Why I Won’t Buy Apple’s iTV


I’m still at CES… And not only am I behind on events/info occurring here I’m also still getting caught up on Apple’s announcements.

I just took a brief gander at the $299 iTV (now branded Apple TV), and am disappointed with the first rev of their software. What I’m bothered with as a consumer is that a Mac or PC is needed as an intermediary for iTunes video purchases. With a 40GB hard drive, it’s probably safe to say at some point they’ll take the computer out of the equation… right? For $100 more you could pick up an Xbox 360 with TV and Movie downloads direct to the console, no PC required. Oh yeah, you can do a bunch of other stuff too. The second issue I have is that Apple continues to lock us into their ecosystem — A model that has worked well for them with audio, but may not be as successful with video in the era of YouTube and DivX: The iTV has limited multimedia format support compared to products such as Netgear’s new Digital Entertainer HD.

Good, bad, or just average – I’m sure Apple will move a decent amount of product. They build sexy looking hardware and software, and seem to have the marketing game figured out. However, they can’t count me as an early adopter. I’ll be looking forward to Matt’s review if/when he picks up a box.

12 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Buy Apple’s iTV”

  1. i agree, my main gripe is that your locked into itunes purchases, so the apple tv is merely a product to boost itunes movie sales, because the majority of people who buy an apple tv may not be savvy enough to import videos from outer sources into itunes (tivodecode manager for example). I think that the value in the cost would be much more justifiable if the appletv was more versatile. also, has anyone read what the use of USB will be? maybe it will handle external storage, or even support an ipod…

  2. As much as I’m a complete Mac addict, I won’t be buying this version of Apple TV either. I was hoping we’d be able to download directly from the Apple iTunes Store, as well as hoping to see some sort of rental partnership with netflix. Also, it would be great to surf through google video or youtube and view internet clips online as well.

    Perhaps in the future…

  3. I will be picking one up.

    The cool factor of the music (read: cover flow etc.) and photo presentation (read: slide shows with music) is reason alone to buy in and ditch my Series 2 next to my Series 3 in the living room, which is my media extender at the moment. While Galleon and Liquid Faucet could enhance Series 2 HMO features to a level comparable with AppleTV for photo’s and music it was a bit much for a geek-in-training and/or not stable enough. Why Tivo didn’t support or adopt these 3rd party application I still don’t know?

    (The Netgear unit looks interesting but I don’t own a pc.)

  4. Yeah, but not a whole lot of us are Apple’s target audience. Buying an XBox is an equally viable option (and does more for the money) but setting it up on the computer side is a little too techy for most people.

    I plan on buying one simply so I will be able to play all my purchased music on my home theater (been putting off buying an iPod dock) and I’ve been thinking ahead and ripping all of my purchased DVDs and slipping them into iTunes (the new “cover art” view makes it pretty neat). So I’m not locked into anything outside of my iTunes music purchases and frankly, I don’t see me giving up iPods at any point in the forseeable future.

    What I find most interesting is that the people complaining the most about there not being a direct interface to buy movies and shows are the same people that say for the money they’d just rather go buy the DVDs and rip them themselves for the extra content. Again, not Apple’s target audience.

    They’ll sell a bunch, they’ll fix some things via firmware (which is what the USB is for apparently) and I’m considering ditching my TIvo for an El Gato box and having it save all my shows directly into iTunes….sooooo I can play them through the AppleTV.

    But before I sound like a complete fanboy, I too hate the lack of Divx support. I’ve got too much BBC programming I download to watch without the pain of converting. :)

  5. aTV looks a good effort but personally I don’t have HDTV, a TV with HDMI or any free component connections. Nice first effort, but what worries me most is content and honestly I don’t watch a lot of YouTube and of the many podcasts I follow, only a few are video. Divx support would be a bonus of course, so let’s wait and see what happens early on with hacks and so forth, it’s been awhile since Apple launched a hardware device that we haven’t seen before from them, so we wait. It’s sort of a non-starter to me, since there are already other methods and devices out there.

  6. I already have an older Mac mini hooked up to my 52-inch LCD, so I’m fine with SD content. HD content? Not so much. If Apple plans on releasing a boatload of HD content at decent prices, I MIGHT consider purchasing this. Unfortunately, I haven’t read anything stating that they’re moving over to HD.

  7. Another opportunity they have missed would be the ability to view your (read-only) Dashboard widgets on your TV screen, would be a great way to get access to weather, stock prices, TV listings, news, etc. Maybe in a software update?

  8. I have to disagree with you on this one Dave, in fact I have already ordered one and I own an Xbox360.

    You can’t automatically sync your pictures and music between your iTunes and your Xbox360. The Xbox is louder and much larger and it’s media capabilities as good as they are, are a secondary function and I believe the ATV will provide a better experience, atleast for users with iTunes and iPhoto.

    I also have a Series3 that leaves me wanting more in this area. The series3 music visualizations are a joke and TiVo Desktop for Mac doesn’t work on my Intel based mac with where I store my Pictures.

    I doubt I will ever buy downloaded content for either the ATV or the Xbox360 since I prefer Blu-ray, so for me all I need now is a “Transcode Apple TV” so I can stream downloaded content and I will be all set.

  9. I bought one and am waiting until sometime next month to get it. I already own a bunch of iTunes movies/shows, but I’m more interested in a higher def version of an xbmc, playing non-iTunes movies on it.

    Personally, I like having to use another computer to stream to the box, since it means there’s at least one backup of something I bought.

  10. I do like the sync feature, but wish it were iTV -> computer instead. And like I said I imagine we’ll see periodic software/firmware updates that add functionality. Until then, I’ll count on Ben and Matt to share their experiences with us.

  11. Of little interest given the limited codec support. If I had one I might just find myself buying and watching movies off iTunes, but I’d have to have a reason to buy one first. As you say, the XBox 360, which can download movies directly, is a more reasonable choice at this point, esp. given that I can also play games with it.

    The lack of HDCP on the HDMI port is interesting. I wonder if the content providers will be scared off by this or not…

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