Originally Posted by rain
Yes, you are correct there.
I'm not talking about the studio's digital DRM on media, i'm talking about Apple not letting people steam formats other then quicktime to Apple TV.
This kind of thinking is why the Airport Express was a miserable failure. You could only stream audio from iTunes. I refer to it as Apple's DRM. 'Interoperability' works too I guess, less confusion.
In my original post, I mentioned that people are looking at this very issue and opting out of purchasing an Apple TV. I had 3 friends return them, and a few more bitch about it.
Not everyone wants to fork out $700 for a mini computer just to use as a media hub. Apple TV should be the product that satisfies that need. It's not.
When someone comes out with a quality, low-cost device that does satisfy those needs. The Mac Mini is as good as dead. The only thing keeping it going right now is people using it as a media hub.
Actually, the really sad thing is that AppleTV can't even play all QuickTime formats! There is simply no excuse for Apple TV to not be able to play, at an absolute minimum, any content that you can play natively in iTunes. Sure, you could use iTunes' "Convert for AppleTV" command, but you shouldn't have to. Not supporting non-QuickTime formats is one thing, but not even supporting their own set of QuickTime codecs is stupid! It made sense for the iPod given it's hardware constraints, but not for AppleTV.
The other significant problem preventing mainstream acceptance is it's inability to play our existing movies which for the majority of users is DVDs. Image how spectacularly unsuccessful
the iPod would have been if there were no way to listen to all the music you already had on CDs. Obviously, Apple can't sanction DVD ripping programs without pissing off the studios (but note that FrontRow will play video_ts files just fine), but how about including a $10 DVD drive in the AppleTV or enabling DVD sharing like the MB Air has (which I realize doesn't currently support video DVD sharing). If Apple really wanted to help kill off blu-ray in favor of downloads, they'd put a DVD drive in the AppleTV. That way it's a viable option for people looking to upgrade from their DVD player. If I want to replace my DVD player, currently the only option is to get another DVD player or get a blu-ray player. The average Joe would never consider an AppleTV because it can't play the movies they already own. But put in a DVD player and it's the perfect living room trojan horse to introduce people to online movies as an option to blu-ray. And, oh by the way, it locks them into the iTunes video ecosystem which is a plus for Apple.
The final, less annoying, issue with AppleTV is that all the video content has to be in iTunes. AppleTV can display my photos that aren't in iTunes by simply telling iTunes where they are. Why can't I do the same for the video in my Movies folder or elsewhere on my hard drive?
I think the media hub audience is a minor, but important, segment of the Mac mini market. I don't think it would be dead without that segment. While I use a mini as a media hub for my TV, it does far more duty than just that. It's also my file server, broadcasts iTunes streaming to several Airport Expresses throughout the house, and hosts all my Time Machine backup disks for the rest of the computers. And it's got unlimited storage via it's Firewire connection and is administered remotely via Leopard's screen sharing. Not bad for a $600 computer.