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Mossberg confirms: Apple TV runs Mac OS

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
In the first known review of Apple TV published by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Walt Mossberg reports that the wireless streaming media hub indeed runs a modified version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

"Apple TV is tiny, just about eight inches square and an inch high, far smaller than a typical DVD player or cable or satellite box, even though it packs in a 40-gigabyte hard disk, an Intel processor and a modified version of the Mac operating system," the columnist wrote. "And it has a carefully limited set of functions."

Mossberg, who for the past 10 days has been been toying with an Apple TV sent his way by pal Steve Jobs, concludes that the $299 device is a "beautifully designed, easy-to-use product that should be very attractive to people with widescreen TV sets and lots of music, videos, and photos stored on computers."

"It has some notable limitations, but we really liked it," he wrote. "It is classic Apple: simple and elegant."

In his tests, Mossberg said the Apple TV performed perfectly over a standard Wi-Fi wireless network with a Pioneer plasma TV and six different computers -- three Windows machines from Hewlett-Packard and Dell, and three Apple Macs. "Setup was a breeze, the user interface was clean and handsome, and video and audio quality were quite good for anyone but picky audiophiles and videophiles," he wrote. "We never suffered any stuttering, buffering or hesitation while playing audio and video from distant computers."

One of the limitations of Apple TV, according to the review, is that it while it can stream video content, it cannot yet stream photos. Photos can only appear on Apple TV after having first been synced to the device's hard drive, though Mossberg claims "Apple plans to enable photo streaming later."

The Wall Street Journal columnist also drew attention to Apple TV's inability to purchase content direct from the iTunes Store and, similarly, its lack of access to material on the Internet. "In its usual secretive fashion, Apple refuses to say if or when this direct-to-the-Internet capability will be expanded," he said. "But we fully expect Apple to add the capability to stream or download a variety of content directly from the Internet, and that this new capability will be available on current Apple TV boxes through software updates."

All in all, Mossberg calls Apple TV "a very well-designed product that easily brings the computer and the TV together."

Prior to its launch, AppleInsider had reported that, like iPhone, Apple TV would run a scaled down variant of Apple's Mac OS X operating system.
post #2 of 90
His article may be found here...

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20070321.html
post #3 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidosus View Post

His article may be found here...

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20070321.html

Great first post, very informative and helpful. Welcome to the forum.
post #4 of 90
This article fails to answer whether:
A) Walt concludes this through educated guesses
B) Walt says so because this is what an Apple rep told him
C) Walt has found enough evidence to actually make this assertion.

Since Walt *while a great technical writer *isn't exactly an expert, and since this is an embedded device, access to which has to be rather difficult, I think we can rule C out.
post #5 of 90
Since Walt is friends with Jobs, that might be where he got it from. Kind of like an official 'leak'.
post #6 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidosus View Post

His article may be found here...

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20070321.html

Very nice! Thanks for the link. Article updated with free link.

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post #7 of 90
Time to start shopping for a widescreen TV
post #8 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidosus View Post

His article may be found here...

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20070321.html

Thank you for the link. Better that everybody read this prior to make some of the assertions that have started to appear.

As a developer, I find Mossberg's reviews and opinions great for addressing the masses (as he so wisely outlines). Suggest that those who seem to immediately start shooting the messanger, perhaps a quick review of his bio* is in order. Mossberg is well respected in his field and those of us in the know feel it is well deserved. I find that he is open minded, certainly more than we often see in some of these discussions.

*http://ptech.wsj.com/walt.html
post #9 of 90
does anyone think you will be able to get a full-blown version of OsX on the Apple TV?

It has USB right? so you could use a keyboard and mouse.

I guess one could just easily buy a mac mini, but then you wouldn't have HD.

Also, will this ONLY stream movies that are in itunes? What if I keep my movies ina different folder on my Mac, will I be able to stream these as well? Or will I have to convert them into an iTunes compatible format to stream them. Right now they are all divx files....
post #10 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Thank you for the link. Better that everybody read this prior to make some of the assertions that have started to appear.

As a developer, I find Mossberg's reviews and opinions great for addressing the masses (as he so wisely outlines). Suggest that those who seem to immediately start shooting the messanger, perhaps a quick review of his bio* is in order. Mossberg is well respected in his field and those of us in the know feel it is well deserved. I find that he is open minded, certainly more than we often see in some of these discussions.

*http://ptech.wsj.com/walt.html


And I think the most telling quote from the article that applies to the discussions that have been going on in these forums is...

Quote:
Apple TV isn't for that small slice of techies who buy a full-blown computer and plug it directly into a TV, or for gamers who prefer to do it all through a game console. And it's not for people who are content to watch downloaded TV shows and movies directly on a computer screen. Instead, it's for the much larger group of people who want to keep their home computers where they are and yet enjoy their downloaded media on their widescreen TVs.
post #11 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by nufase View Post

It has USB right? so you could use a keyboard and mouse.

The USB port isn't currently usable for this.

Quote:
I guess one could just easily buy a mac mini, but then you wouldn't have HD.

You would have DVI up to 1920x1200 and optical audio out, so effectively, yes, you could output HD.
post #12 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by nufase View Post

does anyone think you will be able to get a full-blown version of OsX on the Apple TV?

I don't

Quote:
Originally Posted by nufase View Post

Also, will this ONLY stream movies that are in itunes? What if I keep my movies ina different folder on my Mac, will I be able to stream these as well? Or will I have to convert them into an iTunes compatible format to stream them. Right now they are all divx files....

It has to be in iTunes to work. I've got several AVIs from XTorrent I'm looking to convert to an iTunes compatible format. Anyone know of a good program for that?
post #13 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker View Post

This article fails to answer whether:
A) Walt concludes this through educated guesses
B) Walt says so because this is what an Apple rep told him
C) Walt has found enough evidence to actually make this assertion.

Since Walt *while a great technical writer *isn't exactly an expert, and since this is an embedded device, access to which has to be rather difficult, I think we can rule C out.

The article states Walt has been using it for 10 days... seems like that is enough time to discern his "opinion". At least far from educated guesses or because an Apple rep told him to.
post #14 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

I don't



It has to be in iTunes to work. I've got several AVIs from XTorrent I'm looking to convert to an iTunes compatible format. Anyone know of a good program for that?

Quicktime Pro? It now has an "export to Apple TV" function...
post #15 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by socokid View Post

The article states Walt has been using it for 10 days... seems like that is enough time to discern his "opinion".

Maybe he has been watching all of the 400+ movies on it
post #16 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastred View Post

Quicktime Pro? It now has an "export to Apple TV" function...


Quicktime doesn't play AVIs, unless you set it up to. And I've had trouble getting it to play them. Some play just fine and others don't. I have to use VLC.
post #17 of 90
Isn't the movie trailer function a direct download from the net?

a-maze

edit: "It can also pull a very limited amount of music and video directly off the Internet onto the TV." - WSJ
post #18 of 90
Exactly what did people THINK it was going to be running on... DOS?
post #19 of 90
divx/xvid codecs would make this a killer app. Nobody wants to goto the bother of having to reencode all their stuff. I predict that some genius will devise a method to make this play divx/xvid, .ts. Until then it doesn't make any sense to purchase the unit.
post #20 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

Quicktime doesn't play AVIs, unless you set it up to. And I've had trouble getting it to play them. Some play just fine and others don't. I have to use VLC.

Get the Flip4Mac plugin. Works fine, and it's free.
post #21 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

Quicktime doesn't play AVIs, unless you set it up to.

1) Install Perian and an other codecs that might be needed.
2) Export for ?tv.
3) Done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by socokid View Post

The article states Walt has been using it for 10 days... seems like that is enough time to discern his "opinion".

How?
post #22 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker View Post

1) Install Perian and an other codecs that might be needed.
2) Export for ?tv.
3) Done.

Cool, I hadn't heard of Perian before. Thanks!
post #23 of 90
I just occured to me. If you enable Quicktime to play AVIs and other formats, and iTunes uses Quicktime. Why won't iTunes let you copy those files to it's library?
post #24 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy View Post

And I think the most telling quote from the article that applies to the discussions that have been going on in these forums is...

Quote:
Apple TV isn't for that small slice of techies who buy a full-blown computer and plug it directly into a TV, or for gamers who prefer to do it all through a game console. And it's not for people who are content to watch downloaded TV shows and movies directly on a computer screen. Instead, it's for the much larger group of people who want to keep their home computers where they are and yet enjoy their downloaded media on their widescreen TVs.

Which isn't really saying much. How big is that 'group' that want to enjoy downloaded media on their widescreen TVs? Sure, its bigger then the "Let's put a computer in the room" and "Let's sit around the computer and watch a movie crowd", but those are small crowds to begin with.
post #25 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastred View Post

Quicktime Pro? It now has an "export to Apple TV" function...

Right on. "Apple has quietly added an “Export to Apple TV” feature capable of creating high-definition videos viewable on the Apple TV. Unlike Export to iPod, which currently creates sub-DVD-quality 640 by 480 videos, Export to Apple TV creates not only full DVD-quality 720 by 404 videos, but also 1280 by 720 videos." (http://www.macsupport.ca/2007/03/18/...ple-tv”/
post #26 of 90
It's not going to sell unless it has a DVR!!11
It's lame because it doesn't do my divx movies!

Just wanted to get that out of the way.
post #27 of 90
iSquint. It'll export to mp4 that can be placed into iTunes. It's free and it works great.8)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

I don't



It has to be in iTunes to work. I've got several AVIs from XTorrent I'm looking to convert to an iTunes compatible format. Anyone know of a good program for that?
post #28 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by nufase View Post

Also, will this ONLY stream movies that are in itunes? What if I keep my movies ina different folder on my Mac, will I be able to stream these as well? Or will I have to convert them into an iTunes compatible format to stream them. Right now they are all divx files....

You could just put an alias of your movies folder into the iTunes folder. I do that with FrontRow and it works nicely.
post #29 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

You could just put an alias of your movies folder into the iTunes folder. I do that with FrontRow and it works nicely.

I don't understand, why would you not just copy them into iTunes and let iTunes mess with where it's located? What value is there in manually managing the files in a folder somewhere? Put it in iTunes and have access to all the meta data that it provides! And if you need the actual file, hit Command-R to reveal the file in Finder.
post #30 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Which isn't really saying much. How big is that 'group' that want to enjoy downloaded media on their widescreen TVs? Sure, its bigger then the "Let's put a computer in the room" and "Let's sit around the computer and watch a movie crowd", but those are small crowds to begin with.

You have to be kidding. With all the hype, the potential size of the market just from the iPod/iTunes success, and all voices of the pundits, it is going to be huge and right from the start.

Keep in mind that the techie market is extremely small. Just look at this forum. Same people all the time. Same complainers. Same supporters. We are the exception.
post #31 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post

I don't



It has to be in iTunes to work. I've got several AVIs from XTorrent I'm looking to convert to an iTunes compatible format. Anyone know of a good program for that?

http://dettmer.maclab.org/movie2itunes
post #32 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidosus View Post

His article may be found here...

http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/solution-20070321.html

Well if this is the same article: NOWHERE IN THAT ARTICLE DOES IT SAY APPLETV RUNS OS X!!!
post #33 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

it is going to be huge and right from the start.

post #34 of 90
Send one my way and I would like it too. Paying $299, now that is another story.
post #35 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy View Post

And I think the most telling quote from the article that applies to the discussions that have been going on in these forums is...
Quote:
Apple TV isn't for that small slice of techies who buy a full-blown computer and plug it directly into a TV, or for gamers who prefer to do it all through a game console. And it's not for people who are content to watch downloaded TV shows and movies directly on a computer screen. Instead, it's for the much larger group of people who want to keep their home computers where they are and yet enjoy their downloaded media on their widescreen TVs.

OK ... let me do a Venn diagram. Hmmm ... so it's for a group of people who happen to have movies stored on their computers but won't watch them on the computer. "Much larger group"??? Try non-existant! Just who does he think these people are who have been storing movies on their computers without watching them?
post #36 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Well if this is the same article: NOWHERE IN THAT ARTICLE DOES IT SAY APPLETV RUNS OS X!!!

"Apple TV is tiny, just about eight inches square and an inch high, far smaller than a typical DVD player or cable or satellite box, even though it packs in a 40-gigabyte hard disk, an Intel processor and a modified version of the Mac operating system. And it has a carefully limited set of functions."
post #37 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

OK ... let me do a Venn diagram. Hmmm ... so it's for a group of people who happen to have movies stored on their computers but won't watch them on the computer. "Much larger group"??? Try non-existant! Just who does he think these people are who have been storing movies on their computers without watching them?

Man, talk about taking things out of context. Better you read the original quotation again.
post #38 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

OK ... let me do a Venn diagram. Hmmm ... so it's for a group of people who happen to have movies stored on their computers but won't watch them on the computer. "Much larger group"??? Try non-existant! Just who does he think these people are who have been storing movies on their computers without watching them?

He said those who aren't content to *just* watch them on the computer. And I fit that description perfectly. I have a lot of movies that I've ripped into iTunes, but I can't play them without dropping everything I'm doing on the computer. And I'll finally be able to watch Rocketboom and MacBreak without stopping whatever I'm doing on the computer as well! And as more content goes into iTunes, I envision being able to drop DishNetwork and just get the Shows I watch.
post #39 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

OK ... let me do a Venn diagram. Hmmm ... so it's for a group of people who happen to have movies stored on their computers but won't watch them on the computer. "Much larger group"??? Try non-existant! Just who does he think these people are who have been storing movies on their computers without watching them?

It's not about watching or not watching them on the computer. Most people don't keep their computers in the living room and near the big screen HDTV. Therefore, they have no way to watch it on their HDTV while sitting on their sofa. Not everybody is content to watch it alone at their desk while sitting in front of a 20" widescreen LCD.
post #40 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

OK ... let me do a Venn diagram. Hmmm ... so it's for a group of people who happen to have movies stored on their computers but won't watch them on the computer. "Much larger group"??? Try non-existant! Just who does he think these people are who have been storing movies on their computers without watching them?

Maybe a Venn diagram would help: It's not people who "won't watch them on their computer," as you ridiculously claim, it's people who also want to watch them on their TV.
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