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Apple Businesses

Apple TV to be a Centrally Controlled P2P Network? 165

Posted by Zonk
from the lean-on-your-neighbors dept.
Rolgar writes "PBS' Bob Cringely theorizes that since the Apple TV will be an always-on device with a 40GB hard drive, Apple may move to content distribution via a P2P network. The ISPs will incur higher bandwidth locally, possibly lose some subscribers to cable TV, but have fewer costs through the Tier II Internet backbone providers. Bob also expects that Google will be involved with their fiber network and advertising expertise, and my hope is that they'll bundle in YouTube content as well. The article suspects that they won't get around to announcing the full details of this plan until they hit a half million units or more, and that this Apple and Google pairing will become the equivalent of a cable TV provider with almost none of the infrastructure costs. Eventually, he hopes, we'll see a real HD revolution from Apple and Google for this service." If Apple rolled something like this out to the service, would you bite on it? What would it take you to move to this over Tivo or MythTV?
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Apple TV to be a Centrally Controlled P2P Network?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    >If Apple rolled something like this out to the service, would you bite on it?
    >What would it take you to move to this over Tivo or MythTV?

    I will not pay for any "service" above and beyond my normal ISP fee in order to receive content. I can get all the content I want for free just by having a connection to the internet.

    The only way I would subscribe to this service is if it was free.
  • as soon as Apple announces it.

    I'm tired of the B.S., indecipherable controls, policies, unusable channels and the need to sit down or record in real time when the content is deemed fit to be distributed by some provider that decides it knows when it is best for ME to sit and watch/record.
    • Re:In Time & On... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gladish (982899) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:16PM (#18042352)
      The biggest problem I have with this new device is that it's only going to work with iTunes. I want to have a media distribution box (preferrably linux) streaming audio, video, and pictures to my tv and stereo. I don't want the vendor locking that apple is trying to accomplish. By the way, this is the stuff that makes me want to wear a tinfoil hat. The idea of google and apple teaming up to take over our living rooms by selling a little white box, all the while the only thing consumers are thinking of is when can I get one.
      • Re:In Time & On... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mblase (200735) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:57PM (#18043000)
        The biggest problem I have with this new device is that it's only going to work with iTunes. I want to have a media distribution box (preferrably linux) streaming audio, video, and pictures to my tv and stereo.

        While I agree on geek principles, I don't see how a keyboardless box like the iTV would be able to connect to any streaming software source the user might have, at least not without a lot of PC-end configuration. That sort of thing completely trumps Apple's ease-of-use principle, which is practically the First Commandment of their business.

        On the other hand, iTunes is free, and Quicktime supports plugins and can handle just about any codec you want (disclaimer: I'm a Mac user and I know firsthand that there's plenty of things VLC plays better). So for the average user there's little to complain about, and for the non-average geek there's better ways to do what iTV does without buying iTV at all.
        • by EggyToast (858951)
          the idea behind the apple TV works great for someone like me, who is familiar with codecs and also has a Pro copy of Quicktime. It's easy to spend a little time converting video into something iTunes can recognize.

          But for your average user, figuring how to get that latest episode of The Office into iTunes? I get the feeling a lot of people will skip it as they'll feel it's really focused towards buying movies/shows off iTunes. And it kind of is, as iTunes doesn't really handle video conversion on its
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by monopole (44023)
          Um, Democracy Player? [getdemocracy.com], cross platform, integrates bitorrent and VLC. Plays anything, automatically caches torrents, sweet GUI, zero configuration. All you have to do is download the installer run it and select or provide channel feeds. Search for content, get a listing and click the download arrow. When the file is ready just click on the listing and it plays. Doesn't get simpler than that!
          • When streaming media, you do not want to segment the media file and then send it in a random order. If you do, you can't view it until it has completely finished downloading. A better solution is to send segments sequentially - this allows the media to be viewed shortly after the download is started. This is one of the reasons why I love usenet over p2p solutions for downloading media.

            There is no way Apple will go the p2p route. When a user selects a video it should start playing in under a minute. Any
  • ...or... Maybe it's there so Apple can incorporate an "offline mode." I don't necessarily need to be connected to the internet to enjoy my movie, similar to the XBOX LIVE marketplace and their "rentals."
  • by Erwos (553607) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:11PM (#18042266)
    Why should I waste my bandwidth on distributing Apple's movies and music for them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mtec (572168)
      Perhaps for a potential discount on movies?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        This comment keeps popping up in these types of discussions but unless the company gives a rate for a direct download, and then provides a discounted rate for the P2P download, how are we, the customers, able to confirm that we are indeed getting a discount on what we download? How do we know they are not just pocketing the savings as profit? The problem is there is not sufficient transparency in this equation, and when I'm using my bandwidth that I pay for to support the business of some company, then I
      • by vertinox (846076)
        Perhaps for a potential discount on movies?

        If by discount you mean free after someone figures out how to share movies to people that didn't pay for them?
    • Good question.

      I think I remember reading a rumor before they came out with tv shows on itunes that the next itunes was to going to have something built in to let people share like bittorrent and get itunes store credit for doing this with the files they had bought.

      Now:
      1) It was a rumor a long time ago.
      2) If you don't purchase anything from the iTunes store you probably could care less if the rumor was true or not.
    • by mblase (200735)
      Why should I waste my bandwidth on distributing Apple's movies and music for them?

      Assuming Apple would implement such a thing, I'm pretty sure it would be voluntary. After all, all current file-sharing software makes it optional to share your downloads with others--on the other hand, others have the option of not sharing with you under those circumstances.
    • Faster download of HD content?
      • Faster download of the core mainstream HD content. Won't do shit if you aren't glued to Lost, 24, or Heroes. Democracy is a stupid mechanism to decide how much leverage this kind of thing gets.
        • Why is having the most wanted content mirrored the most a stupid way of doing this?

          Most people would get fast download times. Sounds like a good service to me.

          Not agreeing with the choices of most, but it does make good business sense to make most of your customers happy.
          • It's stupid for the same reason that you don't want a grocery store to only stock Pepsi in the soft drink aisle. You need a dedicated carrier to make this stuff available. I've seen way to often in the public domain area where the trendy shit gets mirrored all over the place and stuff that is of lesser interest gets deleted from the mirrors due to a need for space. After a while you just can't find stuff. The vast majority of people can't be trusted to think into the future or to think of greater variety be
        • Faster download of the core mainstream HD content. Won't do shit if you aren't glued to Lost, 24, or Heroes. Democracy is a stupid mechanism to decide how much leverage this kind of thing gets.

          Aha, but what Democracy (and any really pure torrent based thing) can run afoul of is non-poopular items that have only a few, very slow, seeds (on second reading I'm not sure if you were talking about the actual player, but the point stands).

          What commercial torrents could bring to the table is a gauranteed base speed
    • by shmlco (594907)
      "Why should I waste my bandwidth on distributing Apple's movies and music for them?"

      First, unless you're running a botnet or torrent server from your house [both bad ideas] most of the bandwidth is "wasted" (i.e. unused) anyway. Second, by participating in the system you get your own movies faster as well.

      If improved performance for yourself (getting your movie when you want it) isn't a big enough benefit, then don't buy one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by markjl (151828)
      Perhaps because a P2P distribution scheme like BitTorrent can be faster than:

      - a big file server cluster at a single data center with a big pipe out to the entire internet. No matter how big the pipe and server cluster at the source, you've got network bandwidth constraints on getting to you at your ISP aside from your last mile connection.
      This single source solution does not allow for efficient huge file distribution over the entire Internet unless each ISP can cache many huge files: I doubt many do althou
  • better than ... how? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamienk (62492) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:14PM (#18042306)
    How is this better than the following workflow (which is what many do now, and more will do soon):

    * Find content on the Internet or other places (via whatever means)

    * Download/aquire (again, however you need to)

    * Watch on your TV (via any network-attached device or stand-alone DVD player that supports lots of codecs and can be controlled with a remote)

    The only things outlined in TFA that differs from this is

    * What is available is controlled by some bullshit companies who will have your worst interest at heart

    * You have to watch ads

    * You have to pay for downloads

    * Apple and Google spy on you

    Er, um ... no thanks!
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by heinousjay (683506)
      I guess it's high time these companies got their act together and figured out a way to provide content for free without ads just to keep people like you, who represent absolutely nothing of value to them, happy and contented. I can't imagine why they would do that, but what the hell, I'm with you. It's just crazy enough to work.
    • by Megajim (885529)
      Ah, but this is the new no-DRM version of Apple! User friendly ad infinitum. Anti-DRM, yet I doubt I'll be able to use that nifty box to play my DivX files (without a hack or laborious batch conversion). I agree with your perspective on workflow, with the caveat that Apple's approach will probably be legal.
      • iTunes CAN do DivX (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alexhmit01 (104757)
        iTunes plays anything that is in Quicktime Format, and Quicktime will happily store MPEG-4 video. Once you install the DivX Codec for Quicktime (a free download), you can play your DivX movies in Quicktime. All you have to do is save the new file with the Quicktime wrapper (that stores the meta-information) and copy it into iTunes. Remember, Quicktime is Apple's media playing system. The Quicktime Player is just a small front-end for playing Quicktime moves (on Mac), or an embedded Quicktime + Player fo
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by steve_bryan (2671)
          I think you might be overlooking the fact that the QuickTime movie player in Apple's new device (let's call it iTV for convenience) won't have access to the divx codec that you install on your Mac. I think you would need to be able to install that codec on the iTV device and if it is a closed box that might not be an option. In other words the claim that iTV can play anything you can play with iTunes means it can play anything that iTunes with an unmodified system can play. I don't know this for a fact but
          • by dr.badass (25287)
            I think you would need to be able to install that codec on the iTV device and if it is a closed box that might not be an option.

            Once you get the file into iTunes, iTunes' "Convert for iPod" command would do the trick. The downside is that it is slow and doesn't give you any control over the encoding, but it is the simplest thing that will definitely work. I know, I know, transcoding is bad, but it means that getting movies onto an AppleTV will only be as difficult as you want it to be.
            • by steve_bryan (2671)
              iTunes' "Convert for iPod" command would do the trick

              I agree that this option would be available but if you've ever used it you probably would not be surprised if some might deem it irrelevant. Remember this is most likely to be viewed not on an iPod but on a big screen where any imperfections would be magnified. I've found such converions, even for the video iPod and PSP to be very disappointing. Added to that is the incredibly long time it often takes to do the conversion (hours). On the other hand I've f
    • by siegesama (450116) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:28PM (#18042560) Homepage
      Because some people wouldn't mind getting their movies legally. You realize you've stepped far, far out of fair use, right? If you want to rip your own movies, fine, but that's not at all what you just suggested. Apple is at the head of that "updated business and distribution model" that everyone has been harping on about for a while now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jamienk (62492)
        Fair use? Fair use is about reviewing, satirizing, or otherwise quoting or mildly incorporating someone's legally protected monopoly on some expression. It's an interesting edge case in the history of "US copyright court decisions" if you're into studying that academically.

        No, what I'm talking about is the act of watching filmed scenarios, or whatever else the good artists of the world create in their infinite inventiveness in order to have people see.

        What I'm talking about is participating in culture, and
        • by dr.badass (25287)
          What I'm talking about is participating in culture, and about benefiting from expression, and about enjoying art.

          Odd. It sure sounded like you were talking about pirating copyrighted material. And now it sounds like you're trying to justify it with a smokescreen of psuedo-intellectual garbage.
    • How is this better than the following workflow...* Watch on your TV (via any network-attached device or stand-alone DVD player that supports lots of codecs and can be controlled with a remote)

      Currently most people don't have an easy way to perform this step. Most people do not have their computer connected to their TV. Geeks like us do, normal people don't. Most people don't want to burn a DVD or VCD every time they want to watch something. Apple's device is a way to connect the computer to the TV, witho

  • "Bob"? (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:14PM (#18042310) Homepage
    Has everybody forgotten "Cringely" just a pen name for Mark Stephens?
  • Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:16PM (#18042340) Homepage Journal
    What would it take me to move to this over MythTV? Let's see... it'd have to be FOSS by people who aren't entangled in various dealings with all the media companies, it'd have to run on Linux, and it'd have to be something I could tweak to my needs and system specs without too much trouble.

    Basically, it'd have to be MythTV.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hear hear! I am personally sick and tired of the mindless pro-Apple-hype, when it is APPLE (along with Microsoft and their friends in the entertainment cartels) who are primarily responsible for a huge amount of DRM hassles that we face today.

      I moved away from Windows because I was sick of not having control over my own computer. I will NOT switch to another closed source proprietary system just because a bunch of mindless sheep have declared it to the new trendy platform over the last closed source propr

    • Re:Simple. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sabinm (447146) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:29PM (#18042586) Homepage Journal
      I hear you. But MythTV is a pain to setup. FOSS and all, but if I can't get grabber info reliably outside of the U.S., then I'm not interested. I set up a MythTV (went with knoppmyth) and then went to actually download settings from my cable, to find out they don't have XML grabber in my country. Don't even think about 'Zap2It'. So because I didn't have grabber info, it wouldn't allow me to watch tv?!? No option to enter the channels in manually, huh? No, MythTV is still just a myth. I don't watch my cable TV as it is. If apple and google can offer the tv shows (and they do) and interactive data on a three hundred dollar box that works with me pressing the 'on' button, with RSS feeds replacing XML grabbers for show listings and recordings, then THAT is the Mythical convergence I'm looking for. And no, don't tell me that MythTV is just not mature yet and to wait. This is TV, not heart surgery. I don't have the inclination to wait for features that have been implemented on my TV for the past 25 years.
    • Truthfully, the *main* reason my MythTV is a superior solution to all of the commercial offerings (Apple included) is because I'm not feature-constrained, artificially, by copyright legislation.

      I'm not a programmer/developer, so the fact Myth source is available means about zilch to me. I'm just as "stuck" relying on others to add new features to Myth as I would be if I was waiting for Apple or some other company to add them.

      But the ability to rip and store compressed versions of all my movie DVDs, ready f
  • All I need is the iTV to allow me to rent HD movies at a reasonable price ($5). They can destroy Netflix and HD/Blu-Ray in one quick move.

    Right now though, I have to buy them off the iTunes store for a much higher price. Given I can get rent 2 DVD's from hollywood for $4 and don't need to buy an iTV, I'm sticking with that option.
    • The xbox360 does this. I don't know about the price, but I do know that they do have HD rentals. toslink audio out too.
  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:18PM (#18042370) Homepage
    $299 for a 720p (only) display extender? Meh.

    $299 for a 24/7 torrent node that replaces a PVR? Hmmm.

    I'd buy THAT for $299.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nerdfest (867930)
      A 40 Gig disk doesn't go very far towards replacing a proper PVR, unless it's expandable.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        If it gets hacked to run your torrents, you can damn well bet they'll also hack the rear USB port to let you plug in a huge external drive.
  • I suppose if I actually watched TV, then I might think about it.
  • Leave TiVo? No Way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crispin Cowan (20238) <crispin&crispincowan,com> on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:18PM (#18042392) Homepage
    They can have my TiVo when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

    Apple TV, from all the reports I've read, sounds spectacularly weak. I don't expect it to ever succeed.

    Conjecture: "Apple TV" is the Newton of Apple's play into the convergence market. A cute idea, nice try, but they totally blew it. Apple will likely go back to the lab and come out with something that doesn't suck so much, just as they did with the iPod.

    Crispin
    • by mblase (200735)
      Apple TV, from all the reports I've read, sounds spectacularly weak. I don't expect it to ever succeed.

      That's because you're thinking it should be a PVR, and it's not. Apple could easily build in that functionality, and IMO probably wants to--but Apple doesn't want to step on the toes of those media providers hosted by the iTunes Store.

      Basically, they can offer old TV for sale on iTunes or record new TV via PVR software, but not both. Not without the blessings of those media companies, anyway, and that's n
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      They can have my TiVo when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

      A few years back I was looking at a device to record TV and basically function as a Tivo. I looked at MythTV, Tivo, Windows Media Edition, and a couple of others. When I looked into Tivo, I was pretty disappointed. They want you to pay a monthly subscription or a big chunk of change up front, with no guarantee the service will be any good in future. You have to jump through hoops to enable the skip ahead/back and the times are not easily conf

      • by tm2b (42473)

        A little research showed Tivo's biggest customers are cable providers who ship them as cable boxes.
        Um, no. That patently false - most TiVo owners are actually end users buying them despite the cable systems' pushing other, crappy DVRs.

        Parent needs to be heavily modded as "Troll."
        • Um, no. That patently false - most TiVo owners are actually end users buying them despite the cable systems' pushing other, crappy DVRs.

          Read what I wrote. Just because most Tivo are used by individual buyers does not mean individual buyers are their biggest customers. Any given retail store or even store chain sells fewer units than Comcast alone, or Cablevision. As a result, Tivo seems willing to make compromises for those buyers.

          Parent needs to be heavily modded as "Troll."

          Yeah, because making 30

  • I may bite at such a service if Apple included the functionality in their monthly fee to use the device. If it was an added feature that carried a separate charge, I certainly would not be interested.
  • by tattood (855883) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:21PM (#18042458)
    The iTV is not meant to be a replacement for Tivo, at least by my understanding. Essentially what it is, is the same thing that the AirportExpress does. It allows you to stream the movies/TV shows from your PC (using iTunes) to your nice big TV instead of your computer monitor. It doesnt have a built-in tuner, so you can't watch live TV. I was really excited about it when I first saw it, but then realized that it's not a DVR.
  • Great, more FUD delivered by one of the internet's favorite soothsayers, delivered with all the smarm of a Starbucks-toting liberal arts blogger. Granted, it's no Continuum Transfunctioner, but its mystery IS only exceeded by its power. Get over it, fanboy.
  • No. Apple is nothing more than a wanna be Emperor without clothes. About 90% of the crap that is already available from cable, satellite, internet I don't watch anyway and can't see Apple offering ANYTHING that would prompt me to pay them.
    • Apple is nothing more than a wanna be Emperor without clothes. About 90% of the crap that is already available from cable, satellite, internet I don't watch anyway and can't see Apple offering ANYTHING that would prompt me to pay them.

      SO what you are saying is in fact the Emperor has plenty of clothes, you just don't like what they are wearing.

      Fine but do not dismiss the fact that there are plenty of do like what they (and other studios) have to offer.

      The battle is not over a small group of art-house fanati
    • by mblase (200735)
      About 90% of the crap that is already available from cable, satellite, internet I don't watch anyway and can't see Apple offering ANYTHING that would prompt me to pay them.

      I think that's exactly the reason: with iTunes you only buy the songs, tv shows, or movies you want to watch, not the 90% crap that you don't.
  • Cost (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DesertBlade (741219)
    I have DVR through Comcast for about $75 with digital cable plus. Now if I watch 10 shows a week, and the dowload costs $2 each that is $80 a month (10 shows * 4 weeks * $2), toss in the cost of the unit and then subscribtion costs and it is even less appealing. I won't replace my DVR.
    • by CDarklock (869868)
      I have my digital cable loaded for bear with every premium channel, three dual-tuner DVRs, two bare receivers, an average of two PPV movies a week at $4 a pop, and thirty hours a week of recorded programs for time-shifting. That costs me roughly $200 a month. What would it cost with AppleTV?

      The offerings just coming on the market are targeted at "average" usage, but the drivers of this technology are not average. I have hundreds of videotapes and thousands of CDs. If you try to restrict me to "average" habi
  • by ironring2006 (968941) on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:41PM (#18042716)
    The basis of the article title, wondering what the 40GB HD is doing, is easily answered if you watched the Apple keynote. The AppleTV, while has the ability to stream from any device on the network, is primarily more intended to be used like an iPod, syncing your latest tv shows/movies, etc. from your main computer that you would usually use to get your new content. Heck, the AppleTV is even listed as part of the iPod store option. Since its always on, it can do the syncing constantly and becomes more network connection agnostic. You don't have to worry about your wireless connection crapping out in the middle of a stream if you've got what you want to watch already on the HD. That along with standard buffering/cache/OS stuff, is all I see the HD being for.

    If Apple really wanted to put out a p2p distribution node, an easier solution would be to just release it as an update to iTunes. Then they aren't limited to only the AppleTV nodes.

  • 40 GB + Hi Def? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Asten (674521)
    Somehow, I don't think a 40GB drive will suffice for storing enough HD video to have a sufficiently large P2P base.
  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Friday February 16, 2007 @03:43PM (#18042754) Homepage
    I think Cringely used the power of P2P to combine random buzzwords, product names, and company names faster than ever. Is there any evidence that this particular combination is actually likely to happen?
  • I'm not sure it's going to be Apple, but something like this is going to kill cable television networks like Comedy Central, Cartoon, SciFi, etc very soon (3 years).

    Channels buy the rights to syndicated repeats and programming made by outside production companies, then sell ads during these programs to make money. It's all very inefficient.

    Downloadable television cuts out the network middle man. You can buy content directly from the producers, ad free if they want to offer it that way. In such a world Futur
    • I agree, but there is a complication. hugh speed Internet access in the US is a pile of dog crap. The only reasonable choice I have is to go with my local cable provider (half the price of DSL). Cable internet+basic TV service is $10 cheaper than just cable internet access; so I'm forced to buy programming to get internet. Downloadable television may cut out the middle man, but for many people like myself, only after they've already been paid once.

      Here's how I see the market changing. Right now the US is t

  • The new Apple TV media extender is supposed to ship this month, perhaps even by the time you read this column, and if you are like me you are wondering what that 40-gig hard drive is doing inside.

    Um, it's called "caching". From Apple's own website:

    Open iTunes and Apple TV appears in your devices list, ready to sync. Set iTunes to sync unwatched TV shows, movies, and podcasts. Set it to sync new purchases. Or manually select what you want to watch. Set your syncing preferences once and Apple TV automaticall
  • No SD output. (Score:4, Informative)

    by acwork2 (267001) on Friday February 16, 2007 @04:11PM (#18043230) Homepage
    The thing that KILLS the Apple TV for me is the lack of SD output. I don't have an HDTV right now and don't plan on getting one anytime soon. I'd love to buy this but its few features aren't enough to convince me to buy an expensive TV that I have no need for otherwise. It would have been really simple to add a composite or s-vid out. Sure it wouldn't look quite as nice but it would open up their potential customer base but a large amount.
    • by Rodness (168429)
      That's pretty much exactly my problem. I have an older 32" tv with just RCA jacks, I don't even think it has S-video. I'd drop $300 on an Apple TV without even blinking, but ~$2000* to buy an Apple TV _AND_ LCD tv with HDMI.... not so much.

      I'll wait on this until I have a real reason to buy a new tv which I can justify better than "but but i want one!"

      [*] I say that with a complete wild-ass handwaving guess that a decent LCD tv is going to run me around 1700ish, having not even priced one recently. Whet
    • by wall0159 (881759)

      WTF?... it _has_ component output..
      http://www.apple.com/appletv/connect.html [apple.com]
  • I was on the fence about buying an iTV. Gonna buy one now, no doubt.
  • Already does this in a decentralized fashion w/o the DRM. Check it out http://www.getdemocracy.com/ [getdemocracy.com].

    Of course Bob's saying that this is going to not be DRMed. So if Apple is sending me pre-release videos which aren't DRMed without my consent, how do they charge me for it? If Suncoast did this via fedex they wouldn't have a leg to stand on when they billed me.
  • Moving to Apple TV (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JM78 (1042206)
    If Apple rolled something like this out to the service, would you bite on it? What would it take you to move to this over Tivo or MythTV?
    1. Be A Free Service
    2. Support 1080p (with the way HD is advancing I want something that scales. They've currently lost this consumer with their current HD offering)
    3. Give absolute control over content once I have it - don't force me into a proprietary service of any kind or cripple it with DRM schemes.

    My 2 cents.

  • The technology is rapidly approaching a point when I would consider purchasing almost all of my viewed content from Apple.

    There are two small issues that I think should be addressed before I ditch Basic Cable, although there are enough perks to make me start thinking about ditching anything above and beyond that.

    1.) Free Content.
    I know the iTunes store has some 'Free' content that it bandies about, but sometimes I just need to throw the TV on to have something playing in the background. It doesn't have to
  • Currently, I'm very happy with my TiVo. I have many hours of my favorite TV shows, all in HD, available any time.
    So if Apple continues to offer just a few shows, the way they do now, with limited resolution, I'd have to think whether I really have a use for this device. After all, I can buy shows to download to my XBox 360 (often in HD), and TiVo is about to start offering a similar service, so if Apple is offering just another video download service with a fairly limited inventory (like what they now offer
  • Y'know, its hard to see where the big overlap in potential customer base between homebrew MythTV boxes and AppleTV lies...

    What MythTV does for me is near-perfect timeshifting of free-to-air (modulo UK TV license fees) digital terrestrial TV, with all sorts of auto-scheduling goodness. Unless I've missed something, this is not what AppleTV is offering.

    Now, if AppleTV (if/when it launches in the UK) offers me a reasonably-priced way of seeing (say) individual episodes of US Sci-Fi shows or recent movies wit

  • The AppleTV is the ultimate form factor for the MythTV frontend. Too bad there isn't an API for it. I've done the pricing and $299 is not bad for the form factor and cost. The cheapest I could build a front end is $350 and it wouldn't be everything I wanted.
  • by TrentC (11023) on Friday February 16, 2007 @06:54PM (#18045622) Homepage

    The new Apple TV media extender is supposed to ship this month, perhaps even by the time you read this column, and if you are like me you are wondering what that 40-gig hard drive is doing inside. I'm guessing we won't know for sure until later this year [...]

    ...unless you listened to Jobs' Macworld Keynote or read the flurry of articles that flew around afterwards -- such as this Macworld article [macworld.com] -- in which case you would know that the AppleTV is a glorified video iPod that can be synced with iTunes like any other iPod. (Sorry, that's not technically true; apparently the AppleTV can sync over a wireless network connection.)

    It will be interesting to hear Apple's explanation for the hard drive.

    Is he seriously unaware of the purpose of the hard drive? Can he honestly not find the AppleTV page where they discuss how the AppleTV syncs with iTunes [apple.com]?

    Or is this simply the most egregious example of not letting the facts -- easily-obtained facts, no less -- get in the way of his "secret answer"? I know these Cringely pieces are often light on substance and heavy on BS, but this in unbelievable...

  • Two things.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Two things rub me about the AppleTV.
    Firstly, the networking hardware:

    It has 802.11 (n!) wireless and 100BaseT ethernet. I think it's a bit tight not to have Gig-Ethernet, surely for the sake of pennies, and it appears that the wireless is only capable as a client. It's a shame that it doesn't seem like it can be used to create or extend a network, like the old Airport Express. I can see the business argument for making you buy another unit, however, I could be wrong about this.

    Secondly, especially with the
  • What would it take you to move to this over Tivo or MythTV?

    No DRM and completely portable data. If it can't do that, it's no better than an ordinary PVR.
  • by Argyle (25623) on Saturday February 17, 2007 @01:26AM (#18048286) Homepage Journal
    Cringely's fantasty is making the rounds and it is amazingly wrong.

    The hard drive is there for one basic reason, syncing content with another computer that holds an iTunes library.

    No mystery. No hidden agenda. The answer was in the Keynote and is on Apple's web site.

    I guess he can't be bothered to do any kind of research.

    This whole business of stacking components is pointless. An Airport goes near the cable/DSL modem or home router, not near the TV. And who exactly is telling him to put a Mac Mini near the TV set?

    The Apple TV is a computer running OS X that is configured to playback content to a TV. It is not an iPhone or a stealth peer-to-peer device.

    This is what I hate about pundits, their inability to discern a technophile wet dream from a well researched and logically consistent prediction based on trends and indicators.
  • Will you please stop linking Cringley stories? He's like a rabid dog. It's just one endless speculative fantasy after another and I for one am sick of hearing about the his latest clap trap on Slashdot. Mod me troll if you want, but Cringley making stuff up for attention does not fit into 'stuff that matters'. This guy needs serious mental help, not more attention to his bullshit.

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