Three barriers holding up Apple TV

“Compared to the high profile sales of iPhones, iPods, and Mac computers, shipments of Apple TV are barely registering. Pundits present rival media boxes as potential “Apple TV killers,” but the entire market segment seems to have little life in it yet. Here’s what’s holding the market for downloadable videos back, leading up to what Apple can do to shake up the market and why it is unique in being able to disrupt how the world watches video,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for RoughlyDrafted.

“Despite its advantages of being linked to iTunes and the iPod, Apple TV faces three difficult barriers that also affect every other comparable device on the market, including several products that have already failed while trying to sell movie downloads through a set top box,” Dilger writes.

• Lower quality downloads don’t look very good on HDTV sets.
• Studios want DVD-like profits from higher quality downloads.
• Video downloads are big, and require fast network access to deliver.

Much more in the full article here.


  1. Hairy has a new 42″ tv and 160 Gig Apple TV, just came back from Vietnam with his digital pictures and movies. The display of pictures on the tv via the Apple TV impressed Hairy’s dinner guests no end…PC people couldn’t get over the way the pictures display on their own at random.
    To-day Hairy went to the library and selected ten DVDs. No charge, except in municipal taxes. Hairy has the Apple TV for his home movies, pictures, and itunes collection and the convenience of using the Apple remote instead of those multi-button remotes that come with tv sets and cable boxes….Hairy can’t live without his Apple TV, and this is just after two weeks.

  2. TV video looks great. Standard or HD video on a 52in HDTV. Only the very first videos that iTunes offered were substandard.

    I agree with the fact that movie studios want too much money, but movie rentals help alot. TV shows are fairly expensive, since we rarely want to watch them over and over. Compared to cable or even Netflix.

    Most people have Broadband these days. And most Broadband is fast enough. 3.0 or faster…

  3. i think there is only one reason holding it back, which is content. i have a pretty average 6Mb dsl flatrate here in germany (30 euros a month) and movies rented from the store start after roughly 30 seconds. quality is like dvd on my 42″ plasma, no issus here. the only reason i more often go to the local store to rent movies is having no selection in german and having only a small selection on the U.S. store. so again: it’s only the movie studios being afraid of the paradigm shift. as long as they hold back the content the apple tv won’t fly.

  4. I own an appleTV and love it. The quality of video and audio are excellent. I’m running it on a 42″ LCD at 720p w/ home theater audio setup. I would have to say that the only opinion that makes sense is that:
    “Studios want DVD-like profits from higher quality downloads.”

  5. I want AppleTV but I have older TV set and ATV will not work with it.
    Other than that, I would love to have it for pics, music and home vids, no rentals necessary.

  6. What holds back Apple TV is Apple crippling the machine–it is a nice piece of hardware ruined by lousy software that purposely limits its usability.

    I thought that was what Sony does, not Apple.

    1) No way to install additional codecs. Want to play divx files? Tough—even though that is the format most people’s video files are in. Want to play shn or flac files? Tough.

    2) No directory-level network sharing or file browsing. Everything has to be done through iTunes. I have a 500 GB drive filled with TV shows and movies converted over to mp4s. Why the hell can’t I just plug the drive into the AppleTV’s USB port? Instead, I have to have computer running iTunes, plug the drive into that, load the movies into iTunes, and then stream then to the AppleTV. That makes a lot of sense.

    3) I have an old 500 MHz G4. iTunes is a complete dog-slow nightmare on this machine. Firefly media server, on the other hand, is nice and quick and is fine for streaming files to various Macs. But NOT the AppleTV since the AppleTV is purposely crippled to connect only to iTunes using a combination code, so to limit the number of machines it can stream from. Absolutely retarded.

    4) It would be neat to see what developers could come with as for applications running on a TV set, maybe we could finally get some of the things seen on sci fi movies. Gee, I wish someone would make a box loaded with a real, powerful operating system, maybe even a UNIX derived operating system, that could plug into a big-screen TV. Maybe even a UNIX derived operating system with a well-regarded set of development tools and object-oriented development libraries. Oh, you mean Apple did that? Good thing they locked the OS up so that all it can do is run a version of Front Row.

    Sure, you can do some things by hacking the thing, either breaking open the box or following obscure directions involving USB key drives, but of course then Apple does is wipe out the hacks with the next software update.

    I’ve had the AppleTV since the day it was released, and it is just a lower-specced Mac Mini intentionally crippled almost every way possible by Apple.

  7. @Jim – TIV
    If you think about it… lots of times im sure you have heard in person someone running ahead and someone yelling “Hey, hold up” which is the same as wait up… So really it does make sense for them to say hold up instead of hold back. Either can be used because either or are correct.

  8. Most Youtube videos look like shite on my 50″ Plasma, but iTunes rentals look pretty darn good via my AppleTV, even the standard definition ones.

    In my opnion, content is still holding back AppleTV, as well as versatility. The AppleTV should be like an iPod touch for my big screen (Hello Apple, the internet is rich with media that I would like to view on my big screen).

    Unfortunately, it is nothing more than iTunes for my HDTV, and not even a good copy of iTunes at that. If you have ever tried to navigate AppleTV, you know what I mean.

  9. Dilger need to get a better TV.

    My whole family all my friends love our Apple TV. Not one of the three things he mentions is really the issue. People (the general public) are not quite equiped for it yet. Here is what I have found:

    1. A large portion of the public still don’t have HDTV’s and some of those who do have poor quality sets.

    2. A large portion of the public don’t have 802.11 “N” wireless connections yet. A lot of the public have wireless homes but they are using older wireless systems and don’t see a need to replace it because their internet works just fine.

    3. Lack of knowledge and money.

    Yes I have a incredible entertainment setup at my house but it wasn’t cheap. To do it right here is what it could cost you.

    1. HDTV ~ $1000-$3000 (depending on choice).
    2. 802.11N ~ $99-$180 for Airport Express/Extreme or equal.
    3. Apple TV ~ $230-$330 depending on hard drive (choice?).
    4. Cables ~ $50-$150 for good cables.
    5. Surround Sound ~ $400-$1500 (depending on choice).
    6. Hi-speed internet connection ~ (assumed you already have)

    You can’t really piece this together and do it right so you have an expense of around $3000-$4000 dollars or more depending on your choice.

    That is why it’s not selling in huge numbers. How much of the general public really has that kind of money to invest now days with the price of gas, food and still pay their bills.

    Next year things will change when all the broadcasts will be HD. That still doesn’t mean people are going to go running out and buy HDTV’s. Their old stereo’s work just fine and their wireless systems still run websites fast enough so why upgrade.

    The general public is just not ready for the “Jetson” life style.

    Please forgive spelling and grammer, I was typing as fast as I could.

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