Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why Apple TV 2.0 is DOA

Well, here we are. All of the hype about what the Steve would announce is behind us and the reality of what was actually announced is here in our faces. Apple's stock took a pounding today. Dipping to $156 at one point to close at $161. While some of that was attributed to Intel's disappointing fiscal reports, analysts are also attributing Apple's announcements yesterday as part of the cause for the drop.

I don't need to re-hash the announcements here, you can read about them all over the net or watch the keynote on Apple's website. I will, however, offer my take on a couple of items...

Macbook Air: When I saw this I thought about how great that would be to have on location. When I saw that it had no FW interface, it killed my interest in the machine. I am not the only one that had this reaction either. I would have taken that over the stupid mini-DVI connection any day...
iPhone 1.1.3 update: This rocks. All of the features that they added are great and I use them all. I hope they have fixed some of the irritating bugs (like clicking a link on a web page and having it go back to the home page. Then return to safari and all of my open pages are gone...).

And finally...
Apple TV 2.0: Great work getting all of the movie studios on board for the iTunes movie rentals. Too bad the business model is going to make this fail. Let's consider a few things here.

In order to get HD movies downloaded to the Apple TV, you need a broadband connection. Or you can select what you want to watch for tomorrow night, today, and start your wireless download now...
How many people have a broadband connection in their TV room? Only my geekiest of friends have this. I don't have it because I have vaulted ceilings and no elegant way to run the cable to that room.

But, OK, for argument's sake, let's say that the target customer DOES have gigabit ethernet in their TV room. This brings up the second deal breaker for me: Time and Money.

I spend $15 a month for Netflix. For that I get about 10 movies per month on average. I don't generally find that I need more than that. I get HD or SD versions of films - Same fee. It's easy. I like it. It's far from perfect...
iTunes HD rentals are $4.99 per - moreover they must be watched in 24 hours once you start watching the rented film. Both of these are deal breakers for me. Here is what would work:
A flat fee for a fixed number of downloads per month. Say $20 for 10 or 15 movies a month. Once I start to watch it, give me 72 hours. Lots of times Nance and I start to watch a film and it's too late in the evening to finish it and we don't get back to it for a day or two. I am SURE there are plenty of parents out there with similar issues.
So, a $20 per month flat fee. 72 hours to watch it. HD or SD. a beautiful interface for selecting the film I want to see (the Apple TV already has this). Broadband in my TV room so that I can start watching the film NOW.
That's my dream.
As it stands today, Apple TV 2.0 is stillborn. Mark my words.

2 comments:

James Hedrick said...

I would say a large percentage of this devices target audience have wireless G or N to their TV rooms. Most of the folks I "help" with their Macs and PC's have wireless networks, even computer neophytes is some cases. I have streamed 720p content from my iMac G4 (which is my media "server") to my ATV using G and it works fine.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late to this party, but I'm thinking most TIVO 2 owners have broadband to their TV "room". In my case it's our bedroom/wife's office, and has the router and everything else access point. Then again, TIVO 2 owners don't need an Apple TV.