What Would Get Me To Buy An Apple TV
Apple TV sales are reportedly in the 400,000 range, which isn’t utterly awful, but certainly short of the 1 million Apple hoped for. And despite my initial fascination, I still haven’t bought one yet.
Basically, when I consider the Apple TV as it currently stands, there are several things that are pretty “meh” about it. Granted, this is “version one.” Both Paris Lemon and Louis Gray have pointed out several things that could be improved in a future incarnation.
Here’s what would get me to pony up:
- HD. The whole television world is going upscale. HD content needs to be added to the iTunes Store.
- Blu-Ray or HD DVD. I’m already considering a stand-alone player of either, so an Apple TV with either would be one less device to buy. Apple would most likely go with Blu-Ray.
- Merger with the Mac Mini. If bumped up to full OS X mode, you could have web browsing and therefore access to all the streaming video options located there (a copy of Handbrake wouldn’t hurt either).
- Video Rentals. This is so important to me, I’d take it without the previous three features.
Personally, the video rental option is a huge “must have.” iTunes music and the iPod are all about downloading and owning files – mixing and matching them in different playlists. I don’t think that metaphor works for video, today. There are many reasons why, but one is just price: 9 bucks for a download doesn’t make sense when Netflix has all you can rent DVDs for little more a month, or the DVD itself can be had for not much more.
Basically, Apple’s video download strategy is in direct competition with much cheaper or quicker streaming and rental options – your local video store, NetFlix, Hulu, ABC.com, or video on demand over cable.
Apple TV 2.0 could take some cues from Vudu. I want “Netflix in a box.”
So here’s hoping Jobs has a section in his upcoming MacWorld 2008 keynote announcing video rentals in the iTunes Store. Otherwise, I’ll continue to pass on Apple TV.
Here’s a cool video from the Wall Street Journal regarding the general subject of internet video on televisions:
Additional Reading: Wall Street Journal