Apple exec details 160GB Apple TV, YouTube H.264 deal

Following today’s two Apple TV announcements, iLounge talked with Apple Vice President of Worldwide Mac Hardware Marketing David Moody, who provided details regarding both the YouTube application for Apple TV, and the new 160GB version of the media player.

YouTube: According to Moody, the YouTube update will take place in stages, beginning with the free software update for Apple TV owners in mid-June. At launch, “thousands of videos designed for Apple TV” will be available, with additional thousands added weekly until the entire YouTube library becomes accessible to Apple TV users this fall. When asked what “designed for Apple TV” meant, Moody said that YouTube will soon be encoding videos in the H.264 streaming-efficient compression format preferred by Apple TV, and that all new videos submitted to YouTube as of the mid-June launch of the AppleTV update will be playable by the device. From then until fall, YouTube will be encoding its entire back-catalog in H.264 format, adding videos in chunks until everything is accessible to Apple TV users. Direct links and the on-screen keyboard-based search engine mentioned in our previous update will bring you to current and old videos alike.

160GB Apple TV: Though it will be available tomorrow only as a build-to-order option from the online Apple Store, Moody said that the 160GB Apple TV will soon be available in retail Apple Store locations as well; no specific date was provided. Pricing through both online and retail stores will be $399, as noted in the Apple press release.

When asked about Steve Jobs’ reference to Apple TV as a “hobby” for the company rather than a full-fledged business, Moody noted that “we view this a lot like we do the early days of the iPod,” where the company is identifying the device’s strengths and adding features people will enjoy. Two of those strengths are that it’s “connected to the Internet” and is an “extendable software platform,” with the ability to expand to include features such as the YouTube plug-in. Faced with the question of whether Apple will soon be catering to users’ requests that the device make better use of their high-definition TVs, Moody said only that there was nothing to announce at this time.

  1. So here’s a little annoying inconsistency:

    – upgrade your AppleTV’s 40GB HD to 160GB for $100
    – upgrade your mac mini’s 60GB HD to 160GB for $300

    (Canadian pricing, anyway)

  2. I’m rather angry with Apple about this 160GB aTV so short after the launch of the 40GB model. I hope there’ll be some kind of upgrade possible

  3. Peter T,
    That’s true for many products from many companies, even others from Apple.

    – upgrade your iPod nano from 4 GB to 8 GB for $50
    – upgrade your iPhone from 4 GB to 8 GB for $100

    It’s inconsistent, but whoever said product pricing must be consistent?

  4. WHy isn’t anyone covering the real (and only) reason there’s currently no (hollywood full-length) HD video available from Apple? Not for Apple TV and not for anything else.

    Apple currently have no HDCP (content protection) developed/enabled for any of their products.

  5. It seems strange to me that they need to convert their entire back catalog, why not allow the appletv to support FLV? Maybe Apple also wants people to be able to download youtube content to their iPod as well?

  6. @Matthew Sweet

    Here’s what Jobs said a few months ago when asked about Flash support on the iPhone, and what it would mean for YouTube content if Flash wasn’t present:

    Jobs: “Yeah, YouTube—of course. But you don’t need to have Flash to show YouTube. All you need to do is deal with YouTube. And plus, we could get ‘em to up their video resolution at the same time, by using h.264 instead of the old codec.”

    So this AppleTV news pretty much confirms a custom H.264 YouTube player on the iPhone, possibly at launch.

  7. That $100 upgrade looks pretty good. Now add a DVD player and pre-load some EyeTV software onto it and I could get rid of my Tivo.

  8. Where are all the hackers that open up and update the Apple Computers? Whay hasn’t anyone opened up an Apple TV and showed a step by step upgrade of the hard disk?

  9. If the 160GB drive in the AppleTV is $400 and the same drive for the Mac mini is a $300 BTO option, this almost sounds like the perfect opportunity to get both a Mac mini and an AppleTV. Too bad the AppleTV uses IDE and the mini SATA.

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