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Disney chief talks up Apple's iTV media hub

post #1 of 212
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After playing with a pre-production unit, Walt Disney chief executive Robert Iger says Apple's forthcoming iTV streaming media hub is a "compelling" device that will change the way people enjoy and share their video content.

"The new device that Apple unveiled last week, which they are calling iTV, is pretty interesting," Iger told analysts at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday.

"What I like about it, by the way, is it may be an opportunity to actually charge people for a PVR experience," he said. "In that, if they forgotten to set their TiVo device or their PVR -- or they just have no plans to do it -- but want to watch an episode they missed, they can go to iTunes, buy it for $1.99 [and send it to the] set top box of sorts, wirelessly, and watch it on the television."

Iger noted that in the past people could only watch their iTunes video content on an iPod or a PC. "So that's kinda interesting for us because we think that it's yet another opportunity to expand the pie, so to speak, and in this case to actually get paid for a PVR type of experience," he said.

When asked about his experience with an iTV prototype and its ease of use, Iger said, "It's a small box about the size of a novel -- and not War and Peace by the way -- it's relatively thin. It plugs into the television like any other peripheral would like a DVD device."

"It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."



iTV can also stream content live through the box to a TV screen, Iger said. "Or it has a small hard drive on it so you can download what you put on the device -- on your computer on your itunes -- to the television set."

According to Iger, iTV is "relatively easy to use." He said it features a "simple kinda plug and play" interface and an "extremely easy remote control device."



"I found it to be pretty compelling," Iger said. "I sat in a living room setting. It felt like a game changer to me in many respects. As a content provider, that was very exciting."

Going forward, the Disney chief said he expects growth in the area of people watching television content on their home computers, especially as computer screens continue to increase in size. He also hinted that, sometime down the line, Apple may improve its iTV and digital media offerings to include HD content.

It features "DVD quality, not HD quality at this point," he said.
post #2 of 212
Quote:
"It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."

does that mean you can only stream to it from one computer? i'd really like it if i could stream from my main computer and occassionally a laptop.
post #3 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by admactanium

does that mean you can only stream to it from one computer? i'd really like it if i could stream from my main computer and occassionally a laptop.

I think it means you can choose which computer you want to tap each time you use the iTV. It sounds like you can switch to other machines whenever you want.
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post #4 of 212
Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #5 of 212
It kinda doesn't make any sense if you have to choose only 1 computer for the iTV. I'm wondering if Iger just misspoke or misunderstood. His whole explanation of the iTV seems a little shaky in that way. Currently, Front Row uses Bonjour so that you can see all the shared items on every computer on your network.
post #6 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcstewart38

It kinda doesn't make any sense if you have to choose only 1 computer for the iTV. I'm wondering if Iger just misspoke or misunderstood. His whole explanation of the iTV seems a little shaky in that way. Currently, Front Row uses Bonjour so that you can see all the shared items on every computer on your network.

The fact that you use iTV to choose which computer you want it to use, means that you can choose which computer you want it to use. So while you might be stuck streaming from one computer at any given time, you can always select another computer to stream from.

I guess the only other option is that iTV looks at ALL the computers and compiles it's music list, movie list, photo list to include the contents of all the computers at the same time. While this would be neat in a lot of respects, it is asking a lot.
post #7 of 212
The hard drive nugget is interesting. I wonder if it will just act as a kind of cache for frequently-used content. It also could act as a buffer - videos could be downloaded to the iTV and the played from the hard drive, rather than streamed directly. That way, poor wireless connections and speeds would still work. People have been talking up 802.11n as the wireless protocol, but everyone would have to change the wireless cards in their computers in order to take advantage of it. The presence of a buffer would ensure that existing wireless cards would work appropriately, though it might take some time to fill the buffer a bit before the movie would start playing.
post #8 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQ78

The fact that you use iTV to choose which computer you want it to use, means that you can choose which computer you want it to use. So while you might be stuck streaming from one computer at any given time, you can always select another computer to stream from.

Building on what IQ78 said ... think what we do today with iTunes (or iPhoto) sharing across our (home) LANs. To listen to a track or playlist from iTunes on some other computer, I have to choose that computer as the source, along the way to choosing the individual track/playlist. Why would we expect iTV to be substantially different from that?

P.S. Hi, everybody - my first post. After reading AI more and more regularly, I decided I couldn't let everyone else have all the fun, so I've signed up.
post #9 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

"It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes VIDEOS, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."

Yes! There is the silver lining if it streams videos I am on board.
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post #10 of 212
ecking - what do you mean, I thought it was clear from the beginning that it did video?
post #11 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland

Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.

Why get excited about a hard drive if there's no TV tuner? If there's no tuner, what's there to record?

I have to ask this again and yes I'm shouting. WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?
post #12 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1

WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?

To play the content that's on your computer on your TV. I'm not sure why people wouldn't want to do that. I know people who have DVRs love them to death, but the fact is that they've been a flop. People don't buy them. They've been out for how many years, but have less than 1% of households. People just aren't interested in them, apparently. Compare that to DVD players, for example, or, more relevant, to computers.
post #13 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

They've been out for how many years, but have less than 1% of households. People just aren't interested in them, apparently. Compare that to DVD players, for example, or, more relevant, to computers.

7-16%, Still not stellar.

Vinea
post #14 of 212
A hard drive or some storage was pretty obvious. The interface was not going to be streaming. Plus Apple would need a way to update the software on the device in the future. I think the hard drive will really just help with the buffer and will handle it behind the scenes for you. Letting you know if it has a whole movie in cache already with a little checkmark or something, so you don't have to be streaming from the computer.
post #15 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1

Why get excited about a hard drive if there's no TV tuner? If there's no tuner, what's there to record?

I have to ask this again and yes I'm shouting. WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?

Do you read?

Thats like asking why people buy airport expresses without the built in capability to rip cds or record FM radio
post #16 of 212
Personally, DVR has changed the way I watch TV. Sans commercials and at my convenience. However, the iTunes model appears to have $2 an episode vested interest in not including DVR features. However, right now I pay way too much for digital cable plus broadband internet. I see no reason why, in the future, a subscription service to Apple could not offer all the things that Time Warner gives me now. I mean we are talking in the neighborhood of $100 per month plus. Add on demand movie rentals and purchases from the entire iTunes video library, and you have an end game product. The iTV box may be the first edition of the box that eventually replaces the tv top cable box.
post #17 of 212
I've been thinking. (Never a good sign...)

What would be the easiest and most convenient way to get your iTunes videos and movies from your computer to your TV?

Burn to DVD. Obviously.

Why can't we? It's not the technical capability, since Apple introduced DVD burning ages ago (last millenium, IIRC).

It's gotta be the movie studios (not like this is a surprise).

But Apple must've known that any movie store that prohibits you from playing your movies on your frikin TV is just a geek toy (coughunboxcough), and not a serious mass-market solution.

Therefore, boys and girls, pony up your $299 MPAA-paranoia tax.

Screw that. (I don't think I've ever said that about an Apple product, other than Apple store RAM.) If that's my choice, I'll just pirate movies.

The lack of burning pisses me off. I mean, when something makes the RIAA look liberal and open-minded (after all, they have deigned to allow you to listen to your music in more than one setting by allowing you to burn at least a few copies of your own music), you've gotta step back and wonder.

And I wonder what the legal basis of these DRM restrictions are anyway. So far the debate on piracy has been between viewpoint A, claiming that you've bought the disks and its content and can do whatever the heck you want with it (civil libertarians), and viewpoint B, claiming that you've bought a liscence to view a digital file of someone else's property (greedy corporate whores). [can you guess which viewpoint I hold? ] Even in the latter, there is no distinction between being able to watch the movie at home in the living room, on the computer, in the airport on a laptop, at a friend's house, in the car, etc.

Why in the world should a digital download have legal restrictions on how you view that digital file?

Fine. Create video playlists that you can burn only 5 or whatever times. Hasn't the MPAA learned anything from iTunes success with music?

Morons! [/rant]
post #18 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by zpapasmurf

Thats like asking why people buy airport expresses without the built in capability to rip cds or record FM radio

Excactly!
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post #19 of 212
As we know it today the iTV is an expensive replacement of a video and audio cable. It's not like it's a problem to connect a MacBook Pro or an iMac to a TV. It's been working fine the last couple of years. No problems.

iTV would be great if it could do EVERYTHING that iTunes could do, without a computer present. And for me who's got a powerbook, it would be perfect to have my entire music and video and movie library at a remote location (the iTV) because I don't have space on my hard drive for both music, video and work. It's simply impossible. It's tight as it is already. The iTV should represent the iTunes master Library = it should have a slim 120+GB hard drive reserved for music and movies. It would also be great to be able to buy stuff from the iTunes Store without a computer.
post #20 of 212
I don't believe that the iTV has a hard drive in it.
Iger is not technically savvy and is describing how he thinks it works.

I believe the USB2 port on the back will allow you to plug in an external hard drive.
In fact I'm pretty certain when the iTV launches, we will also see the launch of iRAID.

$299 for iTV(code name) = wireless media center
$299 for iRAID(code name) = secure storage for your important digital assets

The kicker is iRAID will be marketed as a back up solution to go with TimeMachine.
Digital media storage is going to become an important issue for folks.
Consumers are going to be reluctant to purchase digital media if it can be lost so easily.
Apple can tap this market and provide a simple solution that anyone can use.
post #21 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland

Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.


If there is one hopefully there will be a PVR hack soon after so someone can actually find a serious use for this thing.
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post #22 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQ78

The fact that you use iTV to choose which computer you want it to use, means that you can choose which computer you want it to use. So while you might be stuck streaming from one computer at any given time, you can always select another computer to stream from.

I guess the only other option is that iTV looks at ALL the computers and compiles it's music list, movie list, photo list to include the contents of all the computers at the same time. While this would be neat in a lot of respects, it is asking a lot.


But thats my point is that its weird to have to choose which computer you want to stream from. I would rather just have all the shared content shown at once so that I don't have to remember which computer something is on.
post #23 of 212
This can't record because it's a hub to your audio/video system.

Your computer records. What is the problem here?

You can set your Mini up in your living room if you want to record there. then use this to get that signal to your system.

This just makes it easier for those of us who do not have our computer systems set up in the same rooms as our A/V ststems.

This ISN'T a computer. If Apple came out with the whole thing in one, then people would complain that the Mini costs too much. This gives people a choice.

Buy your computer, and use this, if you need it. If not, you don't have to pay for the functionality.

As things get cheaper, then Apple might build it into their machines.

But, and I don't remember for certain, I seem to remember Jobs, or someone, saying that this is compatible with PC's as well. If that's true, then a much bigger market is in mind.
post #24 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

ecking - what do you mean, I thought it was clear from the beginning that it did video?

Sorry I should have been clearer, it was listed as in it could play any video, not just itunes purchased videos. Which would be the selling point for me, I have all kinds of videos I'd love to play on my tv but none of them were purchased through itunes.
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post #25 of 212
i have mixed feelings about iTV. feels bare-bones-ish. maybe it does some extra tricks apple hasn't told us about.

it is a little too expensive in my opinion, but then again, this is apple.
post #26 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

To play the content that's on your computer on your TV. I'm not sure why people wouldn't want to do that. I know people who have DVRs love them to death, but the fact is that they've been a flop. People don't buy them. They've been out for how many years, but have less than 1% of households. People just aren't interested in them, apparently. Compare that to DVD players, for example, or, more relevant, to computers.

You're wrong. DVR market penetration is more like 9 percent.

If you have an opinion, fine. But don't come in here spouting off BS.
post #27 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland

You're wrong. DVR market penetration is more like 9 percent.

If you have an opinion, fine. But don't come in here spouting off BS.

Good article. The numbers are about to double to 18% as well.

I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to rise at a rapid rate.
post #28 of 212
From what I've read, albeit a limited amount of material is publically available, this device assumes you own an Apple desktop or laptop. What has made the iPod so successful is that the software runs outside of OS X. If the iTV can be managed by iTunes for Windows then I can see the market share growing.

If it is an OS X only solution then the product will definitely be marginal, no matter how good its capabilities.
post #29 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer

From what I've read, albeit a limited amount of material is publically available, this device assumes you own an Apple desktop or laptop. What has made the iPod so successful is that the software runs outside of OS X. If the iTV can be managed by iTunes for Windows then I can see the market share growing.

If it is an OS X only solution then the product will definitely be marginal, no matter how good its capabilities.

I've not seen anywhere where it was stated that you need a Mac to use the iTV. Rather, I believe Jobs said the iTV works with any computer that has iTunes, which includes both PCs and Macs.
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post #30 of 212
I think the hard drive stores the first several minutes (or even the first GB) of each movie found on the network. This would allow for instantaneous playback even with a not-so-great wifi connection. I don't think it will be possible to browse this hard drive from a Finder. I also think the iTV could have flash memory so that it powers up instantaneously (or at least as fast as your TV).

The only reason I think Apple might use 802.11g is because all its Macs use g. If the iTV uses n, then we need to buy an n adapter for the computer in order to get the full speed of n from that computer. Having not mentioned that, it will seem very misleading later when we have to pony up another $100 or more (since n is brand new, it'll be priced at a premium) just to get the adapter. So then, the iTV must not require n on both ends.

But even though it's not needed, Apple could build n into the iTV now so that it be there when Apple transitions its Macs to n in the future.
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post #31 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005

I've not seen anywhere where it was stated that you need a Mac to use the iTV. Rather, I believe Jobs said the iTV works with any computer that has iTunes, which includes both PCs and Macs.

Yes, that's what I remember.
post #32 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005

I think the hard drive stores the first several minutes (or even the first GB) of each movie found on the network. This would allow for instantaneous playback even with a not-so-great wifi connection. I don't think it will be possible to browse this hard drive from a Finder. I also think the iTV could have flash memory so that it powers up instantaneously (or at least as fast as your TV).

The only reason I think Apple might use 802.11g is because all its Macs use g. If the iTV uses n, then we need to buy an n adapter for the computer in order to get the full speed of n from that computer. Having not mentioned that, it will seem very misleading later when we have to pony up another $100 or more (since n is brand new, it'll be priced at a premium) just to get the adapter. So then, the iTV must not require n on both ends.

But even though it's not needed, Apple could build n into the iTV now so that it be there when Apple transitions its Macs to n in the future.

If there is a hd built-in, then it would be again, a 2.5, or possibly even a 1.8.

Either way, it would account for a good chunk of the cost.
post #33 of 212
Slightly off topic - check out

http://www.moviebeam.com/opencms/ope...atIsMovieBeam/

Disney is an investor. I wonder how that is going?
post #34 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcstewart38

But thats my point is that its weird to have to choose which computer you want to stream from. I would rather just have all the shared content shown at once so that I don't have to remember which computer something is on.

What if I like Jazz and Classical but my teenage daughter like Deathmetal and Ska?
Do you really think everyone wants it all jumbled together?
post #35 of 212
The small HDD opens up a whole lot more than just having a buffer. And if Apple is every watching any of these sort of postings here is a free idea. Give us a scroll wheal remote control and then let people download the iPod Video Games to their iTV to play on it. Now that is an idea. Games don't have to be 'all that' for them to be fun. The iPod games are cool because they are simple. They would be cooler if you could play them on the TV
post #36 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella

What if I like Jazz and Classical but my teenage daughter like Deathmetal and Ska?
Do you really think everyone wants it all jumbled together?

Play Lists
post #37 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland

You're wrong. DVR market penetration is more like 9 percent.

If you have an opinion, fine. But don't come in here spouting off BS.

Yeah, you're right. I had underestimated it. I did a little searching and also see about 10 millions household with DVRs in the US, for about 100 million households, making about 10%.
post #38 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALPICH

Play Lists

What if I'm lazy and want to just browse by artist or album?

The point is, most consumers only have one computer with THEIR music on it.
Many households will have multiple computers and multiple users who DONT want to see the other users music.
post #39 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005

I think the hard drive stores the first several minutes (or even the first GB) of each movie found on the network. This would allow for instantaneous playback even with a not-so-great wifi connection. I don't think it will be possible to browse this hard drive from a Finder. I also think the iTV could have flash memory so that it powers up instantaneously (or at least as fast as your TV).

The only reason I think Apple might use 802.11g is because all its Macs use g. If the iTV uses n, then we need to buy an n adapter for the computer in order to get the full speed of n from that computer. Having not mentioned that, it will seem very misleading later when we have to pony up another $100 or more (since n is brand new, it'll be priced at a premium) just to get the adapter. So then, the iTV must not require n on both ends.

But even though it's not needed, Apple could build n into the iTV now so that it be there when Apple transitions its Macs to n in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

If there is a hd built-in, then it would be again, a 2.5, or possibly even a 1.8.

Either way, it would account for a good chunk of the cost.

I don't think the iTV needs a hard drive to do caching.
Here are my calaculations:

Assuming the typical movie on the iTunes store is encoded at 1500 kbits/sec
IF the iTV was designed to buffer 10 minutes of video for skip protection,

1500 kbits/sec * 60 seconds * 10 minutes = 900,000 kilobits = 879 Megabytes

The iTV needs only 1GB of NAND flash memory to achieve this level of skip protection.
post #40 of 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Yeah, you're right. I had underestimated it. I did a little searching and also see about 10 millions household with DVRs in the US, for about 100 million households, making about 10%.

The problem with the "10% of households with DVRs", and that it's doubling in the next year, is that any computer with Windows Media Center edition counts as a DVR, at least in the forbes report. Presumably, that doubling could occur once Vista comes out, as it will also have full Digital Video Recording capabilities, and lots of people will be upgrading from pre-media centre edition XP. The thought that 10% of Americans have Tivo or the other set-top boxes is totally ridiculous. That would put it up to about half the market penetration of mobile phones...

On the other hand, I don't think everyone with XP media centre edition or Vista will use it to record TV, so it's hard to get real numbers as to how many people are regularly recording TV shows and using their DVRs, although I wouldn't doubt that Microsoft is collecting the information somehow right now.

I think what iTV will do is be a cost effective, and hopefully user friendly (not to mention well-branded) way to connect the computer to the home theater, something Microsoft still hasn't really accomplished. There's still not many people watching TV and movies on their computers except on flights,etc. (computer in the living room will just never be cozy) If Apple can make "iTV" a part of the vernacular like they have with "iPod", "podcasting", etc., they'll automatically be at the forefront of the public's consciousness in the area. Unlike TiVO...
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