No, no, no.
Many people seem to be complaining about the Apple TV. It's simply meant to be a device allowing users to play their purchased iTMS videos to their TV. Did you complain that your DVD payer only played DVDs when it came onto the market?
No, "we" complained about the initial high price, and then waited for it to drop. It represented a substantial improvement, nee, an exponential improvement, over what was currently available. We didn't complain that it only played dvds because we had no other "digital" option--superdrives weren't available--and we couldn't play back video at such high quality or in such small form. None of that applies to the present situation--every user of AppleTV will have to regress, to swallow picture and audio degradation, just to play along. Those of us who have raised eyebrows are complaining now that $299 is too steep a price for anyone to pay now just to play back iTS video content, especially Mom at home, with such an underwhelming, inherently limited device.
Many of them have never even thought of buying a DVR but think it'd be cool to buy a movie without leaving the house and view it where they watch all their other video content. And, it'll play their music from iTunes and show their digital photos, too. Amazing!
Of course not, many of "us" wouldn't buy a "DVR" right now--our options still generally suck and are over-priced. "They" already have had a Series 2 Tivo for years and if not probably already have DVR functionality from their cable company. You want them to change course?
Many Moms and Dads are already watching high def, or at least digital cable, and already have a dvd collection. I can see this device working for some in a few special situations--even for the geekiest among us, isbell, you raised a couple--but otherwise I can't escape the feeling it's a miscalculation, for suckers and dopes. I actually hope initial sales disappoint, and that configured as is this is DOA right out of the box as a mainstream device.
While these forums were complaining that the iPod didn't play Ogg Vorbis, have wireless capabilities, or have a huge hard drive, the rest of the people were saying, "Hey I can just put my CDs onto this and listen to it while I'm out and about? Cool!"
Save the patronizing tone and the poor attempt to draw a comparison. This forum, and no one that I know who's been here for the past few years, complained about any of this. That's because we knew you couldn't hear much of difference between compression rates with an iPod, were generally pleased as punch with iTunes and Apple lossless and other options, were smart enough not to care about buying anything from the iTMS or its DRM, realized a firewire iPod could also be a firewire external hard drive for other files, that we could keep a lossless iTunes library and compressed versions just for our iPods, felt that wireless capability would have been a gimmick we didn't really need anyway, and on and on. It served the geek, the status seeker, and the soccer Mom.
iPods do what they do, and do it exceptionally well. The "AppleTV as iPod for your TV" analogy stutters mightily along the way: it isn't even as open and flexible as the iPod, it's not even a glorified Front Row extender--which many of us thought would have at least some value--instead, it somehow manages to be significantly LESS than that, to be even more closed, more restrictive, more inadequate.
A $300 device that plays these videos on their TV like the DVD player? That's exactly what they want.
Again, no, not when "they" get this thing home and find out it won't replace other devices they already have, won't help them with their Netflix dvds, and won't play nice with anything NOT inside iTunes folders. And to get it to play nice with any of this, they need their Macs and a steeper learning curve anyway.
Once Apple gets enough of these devices into the marketplace, people will begin to understand and they'll demand the ability to do the things we're discussing.
No they won't. Far more likely that once they realize what's involved with being able to play their existing dvd collection back with this device--and everyone's Mom has at least a bunch of dvds--they'll return the thing or just use it for music--but come on, how many potential buyers from the supposed unwashed HT masses even have a stereo next to their TVs? They're not gonna want to buy content again, they like to "own" rather than rent, and if they've dropped a serious chunk of change on the new TV, don't you think they'll want a picture quality to match from all their devices?
This "us" versus "them" attitude has to stop, it's an insult to our intelligence implying that we aren't ALSO able to relate to Joe and Jane homeowner workaholic surburban soccer Mom types. We can genuinely disagree, we know exactly what they're up against, what they're frustrated by and how much time they have to devote to this. There's no way I can recommend anyone spend $300+ bucks for a different way to view the occasional downloaded low-res episode of "Heroes," when they can watch any ep they missed free online just to catch up, and are already paying for it, and probably recording it, via digital cable or high def.
Problem is, you can criticize the device on any number of valid grounds just like this, and we have very successfully; we can also be generally supportive of Apple and also say that we expected a lot more from Apple at that price point. Why? Because no matter what we're doing in our own homes, we're also the ones giving advice and tech support to our significantly less aware and less savvy friends and family. We've been there--and we're in the better position to assign "value"--which is different from price.