Home theater and video electronics companies need to carefully study Apple Computer

“To get to the holy land of user simplicity, home theater and video electronics companies need to carefully study the Apple [Mac] platform. It is stable, it is easy to update and people can figure it out,” Jerry Del Colliano writes for The Audio Revolution.

Del Colliano writes, “Plug in a camera made by a different company and guess what – it works. Need a printer driver? Chances are it is already on your computer. Periodically, a Mac can check for new updates and requires very few little in the way of plug-in updates or tweaky software. In terms of cables, a Firewire cable plugged into the back of a monitor (an amazingly useful place for a connection, it turns out) works like a champ.”

Del Colliano writes, “The electronics industry needs to set their sights on the standard set by Apple computer for home theater electronics in terms of both ease of use and overall physical simplicity. There will be a mighty pot at the end of the rainbow, because today’s world of so-called 1080p HDTVs, HDCP ‘handshake problems’ and moving target connectivity protocols are simply too much for the average consumer to understand, let alone invest in with any level of enthusiasm.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “loosecannon” for the heads up.]

13 Comments

  1. While I think it would be very cool to see Apple enter the Home Hi-Fi business sector, I just don’t think its going to happen. Perception is everything to the consumer, (whether the consumer realized it or not), and Apple computer had this figured out from the get go, even though they have not always known what to do with that knowledge.

    As it is, I think Apple has always had a perception problem with their computers, and that is what might be called the “…its a toy…” perception. This has always been, and still is, the adding-insult-to-injury cry being hurled from hardcore Windows fanatics to Mac users, especially in the corporate domain. I think that adding high priced home hi-fi gear to their [Apple’s] line up could very well have a negative backlash effect on their computer sales, in the long run, inadvertently reinforcing the high-priced-consumer-item perception of their computer products.

    It gets a bit complicated from here, but suffice it to say that, while Apple computers make a perfect consumer product, my real-world experience is also that they make a very desirable professional workstation, whether its word processing, network management, or editing/developing audio/video products.

    So here’s the point, I believe the pc maket place is at a crossroads where, people are finally starting to hear about Apple computer, but are still ultimately making their pc purchase decisions based on old school, (mostly based on IT pro’s rhetoric), FUD philosophies, and are reticent to make what is often portayed as a “big” leap from one platform to another. Until Macs are accepted as just as serious a computing device as Windows, consumers are going to continue to be curious about the Mac, but nothing else. When the average Jo sees that his company incorporates Macs into the production line they will feel more comfortable making a platform change. (Will IntelMacs ability to natively run Windows help this perception problem? To my way of think, only if it increases the Mac’s enterprise market share.)

    I’ve even seen postings here at MDN basically giving up on Macs in the corporate environment, but if Macs are ever going to transcend this abysmal fivish percent market share then the general public is going to have to see Macs being incorporated into corporate work environments in ever bigger and better ways.

    Interesting that the whole iPod phenomenon really woke people up to the fact that Macs are here, and available to everyone, but there really hasn’t been a run on Apple Macs, and ultimately the market share for the Macintosh has not significantly changed.

    Sorry this is not better written – too many words, not enough time.

    Cheers

  2. I think the biggest problem is Apple wants to control everything. Why did they develop Front Row? Why does iTunes not allow you to set your recorded television series as tv shows without a lot of extra effort? Apple needs to be more open with their software and provide some API’s to outside developers. Front Row is pretty lousy right now. But it has a good idea.

    iTunes is good but its becoming a nightmare. Why is iTunes controlling my movies now? Why can’t Front Row find my movies on other computers unless I specifically import them into iTunes on those computers? I would like a central repository for my music, another one for my movies, and another one for my photos. Sometimes Apple is still too desktop centric for my tastes.

    A mac mini hooked up to a hi-def tv is a great idea. But where am I going to store my media? On the Mac mini? I think not. I’d like to store it on a server somewhere else in the house. But I can’t if I want to use Front Row. Come on Apple, give me the ability to store all my media on a Linux server. Linux supports zero conf networking. Bonjour could work with it. Or you could make it easier to use Samba or, as I would prefer, NFS.

    Apple could really learn a lot from MythTV about media front ends.

  3. Kinda hard to study someone as you choke on their exhaust as they drive past you.
    Front Row is just the beginning of the user experience Apple will bring to TV users everywhere. The big leap hasnt arrived yet, as in leap my content from my computer to my TV.

  4. Mr. Peabody: As it is, I think Apple has always had a perception problem with their computers, and that is what might be called the “…its a toy…” perception. […] I think that adding high priced home hi-fi gear to their [Apple’s] line up could very well have a negative backlash effect on their computer sales…

    This argument is laughable. If it were true, why would Apple have released the iPod and the iTunes Music store, both of which appear to be helping Mac sales, despite being clearly entertainment (i.e. “toy”) products?

    Apple is a force in music and video, thanks to iPod+iTunes. It would be insanity not to parlay that momentum into home theater systems.

  5. HD TV must be too complex when even the geeks have to answer each other’s questions to get it going or even understand it. Its a TV people, it used to be the easiest thing to plug in the house, after the kettle.

    I would like Apple to make FrontRow extensible by developers (more spinning icons), auto-launch on start-up instead of the Finder as a default login and work with 3rd-party remote controls (maybe it does now?).

    Maybe if FrontRow detected an El Gato or Miglia box then it would show it’s spinning icon then let the TV take over the screen? Plus a new branch of FrontRow hardware accessories (like iTunes accessories) for dedicated functions (movies, Keynote, photos, games, TV, Safari, etc.) might be interesting.

    MW ‘programs’ as in Front Row needs to support more programs

  6. There is absolutely no doubt the consumer electronics industry has lost the plot.

    But I’d argue that it’s always been the case, it’s probably just getting worse – from complex digital watches to 12:00 flashing on VCRs.

    These guys just haven’t got a clue about human interface design b/c *that* aspect costs real money for engineering. They’ve got the hardware down to a reasonably level in some cases (e.g. stick a disc in, press play), but the software side needs work – DVD player setup menus are horrid. Digital cameras are just as bad.

    I remember when hi-fi jumped in complexity – it started when surround sound started to appear in the late ’80s, and went ape-sh** when digital surround sound appeared and has since continued on.

    I consider myself an expert, and yet it still takes me an hour to move my hi-fi coz it takes that long to replug it all together after it’s been disconnected (inc. testing.) I’ve taken to removing all the plugs from the devices like DVD, TV, Videos etc, and leaving all the cables hanging out in the back of the amp. It’s just quicker that way. Oh, and one bunch of equipment I had used to lose the surround sound settings when the power went out – that was fun (not).

    A interesting side-effect I reckon is that the complexity leads to a certain bunch of consumers using inferior connections anyway e.g. composite instead of component video for DVD images…. this actually happened to my uncle and he had had the store people come and install it! (says more about the store if anything.) I only noticed b/c the graphical” copy-this-DVD-and-you’re-dead” warnings came up all distorted. A bunch of cables fixed it.

    Another issue is that the electronics companies keep making this stuff better and better, but do people really need it? I’m getting sick of paying for high(ish) end gear only to have it go out of date within a fairly short period of time. Amps used to be good for 20 years, now you’ll be lucky if they’re not out of date in 3 (I’m speaking of integrated components here).

    As consumers there doesn’t seem to be too many ways to get these guys to get their acts together without spending a lot of everyone’s time (and potentially wasting it in the process) – there are just too many companies to notify (Sony, Pioneer, Philips, Denon, Marantz, Yamaha… etc.) Perhaps voting with one’s wallet is the only way? THis has happened with the film industry – Hollywood is kinda sorta maybe waking up, that maybe content matters.

  7. I have a DVD player with 5 speakers and 1 sub woofer, a dish network receiver,a xbox 360, a vcr, a apple tv receiver and a play station 3. I would also like to hook up my computer to the TV. What do I need to buy that has enough inputs to receive all these components
    home theater

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