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Review: Netflix Player vs Apple TV

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Roku's new dedicated box for streaming content from Netflix's Watch Instantly service offers a fairly large but somewhat eclectic variety of decent quality movies and TV programs at a very reasonable price, particularly for existing Netflix subscribers. While frequently pitted against Apple TV, the two products are actually more complementary than directly competitive. Here's how they stack up.

Roku's Single Trick

The Roku box currently does one thing: stream select Netflix titles from a library of content available for immediate viewing. Netflix says that around ten percent of its library of 100,000 DVDs is available for streaming from its Watch Instantly service. Using it previously required hooking up a Windows PC running Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player to your TV set. With the Roku box, you can tune into Netflix Watch Instantly streams a bit more conveniently with minimal setup.

The downside to the $99 Roku box's core simplicity that it requires adding yet another remote and video input to your home theater setup just to expand your potential movie viewing options. Netflix's service might be more attractive if integrated into a DVR such as the Tivo, or into Apple TV as a software module. Netflix plans to license its service to other hardware makers, so anything's possible.

Apple TV allows users to buy or rent movies online in a pay-per-view model, but it also serves as a link between the computer and the living room home theater and stereo, allowing users to show off their iPhotos libraries and stream audio from any iTunes computer to the stereo system, as well as shop for movies, TV, music, and music videos that can sync back to iPods and iTunes computers in the household.

View more high-quality Netflix Player unboxing and setup photos

Lots of Cheap Content

On the other hand, viewing streamed titles on the Roku box doesn't cost anything extra for existing Netflix subscribers; being able to immediately watch any of the subset of movies and TV episodes available for streaming at no additional fee is a pretty sweet deal. All of the iTunes movies and TV episodes available for Apple TV have a rental or download fee that can add up for users who love watching TV.

At the same time, Apple TV also provides access to an increasing number of audio and video podcasts, including several now being presented in HD. The growing library of news, comedy, music, sports, arts, tech, and special interest podcast programing is all available for free. It's also possible to watch YouTube videos on Apple TV, but their low quality leaves something to be desired for anyone looking for alternatives to DVD rentals, cable, or satellite programming. Apple TV also provides access to your own home movies in iTunes, and shared movies published by friends using the .Mac Web Gallery service. If you have family and friends using .Mac, Apple TV makes a pretty slick way to share and view home movies in better than DVD-quality.

In terms of content, the Roku box and Apple TV deliver a limited amount of overlap. The Netflix documentaries, older movies, and TV shows available to Watch Instantly are certainly cheaper to view than when buying them from iTunes individually, but the type of content Netflix offers also represent the least compelling feature of Apple TV. Many of the Netflix streaming titles are independent, foreign, or obscure titles that aren't even in iTunes. Conversely, the broad functionality of Apple TV in serving up free alternative content, user generated material, new release and blockbuster HD titles is completely absent on the Roku box.



Menus and Shopping

In order to watch any titles on the Roku box, you'll need to go to the Netflix webpage and navigate through its offerings to select the movies you want to add to your Watch Instantly queue. Once added, a step that seems to take an oddly long amount of time in the web interface, the selected titles become available for watching immediately on the box itself. There is currently no way to shop for titles on the Roku box directly from the TV interface, which is somewhat clumsy but not a show stopper. The only thing the box displays on TV is the series of titles you have previously added to your Watch Instantly queue via the Netflix website.

Apple TV debuted with a similar sort of limitation, as movies originally needed to be downloaded through iTunes on a computer, then synced with Apple TV in order to watch them. With the January Take Two software update (Review: Part 1, Part 2), Apple TV now lets users browse for movies directly from their living room TV and watch titles directly without dealing with a separate computer at all.

Roku also plans to eventually provide a software update for its Netflix box to enable direct online shopping as well. Netflix users are likely already accustomed to picking their movies from the service's website and setting up a queue, so the bare bones menus on the Roku box aren't likely to raise too many barriers for its intended audience. It is somewhat frustrating to navigate through the Netflix site looking for Watch Instantly titles, because it keeps recommending related movies that are only available on DVD. From casual browsing, it feels like much less than ten percent of the Netflix library is actually available for streaming. It seems more like five percent, and that subset is mostly older, foreign, or special interest.

On page 2 of 3: Sync or Stream; and Audio and Video Quality


Sync or Stream

Because everything is streamed directly on the Roku box, the quality you get is based on your network connection. Netflix serves up four different levels of quality, so what you get on a fast pipe looks better than what you can get if you share a slow DSL line. That also means that even if you wouldn't mind waiting to download the highest quality version possible, you can only get the poorest quality version if you have a slower network connection. Apple TV has a hard drive, so it can progressively download even HD movies in advance even if you have a slower connection.

Another advantage of Apple TV's hard drive storage is that users can sync a selection of movie downloads to the box, then take it to another location, even one lacking fast Internet service, and still play back their content. Apple's iTunes movie rentals do require a functional Internet connection to validate prior to watching them, but it does not have to be a high speed connection.

The Roku box is only usable when directly connected to fast Internet service. That also means it simply stops working in the case of a poorly timed Internet service outage. Its limited buffer of Flash RAM for incoming streamed content also means that fast forwarding or reviewing a movie results in a clumsy pause as the stream catches up and begins playing again. The user interface for this does seem to be well designed however, with the program presented as a series of still frames (below) that makes jumping back or forward easy enough to do. If you stop watching a program and return to it, it automatically beings playback where you left off last.



Audio and Video Quality

Roku promises to support 720p HD content at some point in the future. Doing so would require a very fast Internet connection because, again, the box has a very limited buffer for streamed content. Apple TV offers HD content now, both in commercial movies and in free podcasts and in Web Gallery and home movies. As mentioned above, its hard drive means that it can download titles and store them for playback, making it less dependent upon a flawlessly fast Internet pipe to deliver a smooth picture.

Both both boxes also support optical and HDMI digital audio outputs, but Roku's Netflix content only supports simple stereo audio. Apple TV supports 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks on most HD movies. Its TV and standard definition movies all have simpler Dolby Surround or just basic stereo audio.

View more high-quality Netflix Player unboxing and setup photos

The Roku box sports composite and s-video outputs, something Apple TV lacks. On an HDTV, using the included composite video cable results in a softer picture that looks ten years old but isn't really hard to watch. The Roku's simple menus with large graphics don't really demand a high resolution screen. Using an HDMI or component cable results in a sharper, clearer picture and menus, although many of the album graphics on Netflix's titles are low resolution. Apple TV makes more use of complex menus and fits more content onscreen at once in the shopping screens, underlining Apple's decision to target it as HDTV only.

At best quality with an ideal Internet connection, streaming Netflix titles on the Roku box look fine on older TVs but can only meet the lowest of expectations in video quality on an HDTV. Viewed from the couch, the pixelation and limited color depth certainly isn't impressive, but is fine for the type of content Netflix offers. It is almost comparable to digital cable programming. As with Apple TV, if you pause the picture and look at it from a few feet away it is not very great, but for watching movies and TV at a usual distance it is quite easy to watch.



Apple TV's basic standard definition content is quite similar to the best quality out of the Roku box, although the Apple TV's menus have a considerably more polished and refined look and feel. On both devices, the actual video picture quality varies considerably between different titles, depending a lot upon the work done by the studio to preset it digitally, and whether the program is presented in full screen or tightly letterboxed into a narrow band of the TV set. Apple TV's HD content delivers a considerable better experience, albeit at a fixed cost per movie.

That all adds up to Roku's box being a good way to watch a wide but often quirky spectrum of documentaries, comedies, TV episodes, and older movies that don't really cry out for blockbuster high definition audio and video. However, it's not really a direct competitor for Apple TV, since Netflix really doesn't offer a strong selection of mainstream movies or TV. The company is working to improve its Watch Instantly selection, it says.

On page 3 of 3:
New and Premium Content; Rating; and Pros & Cons.

New and Premium Content

That's really the biggest downside to the Netflix Watch Instantly service: the selection is fairly limited unless you're a big fan of obscure movies. There aren't very many newer or more popular titles available for streaming and no HD content yet. Foreign films and documentaries are well represented however, including a number of engaging Red Envelope Entertainment titles produced by Netflix itself, many of which are award winning political or human interest titles.

Even most of Netflix's popular TV shows aren't available to watch on demand. For example, Family Guy, The Sopranos, Strangers with Candy, and Reno 911 are all only available from Netflix on DVD, but you can watch the L Word, Weeds, the Office (both BBC and US versions), and Fat Actress (if you dare) from the Roku box. Most TV shows only have older seasons available within Watch Instantly, with no episodes more recent than 2006.

View more high-quality Netflix Player unboxing and setup photos

With Apple TV, the primary focus is on new movies (available at DVD release) and TV (the day after airing), but you must reach into your pocket to rent or download them. Because Apple TV also serves up user content (such as home movies, photos, and music), alternative content (podcasts, shared Web Gallery, and YouTube) and the latest release HD movies, there is really minimal overlap between what it does and the Roku box.

For that reason (in addition to cabling simplicity), it would be great to see both products converged into a single device that offered downloads, rentals, all you can watch subscription content, and access to user and alternative content. Until then, users will have to weigh their specific needs against Apple TV and Roku's box to determine which box, both, or neither is right for them.

Rating: 3 of 5


Pros
Easy to setup and use
Fairly cheap hardware purchase
Watch Instantly service is great deal for existing Netflix users
Fairly decent video quality, with a 720p firmware update promised
30 day money back guarantee
Works with both standard TV and HDTV sets

Cons
Content is currently limited to mostly older, foreign, and obscure titles
Cheaply designed box is pretty basic looking
Requires ordering content from the web on a separate computer
No hard drive to buffer or store content
Requires a fast network connection

Products Mentioned
Roku\tThe Netflix Player
Netflix\tNetflix Ready Devices
Apple TV (Review: Part 1, Part 2)
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Both both boxes also support optical and HDMI digital audio outputs, but Roku's Netflix content only supports simple stereo audio. Apple TV supports 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks on most HD movies. Its TV and standard definition movies all have simpler Dolby Surround or just basic stereo audio.

[...]

That's really the biggest downside to the Netflix Watch Instantly service: the selection is fairly limited unless you're a big fan of obscure movies. There aren't very many newer or more popular titles available for streaming and no HD content yet. Foreign films and documentaries are well represented however, including a number of engaging Red Envelope Entertainment titles produced by Netflix itself, many of which are award winning political or human interest titles.

Even most of Netflix's popular TV shows aren't available to watch on demand. For example, Family Guy, The Sopranos, Strangers with Candy, and Reno 911 are all only available from Netflix on DVD, but you can watch the L Word, Weeds, the Office (both BBC and US versions), and Fat Actress (if you dare) from the Roku box. Most TV shows only have older seasons available within Watch Instantly, with no episodes more recent than 2006.

I'm skeptical that "Roku's Netflix content only supports simple stereo audio". These days, they'd pretty much have to go out of the way to strip Dolby Surround out of it. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if the content options described are far less likely to have a surround track, but this kind of reads like the box doesn't support it (even though technically it doesn't).

Foreign and independent films along with older TV shows almost sounds more appealing than most of the current crap coming out.
post #3 of 29
Typo on page three: "but you must reach into your pocket to rental or download them."

"rental" should be "rent"
post #4 of 29
You must not run your home theatre with a universal remote - like the Harmony 880 I use.

Smart designers get their codes into the hopper at Harmony's website before public release. I plugged in to requisite codes when I added a Yahama YSP to my system. My Apple TV took a few days before they showed up in appropriate detail...but, show up they did.

But, they're all there and ready to rock. One remote for everything.
post #5 of 29
You forget to mention that the Apple TV allows you to view your own home made videos as well as ripped dvd's in your library. Since I have easily over 200 dvds in my library, this is an important feature.

Glor
post #6 of 29
Hmm... why can't we all just get along? I have been an avid Netflix fan since 1999. I also bought an AppleTV when 2.0 came out. I think they are completely complimentary. I don't see why they don't partner up and allow Netflix Watch Now work over AppleTV. All they need is a browser plug-in for Safari, which has already been seen working on AppleTV with various hacks.

While they are at it, why not do the same for Hulu? Apple could get advertising revenue sharing for views made on AppleTVs. While Hulu is cool for those on the road or living in a dorm room, Hulu is kind of pointless for those with an actual living room who like to watch TV on the couch.

If ATV got Netflix and Hulu, and the ability to browse other TV network web sites, like ABC, I would cancel my cable and use iTunes and the other 2 for all my entertainment.
post #7 of 29
"Netflix says that around ten percent of its library of 100,000 DVDs is available for streaming from its Watch Instantly service."

Actually, they don't say that. They say they have 10K *TITLES* available for download. Since dvds often contain multiple episodes, that means they have well more than 100K total titles available on DVD, and it's less than 10 percent available. Looking at a variety of listings on their site, you won't see any categories where they're even close to ten percent available as download. I know, I'm being picky, but that distinction should be made.

I don't see how this box could support 720p with a wireless G connection and no buffering. It seems like they're promoting it as a theoretical possibility, but I doubt many people would be able to get it to work reliably, if at all.

This looks like a cool idea, but far too limited to lay out the money and space/connections for a box that is so limited.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakernx01 View Post

Hmm... why can't we all just get along? I have been an avid Netflix fan since 1999. I also bought an AppleTV when 2.0 came out. I think they are completely complimentary. I don't see why they don't partner up and allow Netflix Watch Now work over AppleTV. All they need is a browser plug-in for Safari, which has already been seen working on AppleTV with various hacks.

While they are at it, why not do the same for Hulu? Apple could get advertising revenue sharing for views made on AppleTVs. While Hulu is cool for those on the road or living in a dorm room, Hulu is kind of pointless for those with an actual living room who like to watch TV on the couch.

If ATV got Netflix and Hulu, and the ability to browse other TV network web sites, like ABC, I would cancel my cable and use iTunes and the other 2 for all my entertainment.

I absolutely agree. From a technical standpoint, there's no reason one box (like the aTV) couldn't do iTunes, netflix, AND things like HULU and other streaming TV websites.

I wonder if Apple would be willing to work with these other companies, or if they wouldn't because it would hurt iTunes movie/tv sales (which it definitely would)? I'd like to see them take the iTunes hit in exchange for making the aTV more appealing and selling more. If they would make aTV compatible with these other things, it could become the defacto streaming box.

And what about Netflix doing a version of their player for iPhone/touch?
post #9 of 29
I agree w/ some that the differences are too great to really compare these products. This falls into the category of "match your needs".

That said, this version 1.0 from Netflix is way too limiting to appeal to me. Even if the unit is only $100, I wouldn't pay it because it offers so little at this stage, from content to technical features. And one has no assurances that when future enhancements do show up to better match Apple TV, that the current box will be able to handle it or that future boxes will not cost more (due to additional hardware components).

Plus, I just don't want a whole lot of "boxes" sitting around my big flatscreen TV w/ remotes to match! At this stage, I'm quite happy w/ my Apple TV 2 and a HDTV-tuned TV.

/
post #10 of 29
I received the Roku box last night, set it up...and took it down this morning. Picture quality was terrible, despite going through multiple set-up and connection issues with Roku tech support. They admitted that the Apple Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme base stations had "issues" that had not been resolved. Selection of titles was very limited. I'm returning the Roku today.

I was a sucker to buy the Apple TV last year and have taken that down after regular synching problems that Apple product managers in tech support are not able to resolve. Next step: hook up my Mac Mini and go that route. To Apple TV's credit, when it works, the picture quality is outstanding.
post #11 of 29
This seemed like a pretty fair comparison, and I agree that the two devices really look like they're more a compliment to each other than a direct competitor.

The only issue for Apple making a deal with Netflix to run on the AppleTV may be the DRM issue Apple has with every other service out there. Apple won't license FairPlay (or whatever they call their iTunes DRM solution) to anyone else, and the Studios won't let Netflix offer the service on any platform that doesn't have DRM. That's a big hurdle to overcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pairof9s View Post

I agree w/ some that the differences are too great to really compare these products. This falls into the category of "match your needs".
...
Plus, I just don't want a whole lot of "boxes" sitting around my big flatscreen TV w/ remotes to match! At this stage, I'm quite happy w/ my Apple TV 2 and a HDTV-tuned TV./

I'm really leaning towards just getting a Mac Mini and setting it up at the TV to replace the AppleTV and add functionality for this type of service (Netflix via Parallels is working acceptably).


Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

"Netflix says that around ten percent of its library of 100,000 DVDs is available for streaming from its Watch Instantly service."

Actually, they don't say that. They say they have 10K *TITLES* available for download. Since dvds often contain multiple episodes, that means they have well more than 100K total titles available on DVD, and it's less than 10 percent available. Looking at a variety of listings on their site, you won't see any categories where they're even close to ten percent available as download. I know, I'm being picky, but that distinction should be made.

This looks like a cool idea, but far too limited to lay out the money and space/connections for a box that is so limited.

I posted some info about this on another forum. Based on a few (reasonable) assumptions, such as an average of 22 episodes per season in the typical television series between 1960 and 2008, and that two randomly selected of the twenty-three categories of television Netflix offers instant viewing of.

For Watch Instantly purposes, NetFlix does not count a physical DVD as a title, they allow you to watch each episode of a TV series independently of whatever DVD it comes on. Example, of the old TV series Adam 12, which comes on 4 physical DVDs, on the Watch Instantly menu it lists 26 separate titles.

I calculated that of the "10,000 titles available," almost 2,000 (20%) titles are television series titles from just two different TV categories (crime dramas and action adventure). There's 23 categories and I only looked at 2 of them. What's worse is most of those shows are pretty bad programming. Some shows that have dozens of titles available for your viewing pleasure: The Hulk, Simon and Simon, Dragnet, Xena, Hercules, Every Law & Order ever made, Adam 12, The Rockford files, and on and on and on. The bulk of shows being from the 60s to the early 80s. Some of those titles may be appealing (I watched several Adam 12 episodes for nostalgia's sake (was a childhood favorite that was filmed in my neighborhood frequently), but most of those shows would have been better off left unresurrected (YMMV).

Since Netflix, probably intentionally, won't let you filter title searches on just Watch Instantly titles, it would be very difficult to determine what percentage of offerings are old tv shows, old movies, indie movies, etc. You're just going to have to take a free trial and peruse the offerings to see if the service would add value.

Bottom line for me: I was a former Netflix subscriber for a over a year, but Watch Instantly is interesting enough to continue the current free trial I am on into a paid subscription, but the Roku device is too ugly and too short on performance to shell out $100 for. I'm watching stuff on the big screen by connecting the laptop to the TV.
post #12 of 29
I recently seriously considered both an AppleTV and a Roku player or even a Vudu but really couldn't decide. They both seemed to have something lacking and it's the same thing with all the reviews and comparison of these devices I've read.

I've got a small DVD library, all my music in iTunes, and a Netflix account and a 1080p HDTV. I finally decided the cost

of basic HTPC, about $800.00 was worth it.

For the money I get:

-DVD player
-Blu-Ray player
-Access to all my pictures and video
-Access to all my music
-All iTunes content except HD movie rentals
-YouTube
-Netflix Watch Now
-Hulu
-Amazon Unbox
-Cinema Now, Movielink, Joost and so on and so forth
-All the networks' web site streaming
-A SD DVR. For an additional $200 I could have gotten an addon for HD.

In other words, I've got in one box an AppleTV, Roku Netflix box, an upconverting DVD player, a Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player and a Tivo. $800 is a real deal when you look at it that way.

Most importantly, with the industry in such flux right now and for the forseeable future I don't have to rely on one company's ability to negotiate with the content providers to have access to what I want. Not on Netflix, try iTunes. Not there, get a blu-ray disk. Don't want to pay for last week's "Lost", Go to abc.com.

Now, if Apple would only allow HD rentals via PC rather than locking them to an AppleTV I'd have just about everything I could want.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMGNYC View Post

Now, if Apple would only allow HD rentals via PC rather than locking them to an AppleTV I'd have just about everything I could want.

I'm guessing lack of HDCP is a hamper. Them studios sure do like their DRM and other security protocols of dubious worth.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

I'm guessing lack of HDCP is a hamper. Them studios sure do like their DRM and other security protocols of dubious worth.


No, the issue is they don't want any HD content live on the PC/Mac. Even with the satellite dvr's there is no way of getting a hd file off the box. I expect we will never see hd rentals or downloads to pcs.

Glor
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorfindeal View Post

No, the issue is they don't want any HD content live on the PC/Mac. Even with the satellite dvr's there is no way of getting a hd file off the box. I expect we will never see hd rentals or downloads to pcs.

Glor

I don't know, I've got a fully HDCP compliant Video Card and HDTV connected via HDMI. iTunes just needs to be able to figure that out in advance of offering you the rental so it knows whether to offer SD or HD. My guess is that it'd be too easy to copy the HD file off of the PC before it self-destructs compared to getting it off of an AppleTV.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorfindeal View Post

No, the issue is they don't want any HD content live on the PC/Mac. Even with the satellite dvr's there is no way of getting a hd file off the box. I expect we will never see hd rentals or downloads to pcs.

Glor

Except it's pretty easy to rip a Blu-Ray disk so what's the point. Maybe they'll offer them for sale only rather than rental.
post #17 of 29
"Comedians of Comedy" ??? WTF!

axe murderers of axe murdery.. that is TERRIBLE grammar, or something. it reads like ass
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
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post #18 of 29
I suspect that (or hope) Netflix would eventually license the technology to other hardware manufacturers (e.g., ATV, PS3). Given the cost of service (free if you have 1-at-a-time unlimited plan or higher) and superior than YouTube quality, it is difficult to criticize the service for lack of contents, high def video, or surround sound. I just rather not buy and install another box (particularly something this ugly) to my home theater. I need to conserve HDMI ports.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorfindeal View Post

No, the issue is they don't want any HD content live on the PC/Mac. Even with the satellite dvr's there is no way of getting a hd file off the box. I expect we will never see hd rentals or downloads to pcs.

Glor

But you can get the HD files off of an aTV, it's just a box with a hard drive. It's definitely a copy protection issue, shame they can't get it working with macs and PCs, but it might be too much of a pain to keep the studios happy right now.
post #20 of 29
I bought one of these the very day it was released. I have to say that I'm impressed. The UI has a simple polished, easy to navigate feel.

It's really great for Anime or TV series, I can watch any episode in any order without waiting for the next disc to arrive (how many time have you wanted an episode on another disc that hasn't been sent yet). And even at 3 out of 4 "quality dots", picture is terrific. Only when it hits one dot are you in RealVideo land. I love it.

Sure a hard drive (or more flash memory) would be great. The FF/RWD is funky. But the thing is about the size of 5 CD jewel cases and weighs about the same as my iPhone. Does it have room from improvement? Sure -- it's a 1.0 product.

But for $99, you get unlimited online viewing of a growing Netflix content. It's a hell of a deal, I think.
post #21 of 29
One thing that occurred to me with Netflix' current pricing is the watch-now service isn't scalable. Where does the money come from to pay for Netflix' bandwidth (and let's not even get into HD bandwidth requirements). It's easy to imagine people queuing up a solid week's worth of material and letting it run around the clock if they have the pipes at home.

I'm all for cheap media-streaming services, but is this really sustainable for Netflix if this takes off? I foresee the AOL modem fiasco all over again, except this time it will be buffering rather than busy signals. Someone needs to do an honest financial analysis of this service, and determine if the pricing is realistic.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

One thing that occurred to me with Netflix' current pricing is the watch-now service isn't scalable. Where does the money come from to pay for Netflix' bandwidth

I would think it would be obvious that this is a transitional plan. Once you switch everyone over to a online plan, they save the cost of mailing a million dvds a day. Once they have more content, and recent content, they might have online only plans that allow a certain number of views a day, week or month. Right now you have a certain number of dvds allowed out at one time. So, if you figure a 3 at at time plan allows you to view, at max, 6 dvds a week, allowing for turn-around time, they could base it on something like that.

Certainly Netflix created a unique business model when they went to unlimited plans. Hopefully they could do the same with downloads, while avoiding becoming just another pay-per-view option.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakernx01 View Post

I would think it would be obvious that this is a transitional plan. Once you switch everyone over to a online plan, they save the cost of mailing a million dvds a day. Once they have more content, and recent content, they might have online only plans that allow a certain number of views a day, week or month. Right now you have a certain number of dvds allowed out at one time. So, if you figure a 3 at at time plan allows you to view, at max, 6 dvds a week, allowing for turn-around time, they could base it on something like that.

Certainly Netflix created a unique business model when they went to unlimited plans. Hopefully they could do the same with downloads, while avoiding becoming just another pay-per-view option.

That brings up an interesting and fairly disturbing possibility - if they are starting this service out as a loss leader, who knows if they'll jack up the price once they've sold a bunch of boxes.

It would suck to spend $99 on a box that only streams cheap videos, then either cap the downloads or put the price way up. You're stuck with an expensive paperweight - at least if Apple made iTunes content less appealing, you can still watch your own content from your own drive. And that's assuming they actually improve the selection to something more appealing, which I'm skeptical will happen any time soon (and probably not ever at current prices). I'd have to agree that even if this catches on, I really doubt their business model is sustainable long term.

Or heck, who knows if they'll even be able to keep this around...do you really want to spend $99 to watch a service that could get completely discontinued, making the box absolutely worthless?

The fact is, their DVD unlimited plan isn't really unlimited since you only get 3 disks and it takes time to mail them back and forth. The physical limitation serves as a cap. Not to mention that they don't have to pay the copyright owner for individual views, which is what most companies want for downloads. I don't see how they can keep unlimited download plans indefinitely.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by glorfindeal View Post

You forget to mention that the Apple TV allows you to view your own home made videos as well as ripped dvd's in your library. Since I have easily over 200 dvds in my library, this is an important feature.

Glor

Nor should you forget to mention what a royale pain in the arse it is to rip those DVDs and home made videos on to it.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

I'm guessing lack of HDCP is a hamper. Them studios sure do like their DRM and other security protocols of dubious worth.

It's always the studios and never the negotiator?
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It's always the studios and never the negotiator?

In this case yes. HDCP was put in place at the studios insistence. No ability to lock out copying, no HD.
What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
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What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakernx01 View Post

Hmm... why can't we all just get along? I have been an avid Netflix fan since 1999. I also bought an AppleTV when 2.0 came out. I think they are completely complimentary. I don't see why they don't partner up and allow Netflix Watch Now work over AppleTV. All they need is a browser plug-in for Safari, which has already been seen working on AppleTV with various hacks.

While they are at it, why not do the same for Hulu? Apple could get advertising revenue sharing for views made on AppleTVs. While Hulu is cool for those on the road or living in a dorm room, Hulu is kind of pointless for those with an actual living room who like to watch TV on the couch.

If ATV got Netflix and Hulu, and the ability to browse other TV network web sites, like ABC, I would cancel my cable and use iTunes and the other 2 for all my entertainment.

Hear, hear.

Both of these services would be great. Though I am worried that Apple may be starting to think of themselves as a media distribution company instead of a hardware manufacture. As a manufacture they should be quick to add these services to the aTV, or at least make it easy for someone else to add them. As a media distributer they would see Netflix and Hulu as competitors not partners.
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What goes online stays online. What is online will become public.
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post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucerads View Post

I received the Roku box last night, set it up...and took it down this morning. Picture quality was terrible, despite going through multiple set-up and connection issues with Roku tech support. They admitted that the Apple Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme base stations had "issues" that had not been resolved. Selection of titles was very limited. I'm returning the Roku today.

I was a sucker to buy the Apple TV last year and have taken that down after regular synching problems that Apple product managers in tech support are not able to resolve. Next step: hook up my Mac Mini and go that route. To Apple TV's credit, when it works, the picture quality is outstanding.

It is a real shame you have had problems with your ATV, I wonder if it is a simply a bad one you have?

Mine has worked from day one perfectly, we watch stunning HD movies most Friday nights (they play within seconds and never glitch) and use it for iLife and iTunes content almost daily. I have never tried watching low resolution movies as I don't see the point hence Netflix equipment seems a bit weird to me.

On the subject of Apple equipment issues: I also have an Airport Extreme working perfectly which has a USB2 hub attached running a TM back up for our MacBook on a 500 GB USB2 hard drive, never failed yet. It also has an Epson printer on this hub accessed by all the Macs we have, two running VMware which also prints to it via Bonjour and a real PC also using Bonjour. Macs range from G4s, Dual G5s and 8 Core mac Pro plus laptops.

I read almost daily about all the issues associated with ATV, AE and TM ... I am always curious how all my gear works flawlessly if this equipment and OS X truly has all the problems I read about. Oh and my iBook G4 and MacBook never have Wi-Fi problems when traveling and link to networks without a hitch. They also always wake up immediately.

I must just be darned lucky I guess?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #29 of 29
It's much more comfortable and convenient to shop online. Saves time and effort. I am grateful we have this program nowadays. This is helping me a lot. I am a busy person and can hardly spare time for shopping.
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