Apple 'Media Center'

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I know a lot of people are going to say that this belongs in Digital Hub, but since it's hardware speculation, I say Future Hardware (until Apple makes it).


There have been several threads about how Apple should make a PVR Tivo box, or a home server, ...I think even a few about digital picture frames. Many people feel (and I am one of them) that Apple's best prospects right now lie in the "Digital Lifestyle Device" category- if for no other reason than that people are financially unwilling to buy another computer right now. I doubt there is much of the first time computer buyer market left... well, maybe in the third world, but I don't think Apple is going to go after that (not with the prices they have now).

I've posted before about how I think that much of the functionality of DLDs are already existing in the wide-screen iMac, but for most consumers, it's hard to think of a computer as an 'entertainment' device. There has always been a wide gap separating what people think of as Computers and as Consumer Electronics. I think Apple would be very smart to introduce a product that is essentially the guts of an iMac inside a "home entertainment center" friendly box (maybe the brushed metal device people are rumoring about) with a few video out options (I'm not too familiar with what's out there... it's been a long time since I've bought a TV) including an ADC connector for those with the cash to go all Apple.

I know Jobs has stated his opposition to a set top box. I don't think it would be one.

I think it would replace the set completely.

If this (hypothetical) device had a cable ready tuner/mpeg capture hardware included (ala El Gato's EyeTV), and a IR remote sensor on the front, you wouldn't need a TV at all. You could record shows on the hard drive and watch them either on your 46" wall mounted flat panel, or on any Mac in the house (via Airport and Rendezvous). Stick you iTunes library on there and you can finally listen to them on your home stereo without having to have your computer in the living room (something many people don't like) or having your computer on at all. Not to mention streaming over Airport... my iBook's 15gig drive would be a lot more usable without the 4gigs of MP3s that are on it, and my wife could listen to the songs on her iMac without putting 4gigs of identical data on her drive. After editing your home movie on iMovie, or transferring pictures into iPhoto, move them onto the devices hard drive so that the whole family can see them... watching them on the big-screen in the living room... on the iMac upstairs... Grandma, three states away, can watch them over IP.

Well, maybe not Grandma. Apple would get itself into a hornet's nest of lawyers if it developed a box that allowed you to store music and video, and share it over the internet, but I think you get my point.

This would be the Home Server without using that ugly 'Server' word. People are right when they say consumers don't want or need a server, but run this scenario by them(and don't call it a server), and I bet they change their minds.

This could also be a big long term money maker for Apple. I don't see much of a point in paying $99/year for .mac as it stands right now, but a device like the one I'm proposing would offer a lot of possibilities for .mac integration that would be worth it. Hell, don't people pay $5/month for Tivo service and listings...and if they don't want to allow you to share over IP, you could do it through your iDisk.

Well... what do y'all think?



  • Reply 1 of 5
    aaaa Posts: 57member
    -i'm with you-

    only thing i would miss is gaming for my kids, from one room to another duelling in the same game (or with other .mac suscribers, grandma?

    so, what size a box, and what will it pack exactly?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    jrcjrc Posts: 805member
    I'm pretty sure they'll make a media center...since I just bought a Dell, all in wonder, etc. to make one myself!

    Good thing I didn't buy a palm yet.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    [quote]only thing i would miss is gaming for my kids, from one room to another duelling in the same game


    I don't think that would be too much of a problem... this would, like I said, essentially be an 'iMac in a box'. It would be practical if it were to run OS X... that way they don't have to confuse people (and developers) with multiple operating systems.

    The thing that would make it practical for gaming, would be a few built in controller ports on the front of the box.

    Do game boxes use a standard port? If not maybe USB?

    I'm not much of a gamer...

    [quote]so, what size a box, and what will it pack exactly? <hr></blockquote>

    I was thinking a standard home stereo/DVD player size box... all sleek and brushed metal to make it look classy.

    That form factor would allow it to blend in with the rest of the 'entertainment center', and give ample room for the components.

    As far as a breakdown of specs...

    I don't know if it would need a G4, but if it has to burn DVDs it would be nice.

    A good sized hard drive for all that media and an extra drive bay for expansion (or maybe a matching add-on box to go under it connected by Firewire2)

    A Superdrive... slot-loading if it doesn't add too much to the cost.

    TV tuner/MPEG capture in addition to a fast 3D graphics card (if you're going to do gaming).

    Airport is a must... with the ability to be a software base station, since it's going to be on all the time.

    A/V ports on the back. Personally all I'd need, are audio out and ADC (for a sweet 22" CD), but I'm sure they would add something for people who have big screen TVs already.

    A few I/O ports on the front for connecting cameras, iPods, game controllers, and the like. They would probably be under a flip panel to keep the design clean.

    An IR sensor for the remote.

    Then maybe an iApp for presentation. Like a media browser. That would help to keep things from seeming too 'computer like'. It could run in full screen mode, acting like a TV most of the time... then when idle, it starts a slideshow from your iPhoto library... press a button on the remote (or the front panel) and iTunes pops up... another for iPhoto... and another for your movie library. I don't think that would be iMovie... it's to focused on editing. This would be more for browsing and viewing both your iMovies, and your pre-recorded TV shows.

    Maybe all of this could run as a shell to OS X. That way you could run normal OS X games on it, but it wouldn't seem like just a Mac in a home entertainment center case.

    There would be another button for a game browser that let you chose which games to play.

    I don't know...

    These are all just ideas.

  • Reply 4 of 5
    I got this in my in box today from the Apple Developer list:


    The rapid adoption of Rendezvous continues with TiVo, Brother, and

    Aspyr announcing new products incorporating Rendezvous networking.

    Rendezvous is Apple's innovative networking technology for automatic

    discovery and connection of devices over industry-standard IP

    networks such as Ethernet and 802.11 wireless networks.

    <a href=""; target="_blank"></a>;


    Then I went to


    TiVo?s Home Media Option: Key Features

    TiVo?s Home Media Option will fit into virtually any home network, making it easy to incorporate into new or existing, wired or wireless networks (802.11b). The premium package includes an upgrade to the TiVo Series2 and access to software that can be downloaded from TiVo?s website. Key features include:

    Broadband Remote Scheduling.

    Schedule recordings from the office or on the road and TiVo DVR will make the changes to your recording schedule in minutes, not hours or days. Subscribers can access remote scheduling from anywhere they can access the Internet. TiVo subscribers can schedule recordings from <a href=""; target="_blank"></a> and these changes will be relayed to their specified TiVo DVR in less than an hour, allowing for same day recordings.

    Enjoy the entertainment you want, anywhere in your home.

    The new TiVo Home Media Option will allow subscribers to stream music and photos stored on the PC directly to the family TV. With the TiVo remote, subscribers can relax in the living room and view digital photos and listen to digital music that is stored on the PC. Video can be streamed from a TiVo in the bedroom to a TiVo DVR in the living room. The TiVo Home Networking Option will support a number of different digital audio and image formats including JPEG and MP3.

    Broadband Content from Universal Music Group, Corbis Collection.

    TiVo has secured new relationships with some of the world's leading providers of digital content so that subscribers can immediately enjoy the entertainment experiences available through broadband with the Home Media Option. Universal Music Group will make available to all subscribers with the TiVo Home Media Option and a broadband connection the ability to playback selected music and promotional video from many of its top recording artists. And TiVo networked subscribers will be able to easily access and display compelling fine art, photography and illustrations from the Corbis Collection - the world's leading source of digital media - on their televisions. This feature enables TiVo Home Media Option subscribers to enjoy the world?s greatest pictures, on demand and in the comfort of their home.


    Maybe Apple's just going to let TiVo make the box... they already have a pretty big user base (not to mention they are making a product for a lot cheaper than Apple could). If Apple is able to integrate it's iApps w/ TiVo's hardware, it could be a big selling point. You don't get more 'digital hub' than that.

  • Reply 5 of 5
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    [quote]since I just bought a Dell, all in wonder, etc. to make one myself!<hr></blockquote>

    :eek: :eek: :eek:

    I won't knock PC's. I have a home built gaming rig based around A P4 2.4, Radeon 9700 Pro and a Cooler Master case, but a Dell?

    I am sort of wondering what the whole big deal is with this "Media center" thing. Maybe I don't quite see it but it seems like you would need your PC relatively close to your home entertainment setup to really take advantage of it.

    That compact Alienware rig is a little bit better. You could fit it in with your other hometheater gear.

    That said, it would be nice if you could at least buy the extra equipment needed so you could build something yourself.

    The only off the shelf rigs I like are from Apple.
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