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Summary:

Months of waiting for the AppleTV is over. The device, which I believe is going to act as rocket fuel for the independent video community, and some day put the likes of TiVo on the defensive, has finally started to ship. A privileged few, such as […]

Months of waiting for the AppleTV is over. The device, which I believe is going to act as rocket fuel for the independent video community, and some day put the likes of TiVo on the defensive, has finally started to ship. A privileged few, such as Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, had a chance to play around and review the unit.

……our verdict is that it’s a beautifully designed, easy-to-use product that should be very attractive to people with widescreen TV sets and lots of music, videos, and photos stored on computers. It has some notable limitations, but we really liked it. It is classic Apple: simple and elegant.

The NewTeeVee gang wanted one quite badly, so we decided to charge our Mastercard, except Apple wasn’t willing to take our money – at least today.

Our extended friend network fanned out through Silicon Valley, looking for the device, but couldn’t find a single on in any Apple store. Even the company store in Cupertino hadn’t received any AppleTV boxes. It won’t be till Friday when you can walk into an Apple store and buy one.

appletvstore.gif

The non-availability of devices on the day of the launch in Apple’s retail stores does bring up the question: Apple had all these months to get all its ducks in a row, and rake in the big bucks on the “opening weekend.” Well, that clearly didn’t happen. Why not?

Our theory is that as Apple keeps adding more products to its portfolio, we are going to see more delays, and more technical snafus. Such challenges are commonplace for large consumer electronics companies (and handset makers.) Apple, however is going to get a crash course in CE reality, as it transforms away from being just a computer company with handful of product lines. It has to overcome these challenges inorder to keep the early adopters – who give a nice little bump to its revenues – happy. We know the NTV gang is a little disappointed today.

Photos by Niall Kennedy

  1. I got word mine will arrive Friday. I had ordered it back when it was first announced.

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  2. Today is not launch day it is ship day. My announcement day order shows to be drop-shipping from Shenzhen, China. It arrived in Alaska today, enroute to Albuquerque.

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  3. Yes..this will be quite a year for online video/internet tv and definitely for Apple as well…

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  4. Even though I’m usually a big fan of Apple products, I’m not interested in this one at all. It requires an HDTV, yet only allows you to download tv shows/movies in SD. How is this any different from plugging your video iPod into the TV?

    If you want the real “Apple TV” experience, spend an extra $100 on a mac mini, hook that up and experience real HD. Access high quality videos on your network (or stored locally), access your iTunes music through iTunes shared music, and if you want tivo functionality buy a tv tuner + eyeTV.

    I was really disappointed when they announced this, hopefully v2 will be better.

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  5. I’m curious, does it ship with the standard Apple remote control? Reason that I ask, most cable set top boxes include these 30-50 button remotes with tiny cryptic button labels.

    Makes me wonder if Scientific Atlanta or Motorola have ever considered usability tests with mainstream users?

    Seriously, these big remotes are getting progressively worse. BTW, the IPTV STB remotes are very similar to cable; satellite STB are a little better; and TiVO better than most others.

    Regardless, there’s plenty of room for innovation with this handheld device that is the heart of the STB consumer experience.

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  6. Great I can finally get rid of this flakey Vista Media Center – when do they ship to Australia?! :-)

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  7. Bill,

    You have brought up an excellent point – okay I am going to pause and not buy this device. It doesn’t make sense and it is better to just get a Mac Mini and go for that instead.

    Thanks

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  8. Jesse Kopelman Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    I’m pretty disappointed in the Apple TV. Where’s the DivX/XviD support? A media player without that is like an iPod that doesn’t support MP3 and there is no way the original iPod would have been a success without MP3 support. I don’t see how the Mac Mini is only $100 more, though? Mac Mini has a list price that is $300 higher . . .

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  9. Ah, sorry, my prices were a little off. Did they raise the price of the mini? I thought it used to be $499 and you could get it cheaper refurbished…

    But I still feel the same way, I’m willing to pay double for a real mac mini media center, and would buy a mini right now but I already have PC’s running Snapstream’s BeyondTV on all my TV’s; don’t want to buy all new USB TV tuners when I have so many PCI one’s already.

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  10. Martin Spedding Thursday, March 22, 2007

    Hi,

    honestly after the badly designed Apple phone – who is going to write sms’s on a touch screen? They really should have done some market research first and seen that is what kids do with phones. The Apple tv product seems another lame duck product. Can’t you do what they Apple product does with cheaper better products today ? Maybe this is the year that people will realise when it comes to Apple it really is the case of the emperor’s new clothes ?

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