If Apple wants to get serious about TV, they should snap up Elgato

“If Apple was serious about the 10-foot interface, which would mean getting serious about TV, then it should snap up ElGato [sic], the German company which with EyeTV – consisting of software plus a separate tuner box – has figured out recording both analogue and digital TV streams for the US and Europe straight onto your Mac. They’ve also had EyeHome, which let you watch your videos and listen to your music and view your photos, for years,” Charles Arthur writes for The Register.

“Some think that this is a stalking horse for Apple to launch a video-on-demand service. The reality is that cable, satellite and terrestrial services will always be preferable, and the increasing use of DVD recorders and PVRs means that people can make their own ad-free programming, just by time-shifting a little bit. The TV will not become a computer,” Arthur writes.

“Only if the computer can take over the TV functions, and do it better, will it replace that. But cable and satellite companies are moving faster than that, and they have the advantage of having huge amounts of content. Sky, for example, is planning to start doing things using its Sky+ box linked to broadband for true video-on-demand that will go far beyond what Jobs could wish for. Front Row might seem like a promising start, but there are two things working against Apple here: its tiny size relative to the rest of the market (there are about as many Media Center PCs sold per quarter as Apple shifts in all; and Media Center is a flop in the overall Windows world),” Arthur writes.

Much more in the full article here.

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23 Comments

  1. It’s true that the cable companies have a major leg up here. It’s important to remember that the iPod is still named the iPod– the video stuff if relatively inconsequential (until it’s not). My bet is on vid3eopodcasting. If people can download personalized content and just grab their iPod and run out of the house, then video will become more appealing. This is a nitch where the iPod can also fit into the cable companies’ move toward on-demand/personalized content. Record on ly what you want and run…

  2. Apple doesn’t need Elgato. They EyeHome is great – in as much as there’s nothing else out there, but the interface is *TERRIBLE* and very slow (I have one) and is based on the same Taiwanese software that powers the Neuston Media Player (have one of those two). Terrible software, slow to use. I only stick with it because there’s nothing else.

    Apple just needs to release an AV Airport Express, which they will as soon as the 802.11n standard has been agreed. Then we’ll really see what an Apple Media Centre is all about…

  3. I love elgato stuff, their software doesn’t look the best – but works and the eyehome interface is rudimentary web based stuff – but it works. Recently my power supply went on my eyehome and they sent me a replacement free of charge. Even though it was out of warranty, in fact they didn’t even query that I even owned one, let alone what the warranty period was.

    All that said, I’m sure apple could come up with some much better products, however it would be a good starting point for them. They’ve got the money after all.

  4. Okay so the thing at Apple goes like this:

    Jobs: I’ve been hearing a lot of things on the internet that say we should do video on the iPod, but I still don’t buy it. These things are made for background function not deliberate attention.

    Advisors: Well, we could try it. There’s already H.264 decode processors we could shove in these things and the connectors would work with all the jack we provide now. People would have to buy adapters for things like connecting to TVs and such, but it’s do-able.

    Jobs: I could work the angles inside the Film/Television industry, that’s what I’m good at. Hmmm. Maybe, this thing might work, let’s give it a try and start small. Besides, the whole world will be abuzz, I’ll get to do another one of my dog-and-pony shows, and Gates will be going nuts in Redmond. Let’s do it!

    Folks, that’s what’s going on here. They’re just putting a toe in the water. Nothing more. No mystery, no grand plan, nothing. Just testing to see if it is profittable and viable. That’s all. Be patient!

  5. As the owner of an Eye TV USB, an Eye TV 500 (HD), and a Miglia Alchemy DVR, I can say that El Gato makes very good stuff. If you do not like the Eye Home, get the Eye Connect software and use the UPNP device of your own choosing.
    El Gato’s stuff is not perfect, but is better than anything else out there. It’s software is miles ahead of Miglia’s. Apple would be stupid not to cover it’s bases.

  6. Everyone always says Apple should buy Elgato, or Apple should buy Tivo. Why? I’m sure Apple can come up with their own syste (if they choose to) without needing to needlessly buy up a company like Tivo that is hemorrhaging money on a regular basis.

  7. Apple doesn’t need a TV tuner, it’s not the direction they are going. They are more becoming a big content provider as well (next to being an innovator on computer systems). Apple is going down the route of content on demand. Television isn’t that, it is content on command!

    Video/dvd rent shops aren’t going to like this!!

  8. As a big Elgato user…

    I’ll tell you the facts.

    First I have three EyeTv’s, a 200 and two 500’s

    The 200 does analog NTSC/PAL only, the majority of US signals

    The 500 does digital ATSC (free over the air HDTV) and ClearQAM (some free, mostly all HDCP encrypted)

    The US market is going over to pure digital signals between 2007-2008 and HDCP requires a special chip or the new Intel processors with HDCP built in.

    Hollywood won’t license the HDCP chip to just anyone, especially Elgato’s EyeTV 500 because Hollywood wants encryption guaranteed all the way to the monitor.

    With the new Intel chips with HDCP (and many other copy protection schemes) combined with M$’s and Apple’s special DRM schemes to their monitors, the need to buy Elgato is not neccessary.

    Elgato uses the Mac’s processors to convert the various signals into various formats and on the screen anyway, the box provides a way to hook the video in and some remote control aspects.

    Apple is developing their own media computer with the introduction of the new iMacs and Front Row/remote.

    Elgato has been fighting the good fight against the broadcast flag and other intrusions with copy protection and choice for consumers, I’m fully behind them.

    But Apple and M$ have no choice, to develop these media PC’s and get HD content from Holywood on computers, they have to accept the HDCP encrytion and all that goes with it.

    What’s nice about Apple is this, if you get one of the rumored dual dual core (4 processor) PowerMac’s and a couple of EyeTV 500’s and wait for the hardware crack for the HDCP (it will come, look in germany) you’ll be all set to record and do what you want with the HDCP encrypted content for many many years.

    Everyone else will be encrypted and you won’t.

  9. “The TV will not become a computer” now that’s where he’s wrong. With the advent of DVRs and Tivo’s time-shifting, tv advertising’s days are numbered. I believe what we witnessed during Steve’s “One More Thing…” presentation was the advent of a major shift. TV Networks are now realizing that their revenues are to be found by selling directly to consumers. Consumers in the digital age are already showing that they are going to bypass traditional broadcasting, many get their tv shows via torrent and perhaps soon IPTV. They are getting ready for something that they feel is inevitable. The computer will become a tv, a download, pay per view IP tv.

  10. Like many have said there is absolutely zero reason for Apple to build in the ability to record off of TV. It would totally blow up thier ability to sell the shows via the iTVS.

    Apple’s move is on demand with a dash of on the go and that is where they have planted theselves. Is it the right move? I think so but it is a very new thing so only time will tell.

    Another point, Media Center PC sales have been disappointing many computer manufactures pointed to the requirement that a tv tuner be on any MEdia Center PC as the culprit because it pushed up the price. I beilive it was just this year hte MS started allowing manufacturers to load the OS on computers with out tuners.

  11. Broadcast TV will die a slow death the way radio will. Apple won’t build a DVR into their Macs for the same reason they don’t put FM tuners into iPods. The cable and satellite companies are bloated hogs that continually rip off consumers.

    Whe day comes that you can pay for only the programs you are interested in and watch them when YOU want to watch them, commercial free, the only thing cable will be good for is your broadband connection. By then, cable won’t even be very good for that.

    I cancelled my cable TV account months. I download the programs I’m interested in watching via bittorrent and watch them on my TV commercial free. I’d be willing to pay a little for each episode for a fast download and consistent high quality encoding. This latest Apple initiative is only the beginning. We’ll see the quality increase and the price decrease soon enough.

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