What do you think of Apple TV? It doesn’t make toast!?!?

September 6, 2010

Most folks were dissappointed by the new AppleTV.  It doesn’t make toast, tie you shoes or do your laundry.  Nor does it have an app store, 1080p or let you store your purchased content in the cloud.  But it does have one thing going for it:  It’s simple.

On the other hand, I recently saw a review of Logitech’s beta Revue (Google TV).  While the interface was impressive, I think most people would be perplexed by the “12 easy steps” for installation.  The new AppleTV has one HDMI connection to easily connect it for a TV.

The bar is set pretty high for Apple.  If this was most other companies, we would be praising, this as a great inexpensive media extender.  The day before AppleTV was announced the Airport Express was their entry level streaming solution.  For $99, it let you stream your iTunes wirelessly. Now for $99, you can stream video and photos as well.  Pretty good deal if you have bought into Apple’s ecosystem.

Also, features such as an app store may appear in future versions.  Remember, the iphone did not have an app store in it’s first version. It’s better to go to market with a few solid features than not to be in the market at all.  Given all of the competition in this space, Apple knew it needed to be out there for the holidays.

The only weak point of the solution are the current content agreements Apple set up.  While Apple’s 99 cent rental model is simple, Amazon offers them as a purchase for the same price.  In addition, Amazon offers an even better price with their “TV Pass” where you buy an entire season.  I admit I don’t need to own episodes of Hell’s Kitchen but I would like to own Mad Men.  You can watch Amazon on demand with either a TiVo or Roku box.  The Roku box is very similar to AppleTV and has a lot more choices for content.  If you’re not bought into the Apple ecosystem, the Roku (or TiVo if you want to record live TV) is the way to go today.

Regardless, given how many folks have already bought into the Apple’s solution, it looks like they have a winner.

Feel free to your 99 cents to the comments.

Tags: Apple, Apple TV, Google TV, Roku

4 Responses to What do you think of Apple TV? It doesn’t make toast!?!?

  1. Biggles on September 7, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    As much as I enjoy toast, I'm not disappointed that the Apple TV cannot make it. And rather than harp on my disappointments (most of which you outlined above–lack of storage, 720p only, rental only, etc), I'll start with the positives.

    First, the ability to push content from iPads or iPhones brings us closer to the future where we should be able to easily transfer content from computer to TV to mobile device. Granted, one might argue that the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) media servers that are out there beat Apple to the punch, but are they as simple to set up as switching on iTunes?

    Second, the price. Can't beat a $200 drop to $99. That makes the Apple TV all that more tempting to impulse buys.

    Despite the positives, I don't think consumers will stampede to the stores to pick up Apple's new little box. Modern TVs already have most of Apple TV's functionality built into them: For example, I can pull down Netflix movies and watch YouTube with a few clicks of my remote. And what I can't download through my TV, my Sony PS3 can with its ability to tie into UPnP media servers (should I decide to set one up). The PS3 can also play games and Blu-Ray disks. And it's pretty simple to set up, too.

    So to me, the Apple TV is just another box that can do the same thing as all the other boxes do, except less well and at a smaller price. It's like having a cheap toaster that can only warm bread, not lightly brown it.

  2. The Hub on September 7, 2010 at 9:29 pm


    I agree with most of what you say. I think there are different categories of consumers out there. More tech-savvy folks would be happy using a PS3 as you mentioned. However, I think for the mass-market attaching anything is a barrier to entry. It appears to me that Apple has done everything in their power to overcome this by simplifying as much as possible. Therefore,as you point out, TVs with embedded software have a great opportunity to win (i.e. GoogleTV is supposed to roll out this way and there is a rumor that Apple will roll out a TV of their own).

    I think among Apple fans (perhaps it's a third large category of consumers), the device will be popular. I'm thinking about picking one up the first day myself. After all what's $99 considering what I spent on my MacBook Pro.

  3. The Hub on September 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Interesting follow up article:

    The article makes the point of how iTunes sacrifices audio quality and artistic integrity for the sake of convenience. It reinforces my point that people may like to use AppleTV for a missed episode of a reality show. However, it's not like cable providers provide the best audio and video experience. Thank goodness for blu-ray for us video and audiophilies out there. I just received my Battlestar Galactica box set on blu-ray and have no regrets.

  4. Matt on September 16, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I pre-ordered a Boxee Box from Amazon for $199. I've been using the software for years and am a big fan. The AppleTV is nice and simple, and maybe by Gen 3 they'll have an app store and enough features to make it worth it, but the Boxee box is open source and plays 1080p H.264, which is what I need in a media player.

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