Disney chief talks up Apple's iTV media hub

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
After playing with a pre-production unit, Walt Disney chief executive Robert Iger says Apple's forthcoming iTV streaming media hub is a "compelling" device that will change the way people enjoy and share their video content.



"The new device that Apple unveiled last week, which they are calling iTV, is pretty interesting," Iger told analysts at a Goldman Sachs conference on Tuesday.



"What I like about it, by the way, is it may be an opportunity to actually charge people for a PVR experience," he said. "In that, if they forgotten to set their TiVo device or their PVR -- or they just have no plans to do it -- but want to watch an episode they missed, they can go to iTunes, buy it for $1.99 [and send it to the] set top box of sorts, wirelessly, and watch it on the television."



Iger noted that in the past people could only watch their iTunes video content on an iPod or a PC. "So that's kinda interesting for us because we think that it's yet another opportunity to expand the pie, so to speak, and in this case to actually get paid for a PVR type of experience," he said.



When asked about his experience with an iTV prototype and its ease of use, Iger said, "It's a small box about the size of a novel -- and not War and Peace by the way -- it's relatively thin. It plugs into the television like any other peripheral would like a DVD device."



"It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."







iTV can also stream content live through the box to a TV screen, Iger said. "Or it has a small hard drive on it so you can download what you put on the device -- on your computer on your itunes -- to the television set."



According to Iger, iTV is "relatively easy to use." He said it features a "simple kinda plug and play" interface and an "extremely easy remote control device."







"I found it to be pretty compelling," Iger said. "I sat in a living room setting. It felt like a game changer to me in many respects. As a content provider, that was very exciting."



Going forward, the Disney chief said he expects growth in the area of people watching television content on their home computers, especially as computer screens continue to increase in size. He also hinted that, sometime down the line, Apple may improve its iTV and digital media offerings to include HD content.



It features "DVD quality, not HD quality at this point," he said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 211
    Quote:

    "It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."



    does that mean you can only stream to it from one computer? i'd really like it if i could stream from my main computer and occassionally a laptop.
  • Reply 2 of 211
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by admactanium


    does that mean you can only stream to it from one computer? i'd really like it if i could stream from my main computer and occassionally a laptop.



    I think it means you can choose which computer you want to tap each time you use the iTV. It sounds like you can switch to other machines whenever you want.
  • Reply 3 of 211
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.
  • Reply 4 of 211
    It kinda doesn't make any sense if you have to choose only 1 computer for the iTV. I'm wondering if Iger just misspoke or misunderstood. His whole explanation of the iTV seems a little shaky in that way. Currently, Front Row uses Bonjour so that you can see all the shared items on every computer on your network.
  • Reply 5 of 211
    iq78iq78 Posts: 256member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcstewart38


    It kinda doesn't make any sense if you have to choose only 1 computer for the iTV. I'm wondering if Iger just misspoke or misunderstood. His whole explanation of the iTV seems a little shaky in that way. Currently, Front Row uses Bonjour so that you can see all the shared items on every computer on your network.



    The fact that you use iTV to choose which computer you want it to use, means that you can choose which computer you want it to use. So while you might be stuck streaming from one computer at any given time, you can always select another computer to stream from.



    I guess the only other option is that iTV looks at ALL the computers and compiles it's music list, movie list, photo list to include the contents of all the computers at the same time. While this would be neat in a lot of respects, it is asking a lot.
  • Reply 6 of 211
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    The hard drive nugget is interesting. I wonder if it will just act as a kind of cache for frequently-used content. It also could act as a buffer - videos could be downloaded to the iTV and the played from the hard drive, rather than streamed directly. That way, poor wireless connections and speeds would still work. People have been talking up 802.11n as the wireless protocol, but everyone would have to change the wireless cards in their computers in order to take advantage of it. The presence of a buffer would ensure that existing wireless cards would work appropriately, though it might take some time to fill the buffer a bit before the movie would start playing.
  • Reply 7 of 211
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IQ78


    The fact that you use iTV to choose which computer you want it to use, means that you can choose which computer you want it to use. So while you might be stuck streaming from one computer at any given time, you can always select another computer to stream from.



    Building on what IQ78 said ... think what we do today with iTunes (or iPhoto) sharing across our (home) LANs. To listen to a track or playlist from iTunes on some other computer, I have to choose that computer as the source, along the way to choosing the individual track/playlist. Why would we expect iTV to be substantially different from that?



    P.S. Hi, everybody - my first post. After reading AI more and more regularly, I decided I couldn't let everyone else have all the fun, so I've signed up.
  • Reply 8 of 211
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider


    "It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," he added. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes VIDEOS, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."



    Yes! There is the silver lining if it streams videos I am on board.
  • Reply 9 of 211
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    ecking - what do you mean, I thought it was clear from the beginning that it did video?
  • Reply 10 of 211
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland


    Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.



    Why get excited about a hard drive if there's no TV tuner? If there's no tuner, what's there to record?



    I have to ask this again and yes I'm shouting. WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?
  • Reply 11 of 211
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1


    WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?



    To play the content that's on your computer on your TV. I'm not sure why people wouldn't want to do that. I know people who have DVRs love them to death, but the fact is that they've been a flop. People don't buy them. They've been out for how many years, but have less than 1% of households. People just aren't interested in them, apparently. Compare that to DVD players, for example, or, more relevant, to computers.
  • Reply 12 of 211
    vineavinea Posts: 5,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell


    They've been out for how many years, but have less than 1% of households. People just aren't interested in them, apparently. Compare that to DVD players, for example, or, more relevant, to computers.



    7-16%, Still not stellar.



    Vinea
  • Reply 13 of 211
    A hard drive or some storage was pretty obvious. The interface was not going to be streaming. Plus Apple would need a way to update the software on the device in the future. I think the hard drive will really just help with the buffer and will handle it behind the scenes for you. Letting you know if it has a whole movie in cache already with a little checkmark or something, so you don't have to be streaming from the computer.
  • Reply 14 of 211
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1


    Why get excited about a hard drive if there's no TV tuner? If there's no tuner, what's there to record?



    I have to ask this again and yes I'm shouting. WHY WOULD I BUY THIS IF IT DOESN'T HAVE DVR FUNCTIONALITY?



    Do you read?



    Thats like asking why people buy airport expresses without the built in capability to rip cds or record FM radio
  • Reply 15 of 211
    Personally, DVR has changed the way I watch TV. Sans commercials and at my convenience. However, the iTunes model appears to have $2 an episode vested interest in not including DVR features. However, right now I pay way too much for digital cable plus broadband internet. I see no reason why, in the future, a subscription service to Apple could not offer all the things that Time Warner gives me now. I mean we are talking in the neighborhood of $100 per month plus. Add on demand movie rentals and purchases from the entire iTunes video library, and you have an end game product. The iTV box may be the first edition of the box that eventually replaces the tv top cable box.
  • Reply 16 of 211
    dcqdcq Posts: 349member
    I've been thinking. (Never a good sign...)



    What would be the easiest and most convenient way to get your iTunes videos and movies from your computer to your TV?



    Burn to DVD. Obviously.



    Why can't we? It's not the technical capability, since Apple introduced DVD burning ages ago (last millenium, IIRC).



    It's gotta be the movie studios (not like this is a surprise).



    But Apple must've known that any movie store that prohibits you from playing your movies on your frikin TV is just a geek toy (coughunboxcough), and not a serious mass-market solution.



    Therefore, boys and girls, pony up your $299 MPAA-paranoia tax.



    Screw that. (I don't think I've ever said that about an Apple product, other than Apple store RAM.) If that's my choice, I'll just pirate movies.



    The lack of burning pisses me off. I mean, when something makes the RIAA look liberal and open-minded (after all, they have deigned to allow you to listen to your music in more than one setting by allowing you to burn at least a few copies of your own music), you've gotta step back and wonder.



    And I wonder what the legal basis of these DRM restrictions are anyway. So far the debate on piracy has been between viewpoint A, claiming that you've bought the disks and its content and can do whatever the heck you want with it (civil libertarians), and viewpoint B, claiming that you've bought a liscence to view a digital file of someone else's property (greedy corporate whores). [can you guess which viewpoint I hold? ] Even in the latter, there is no distinction between being able to watch the movie at home in the living room, on the computer, in the airport on a laptop, at a friend's house, in the car, etc.



    Why in the world should a digital download have legal restrictions on how you view that digital file?



    Fine. Create video playlists that you can burn only 5 or whatever times. Hasn't the MPAA learned anything from iTunes success with music?



    Morons! [/rant]
  • Reply 17 of 211
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zpapasmurf


    Thats like asking why people buy airport expresses without the built in capability to rip cds or record FM radio



    Excactly!
  • Reply 18 of 211
    As we know it today the iTV is an expensive replacement of a video and audio cable. It's not like it's a problem to connect a MacBook Pro or an iMac to a TV. It's been working fine the last couple of years. No problems.



    iTV would be great if it could do EVERYTHING that iTunes could do, without a computer present. And for me who's got a powerbook, it would be perfect to have my entire music and video and movie library at a remote location (the iTV) because I don't have space on my hard drive for both music, video and work. It's simply impossible. It's tight as it is already. The iTV should represent the iTunes master Library = it should have a slim 120+GB hard drive reserved for music and movies. It would also be great to be able to buy stuff from the iTunes Store without a computer.
  • Reply 19 of 211
    I don't believe that the iTV has a hard drive in it.

    Iger is not technically savvy and is describing how he thinks it works.



    I believe the USB2 port on the back will allow you to plug in an external hard drive.

    In fact I'm pretty certain when the iTV launches, we will also see the launch of iRAID.



    $299 for iTV(code name) = wireless media center

    $299 for iRAID(code name) = secure storage for your important digital assets



    The kicker is iRAID will be marketed as a back up solution to go with TimeMachine.

    Digital media storage is going to become an important issue for folks.

    Consumers are going to be reluctant to purchase digital media if it can be lost so easily.

    Apple can tap this market and provide a simple solution that anyone can use.
  • Reply 20 of 211
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland


    Did I hear hard drive? Hurrahh!! If the HD was about 80 gig that would be so cool.





    If there is one hopefully there will be a PVR hack soon after so someone can actually find a serious use for this thing.
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