Originally Posted by GreySkies /forum/post/0
I think your last paragraph is the key. The Apple TV is competing with the DVR, not other media extenders. The question there becomes, is it going to make people give up their Tivo? I don't think so.
I think the love-affair with TiVo is dying down but, TiVo or other DVR, people have become used to the idea of DVRs. As a side note it's kind of sad to see TiVo go from the 'doing it right' category and into the afterthought category. If anyone asks me, "What should I get for a DVR?" I just tell them, "Go to the cable company and get one. It'll just work and you'll be set. Not as prettier as a TiVo but cheaper / less risk.
And watching movies via downloading via iTunes is competing with DVD. If the question is, "want to watch Disney's Cars," with a DVD, it's stop at the video store on the way home, put in the DVD, watch the movie. With the Apple TV, one must go to the PC in the other room, load up iTunes, buy the movie, wait for it to significantly buffer/download so it can be watched, go back to the family room, start up the Apple TV, manuever to the film, and finally watch the movie. And, as Scoble (who's a converted fan) discovered, at 5mbps max, that 720p resolution looks worse than DVD. And if you're trying to wirelessly stream, you must deal with the inevitable stutters and complaints from other viewers (notably the wife).
Well, that's a bit of a stretch. It's far easier to go to the other room and download it than stop at the video store on the way home. It's kind of like me countering with something like: And then you have to stop and get gas for the car, buckle everyone in, etc.
It probably depends on your starting point and mindset. If you're in the mindset of stopping by the video store on the way home, then that's just what you do. I think there is a shift into PPV/On Demand so that you just push a button on your cable box and you're watching the movie (often for less than you would be at the video store). I could see, for kids who typically will watch movies over and over again, having it downloaded to AppleTV or having the DVD ripped so that it's just there for them to watch and you don't have to deal with physical media (keeping up with it, storing it, watching out for scratches/smudges from the little ones).
As far as quality goes. Everything I've seen so far looks pretty good. I bought Lost Worlds online and there were some sections where it hosed up a bit in the video but I'm just buying it to watch the show, not keep it forever. Comparing Apple TV to DVDs for quality is a bit like comparing the iPod/MP3s to CDs. There's a greater function of convenience that wins out.
I wrote elsewhere that I think media extenders are at least ten years away from being as ubiquitous as DVD players. I don't think that the Apple TV is going to change that. I think it's still a geek device-- just an Apple-geek device.
Yeah, you're probably right. I looked at media streamers a while back to stream music and content and they all seemed ill-equiped to do it. Everything was cumbersome from the interface to the software you had to run on your PC. Granted, I'm running iTunes on my PC now to serve my Apple TV and iPod but it at least feels like a real application (I wish it looked more Windows-like than Mac-like but that's a style thing). Anyway, everything I've seen so far looked like some goofy contraption that tried to do everything - poorly.
For me, though, AppleTV works out well because I live alone, really don't watch a huge amount of TV (to where I think that the Apple TV will save me money, long term, over cable bills) and it's the first one I've seen so far that I think gets it right. I don't see me going back to cable TV, high fees for countless channels with reruns and a ton of commercials. That being said, I could definitely see that this would be hard to sell to others (wives). Telling someone, "Maybe it's time you thought about getting rid of cable TV," is like telling someone it's time to get rid of their land line. Even if they don't use their land line there's this weird security aspect of it of, "but what if I need it..." I think the same thing is there for the current generation of cable-watchers. We all grew up with it (well, most of us at this point) and telling someone, "maybe it's time to get rid of it...," makes them recoil with, "but what if there's something I want to watch next month..." (incidentally, that's what killed me for cable, I was basically always buying it with the hopes of 'next month will be better' (be it HBO, regular cable, etc.)).
Recently, in another thread, someone wrote that he thinks that the Apple TV is great for streaming music from iTunes to the home entertainment center, and that's where Apple's focus should be with the device. And I fully agree-- as I do with other video media centers. They're great for navigating music, fun for watching home movies, ok for tv shows, and disappointing for commercial movies/dvd replacement.
This is one thing I think it doesn't do as well as other devices. I have a Roku Soundbridge for music. It works great. No need to have the TV on and the navigation is perfect. Most importanly, I can queue up songs. With Apple TV, I can find/play an album (though navigating to it isn't as easy as the Soundbridge) but I can't queue up a bunch of different songs.
I'd say, if you're just looking for this thing to play your music, you might be happier with getting a Soundbridge. The only thing Apple TV really offers you is the pretty display showing the album cover. I'd rather have my TV off while listening to music, though.
It'll be interesting to see what happens. TiVo was pretty close with all of this stuff but they never put everything I wanted into one box. The media-center features always felt like an after-thought. It's about time for their annual, "We'll be finally be profitable by the end of the year," announcement, though. TiVo *should* be standard in most every cable/satellite box there is at this point - somehow they missed the boat. I think it was kind of dumb for Motorola / Scientific Atlanta to go try to make their own (crappy) software during that same time when they probably could have just bought TiVo licenses off the shelf. It just seems dumb from both ends.
One thing that does sort of stink about Apple TV (well, in my use of it): I bought Battlestar Gallactica (1st Season - the new one) online because a friend of mine was raving about it. I watched the first episode last night. Ugh - It's like a whole bunch of "nothing I care about" is happening. I hope it gets better. If things keep going like they are, I'll likely be rooting for the Cylons by the 3rd episode. Anyway, with my 'no cable plan' I've got to be a little more careful with my purchases.