Apple TV Software Update Available


Apple’s iTV software reboot, aka Take 2, just hit the net. TUAW itemizes the new features:

  • HD/Standard Def movie rentals
  • Purchase/rent items from the iTunes Store directly from Apple TV
  • Flickr/.Mac photo browsing
  • Browse the iTunes Podcast directory from the Apple TV

With this refresh and lowered price point ($229), Apple TV is looking more interesting. The multiple functions (Flickr, podcasts, iTunes, etc) plus those move rentals could be more compelling than a movie-only device like Vudu – If Apple can market it. Though, at the end of the day, there’s only so many boxes folks are going to connect to their television.

12 thoughts on “Apple TV Software Update Available”

  1. I second JohnG, The idea behind these set top boxes that only do on-demand is flawed. Why wouldnt someone get a TivoHD, use it with free OTA channels and use Amazon UnBox/TivoToComeBack(with torrents) for the rest? You still get photo browsing/podcast browsing, music, and on-demand, plus it can *GASP* record TV!! what an IDEA! Or I could get an apple TV that lets me, hmm give apple more money…what a concept!

  2. Ideally, yes. But I’d like to see TiVo speed up the HME Java app Internet calls or load more of the stub locally since it can be painfully slow. I also want better aspect ratios for Amazon Unbox, even if we’re not quite ready for higher def quality.

  3. I have two Series 3 TiVos, and an AppleTV. Having just finished updating my AppleTV and renting an HD movie, nothing on the TiVo end can touch the experience. Unbox feels clunky when compared.

    I love my TiVo. I’ve loved the 10 total that I’ve owned over the years. The missing piece all along has been the tight integration out of the box – not with add-ons like Toast – to my Macs, PCs and network.

    The AppleTV will fill my desires for watching the movies I have on my network, renting movies, playing my entire library of music, photos, etc. TiVo will still do what it does best – find the shows I want and record them.

    No winners or losers here.

  4. Similar feelings. I’ve got a Tivo HD in the same room as the Apple TV. I bought the Apple TV not so much for the TV and Movie rentals, though that will be nice when it occasionally works out. Rather I want a nice GUI and a good smooth integration of music and photo browsing. Even before the new update, the Apple TV blew the Tivo away. I like the Tivo for the basic capability, but the constant delays in the interface, limited functionality, and simple text menus just don’t cut it for some functions.

    Not saying I represent any large group of similar people or anything. Just that I like the Apple TV for what it is.

  5. If Myth TV wasn’t free and didn’t support Open Source slinging video to my phone, I would buy a Apple TV…err, that’s not much of an endorsement is it? Wait, you can’t record on AppleTV either. Can you?

  6. Finally some Apple love at zatznotfunny. First Dave buys the iPhone and now he’s warming up to the AppleTV. I think if you are into the family photos and videos AppleTV has always been worth the money because of the superior interface — now it is an easier call at a better price point with high quality downloads directly from the box. Now only if all the studios get on board and the selections increase.

  7. At $229, I’m pretty sure Apple is losing money on each unit… a decision not many companies can afford to make.

    Most studios and most content will eventually be onboard. By the same token, there won’t be any exclusives – many of these guys will offer the same content on a variety of platforms/services, so it’ll come down to the box you have or the experience you want surrounding the content.

    The only reason I’d ever pick up my own Apple TV is for the video podcast function. TiVoCast is too limited and too slow in comparison. Then again, I’ll just sync those video podcasts to my iPhone and watch them on the plane. ;)

  8. Dave, I saw one of those cost breakdowns of AppleTV and Apple isn’t losing money although on the low-end model it doesn’t have a margin as large as on most other products.

    You’d think content would be the same on iTunes/Xbox/Vudu/regular VOD, but it’s not 100% true (at least when it comes to AppleTV and Vudu).

    And, actually, there are some exclusives believe it or not. I was told that Star Trek movies in HD are exclusive to Vudu (not sure about other stuff).

  9. Last summer iSuppli had the BOM at $237 – even if it’s down to $200, each retailer gets a percent, plus packaging, marketing, freight, support expenses, etc. Doubtful that the hardware itself profitable.

    As far as exclusives, I don’t think there will be many going forward – we’re still in a period of transition, but all the major players will have mostly the same mainstream stuff. Variety will come from independent and foreign content. Also, those podcasts and original content.

  10. Here’s the link to iSuppli’s AppleTV BOM costs for new and old models:

    The 40GB version is almost a loss-leader, but I doubt Apple’s losing money on it. From what I read, Apple makes very little margin on iTunes content and is still a hardware company. Transaction costs eat in most of music profits and I read somewhere recently that it costs a few dollars to provide bandwidth to download a movie.

    Bandwidth costs is why Vudu, in my opinion, would be the most logical platform to provide Blu-Ray/HD-DVD quality content. Since Vudu relies on proprietary P2P technology, their bandwidth costs are much lower.

  11. I think the P2P thing would be killer if Apple did it. Hook up with somebody like Pando (who NBC is using for NBC Direct), but in this case install the client on the Apple TV. Let me set limits on the upload bandwidth to avoid triggering my ISP. Would help drop their costs on video delivery, and make it more viable for HD distribution etc in the long run. As well as continuing the legitimization of P2P.

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