Apple targets iTunes fans with Apple TV

Apple said it was shipping its Apple TV, a set-top box that wirelessly pulls media content off a computer and plays it on a television set

Apple has joined the fray of vendors linking the TV and PC with the launch of its Apple TV, a set-top box that can wirelessly pull media content off a computer and play it on a television set.

The Apple TV can either stream content from PCs linked to a home wireless or Ethernet network or store that content on its 40GB hard drive. Either way, users can browse their networked digital media collections with an Apple remote control, treating the Apple TV like a DVD player for the Internet age,according to a statement by Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, Philip Schiller, said.

Computer vendors have been trying for years to converge the TV and the PC, telling viewers that a combined device would empower them to interact with their favorite shows, view their personal media on a larger screen and browse the Web while watching TV. Sony sells a convergence system based on its Vaio PC, while other PC vendors use platforms based on Intel's Viiv or AMD's AMD Live hardware bundles.

But consumers have been wary of polluting the reliable simplicity of their television sets with complex PCs that need frequent maintenance and take time to boot up. And some content providers don't trust digital rights management (DRM) systems enough to post their shows and movies on the Internet, as seen in Viacom's move on March 13 to file a $US1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for playing Viacom shows on the video-sharing site, YouTube.

Apple hopes to beat those odds with a price of $US299 and the simplicity of using its iTunes digital media library, made popular as the music store for the iPod portable music player.

However, that very simplicity might keep Apple TV from becoming a dominant product like the iPod, an analyst said.

"This is the first real end-to-end system that has the content, the software to handle that content, and the hardware to deliver the content to the end viewing platform, which is the TV," a principal analyst at Forrester Research, James McQuivey, said. "So in that sense, it's a landmark. But it's a landmark only to dedicated iTunes users."

Apple will probably reach its goal of selling 1 million Apple TV units by the end-of-year holiday season, but the company's true challenge will be reaching out to consumers who are not iTunes users, he said. On top of that hurdle, Apple faces a determined competitor in Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 gaming console costs about the same, has already sold 10 million units, and can also play movies as well as games.

"This is an evolutionary dead end. Apple will make some money on it, but version two could be the real game-changer. Will there be a tuner in it? Will it be a DVR?, " McQuivey asked in reference to digital video recorders.

Apple is now shipping the Apple TV, which will work with a high (or enhanced)-definition widescreen TV and either a Mac running Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later or a PC running Windows XP Home or Professional. The system also requires iTunes version 7.1 or later and an 802.11b/g/n wireless network using AirPort, AirPort Extreme or 10/100 Base T Ethernet networking.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ben Ames

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?