removing the encryption would be a violation.

I’d like to see the Apple TV support the storing and playback of content (like full DVDs w/CSS) to/from network attached storage devices.

Posted by Brian on April 22, 2008 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

21

I love my AppleTV.  I used 5G iPods connected to my TV to watch LOST and 24.  AppleTV is so much better than scrolling through menues on my iPod.  When the episode is over on 24, I don’t want to have to get out of bed to watch the next one.

A DVD player would be a good addition.  It would make the connectivity to an HDTV easier if I don’t need to use another HDMI port, and it shouldn’t add much cost or space.

A more useful, but I fear less likely enhancement, would be to add DVR capability.  If I could set up recordings there, and they automatically synched to my iTunes library, that would be true convergence.  That would give users the choice of paying for shows without commercials or watching with commercials for free.

Posted by Chrystopher on April 22, 2008 at 2:19 PM (PDT)

22

I’d stick my self at screen easily: just able my AppleTv to read, in the same library, all content I have stored in HDs, Time Capsule and iPhones located inside my home wifi range. Make all white boxes works perfectly and I gonna stick on it.

Posted by Rafael Pelosini on April 22, 2008 at 7:08 PM (PDT)

23

I can’t believe I forgot this one! The quickest and most obvious way to improve Apple TV is to change it to a subscription model. All the movies and TV shows you can watch on your Apple TV box for a monthly subscription fee.

If you want to export them to iPod or Mac, you’ll have to buy or rent them from iTunes like you always have.

Posted by C. Lee Smith on April 24, 2008 at 6:19 AM (PDT)

24

Steve Jobs made me buy an HDTV. I would have been happy with my old analog TV for several more years, but I had to get an Apple TV because I wanted an easy way to play the music I had on my computer in iTunes on my stereo system. Eventually, I also wanted a way to watch recorded TV shows via the Apple TV.

The problem with the HDTV (at least the one I got) is that the interface is extremely clunky, unintuitive, and unnecessarily limiting. There is no possibility of a firmware update to make this better. So what I would like to see is an Apple TV that would almost completely take over the TV’s interface. Hook your cable box, satellite, antenna, DVD player, and whatever other accessories you have directly into the Apple TV so that the device actually drives what’s on the screen. Apple’s interface will surely be better than whatever TV manufacturers come up with. For example, my TV will do picture-in-picture, but only if both sources aren’t digital. Imagine an Apple TV giving you multiple pictures from your various sources.

My TV also provides TV Guide Onscreen, which is fine when it is accurate or even working, which often it is not. With Apple TV driving the screen, they could provide an internet-based solution for a TV guide, like the great TitanTV service provided with Elgato’s EyeTV.

And if you can put TitanTV on the Apple TV, then why not the rest of the internet, too? My kids can get the weather and news headlines on their Wii. Shouldn’t the internet-connected Apple TV also have some of these features?

And with the Apple TV driving the screen, it will need a more advanced remote. Maybe something with a scroll wheel like the iPod Classic. Maybe software that could be added to the iPhone. Maybe a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse. Maybe the option to use a variety of devices like these.

My Apple TV became much stickier for me when I finally purchased Elgato’s EyeTV and began sending recorded shows from my computer to the Apple TV. It would be great if I could hook the EyeTV directly to the Apple TV and it would behave like a real TiVo or PVR. I’d like to be able to pause live TV as I am able to do on the computer. I’d like to to be able to watch recorded shows without the need to convert and compress them, a process that takes EyeTV as long or longer as it took the record the show.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Apple TV. But for true stickiness, I’d like it to drive the flatscreen, take over all the functions of all the components, and to be the indispensable centralized hub of the entertainment system. With the Apple TV remote, you’d be able to change TV channels, surf the web, watch a DVD, listen to terrestrial or internet radio, or watch YouTube or recorded video. You would rarely need another remote. That’s not only convenience. That’s stickiness.

Posted by Plan K on April 28, 2008 at 4:48 AM (PDT)

25

what about a simple software update that allows it to play the movie one after another instead of the user needing to select another to play from the menu after the previous movie finished playing.

Posted by Justin on April 29, 2008 at 4:22 AM (PDT)

26

It’s very late this evening but I came across this page and as a die-hard Apple fan (who used .mac long before the rumors began about ‘mobile me’) I can say, I’ve wanted the Apple TV but have not been able to convince even my fanboy-ish ### to get with one.

Why? Simple, the promise and elegance Apple has demonstrated with its’ other products just completely misses the boat here.

I love my iPod Touch even though prior to the software update it was pretty much a graphical iPhone minus the phone of course. Now, we’re looking at the iPod Touch and knowing it will support downloadable apps, better GPS and better sync capabilities thanks to the rumored transitions of .mac. The Apple TV really missed the boat in both software versions to do what needs to be done to make this be a killer app.

My wish list/ common sense:

An Internet connected device is a given to have
*iCal
*iPhoto reader
*iMovie reader (for home movies/ camcorder content)
*News RSS readers
*Simple Casual games (like solitaire, UNO)
*Weather
*Automated Downloaded Video Podcasts
*Ad-supported TV programs (I fail to see how Apple didn’t make this happen..is revenue on a crappy ABC or NBC show priced at $1.99 that big of a deal with those networks would have gladly made their content free in exchange for embedding the eps with ads???)

I do not believe it needs movie purchases/ tv show purchases (music is a different story) for the simple reason that a hard drive is a hard drive. It runs out eventually and only die-hards are going to keep a movie in digital form that’s more work than anything in terms of moving it to better storage or other servers and such..DVD’s will always be the ultimate ownership. As a result, I’d much rather a Movie Pay service like an Apple-like HBO..which would enable me to pay $10 mo and download x-amount of movies/ rentals and then one could pay an expanded fee for more.

For TV Show/ News—I just fail to see why this is for sale??? This should be free and supported by ads. Likewise, content should not be censored..I don’t need Apple stopping me or anyone else with a true credit card generated iTunes account that I can’t download a naughty episode of the Tudors.

Finally, the content should be in HD period. This is a software issue not a technology issue (again why I disagree vehemently about adding blu ray players and/or paying for tv shows). Apple could do this tomorrow and ask the content players to add GD content but they don’t or don’t put any teeth into it which allows us to have to look at substandard devices like the Apple TV. I’m confident it will come around but

Posted by Grubber on May 31, 2008 at 11:41 PM (PDT)

27

After 2 months with mine:

1) open up that usb port on the back.  Hook up a keyboard for better searching and menu navigation.  Charge your ipod.  Drop an external HD on it.  Power a usb speaker system.  It seems one of the easiest things to do as the port is already sitting there.

2) give that damn remote a scrolling wheel.  Click click click click click click jeeeez, give me a break.

3) Apple needs to produce and podcast regular TV listing channel guides for major metro areas.  That’s a huge step to jump for the ATV vs. a cable subscription.

Posted by jmcp on June 11, 2008 at 2:24 PM (PDT)

28

The hardware is a mistake. What they need is a version of Airport Express that can output audio and video through DVI. The software is mostly just iTunes anyway, so run it from the computer, stream the video and audio (and the onscreen u/i) to the TV through Airport Express and use the iPod Touch / iPhone as the remote. The result would be a great product.

Posted by Bowen Simmons on July 11, 2008 at 7:54 AM (PDT)

29

Three things:

1 - DVR
2-  DVD player and or Blue Ray

3 - The most important!  Market the product.  Macs, Ipods, Iphones all have separate marketing campaigns.  Why not Apple TV?

Posted by Chuck Fetta on July 11, 2008 at 9:26 AM (PDT)

30

Now that we can use iPhone/iPod Touch as a remote to control music on AppleTV, this remote function should be expanded to use the iPhone as input device. Searching on the appleTV is a pain. Using the iPhone keyboard would be so much easier.

Posted by nipith on July 11, 2008 at 11:08 AM (PDT)

31

I don’t need one. I have the audio from my mini hooked up to my receiver (just use a long headphone extension) and - BINGO! - I can listen to anything in my iTunes library. I have my video out hooked up to my HDTV - BINGO! - I can watch any video I have on my computer. The only thing I *can’t* do is the one thing I have my TiVO for - I can record shows on it, copy them over to my mini and convert them with Toast, and sync them to my iPod. Now I don’t have to miss any sleep to watch Letterman (or Leno, depending on my mood) - I watch them on the bus on the way to work, or at lunch, or wherever.

What I really want is some TiVO-type software for my mini. Who needs aTV?

Posted by vj on July 12, 2008 at 11:37 PM (PDT)

32

Blu-Ray / DVD Drive

If it had one I would buy one today.

Posted by Carlos Miranda on July 14, 2008 at 5:25 AM (PDT)

33

When I got the Airport Express, it had the ability to stream music AND was a wireless router. Apple went ahead and created a multi-media version of it, but then took away the wireless router part.

In order to make the AppleTV “Sticky”, it would need to be a wireless router that offered all of the bells and whistles it currently has. Now you’re talking about a device that is the true connector or internet and TV.

Posted by mh508 on July 14, 2008 at 8:50 AM (PDT)

34

I’ve had my Apple TV since first release. I enjoy it most for playing music from my iTunes library.  So I’m going to focus on music enhancements.

#1 I’d like the ability to build a playlist on the fly during a party, so folks could play DJ.

I echo the comment about few screensavers—#2 I’d like to see an implementation of iTune’s Visualizer where the graphic changes based upon the music to provide a light show.

Finally I also agree that typing is a pain, and would like to see keyboard support, either corded or wireless.

Posted by Ken M on July 20, 2008 at 1:15 AM (PDT)

35

It’s missing DIVX/XVID avi playback built-in. Lots of us have AVI files and there’s no way I’m going to transcode them just to use them with the AppleTV. Not including this simple feature is the equivalent of not including MP3 support on the iPod. I doubt it would have been the success it is without it.

Much bigger hard drives too!

Posted by JS on July 23, 2008 at 2:20 AM (PDT)

36

1.  Developers developers developers!  There’s an App Store now, lets get an SDK out so developers can create and distribute apps.

2.  The 2.x interface looks like ###.  The original version was classic Apple with a minimalist interface.  Text is getting truncated making it difficult to read.  Navigation sucks as I try to scroll through movies (focus moves all over the place making it overwhelming and difficult to follow).

3.  It’s a player… not recorder.  Make it the best media player possible.  Support more video and audio codecs!!  Open the device up to alternate content providers.

4.  Content is currently too expensive considering all the restrictions and disadvantages of DRM.  Yahoo, Microsoft and Sony have shutdown their online music stores.  What assurance do we have from Apple that we’ll always have access to our purchases?

Posted by Brian on July 28, 2008 at 9:00 AM (PDT)

37

I like my ATV, but it lacks five important features:

1. A power button. Too many times have I had to yank the power cord for a reboot.  It should have two settings. off, and when pressed, on.

2. Reliable connectivity with the iTunes Store.

3. External storage. Let me remove big movie files from my computer after they’ve been sent to ATV. Why should the 160GB capacity of my ATV be limited to the 30-40GB available on my macbook?

4. Apps (mail, safari, cal - think iPod Touch, but bigger)

5. Screensavers. My cover art is ghastly (mostly missing, low-res) and I can’t be bothered to improve it.  Just a blank screen would do while I’m listening to music.

Posted by Frank on September 8, 2008 at 7:13 AM (PDT)

38

1. Full iPhone/iPod control. Ability to input text on iPhone/iPod.
2. Throw out remote and redesign to something functional.
3. Visualizer!

Posted by swiller on September 16, 2008 at 12:57 PM (PDT)

39

1. eyeTV-like DVR capability (so I can ‘re-purpose’ the mac mini that sits next to the ATV under the screen and still watch and record Freeview).
2. An App Store so I can add functionality from 3rd parties - in particular games (and obviously the rest of the stuff that that needs).
3. iTunes music server capability - so the only always-on gadget in the house is the ATV - not the mac-mini as well.
4. iChat so I can buy my parents one and keep in touch in a more interesting way than the usual Sunday night phone call.
5. Bluray so I don’t have to buy a PS3 as well (see 2).

Oh stuff it! Just refresh the mac mini with bluray, faster graphics and movie rentals in Frontrow.

Posted by ChamFan on December 8, 2008 at 2:02 PM (PDT)

40

Support for iPlayer in the uk.  Free content that is available over the internet because I have paid my TV licence.

Posted by Loz on December 12, 2008 at 12:35 PM (PDT)

41

I’m somewhat echoing a few of the previous comments but here goes:

1) External storage.  My Mac Mini with an external HDD streams across the air to my laptop which then streams back across the air to the ATV.  Since I have almost 40 GB of photos, I would LOVE to be able to just plug in a 1TB drive via the USB and sync all my content over. That way I don’t have to open my macbook so I can watch TV!

2) I like the idea of opening up to developers and/or supporting an RSS feed or widgets.

3) I would like to see the USB port support EyeTV type devices.

My “fantasy” scenario is to wake up in the morning, turn on the ATV and have a “TODAY” screen with my calendar, a news RSS feed, the local weather and a portion of the screen showing the video from my local TV station via my EyeTV.

Then again, I guess I could just build this with a PC running linux. I would just miss out on all the Apple iTunes content.

Posted by Rob Stewart on December 19, 2008 at 9:32 PM (PDT)

42

Best way to improve Apple TV? Easy. Give it Pandora functionality. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Posted by pvman on April 9, 2009 at 10:49 PM (PDT)

43

Let apple TV be the object to let people cut the cable.  The iphone, mac and now ATV could allow developers to develop apps for all 3 platforms.

Posted by Chris L on July 7, 2009 at 12:32 PM (PDT)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Email:

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Shop for Accessories: Cases, speakers, chargers, etc.