Print 30 comment(s) - last by michael2k.. on Jun 1 at 3:22 PM

Apple upgrades its set top player

Apple this week announced that its Apple TV set top video player will receive an upgrade in both hardware and software. When it was initially launched, the Apple TV contained a relatively small 40GB hard drive for storing video and music content locally. Despite no major concerns over its size, Apple is now offering a 160GB version of the Apple TV that will sell alongside the original for $399 USD.

Coming mid-June, Apple will also be introducing Apple TV integration with YouTube. Apple said that the Apple TV will wirelessly stream videos directly from YouTube. The Apple TV interface will receive a minor user interface update to allow viewers to search for YouTube videos directly and browse through them without using the actual YouTube website.

According to Apple's press release:
Thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos will be available on Apple TV at launch in mid-June, with YouTube adding thousands more each week until the full YouTube catalog is available this fall. With Apple TV’s stunning interface and simple Apple Remote, users can easily navigate through YouTube’s familiar video browsing categories or search for specific videos.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that using the Apple TV, YouTube videos are now easily available without a computer. "This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it's really, really fun," Jobs said.

The new 160GB Apple TV is available today and the YouTube integration will be available mid-June.

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fairly pointless and expensive box
By bubbacub616 on 5/31/2007 6:02:38 PM , Rating: 5
a bit of a letdown IMHO:

1. expensive
2. DRM +++++
3. Can't decode HD (and maintain a decent framerate)
4. So "simple and intuitive" to use that it actually can't do very much (though one could argue that this is apple's ethos).
5. Poor audio connectivity options

I'd take XBMC or a WinMCE box anyday (and nowadays they cost similar amounts of money). I have a cheapo sempron and mce which cost me £200 which hooks up to my 5.1 amp + DVI to my 32" 720 LCD. utorrent gets all my weekly tv automatically and everything works perfectly - i can even order pizza without getting off the sofa.

Overall I'd recommend it to people who have a mac, haven't heard of, don't mind spending extortionate amounts of money for DRM infested video and if you don't want to do anything else from your box.

By retrospooty on 5/31/2007 8:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Adding 160gb and Youtube doenst make it any less of a dud.

By dice1111 on 5/31/2007 8:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
Not only did you take the words out of my mouth, you made them sound so much better. +1

RE: fairly pointless and expensive box
By Ralph The Magician on 5/31/2007 8:45:27 PM , Rating: 1
How is the ability to play DRM a negative feature? It plays non-DRM files just fine.

Can't decode HD? It can decode 720p @ 5Mbps, if you can even find the material in a digital format.

AppleTV is targeted at bringing legal, paid digital content to the TV, not using torrents and piracy like you propose.

Hate to break it to you, but XBMC can't do 1080p. It can't even do 720p. Even a cheap Sempron won't be able to do 1080p. H.264 decoding is fairly CPU intensive. I couldn't even do 720p with my older P4 3.0C.

By rmaharaj on 5/31/2007 11:28:22 PM , Rating: 5
Hate to break it to you, but XBMC can't do 1080p. It can't even do 720p. Even a cheap Sempron won't be able to do 1080p. H.264 decoding is fairly CPU intensive. I couldn't even do 720p with my older P4 3.0C.

Hardware accelerated decoding for the win. 8600GT is under $150 and will allow low-end CPUs to get the job done in a HTPC:

By deeceefar2 on 6/1/2007 12:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
Hate to break it to you, but XBMC can't do 1080p. It can't even do 720p. Even a cheap Sempron won't be able to do 1080p. H.264 decoding is fairly CPU intensive. I couldn't even do 720p with my older P4 3.0C.

Actually XBMC can do 720p in xvid format just fine. It can also upscale regular definition content to 720p and 1080i. The main issues are with h.264 and wmv. There are also plugins to stream youtube videos as well as most other popular content sites like apple trailers and even some pod casts. The reality is XBMC is open source which means people will add the features they would like to have in a media player, not just the ones that will make them money. With the port to linux and possibly a future ability to run on the appletv hardware XBMC will continue to be the best media player our there.

RE: fairly pointless and expensive box
By feelingshorter on 5/31/2007 9:46:06 PM , Rating: 1
If anything, they should take out the hard drive and let people add in their own hard drive. That would make it cheaper, and everyone can buy a hard drive that fits their usage level (160-320 gig hard drives are so cheap nowadays.)

By FITCamaro on 5/31/2007 10:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
It uses 2.5" drives not 3.5" drives.

By rmaharaj on 5/31/2007 11:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Then how would they rip you off for the additional HDD space? ;)

By kelmon on 6/1/2007 2:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
? Nice idea but since no one else lets you do that I think it's pointless to expect that Apple will either. That said there is nothing stopping you from upgrading the hard drive yourself unless you wish to maintain the warranty.

By kelmon on 6/1/2007 3:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
The one major problem that the Apple TV has is that there's no content available for it outside of the US. I have absolutely no issue with DRM on videos and since I don't seem to encounter videos in formats like DivX the use of H.264 doesn't seem like a problem. However, since there's no TV Shows or Movies available for download via the iTunes Store there isn't anything that I can actually use this device for so it's completely useless for the moment. Given this the announcement still leaves the Apple TV representing a complete turkey and Apple really needs to get its game together if it isn't to see this device, which does have promise, die.

With respect to the comments of using BitTorrent for content, unless we're talking about non-copyrighted stuff, you should be ashamed of yourself for advocating theft. I'm all for fair use of stuff that you've paid for but that isn't BitTorrent files.

By michael2k on 6/1/2007 12:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
1) More expensive than an WinMCE box? Where can you find a $299 WinMCE box?
2) Which online video store doesn't have DRM? Besides which, YouTube doesn't have DRM.
3) What are you talking about? It's designed to decode 720P. That's HD.
4) You mean it's easy to use?

Essentially you are arguing that you can build a better, cheaper, AppleTV; fine, I give you that. How about the rest of the world who can't?

Essentially, half the world hasn't heard of torrentspy; these are the same people who buy iPods, after all.

And I thought it was overpriced before..
By darkpaw on 5/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: And I thought it was overpriced before..
By vze4z7nx on 5/31/2007 6:03:20 PM , Rating: 3
It sure is overpriced. $400 just to watch a movie or too... heck I could get myself a cheap $400 Dell, connect it to my TV, and have a media center that way.

RE: And I thought it was overpriced before..
By jtvang125 on 5/31/2007 6:48:50 PM , Rating: 3
But hey atleast now you can watch crappy quality videos on Youtube. I'm sure that can justify the high cost right?:)

By awer26 on 5/31/2007 7:36:53 PM , Rating: 3
Haha 320x240 videos on a 50" 1080p LCD - AWESOME [headache]

By fic2 on 5/31/2007 6:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
When they have seamless integration with tv/movies on bittorrent sites THAT will be news. Until then - blah.

RE: bittorrent
By Ralph The Magician on 5/31/2007 8:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
You really think someone is going to come out with a piracy box? Democracy Player, only designed specifically for piracy? Never going to happen.

RE: bittorrent
By Gul Westfale on 5/31/2007 9:00:07 PM , Rating: 2
You really think someone is going to come out with a piracy box? Democracy Player, only designed specifically for piracy? Never going to happen.

the "Democracy Box", where everyone can do what they want, however they want to do it, already exists. it's called a PC, and i thank the lord every day that someone invented it (even though i'm not religious).

i'm not suggesting that PCs are specifically made for piracy, of course not; but on the PC you have a choice and i believe that is what democracy is about. if i want to stream my star trek episodes through the house to another screen, or store all my music in one place and download it to some MP3 players without worrying about authorizations and DRM restrictions then i should be able to do that.

i don't see why the whole world needs to be saddled with DRM in order to stop the relatively small number of pirates.
if you make a product that is worth its money i will gladly buy it- but if you make a DRM box with crappy specs (and a 160GB drive is quite small especially with higher resolution content) and then promote it as though you had just reinvented entertainment then i'll be glad to stick with my PC. it might be more expensive, it might not always be user friendly, and it might need an upgrade every now and then, but at least it does exactly what i ask of it. what more could i want?

Comparing to XBMC?
By Homerboy on 6/1/2007 9:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
Stupid. You do realize there is a VERY large community out there hacking way at the AppleTV device? Once it gets as mature as XBMC, it will blow XBMC away with the ability to do HD etc. I am a LOYAL XBMC fan for many years now (3 currently running in my house), but once the AppleTV hacking matures, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat.

Please don't speak ignorantly.

RE: Comparing to XBMC?
By bubbacub616 on 6/1/2007 1:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
Win MCE and XBMC work NOW for less than the cost of an apple TV which may or may not do what an enthusiast wants in the future. It would be a foolish person who buys this whilst banking on successful hijacking of the apple tv such that you can run a proper/more powerful OS.

After all hackers don't always deliver, vista still hasn't been cracked definitively (i.e. without resetting timers every few months), windows update is pretty hard to get past and the mod scene on Xbox360 isn't looking too bright either.

So IF someone eventually hacks the apple tv and manages to turn it into a fully working pc which runs a non apple OS then great (and I may buy one at that point!)- till then see my post above.

RE: Comparing to XBMC?
By michael2k on 6/1/2007 3:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
It's already been hacked to run OS X; why do you think it is hard to hack it to run Vista, XP, or Linux? I suspect it hasn't just because the people hacking haven't had the interest.

First time?
By Macungah on 6/1/2007 12:15:51 AM , Rating: 5
I just watch Youtube on my Wii. I'm sorry Mr. Jobs, but Nintendo beat you to it.

so what's the price tag?
By Fenixgoon on 5/31/2007 9:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
40gig model going for $400.. god knows how much it will cost for 160gigs + youtube

RE: so what's the price tag?
By FITCamaro on 5/31/2007 10:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
The 40GB model is $300. The 160GB model is $400.

Back stab
By GoodBytes on 5/31/2007 10:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for my English, please try to see where I am getting here.

Ah dear old Apple, create something very bad add feature and improve it. In results, people think Steve Job is a god, and has millions of ideas that revolutionize the industry.
I am sorry, but it does look like the case, in my point of view.

I bet you if the iTV was out with the same feature as now, the reaction to the device would be the same (before this upgrade)

Moreover, by doing this doesn't Apple back stab everyone that already got a iTV

I mean common 160GB to replace the crappy 40GB.
At a local computer store here in Montreal, a Western Digital 8MB of Buffer 7200RPM SATA-II HDD 80GB is 60$ and 120GB -> 65$, 160GB -> 75$... that's retail price, so the change in price should be lower for Apple. It's like if they made on purpose to put a 40GB hard drive.

I am sure that everyone that got an iTV is pissed now, especially that the user cannot open the device easily and change the HDD. I mean imagine if Microsoft release Vista2. In addition, there is no way you can upgrade from Vista to Vista2. I mean heck, so many people would be in great rage. Moreover, I think Microsoft would be in trouble (at the stock market level) as they will lose investors. Alternatively, imagine Nintendo releases Wii2 and that it is about the same price yet the graphics are close to the Xbox 360, and it can play DVD's. Heck, this would be very bad for Nintendo.

I believe Apple did a big mistake here.

RE: Back stab
By kelmon on 6/1/2007 2:56:10 AM , Rating: 2
I count myself as a big Apple TV detractor but your post makes no sense. However you try to spin it this announcement can't be seen a negative, let alone a "big mistake". No one is getting ripped off here because the price of the existing 40GB version isn't changing and the device is not a PC so isn't subject to the idea of component prices like a PC is - it's a consumer electronic device like a DVR so there's always a mark-up. Ditto on this strange notion that you'd be able to upgrade the hard drive yourself...

This said, I don't think the addition of YouTube makes the device any more of a compelling purchase but the option of a 160GB drive is useful.

By jsantala on 6/1/2007 7:23:01 AM , Rating: 3
Apple CEO Steve Jobs noted that using the Apple TV, YouTube videos are now easily available without a computer. "This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it's really, really fun," Jobs said.

Umm, how about the Wii? Cheaper than Apple TV and no limits on what you can watch from YouTube or whatever web site you like with the free browser...

Does anyone....
By lmc82 on 6/1/2007 1:11:06 AM , Rating: 2
Does anyone even own one of these?..., I haven't heard much since the release. Also, wouldn't some of the videos on youtube be off limits since re-broadcasting some of the recorded tv programs people put on there be some sort of lawsuit waiting to happen (like that hasn't happened already, lol).....I'm guessing Youtube and Apple would probably try to monitor it...but they better make sure they do a good job with a name of TV attached to it. I dunno...

RE: Bittorrent
By uglyone888 on 5/31/07, Rating: 0
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