Apple TV: Love, Love, IT! Or Hate, Hate It!

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There apparently is no in-between feelings for the newly released Apple TV.

It’s love or hate and not much in-between.

This and the iPhone seem to enrage the same passions. For people who look over the feature and decide it’s not for them can’t just let it go at that. They have to write out exactly what the iPhone or AppleTV is missing as if we just awoke from a coma and our thoughts were that we needed straight away to the Apple store and these “smarties” are the ONLY person left on Earth who can see through the “hype.”

They seem enraged that Apple would not deliver a thing that has 100% of the features they would want or need – and by God, if it’s not good enough for them, it must not be good enough for anyone else on Earth EVER – wow, do they go around Mickey D’s knocking burgers out of people’s hands because those idiots ordered a burger with pickles?

I suppose it started with the FM feature on the iPod. For some reason, nearly every journalist just could not understand why if given a choice between hand-selected songs playing at the best and cleanest fidelity on our iPod playlist, we simply would not want to switch over to a sticky, dropout radio station that mostly plays songs we care nothing about, commercials or inane patter? I can understand the initial release reviews questioning if FM might be something people might want but 100 million in sales later, they are still saying there’s no FM? Clearly, people do NOT care – just like no one cares about OGG or FLAC audio formats all that much – not enough not to buy an iPod. If you want it so much, buy another mp3 player but stop pointing out the obvious.

The AppleTV device did not promise “secret” menus or hidden features. It says very clearly right upfront what it does. It simply syncs and plays itunes music & videos, podcasts, audiobooks and your photos from iphoto. It’s not a TV tuner. It’s not a DVR and you still need your computer (Mac or PC) to buy music and movies. You need a widescreen or HD TV with HDMI or component outputs (which some non-widescreen, non-HD sets have but Apple didn’t want to confuse people).

It all started with this straightforward and complete review from Walt Mossberg of the WSJ. There is also video podcast but it says less than the written words.

Here is another nice review from PC Mag, and even the Scobleizer has come around.

The brilliance of our interconnected internet world is that no-rules-apply and the AppleTV has already been chiseled, torxed and hacked open.

It’s playing XVID files (and many others not normally supported) and wearing large new hard drives.

There’s already a nice site with a roundup of everything – appropriately titled Apple Hacker.

The basic rule seems to be if it plays on your iPod, it will play through AppleTV (and yes, movies/TV shows from Handbrake will play as long as they are mp4’s.)

And of course, if you look like Olivia Munn, a picture is worth a thousand-word review 🙂

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And if need cheap HDMI or DVI cable, the Apple store has a great deal at only $19.95 each.

Some people seem surprised they are able to so “easily” hacked but this is nothing new. Like people who run Linux or play Doom on their iPod – Apple simply believes that if you buy something, it’s yours to do whatever you want – it’s not sanctioned and it’s not covered under your warranty but if you know what you’re doing, great – for 85% peope, it’s plug ‘n play and for the other 15%, hack away … since Apple doesn’t sell anything at a loss – after you buy it, it’s yours to own.

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2 Comments

Filed under Computing

2 responses to “Apple TV: Love, Love, IT! Or Hate, Hate It!

  1. Nice summary, pulling the various threads together with a little informed opinion thrown in for good measure.

    Good work.

  2. Spot on. Geeks are so busy measuring “feature lists” that they forget that what you leave off is just as important as what you put in.

    This is a bare bones iTunes-to-TV device. It does one thing and does it well, like the iPod before it.

    It’s an iPod for your TV, except wireless!

    – Neurotic Nomad

    BTW, http://wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/ have VLC, Address Book, and Firefox running (poorly, but running) on their ATV.

    Their current project is to get access without opening the box, or at least get full USB support if they do.

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