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Apple TV announced

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In addition to the iPhone, Apple CEO Steve Jobs also unveiled the retail version of the pre-announced iTV streaming media device. Now called the Apple TV, the living room gadget allows users to wirelessly play audio and video content from a Mac or PC on a television. Jobs said the device will begin shipping in February for $299.

Along with the features previously shown, including the interface and browsing, Jobs revealed that the Apple TV will have a 40GB hard drive (for up to 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each) and is capable of delivering high-definition 720p output. Jobs also said that using high-speed AirPort 802.11 wireless networking, the device can auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers to a TV.

“Apple TV is like a DVD player for the 21st century—you connect it to your entertainment system just like a DVD player, but it plays digital content you get from the Internet rather than DVDs you get from a physical store,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Apple TV plays the same iTunes content that users enjoy on their computers and iPods, so now they can even watch part of a movie in their living room, and watch the rest later on their iPod.”

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Comments

21

I personally think this is a big step in the right direction.  Realize that this is setting up what is to come in the near future.  I envision not paying comcast $75 for TV, paying Blockbuster $4.50 per movie and just paying per TV show, movie etc as I want them.  Once HD downloads are available and feasible this will be a great option.  I do agree it should combine more TiVo and also mac features to make it an all in one, but I feel this is really the first version of what will become a staple for the living room.  I also think the streaming aspects are the way forward if performance is excellent.  Especially if you can start viewing a file as soon as it downloads versus waiting for it to finish, copy to Ipod and plug into the TV.

I mean why do we really need to have 3-4 components set up just to listen to music, watch TV broadcasts and watch a movie.

Posted by Steamboater on January 9, 2007 at 4:20 PM (PDT)

22

Big thing I think is missing… streaming Internet Radio.

In general, I must say todays keynote was a bust for me. I like the iPhone interface etc. but would never buy a 4 (8)GB ipod.

Similarly, the iTV is too expensive for an iTunes addon.

Posted by Timcor on January 9, 2007 at 4:48 PM (PDT)

23

I’m with Fabricate49 - now that all is known about how it will function, I think Mac Mini is the way to go…

Posted by syddave on January 9, 2007 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

24

I was really excited about this as way for PC owners to play iTunes easily in the living room stereo set-up (since AirTunes doesn’t really work on a PC).  Being able download TV shows I missed and watch them on my actual television was just a great bonus.  But I won’t be getting an HD set for a loooong time so now it’s dead to me.

Posted by superape on January 9, 2007 at 6:39 PM (PDT)

25

It seems that AppleTV works by wirelessly downloading content from your Mac (and up to 5 other computers) and copying it to its HDD. You then view content on your TV from AppleTV’s HDD and not from media streamed from your Mac.

If so, I’m very disappointed. I was expecting a true video streamer that will also let me stream DVDs playing from my Mac.

Posted by kroblanx on January 9, 2007 at 8:23 PM (PDT)

26

Do we need the airport express or does it hook up to a normal wireless internet setup?

This will be good… as from experience of backing up dvds… some just dont workanymore.. if a movie downloaded from itunes works on both MY tv and ipod… who gives a crap…

hooray beer.

Posted by hammer on January 9, 2007 at 9:27 PM (PDT)

27

The theme of Apple’s products announced today seems to be, “neat item(s), moves the industry foward, but doesn’t really fit with people’s wishes.”  For me, the iPhone and iTV are busts.  I’ll wait for version 2.0 or higher of these devices.

Next.

Posted by Chip Johnson on January 10, 2007 at 12:49 AM (PDT)

28

It can’t do HD….. which makes it an OLD technology…. and shipping it more than a year after the announcement is simply LAME…. Seems like Apple is selling mostly “Concepts” these days…. annouce it first & get people excited…. then they take their time getting it to work & sell it in 6 months to a year….. As the old saying goes…. “Talk is Cheap”..... Oh, wait…. All Apple products are actually Expensive…..

Posted by DJ on January 10, 2007 at 1:43 AM (PDT)

29

Why does Apple seem to focus solely on lower quality content? The music is compressed at a low bit rate and there are no other bit rates to choose from, now they will be selling the Apple TV and it uses 720p resolution for HD rather than 1080p or even 1080i. I would love to hear from Apple as to why they’re buisness plan is to focus exclusivly on lower quality content.

Posted by gear on January 10, 2007 at 4:42 AM (PDT)

30

Can’t see this product being popular outside the US until they get more video content onto the iTunes store. I was hoping that issue might get a mention from Mr Jobs, but no dice. How many people are going to cough up for a somewhat pointless box that just lets you play music videos or Pixar shorts on the telly? I’ll save my pennies for an iPhone.

Posted by ukdave on January 10, 2007 at 7:45 AM (PDT)

31

I think AppleTV is a stop gap for users that do not need another computer, but would like to see content on their Mac in their TV room.  Sure, the Mac Mini w/Front Row seems to be AppleTV’s big brother, but I just don’t need all that.  AppleTV is what I was looking for—it works just like Elgato’s EyeHome, which I love, but is no longer supported.

Regarding recording TV, EyeTV fits into this scenario perfectly, and I look forward to adding this to my setup.

There’s no need for iTunes Store content at all.  The only hiccup I see is that I may need to re-rip some movies in a compatible format.

Posted by Gordy. in Atlanta, GA on January 10, 2007 at 7:47 AM (PDT)

32

um i dont get one thing i have an old small comp connected to my hdtv it is connected in a home network and it has harddrive pockets, now i just take it out and put it in my normal comp, download it with movies and i can have the same experiance as the apple tv, also i have a 500gb harddrive, and i can play any format and get movies without drm protection, i see how this is a nice idea and all, but this is nothing new, and oh yes i have a remote too

Posted by christian on January 10, 2007 at 11:12 AM (PDT)

33

DJ, Apple TV ouputs 720P by default, so it’s definitely Hi-Def.  Also, it was announced in Sept of 2006, and will be on sale in Feb. of 2007; that’s certainly not “more than a year”.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on January 10, 2007 at 11:26 AM (PDT)

34

When playing songs in iTunes Library from a host computer, do you suppose Apple TV operates as if it’s sharing that library? My question/worry is that if you use Apple TV to play your iTunes Library, your playcounts and last played dates won’t be updated. (Playcounts and last played dates aren’t updated when your iTunes Library is shared.) I know I’m a geek, but I have playlists that are dependent on those things to keep things fresh. I would prefer that when I play a song (or video) on Apple TV, those things would be updated. It would also be cool if I could control iTunes from Apple TV so I could hear the song on the TV sound system and on the host computer in another room.

Posted by Plan K on January 10, 2007 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

35

Are you able to watch video files that aren’t from iTunes (eg: AVI files downloaded by bit torrent) using this device?

If not then it’s not worth it particularly because my iTunes store (Australia) has no video content yet.

Posted by Andy on January 10, 2007 at 7:15 PM (PDT)

36

Similar devices have been selling for years in the Microsoft world.  It’s called a media extender and allows streaming access to your media library (radio, video, music, photos) on your Windows Media Center Edition PC.  The extenders didn’t have hard discs, but that is a minor issue.  With a 40GB hard disk, it’s not much more than a local cache. 

I still don’t see what buying this gets me over just plugging in my iPod in the dock I have wired up to my AV system.

Posted by kokketiel on January 11, 2007 at 5:44 AM (PDT)

37

Do I understand correctly that the Apple TV device has only 2/3 the storage of my one-year-old iPod?  And yet is aimed at higher-resolution video and doesn’t need to be portable?

Posted by TechnoCat on January 12, 2007 at 1:22 PM (PDT)

38

This would be a great product if:
1. HD movies & TV shows were available online
2. wireless speeds allowed download of HD media in a reasonable timeframe
3. apple TV had adequate capacity to store HD files

At this point, apple TV seems to offer nothing more than simply connecting a video iPod to your TV with the exception than you choose content on the screen instead of your iPOd.

Posted by kevin on January 14, 2007 at 9:36 AM (PDT)

39

I have been experimenting with using iTunes to treat videos like audios for about two years.  Personally, I applaud this move to AppleTV—the iPod on steroids.  I, too, have EyeTV (HD) and use that to make my movies.

For these two years we’ve been listening to iTunes throughout the house with the use of Air Express.  I want to be able to distribute video in a similar fashion.  I believe AppleTV will meet that desire.

If it is a “next version” of Front Row then, no, it will not deal with either Divx or AVI.  It won’t even play *.mov files.  They must be MP4 or M4v files, at least based on my experience using Front Row as a stop gap.

What ATV will give us is control of the wireless media on the TV screen where this media is actually “consumed” in the home…in the home theater environment.  Selecting movies, TV show (recordings), or audio from a wireless Apple server system is a very attractive prospect for me.

Yes, I have my MacBook Pro plugged into my TV using the adapter cable…which is just barely watchable.  I EXPECT the output of this ATV box to be of much higher quality than I’m getting from the MBP with cable.

I don’t want DVDs.  I want a server-based audio/video system where I can select what I listen to or watch from a menu appearing on my home theater monitor.

ATV is a step in that evolution.  I’m going through all my videos and “preparing” for that conversion right now.  By the time it comes (next month) I expect to have a half a terrabyte of material to watch or listen to in my home theater without having any of my five macs in the room.

That prospect “sells” AppleTV to me.  It only has to do what it claims to do. I don’t need it to do anything else.  I don’t expect to use the built in 40GB HDD much at all.  I expect to stream almost everything over 802.11g (or n)—a concept which I have already proven out with Front Row.

Bring it on….

JBB

PS:  ...and I’m 62 years old.

Posted by Jim on January 16, 2007 at 1:25 PM (PDT)

40

I’m almost on the same page with you Jim (and I’m not yet 62 smile )
I too wish for a world where I can stream my video from a central server in my house. I have a slimbox so the audio side doesnt matter to me.
I also dream of a world were I could afford to buy 10 Terabytes so I can put everything I have in one box and have it mirrored so I dont have to worry about a disk drive dying.

I think my 10 Terabyte dream will come much sooner then my dream of what Apple TV could be.

Why Jobs did not license the DivX codex is beyond me. Perhaps he worries about MPAA pressure?
Or maybe he’s just evil and wants me to convert all my DivX, XviD, and plain old Avi container formats into mp4. Bah! I do it for my iPod for selective shows but no way could I do it for my collection! Not that I like having to convert. (rant on:One day in the not so distant future the technology and some company with balls will make an iPod killer all it need to do is play avis/Divx with no conversion and you wont see many white earbuds anymore.:rantoff)

If ATV is a step in that evolution its a really extremely small one. Unless it evolves a whole lot faster consumers, not natural selection, will kill the Apple TV. Why? Because when “N” is finally upon us we will have a slew of devices to choose from. I doubt any will communicate with my Itunes or the Apple Store but many people could careless about that and would take streaming divx/xvid/avi and VOBs (DVD copied to HD) over a device chained to Apple formats and a sour Apple store.
Yes it worked for the iPod (Hell, I even have 2-a nano and new 80gig) but it wont work for this.

Posted by Typhoid Mary on January 17, 2007 at 1:37 AM (PDT)

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