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Report claims "major" Apple TV update in the pipeline

post #1 of 155
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Apple is planning a major upgrade of its slow-selling Apple TV set-top box as part of a new offensive to try to boost its share of the digital video download market, according to BusinessWeek.

However, the business publication offers no details of the initiative other than to say that the new hardware device should arrive around the same time Apple launches its iTunes movie rental service.

Conversing with American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu, BusinessWeek speculates that one possibility is that Apple might add a TV tuner to the product later this year.

The remainder of the report recounts the hurdles Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has faced while trying to replicate his success in the music business over in the digital video download sector.

It notes that Disney and Fox have agreed to support the upcoming iTunes rental service, but have different terms for when movies will be made available.

Independent Lions Gate, on the other hand, may agree to let Apple rent its stuff, but not sell its newer releases, the report adds.

Sony and Universal -- both fierce Apple rivals -- are unlikely to back the initiative.

post #2 of 155
If it includes a Blu Ray player then I might add one to my collection of Apple hardware. At a very minimum, it *needs* to be able to play DVDs. I want to replace a piece of hardware, not another one.
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post #3 of 155
Sony has a love-hate relationship with Apple. Apple backed Blu-Ray pretty early, but Sony Music has had major issues with iTunes. Sony is such a multi-headed beast I think it's hard to characterize it as being fierce rivals and/or partners with anyone.
post #4 of 155
Would like to see Apple and Sony get together and come up with something new
post #5 of 155
What good is a TV Tuner unless you are getting over the air? Everything else (Cable Satellite) is scrambled.
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post #6 of 155
I have been using my Xbox 360 for media functionality and I HATE IT!. I'm so anxious to get rid of it, but I am waiting until after Macworld - hopefully I'll get one by summer!
post #7 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatracer View Post

What good is a TV Tuner unless you are getting over the air? Everything else (Cable Satellite) is scrambled.

Not strickly true, in the US analogue cable is not scrambled (apart from premium channels) and cable companies are required to provide HD feeds of local channels in unscambled format (so called ClearQAM). If Apple put a QAM decoder on this thing, then it could at least record HDTV for Network TV off cable (as well as any other unscrambled QAM channels, in my case apart from the locals, GolTV!), as well as basic analogue cable channels.

Its not going to replace a TiVoHD unless it has Cablecard support though, I'll admit.
post #8 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

Not strickly true, in the US analogue cable is not scrambled (apart from premium channels) and cable companies are required to provide HD feeds of local channels in unscambled format (so called ClearQAM). If Apple put a QAM decoder on this thing, then it could at least record HDTV for Network TV off cable (as well as any other unscrambled QAM channels, in my case apart from the locals, GolTV!), as well as basic analogue cable channels.

Its not going to replace a TiVoHD unless it has Cablecard support though, I'll admit.

i'd much rather see a combination of softwares - add SageTV to the AppleTV for tuning needs.
www.sagetv.com

then let network tuners do the work
http://www.silicondust.com/wiki/products/hdhomerun


the fact is a dual tuner like the HDHR above is about the same size as the AppleTV - not really a great solution. But if tuner *software* can be integrated into AppleTV (or if Apple releases some kind of SDK for creating 3rd party integration) then the AppleTV simply has to schedule recordings, and the network tuner can record all the data to your desktop computer.



I've been using SageTV for a while now (OTA only) and love it. their mac server and clients work well, and using a pair of HDHDR's i have 4 ATSC tuners at my disposal. I would just love to be able to use the AppleTV as an extender for Sage... I've tried EyeTV as well, and it seems, well, horrid compared to SageTV.


Anyway, i, for one, am really looking forward to an update to AppleTV.
post #9 of 155
A blu-ray player would be tempting. A DVR (which WONT happen) would make these things sell like hotcakes.
post #10 of 155
I'll bet there is a Sony-Apple iTunes store deal for movie rentals as well. It is in both companies interest to move this whole thing forward.

After seeing how much Vista gets hosed with the advanced DRM in the new HD movie formats, it makes MUCH more sense to stick a Blu Ray player onto an Apple TV than it does to cripple OS X to enable play back of Blu Ray movies on your basic Mac. Besides, Apple TVs have HDMI outputs, while Macs do not and much of the DRM in the new HD formats relies on HDCP over HDMI.
post #11 of 155
Whats the betting we get actual 'real' Apple branded TV's on tuesday? Rather than a box of tricks.
Consumers are pretty dumb, they just want to buy a TV and turn it on, not muck about with extra external boxes and new-fangled connectors.
post #12 of 155
The problem with Blu-ray is that it would probably come close to doubling the price of the AppleTV - i have yet to see a Blu-ray player/drive for under $250, and all the analysts are still saying that the Blu-ray drive is what makes the PS3 a loss leader.

However, i also seem to remember the AACS implementation in the Blu-ray spec (AACS is *required* for every replicated Blu-ray disk) allows burning of DRM'ed content, etc with very specific allowances in terms of use.
post #13 of 155
If it had Blu-ray I'd get one, in light of HD-DVD's rapidly-approaching demise.

But somehow I doubt it.
post #14 of 155
Maybe to succeed in video Apple has to do an AT&T-type exclusive deal with either a cable or satellite TV. That is, design a media device that is as compelling and game-changing as iPhone so that at least one carrier is willing to go exclusive with Apple in the hope of attracting more subscribers. I'd drop Comcast in a heartbeat if DirectTV and Apple did something iPhone-like.
post #15 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by age234 View Post

If it had Blu-ray I'd get one, in light of HD-DVD's rapidly-approaching demise. But somehow I doubt it.

AGREE! DVD is dead ... HD-DVD is dead ... gotta be blu-ray! But I also agree... I doubt it!
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post #16 of 155
The US government is providing $40 rebates for "qualified" set top boxes so people with older sets that are sans digital tuners can still be used when the broadcasters finally cut over to all digital broadcasts.

If Apple could capitalize on using the $40 rebate to pay for the COGs related to adding a tuner it could be very profitable venture.

Although, I question if this makes sense. Using the governments rebate to pay for an increase in COGs makes sense but why would Apple add a feature that would reduce the consumers likelihood of buying iTunes content. Unless they think that the only real way to make money is in rentals or movie sales. If I have a DVR from Apple I dont need to buy TV shows from them.

Personally I think it would be great to add a tuner as I dont have cable and rely on over-the-air digital broadcasts, iTunes and Netflix. I was tired of paying Comcast $1000 a year for garbage. That being said I am in a very small minority and most persons dont even know you can get HD/Digital broadcasts over-the-air.
post #17 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Sony has a love-hate relationship with Apple. Apple backed Blu-Ray pretty early, but Sony Music has had major issues with iTunes. Sony is such a multi-headed beast I think it's hard to characterize it as being fierce rivals and/or partners with anyone.

Why oh why I always asked have the Apple stores featured Sony monitors paired with their AppleTVs for demonstration?? Surely Apple could have used another manufacturer other then Sony?? Or a generic one even. Why has Sony been given this free advertising??
post #18 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bancho View Post

If it includes a Blu Ray player then I might add one to my collection of Apple hardware. At a very minimum, it *needs* to be able to play DVDs. I want to replace a piece of hardware, not another one.

Why not simply add DVD streaming from your Mac to the AppleTV box?
post #19 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

AGREE! DVD is dead ... HD-DVD is dead ... gotta be blu-ray! But I also agree... I doubt it!

Not as long as people continue to buy DVD's and they sold $16 billion worth last year. And most Blu-ray players play the ordinary DVD's.
post #20 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Whats the betting we get actual 'real' Apple branded TV's on tuesday? Rather than a box of tricks.
Consumers are pretty dumb, they just want to buy a TV and turn it on, not muck about with extra external boxes and new-fangled connectors.

Especially an empty box where you supposed to keep buying content from Itunes only to make it work. Put a disc drive in it already or let is stream DVD's from our computers while they play. If you can't rip DVD's in iTunes then let us stream them from our computers. Or are we only to spend more $$ for Itunes content?
post #21 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Why not simply add DVD streaming from your Mac to the AppleTV box?

Yes - it should have had that capability from day one. And manyconsumers were confused and thought that it did. The Apple employees at the stores back then didn't even know that it could not.
post #22 of 155
It's interesting that the Apple TV was likened to Apple's capture of the digital music market.

Using this logic, we can then call the Apple TV the iPod for digital video-- and we all therein see the problem: price (or lack of features/value). Apple TV is sold for the same price as the first generation iPod was way back in 01... and the device doesn't fucking do anything.

If there isn't a deluge of major enhancements (and let's face it, UI overhaul), it would seem prudent for Apple to discontinue the product.

For $279 someone can buy an Xbox 360 and use Connect360 to stream and play (since the Dec 4 360 update) more formats than the AppleTV can support.

No one will cop to Apple's 600% markup on a device that doesn't do anything useful.
post #23 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanv View Post

That being said I am in a very small minority and most persons dont even know you can get HD/Digital broadcasts over-the-air.

Can you now?!

I live some 23 short miles away from NYC and I can't get a single freakin signal! If I can't get a good (nee ANY) HD signal when I'm only 23 miles outside of NYC then that certainly says ALOT about the current status of HD broadcast antennas....

Imagine the US government effectively FORCED me into paying for cable if I want to stay informed about any emergency broadcasts.

Oh and before someone says radio... Unless I'm mistaken they have a roadmap to do away with anal. radio too...

Freakin crock!

Dave
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post #24 of 155
A tuner is not going to happen. Why in the world would apple do that, while trying to secure contract extensions to video sales on iTS? Why would I purchase Lost, when I can PVR it? A tuner in this is an automatic death sentence to video sales. We all know it because that's why we want it. It just isn't realistic from a business perspective.

I can see A blu-ray player integrated, as well as support for playing downloadable HD content (720p/1080i, just to be a happy medium between quality and bandwidth limitations) but I just don't see a tuner happening without bargaining with different carriers and for Cable it's way more fragmented and varied than the Cell phone situation. It would be a nightmare, not to mention useless for anyone outside of the usage area (like say, Canada, UK, France...) and I thought the idea was to appeal to more people, not alienate more. If they kept all the features it has now, plus add the graphic power (read: remove limitations against) HD content as well as play Blu-Ray+DVD+DIVIX... THEN this would be killer. It's a realistic package that would get sales to double easily.
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post #25 of 155
I'm really hoping that my current AppleTV will be software-updated to add new features. I bought it when it came out partly because there was an implication that since it was just an OS X box, it could be updated easily. If all the new one adds is BluRay, I don't care, but if significant new features (like renting etc.) are reserved for the new hardware model, I'll be ticked off.
post #26 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Can you now?!

I live some 23 short miles away from NYC and I can't get a single freakin signal! If I can't get a good HD signal when I'm only 23 miles outside of NYC then that certainly says ALOT about the current status of HD broadcast antennas....

Imagine the US government effectively FORCED me into paying for cable if I want to stay informed about any emergency broadcasts.

Oh and before someone says radio... Unless I'm mistaken they have a roadmap to do away with anal. radio too...

Freakin crock!

Dave

roof top antenna? if not, install one, and ditch the POS indoor antennas.

Also (more to the point) most stations are running their ATSC feed on a secondary broadcast antenna, so the ATSC broadcast is getting much much lower power than the NTSC broadcast. Locally here in Philly i know the affiliates are waiting until the 2009 NTSC turn-off date, then they will switch the ATSC feeds right over to the big towers.
post #27 of 155
What possible benefit would there be to Apple adding a Blu-Ray player? They're in the business of selling digital downloads. Blu-Ray is the competition.

Considering how poorly Blu-Ray is selling, (it may be trouncing HD-DVD, but overall sales have sucked), adding it to Apple TV would only make it at least $400 more expensive. I doubt there are more than a handful of people who would pay the $700 for an Apple TV, even if it had Blu-Ray.

Most of what the Apple TV needs can be added in software. The only hardware I want to see added is the ability to hook up external Hard Drives directly to it, and maybe a way to get a bluetooth keyboard to it, if they decide to put some sort of Safari on it. Though, again, I can't see people surfing the web much on the TV.

Add a way to purchase and rent directly on the device, and Apple TV will continue to outsell all of its competition.
post #28 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

AGREE! DVD is dead ... HD-DVD is dead ... gotta be blu-ray! But I also agree... I doubt it!

DVDs are still fine for me. If I'm anything like the majority of Americans, we're waiting for the price of HDTVs (all varieties) to drop further before buying. Blu-Ray has little interest for me now, they are simply too expensive (the players and the media).

Having said that, I think it's coming to do or die time for AppleTV. They need to vastly improve it, or drop it.

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post #29 of 155
A tuner? I doubt it. Which makes me discount the rest of this story.

As for Sony, I was surprised to see them called the enemy. And I think it's only a matter of months until Universal comes back.

If Sony wants to be the enemy, let them. They're history with memory sticks and the rumors about TransferJet make me less likely to buy anything they put out. Not to mention their attempt to add ANOTHER standard to digital music...

Yeah - Apple did that too. But they were the ones who got digital music off the ground, so I'll give them some slack.

I'd consider an Apple TV with a Blu-ray player. But like another poster said, I want to get boxes off the stack, I don't want to add another one.

Ideally, I'd like to ditch cable/satellite for iTunes. If the Apple TV would stream news shows from the Internet I'd have done it already.

Update: Just saw this at Infinite Loop. "Something in the Air" - makes me wonder about a tuner. But I'd still have to say no way.
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post #30 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Can you now?!

I live some 23 short miles away from NYC and I can't get a single freakin signal! If I can't get a good (nee ANY) HD signal when I'm only 23 miles outside of NYC then that certainly says ALOT about the current status of HD broadcast antennas....

For every analog signal I can pull in, I can get its digital counterpart with Elgato's little HD stick, and the digital signal is usually better. But I'm "only" 15 miles away from the edge of a ~#50 metro area.

If you want emergency notices, I suggest signing up for the Emergency Email Network instead, you can get notices by email, pager and I think SMS.

http://www.emergencyemailnetwork.com/
post #31 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

For every analog signal I can pull in, I can get its digital counterpart with Elgato's little HD stick, and the digital signal is usually better. But I'm "only" 15 miles away from the edge of a ~#50 metro area.

Jeff DM - I live a mile from downtown and the tall buildings. Most of the HD towers are about 6-12 miles away. I tried an OTA antenna for my Directv box. I had to aim the indoor antenna precisely to get results. Do you think I'd do better with Elgato? If so - I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
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post #32 of 155
There is no way this thing would have a Blu-Ray drive. If it does have one, then it's going to be later in the year before this new Apple TV is released.
post #33 of 155
Apple adding "any" optical drive to the Apple TV is wishful thinking at best. They're goal isn't to replace your DVD with a new DVD capable player but leverage iTunes content for media.

Blu-ray is out of the question. The cheapest player is $350. The Apple TV needs to be as low as $199 to hit the numbers Apple needs. I expect a new player with a more consolidated chipset and larger storage options with a new Leopard based OS and support for sharing between ATV. So you can watch a show in the living room and decide you want to stop it and resume in the bedroom.

Buying directly from ATV will probably come as well.
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post #34 of 155
To All who replied...

I and nobody in my area gets digital OTA signals... they simply do not make it to here... mountain maybe? I dunno but all I do know is without a 200' tower I simply will not get any signal (acording to CEDA antenna-website..

Dave
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post #35 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Sony and Universal -- both fierce Apple rivals -- are unlikely to back the initiative.

This is an incredibly short-sighted (not to mention just plain stupid) position on the part of Sony and Universal. Apple is NOT a rival. They're a MARKET. Their position is analogous to say, Frito-Lay saying they're not going to sell their chips at Safeway because Safeway is a rival. Of course that would be stupid. Safeway is a major market for snack chips and other food, just as the iTunes Store is a major market for music, video and other media.

Competition is a good thing, and I'm glad to see other media markets, such as the TiVo / Amazon Unbox market coming on strong, but the content providers need to embrace the iTunes Store as a market and not get into this ridiculous notion of seeing them as a 'rival'. It's bad for the content providers, and it's bad for us (consumers). It won't have much of an impact on Apple, as their hardware business largely shields them from the ups and downs of the media market business.
post #36 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Jeff DM - I live a mile from downtown and the tall buildings. Most of the HD towers are about 6-12 miles away. I tried an OTA antenna for my Directv box. I had to aim the indoor antenna precisely to get results. Do you think I'd do better with Elgato? If so - I'd buy one in a heartbeat.


you want to get a *real* antenna - find the right channelmaster for you.

http://tinyurl.com/2bjkc3
post #37 of 155
The PS3 (a well selling BR player) is selling at 399 here in canada. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple and Sony partnered together to give blu-Ray an iPod-like shot in the arm, especially if it looks favorably to entice Sony movie downloads into the iTS eco-system. If this was the case I can see sony taking a hit on the drive to supply them to Apple. People want to get in on the ground floor of the next iPod-like item, just like AT&T did, with the iPhone. If Intel and apple could put aside differences for common business good, I sure SOny can do the same since they have just as much to gain.
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post #38 of 155
I'm a little more agreeable to the idea of getting an AppleTV, but how soon depends on cost and feature upgrades. I'm most interested in having something that shows my photos, but that alone isn't quite enough for me.
post #39 of 155
i have "heard'" from someone i know that apple will be bringing elgato on stage. they are opening up the apple tv usb port for elgato usb tuners. o apple don't get bogged down with that market and let elgato deal with it.

not sure if this is for current apple tv's with a software upgrade or a new model.
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post #40 of 155
Here's a thought that would get me to buy one... include an HDMI input on the AppleTV and push your cable boxes (or TiVo or whatever)'s output through the AppleTV. While I understand HDMI has some copy restrictions that may prevent this type of passthrough or relay, I would hope that Apple has enough industry connections to make it work.

With this kind of setup - one would not need to bother switching TV inputs when they want to use the Apple TV... at the press of a button AppleTV would "take over" the screen (much like FrontRow does on the desktop)... or put the Cablebox's output in some kind of PIP window. Another option would have the Cablebox's output darkened a bit - with a dashboard style layer of widgets overlayed. Another choice would allow for a Safari layer to take over the screen... maybe again putting the Cablebox's output into a PIP window or a split screen. An option to scale the CableBox's feed to say, 80 to 90% of the screen with a widget boarder of custom icons alerting you to weather changes... new emails... etc. and a family bulletin board "home screen" (showing the calendar, weather, to-dos, etc.) would be killer as well.

Include instructions for programming the extra buttons on the CableCo's remote to control the AppleTV... and I think you've got a winning solution (for me).
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