The Future of Apple TV

by Albert Wan Mar 22, 2010

A while back I thought about buying a TV for the apartment I'm moving into in a couple months. I figured it would be a nice change to my Mac's monitor and TV hybrid display I set up on my Mac, seeing as how I can finally watch streaming television, NBA games and play Xbox games on a sofa than at my work desk.

But wait, all of the content I watch is left on my Mac, trapped on Hulu, YouTube, and hundreds of gigabytes of videos I've acquired in the past several years. How on earth would I be able to watch that on a TV efficiently?

Apple partially solved the answer with the Apple TV with lackluster success, but even with attempts to revive it way back in 2008, it still appears to be nothing more than a "hobby" for Apple. Despite all of the news about iPhones, iPads and traditional computing, no one company has yet to solve one simple problem for the masses: to get content from a computer to the big screen.

Now, there are indeed other companies that have had a solution for many years, but clearly none have dominated the industry like Apple has with media. Television still belongs on the TV, and video files from the Internet still belong on the computer. This is where it doesn't make sense: we can watch virtually any video we want anywhere in the world with 3G data now the norm, but we still can't effectively watch it on our beautiful big screen TVs?

I'm hoping Google's recently unveiled answer to the Apple TV will eventually develop this untapped industry. Google TV, if you haven't heard already, intends to integrate Twitter, Facebook, Picasa and many other services all around the TV. Working with several other large companies, Google intends to incorporate this Android-based technology with future televisions, Blu-ray players and much more. If Apple continues working the Apple TV as a "hobby" like it has for the past several years, Google will be the clear winner of a market Apple should have taken easily and without much effort.

Either way, I'm waiting on whether Apple's going to even update its aging product and for Google to further develop their technology. Things in the home media center industry are going to change in the upcoming months.


  • Apple’s problem is not that the Apple TV is a hobby, it’s that they need for it to be so locked down that it’s crippled beyond any real use.  It will never support Netflix streaming or Hulu or Amazon video.  If you want content on the Apple TV, then you will have to buy or rent from Apple and Apple alone.

    Google is unencumbered by the need to be locked down in that way.  That gives them an edge that few other companies can afford.  The downside is that you can potentially end up with a hodge podge that isn’t as easy to use.  But I’ll take it over the Apple vertical monopoly any day.

    Of course, there is also the Mac mini.  While not as simple and easy to use as the Apple TV, at least it has some flexibility that the ATV doesn’t, like playing Hulu and Netflix content.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 23, 2010 Posts: 2220
  • I think Apple haven’t been able to sign the content deals they had hoped for. They’ve only been able to offer an alternative to the video store, not cable or free to air TV which would disappoint them. But it seems they’re sticking to their guns and only interested in the sales brought about by increased control, not decreased control eg supporting other content.

    The platform that will dominate the lounge room will not be hardware/software/content like the iPod,iPhone and AppleTV, it will be hardware/software/content/advertising. I can only imagine what type of interactive and effective advertising would be possible when you control the entire delivery system.

    The question is, will Google be able to overcome the roadblocks that Apple hasn’t.

    Kash had this to say on Mar 25, 2010 Posts: 12
  • It’s time for Apple to make a leap. The longer the wait the harder it’ll be - but the longer the wait the more I figure they have a bigger leap planned.

    At the very least, I think Apple needs their own A4 chip in the AppleTV. It needs some better speeds & if Apple plans on manufacturing a lot then using their own multimedia-focussed chip makes sense. An ARM-based aTV could mimic existing functionality but if Apple would allow apps which can play other video sources… that would be enough for the AppleTV to really take off.

    And that’s the big question. Will Apple allow others to play? Will Apple play with others….

    On another note… I’ve been against an ACTUAL TV from Apple until now… but watching Sony and others integrate internet connectivity into their TVs may mean Apple has no choice. But I really hope I’ll still be able to buy a cheaper plasma screen and add an AppleTV set top box.

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Mar 25, 2010 Posts: 228
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