AppleTV is NOT a DVR


AppleInsider quotes ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes:

Apple TV can, in our opinion, be easily turned into a DVR with little or no hardware modification and a software upgrade

If we define a DVR as a device that time shifts broadcast content (I do), the current Apple TV will never be a digital video recorder. A DVR needs to get video from somewhere… As far as I can tell, Apple has not hidden a tuner or any video inputs in the box. I suppose it is possible they could team with AT&T (Xbox 360, anyone?) and make this into an IPTV platform (with DVR capabilities) of some sort, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

15 thoughts on “AppleTV is NOT a DVR”

  1. Exactly. Apple TV is essentially a VOD offering sans regular TV broadcasts. Competes with Netflix, but will have a hard time competing anything that plugs into a cable to telco video network.

  2. It apparently does have a 40GB hard disk. So some have asked what its for. The obvious answer is that its for the VOD content. Even if at first you have to purchase video using your Mac/PC and then stream to the Apple TV, they’ll eventually let you buy stuff directly off iTunes via the Apple TV directly. Cringely thinks they’ll even preposition content and use peer to peer to keep the load on their servers livable. Not sure about that one.

  3. I had that story emailed to me by a couple of Mac-fanboy co-workers. I can’t believe what people are saying about Apple TV — it’s such a massive Kool Aid campaign. There’s nothing revolutionary about the product at all.

  4. The hard disk acts like an iPod – storing a copy of your iTunes library locally to the TV so that it is available when the computer is not.

    When the computer and Apple TV are on the network at the same time, iTunes syncs content to the disk on the Apple TV.

    The unit is basically an iPod with better AV connectivity and network sync.

    It may turn out to be something more later but at the moment that’s what it is.

    I have a lot of content in iTunes (music, movies, TV, pictures) and getting it on the TV in a convenient way is why my Apple TV is even now winging its way from China… :)

  5. Dave,

    Thanks for putting this out there. Jonathan Hoopes is pretty dumb or so in the pocket of Apple it is not funny.

    How can it even be close to a DVR with NO TUNER? There’s not even space for a tuner.

    And why aren’t there stories out there about how outrageously expensive the thing is? I guess apple devotees are used to shelling out extra dough for just the name.

    I mean $299 for basically a wireless router with AV outputs? The hard drive is basically a big buffer for streamed content.

  6. Both Mark (above) and Michael Gartenberg hypothesize that an external USB widget could provide a source of television content. While that is a possibility (and there are rumors of a Miglia acquisition), as Michael says “we’re not talking about a competitor for the set top box.” And certainly not a DVR without a hardware upgrade/accessory.

  7. In a way NOT having a tuner does make sense.. Between people with OTA signals, analog cable, digital cable, what kind of tuner would it be? Any single tuner is making sure its on its way to obsolescence.

    Personally I need a dongle with cablecard so I can record premium cable too.

  8. “I had that story emailed to me by a couple of Mac-fanboy co-workers. I can’t believe what people are saying about Apple TV — it’s such a massive Kool Aid campaign. There’s nothing revolutionary about the product at all.”

    And the first of our ancestors who walked upright were noting revolutionary, either — they were merely monkeys arrayed in a slightly different configuration.

    Doesn’t make sense, does it? See, you do not need a whole new technology in order to be revolutionary. Sometimes all it takes is using what you already have in a slightly different way (the tough part is figuring out what that way should be, something Apple excels at). Then suddenly the whole world changes and opens up to you. If people feel that way when using Apple TV, then the product WILL be revolutionary, because it will change everyone’s expectations for these kinds of devices (even non-Apple ones) to a whole new plateau. Apple has already done this for computers and MP3 players, and is possibly about to do it with cel phones too. And I think the Apple TV has a decent chance of being added to this list.

    The Apple TV the first time anyone can buy something with all the complexity of a tuna sandwich that results, minutes later, in them sitting back in their living room and watching all the computer content they’ve historically accumulated, on their HDTV. Tell me someone else in the marketplace has provided this kind of experience without hours of configuration and setup, because when I look out there, I see tumbleweeds.

    So yeah, it’s basically just a wireless router with A/V inputs. Simple, right? That is it’s strength, and could become it’s absolute killer feature.

    By the way, have you ever *seen* “just a wireless router with A/V inputs” before? Thought not.

  9. Hopefully, it is just a very cool high-end media extender that can do pictures, music and videos seamlessly in a user friendly package (understanding it locks you into Apple-favored formats.)

    Personally, I’ll be pissed if it can’t do slide shows to music with the “Ken Burns” effect enabled like you can with IPhoto. To me that feature will be worth half the price.

    Since my Series 3 won’t do video, I’ll get that back after upgrading from Series 2.

  10. The iPod was doomed to failure because of no FM tuner. The AppleTV is doomed to failure because of no TV tuner. History repeats itself.

    P.S. Mpeg-4 is not an “Apple Flavored Format”. AAC is not an Apple codec.

  11. Couldn’t I just plug the miniDV out of my laptop into the rca input of my tv and have everything on the TV screen for $15? I am sorry to seem really dumb here but what does the Apple TV do to make the experience better?

  12. Apple TV works with these USB TV tuners and probably more.

    Pinnacle PCTV Hybrid Pro
    Elgato eyetv Diversity
    Elgato eyetv hybrid
    Pinnacle DVB-T Stick
    Terratec Cinergy S USB
    Twinhan Alpha Mac
    Miglia Mini TV
    Freecom DVB-T USB
    ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0
    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950

    Awkward TV is your friend if you are an AppleTV owner and PyeTV is worth looking in, also grab a 4GB USB Key and load it with Patchstick to get anything worthwhile from it… it really is a neat little media center.

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