No One Likes Apple TV?

Dave Zatz —  May 22, 2007

ac_appletv_070518.jpgTUAW reports that refurbished Apple TV units have shown up online for $249 (list price is $299). While the Apple Store routinely offers refurb items, this seems pretty quick… though perhaps it’s just my perception. $299 to stream iTunes and podcasts to a television isn’t very economical — perhaps folks are realizing that and getting their money back. While convergence may or may not be desirable in the mobile arena, it’s a necessity in the living room. I can’t be the only one who wants fewer boxes that do more.

14 responses to No One Likes Apple TV?

  1. I very highly doubt your hypothesis since an opened unit would likely be charge a 15% restocking fee. That’s enough to make most people either live with it (and experiment with the various hacks that make it much more useful) or sell it off on their own.

  2. Where do refurbs come from? Folks who either don’t like a product and/or can’t figure out how to use it will bring it back. Those units are repackaged and resold.

    I believe the Apple Store restocking fee is 10% and from first hand experience I can tell you they have the ability to waive it. Target, Best Buy, and Circuit City rarely impose a restocking fee.

    Those I know with Apple TVs are not using them. I’ve spent enough time on a couple of units that I know I have no need to buy one. Not with the current software functionality.

  3. That’s funny – those I know with the units swear by them (and none of them download much video content from iTunes). Myself, I’m waiting for Gen. 2.

    Refurbs also come from… you know – units that had to be refurbished.

  4. I like the AppleTV. I download no video content from iTunes, but do purchase music from iTunes.

    While I had basic functionality with Tivo for music and slideshows, the interface is so much more slick, i.e., album art, screen savers made up of random pictures/album art, and crowd pleasing slide shows set to music, that it was worth the price.

    My next project is to make and access hd home movies via AppleTV, but I’m waiting for Leopard before upgrading my computer and video camera.

    Anybody out there watching home movies in HD via AppleTV?

  5. Michael Portuesi May 22, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    I have to admit I find Apple TV uncompelling, but I think it’s a stretch to assume the availability of refurbs is because dissatisfied customers are returning them. I mean, that *could* be the case, but what evidence supports that conclusion?

  6. In my experience, the vast majority of refurbished products are non-defective customer returns. However, it’s possible these are coming from somewhere else. It’s also possible Apple could be attempting to tweak/test sales by trying a lower price via another channel. The only thing we know for certain is that Apple won’t tell us what’s going on. ;)

  7. AppleTV is pointless.

    It’s less powerful and more expensive than a Linux HTPC or hacked Xbox with Xbox Media Center.

  8. it’s not about power, or price, or using a hacked Xbox. it’s about convenience, usability and allowing the everyman on the street who doesn’t want anything too complicated or noisy (and let’s face it, HTPCs and Xbox360 is all noise) in the lounge. Apple are applying the lessons they’ve learnt from ipod to the living room to see what happens. For me, it works, plain and simple. and £150 to stream all my music and videos to the TV is well worth it.

  9. My guess is Dave is probably right, but another possibility is that there was some initial flaw which is being fixed and sold as refurb.

  10. Gerry Van Zandt May 23, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Generally, most factory refurbished Apple product is either fully functional customer returns (which are checked and then repackaged) or defective units that are fixed and then repackaged.

    It’s too early to write a verdict for the Apple TV. I have used mine a fair amount with downloaded content I’ve gotten from iTunes as well as BitTorrent movies. I still use my TiVo and I still use my DVD player as well. The Apple TV has not replaced anything.

    Apple is planning SIGNIFICANT software and content accessibility updates for the Apple TV over time. The box is MUCH more capable than the functionality that is currently enabled. Apple has big plans for this product and its follow-ons — it’s a multi-year strategy that has yet to play out. You have to look at the big picture — the power players, Jobs’ current position(s), studios and content players, etc.

    It’s easy to poo-poo the Apple TV, but it’s only an enabler of a much larger and compelling strategy that has hardly even begun to play out. If you are just looking at box specs and comparative information with other “boxes” or video game systems, you are looking at things entirely the wrong way.

  11. I agree that what the Apple TV is today, is not what it will be say after the iPhone launches or what it will be say 6 months or a year from now. And there’s no denying the interface is much more friendly and usable than something like the Xbox 360 or TiVo as a media extender. My only point is that the product is not a hit now. But let’s look on the bright side – now you can get it for $50 off!

  12. Did anyone ever think that maybe people are returning them because they don’t play the majority of videos on the Internet, like AVI, DIVX, or WMV?

    People are probably assuming that it plays videos from a Windows machine.

    (Luckily, it’s easy enough to modify your AppleTV to do this, but not easy enough for the average person).

  13. Come On! My Apple TV is awesome. How else can a non-geek play 10 or 20 Music Videos of his choosing at the touch of a remote control. No discs to change! No Burning! No ripping! It may need improvements but it is way ahead of everything else out there. My lady loves the HOT videos coming across the 52 inch flat screen mounted in our ceiling above our bed.

  14. Well the truth is that the Apple tv just falls short as far as features go. I recently bought one and I actually am returning it because it just sucks.
    First: how the H#ll can apple sell something called Apple TV that you can’t plug a coaxial into and watch/record tv on your iMac (or any mac machine)

    that one simple thing would have made it completely worthwhile. I want to use my 2000 iMac as a TV as well. should be a NO-Brainer with Apple TV.

    really a shame. seems like apple has a recurring theme of making things products that look better than anything out there (leopard is GREAT) but fall short in hairbrained ways (like no tv tuner in a product with TV in the name)

    same with a mobile device that doesn’t support flash.

    there’s no excuse – and I like Apple.
    I use openSUSE 10.3, fedora 8, Kubuntu, Leopard, and windows XP on separate machines so I have no OS Bias.