Steve Jobs: Apple TV still a hobby right now

“Not Steve Jobs’ most important comment during last night’s earnings call, but still interesting: Apple’s chief admits no one has succeeded yet at bridging your living room TV with the Internet — including Apple, whose Apple TV set-top box isn’t flying off store shelves,” Dan Frommer writes for SIlicon Alley Insider.

Jobs: I think the whole category is still a hobby right now. I don’t think anybody has succeeded at it and actually the experimentation has slowed down. A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded away, so I’d have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture capital outlooks and stuff, I continue to believe it will be a hobby in 2009.

Frommer writes, “Jobs is right — there’s probably still no pressing, mainstream demand for an Internet TV set-top box, especially if they’re going to have to cost $200-300… But that doesn’t mean there might not eventually be a market for something like the Apple TV — with a lower price tag and a few improvements.”

“We still think the Apple TV would benefit from a DVD drive — people still own/rent a lot of DVDs, and then the Apple TV would be able to replace something in the living room, not just add to the mess of cords. And we think opening the gadget up to video beyond Apple’s iTunes store and YouTube, sites like Hulu, MLB.TV, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox… would be a smart, harmless move,” Frommer writes.

More in the full article here.

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


  1. iPod was the most expensive Digital player at its time, and even that, its success is huge and that is because iTunes Store.

    I really like the idea of not having to go out to rent a movie or paying late fees, I really like the apple tv idea, but it need to have more movies at a little bit lower price. What would it need to take off? more contents on the iTunes store??

  2. I don’t know, I’ve had the Apple TV since it first came out, and renting a movie via ‘it’, instead of driving to the video store, sure makes a lot of sense for me economically right now, and I’m sure it would mean the same for a few more people if it had the right marketing.

    I guess we’re still a few years away from the elimination of physical media – I don’t use it anymore but lots still do, but once that happens, and there are networks that can support the amount of bandwidth required adequately, I’m sure popularity of this kind of device will really take off.

    I love it, and in combination with an eyetv dvr it’s been a very satisfying device.

  3. No, no, no. Give me built-in DIVX and AVI support. The XBOX 360 and PS3 have this. Making people hack their Apple TVs to get this functionality is stupid. The iPod took off thanks to the MP3, the Apple TV could take off if it started supporting more video formats. It makes no sense that I can’t play back video files from my camera on Apple TV.

  4. I do love my apple tv, with reservations, I think even I see it as a novelty device, I haven’t fully committed to everyday use yet.

    I love watching youtube vids on it, yet it needs a keyboard for searching, typing letter by letter boils my blood.

    I love renting movies, but 24 hrs? forget it. And the selection? It needs a netflix-like library with crazy oddities from the past that I can peruse and watch, not just recent movies like “Baby Mama” and “The Crappening” and a smattering of oldies.

    Music is flawless, I actually use apple TV via my computer and a wireless hard drive (much faster to use the computer for searching etc).

    It’s actually unresponsive a great deal of the time, which puts me off using it. So I guess it’s not ready (still) for prime time, but I like the way Jobs is almost saying “let’s evolve this thing over time and see what happens” I for one am happy to join in.

  5. I understand that most people are being affected by the economic downturn, but that’s actually a positive for an appleTV update.

    I’ve been waiting for a cable replacement for years. I’m sick of cox, comcast, time warner, et al. Give me subscription based access to TV shows and add access to hulu, fox, cbs, abs, etc online content and I would be very inclined to cancel my cable bill. This would most likely SAVE me money.

    The only problem would be getting live programming such as ESPN, NFL, news, etc.

    MDN word: Still. As in still waiting for apple + UVERSE

  6. Personally, I enjoy my  TV, and am very glad I got it. I have nearly 130 movies on it now (mostly ripped DVD’s from my collection – thanks Handbrake) that I can enjoy anytime I want with the utmost convenience.

    I do wish that Apple would issue a software update to allow the USB port to use external drives, so I could easily add a TB more storage capability, but otherwise, I am satisfied.

    DVD’s are old-school, and unnecessary, and DIVX and AVI are overrated, they offer NOTHING over m4v in terms of quality, and there is no real logical reason for adding the codecs…

  7. I have the 1st AppleTV that came out and enjoy it for the things I got it for (Pictures, video, music, …). But, it would not take much to turn it into a MacMini DVR with a DVD back up.

    With the $25 billion in cash, Apple could buy up a company like TiVo and make MacMini DVR the new unit!

  8. For me, nothing right now beats NetFlix. They have the largest selection of movies, period. Movies cost me around $2 each. I get to keep them as long as I want and watch them as many times as I want. If a movie is available on Blu-Ray, I get it automatically, and the quality is way better than download. And I don’t have to go out. I’m not much of an impulse watcher, so that’s not an issue for me. Until Apple TV can provide me with a similar or better experience, I’ll stick with what I have. Of course that’s just me, and clearly others have different priorities.

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