Admittedly, I'm a little obsessed with the AppleTV and after the announcement I eagerly went online to pull up some more info about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find answers to my questions, so I called up Apple and spoke to an unbelievably helpful and gregarious sales rep. Most of my questions seemed to stump him and he had to ask someone else for clarification, so here's what I found out.
Things you can't do with Apple TV:
- Shop on iTunes - You can't buy music or movies directly from the Apple TV you have to shop from a computer.
- Connect an iPod - You can't connect an iPod to the USB port and access it's media.
- Access the Media on the Apple TV from your computer - You can sync media to the Apple TV, but you can't access media on the Apple TV from other computers on the network.
- Record Live TV, Play DVDs - Yeah, the Apple TV is not a DVR, just like we all expected. And it doesn't have a DVD drive.
I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the Apple TV. I think it should be able to do more, and perhaps it will through software updates. Anyways, one question the sales rep asked me is "When do you think you might order one?" To which I answered "When it can do the things, I've just asked you about." But it was a really good question and it got me thinking about what would make be plunk down $300 for an Apple TV. Read on for my list.
Ok, here's what I want.
- Primary Media Source - I want to store all my music and media on the Apple TV and then serve that media to my computers. I don't want to have to turn on my computer and start up iTunes just to access the media on it from my TV.
- Expandable Storage - I'd like to be able to plug an external hard drive into an Apple TV, for when I run out of space on the Apple TV's internal hard drive. Essentially these first two items could be addressed by a sort of Apple TV and new Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station hybrid.
- Shop on iTunes - I want to be able to shop on iTunes from the Apple TV.
- iPod Connectivity - I REALLY want to be able to connect an iPod into it. I can't believe that the Apple TV doesn't have iPod connectivity?! Not even for me as much as I'd love for my friends to be able to come over with a movie or song on their iPod and be able to connect it to my Apple TV. To me, streaming media from a laptop isn't good enough.
- Play DVDs - I really don't want ANOTHER device. If the Apple TV played DVDs I'd be able to ditch my DVD player.
- Burn CDs and DVDs - Ok this is a long shot, but I'd love to be able to burn a slideshow or playlist from the Apple TV and cut my computer out of that process.
- Record Live TV - I know, never going to happen. But hey as long as we're dreaming...
The lack of iPod connectivity seems like a big misstep on Apple's part. I just don't see why you can't plug an iPod into it and select it as a source. Maybe the sales rep is wrong and you actually can. I really hope he was.
Also, the fact that you can't shop on iTunes with the Apple TV was a huge shocker to me. Right now the entry fee for shopping on iTunes is the cost of a computer, but if you could shop on iTunes using the Apple TV, Apple could widen their customer base even more. I guarantee if you could shop on iTunes with the Apple TV, we'd start seeing Apple TV in hotel rooms before then end of the year.
Oh, well. Maybe we'll start to see some of
these features added through firmware updates.
I'll keep my fingers crossed.