Posts Tagged ‘AppleTV’

With iPad out of the way, AppleTV to get some love?

Remember Steve Jobs’ hobby?

Yes, I’m talking about the AppleTV, Cupertino’s long neglected set-top box. Well, apparently, it’s been getting some love after all, reports Engadget.

A completely revamped version is in the works that ditches the current AppleTV OS in favour of something more akin to the iPhone/iPad with, presumably, a similar third-party developer model so that apps can be supported. If so, this is something we’ve been asking for since the original AppleTV launched.

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Vudu now offering Disney HD movies for purchase on same 'day and date' as Blu-ray

Disney HD content for purchase on Vudu

Disney HD content for purchase on Vudu

Vudu (U.S.-only) is to offer new Disney HD releases for purchase through its set-top box movie service on the same “day and date” as their competing DVD/Blu-ray release. It’s the first time that Disney has broadly licensed its content in HD for sale through an online video service, beyond one-off offerings or ‘rental-only’, says Vudu. Alongside new releases, 60 library films are also being added to Vudu’s ‘for purchase’ HD catalog. Disney chose to work with Vudu, says the company, “in large part because of the [picture] quality” offered by the service.

Interestingly, Steve Jobs, the guy who runs Apple, is also Disney’s majority shareholder after the motion picture company bought animation studio Pixar a few years back. Therefore, I wonder how long it will be before iTunes secures the same access to Disney’s HD library as Vudu, if it hasn’t already.

Steve Jobs finds time for hobby (Apple TV software update)

It’s nice to know that Steve Jobs and his faithful army of Apple engineers are still able to find time to spend on the company’s hobby. I’m talking about the Apple TV of course, which today received a minor software update.

The Apple TV Software Update 2.3 adds the following features to the company’s set-top box:

  • the ability to stream music via AirTunes to Airport Express-connected speakers or other Apple TVs connected to same local network
  • improved support for third-party remote controls
  • playlists in iTunes that contain Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, and Music Videos can now be seen on Apple TV
  • support for volume control in Music

Although this latest update is a minor one, it’s at least proof that Apple hasn’t abandoned the Apple TV completely. Having said that, the company’s Internet TV set-top box is starting to look really long in the tooth with it’s closed nature (the 2.3 update breaks existing hacks) and nearly sole existence within the iTunes eco-system.

See also: AppleTV 2 breaks free from the PC, remains under Apple’s lock and key

As I’ve argued many times before, Apple should open up the Apple TV to third-party developers or at least take a page from TiVo’s book and partner more aggressively, something that the company seems loathed to do in order to protect sales of movies and TV shows through the iTunes Store.

On that note, I wonder how Steve Jobs feels about the prospect of YouTube, a third-party video service the Apple TV does support, adding full-length movies and television shows from major Hollywood studios.

Don't call it a hobby: Netflix and TiVo continue to push Internet TV into the living room

No longer content with dissing his company’s own offering, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is now calling the whole product category a “hobby”. But that isn’t stopping others from forging ahead to bring Internet TV into the living room, with both TiVo and Netflix rolling out partnerships this week to give their customers more content and hardware choices respectively. But first back to what Jobs said during the company’s Q4 earnings call on Tuesday.

“I think the whole category is still a hobby right now. I don’t think anybody has succeeded at it and actually the experimentation has slowed down”, said Jobs in answer to one analyst’s question about how Apple sees the digital living room opportunity in the next year. “A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded away, so I’d have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture capital outlooks and stuff, I continue to believe it will be a hobby in 2009.” (via Seeking Alpha)

That’s a fairly dire prognosis from Jobs, and suggests that the company might purposely be taking its eye off the ball when it comes to the living room, especially as Apple pursues more developed and profitable markets such as that of the iPhone (although you should always be careful when taking what Jobs says at face value). Either way, for those companies that are still in the market, now seems like an ideal opportunity for greater experimentation and to give consumers more non-Apple choices. On that note, let’s return to those announcements.

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