Apple TV – A Year in the Life

March 4, 2008

Apple TV

Being the unreconstructed Apple fanboy that I am, this month makes it officially one year that I’ve lived with an Apple TV — and it’s been an interesting year.

Unlike some folks, I liked the Apple TV straight out of the box. The form factor (basically a half-height Mac Mini) was nice, it took five minutes to hook up to my home media system, and another five minutes to set up.
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Apple TV, Harmony Remote & Xantech Xtra Link

March 27, 2007

Apple TVI’m as much of a gadget geek as the next blogger, but even I get fed up with clutter after awhile.

The last go-round configuring my media center ended up with only the TV, speakers, and a Xantech Xtra Link sensor out in the room, and all of the componentry stashed in a closet behind.

A Logitech Harmony 880 remote replaced the box o’ remotes, and communicates with the gear in the closet via the Xtra Link (an infrared remote extender).

Naturally, when I hooked up the Apple TV, it got wired into the closet too, with an IR emitter stickied to the front of it over the IR window.

After getting the basics working, this made the next order of business adding it to the Harmony 880, which is where things began to go a bit awry…

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Apple TV Initial Impressions

March 27, 2007

Apple TVSomething bad happened yesterday — I wore out yet another keyboard. Worse, while I was at the crack store Fry’s picking up a new one, I walked past a stack of Apple TVs, and one of them followed me home.

Outside of being in the store anyway for the keyboard thing (the “colon” key failed — how the hell can a “colon” key fail? Semicolon works. Shift+anything else works. Try writing HTML or CSS without a colon key), I probably wouldn’t have been as tempted to get one right now if it hadn’t been for the high rate of very interesting hacks emerging for the Apple TV over the past few days — I’m guessing Apple has hit another one out of the park.

The unit comes boxed more or less like an iPod — fold-open box in a slip case, “Made by Apple in California”, etc.

Not a cable in sight, other than the power cord (boo).

At least the power cord doesn’t have a huge transformer brick on it (yea!).

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Apple’s Media Grenade

October 22, 2005

APC Magazine has gotten it right, I suspect, when they report “Apple lobs grenade into Microsoft media center camp“.

Windows Media Centre is typical of a technology company’s solution, whereas Apple is now fairly and squarely positioning itself as a content company (Steve Jobs likes to say, “let’s never forget, it’s all about the music”) which happens to have cool technology to go with it.

If you’re still sceptical, consider that in Apple’s last financial results, sales of Macs actually jumped 48 per cent year-on-year. “The iPod halo effect is real,” says Marcus Annett, iPod Product Manager in Australia. “Before, it was all a bit anecdotal, but these figures actually show how dramatic the effect has been.”

To me it’s obvious: Apple’s about to do to the media center PC market what it did to the portable music player market. It doesn’t mean people will switch to Macs as their primary home PC, but Apple is going to sell a truckload of Mac Minis along the way anyway as under-the-TV media-centre boxes. The next phase of its long term strategy isn’t too hard to imagine, and it will be to do with replacing home PCs (with the assurance that you can always run Windows on an Intel-based Mac if you need to.)

I think he’s downplaying the PVR aspect a little too soon; I bet we see that come rolling in before terribly long, but assume that pay-download content will be a full player with the PVR content, not an afterthought…