Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple TV: The Second Coming or iBrick

The folks at TUAW caught wind of a rumor regarding a possible update of Apple TV coming this Tuesday Sept 30th.  

No Predictions here as to what may or may not happen except to say that the current version of Apple TV is the only and original version of the Apple TV.  It is entirely possible that Apple TV is being updated without ANY real functionality change except to upgrade the hard drive and possibly the video output.  But heck maybe this is the iBrick, the second coming of the Apple TV.

If it is...  Than this is a good time to update my thoughts from a prior post regarding Apple TV.
To sell broadly Apple TV must Replace some or all of the products and services that it currently competes against.  It must be a Set Top Box Replacement.  It must be an effective replacement for Blockbuster/Netflix and it must have a working PVR. 
By broadly the market must reach beyond us geeks so ruling out those of us using any Elgato Product. (sorry Elgato your market is gadget geeks, but you knew that) 

In addition, and this is the deal breaker, Apple has to get hollywood to play along.  Without content equivalent to NetBuster (netflixBlockbuster)  say 95% of new releases and a back catalog of thousands,(Currently there are less than 1,900 movies available for rent in iTunes)Apple will only have limited sales with Apple TV.  

If they did it it would be too expensive for broad acceptance initially but who knows maybe this is the product they "Crush" their margins with.  Certainly the integration with iPhone/iPod Touch would be kick ass.

Longer Term Apple really wants to be the company to provide integrated home entertainment solutions but we are not likely ready for that yet.  For Now Apple TV Remains a serious Hobby.  The products existence gives Apple a reason to assign resources and keep tabs on the market.  

We will see on Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

Why don't people get it. TiVo standalone failed! The only reason it still exists is because of bundle deals with DirecTV (and in theory some cable providers). Apple can't succeed as a PVR because the cable companies have an unfair advantage....they can simply capture the pre-compressed stream (like apple could if cable card every really worked).

So what is better than a PVR? Video On Demand!! but you are correct it needs to be virtually all video for this to work. Ask yourself this question? If you stopped paying $50-$100 for cable and instead used hulu and iTunes, would you have a better over all TV experience (as well as cheaper)?

BnVested said...

I think your right except for two problems with "on demand". We will always want to watch sports. And 2. Bandwidth caps. The cable providers are also our Internet providers. Do you think that the cable companies are going to let us reduce their revenue while we get more services? I think not.

Brian Levine said...

BnVested, that's certainly one way Apple can go. There's another way they can go and that's as a DVD player plus. Use the mini form factor (for the disc player) save some cash by using a cheap processor and low memory (you know, just enough for good video playback). Then you've got a DVD player (Blu Ray?) Can play iTunes videos/TV/Movies. Play your music through your home theater system. And use it as a PVR.

I'd buy one (if I had any money).

Yeah, this is basically a mini at this point. But you could strip out all the stuff from OSX that's not needed and you could cut costs by using older technology (since it wouldn't have to run all the apps on OSX). The key would be to make it cheaper than the mini and tune it for video/audio output.

This is *not* a prediction, just a wish.