Apple Thinks Your Video Sucks


Remember when everyone was all excited about user-generated content? Wasn’t that, like, last week? Oh wait, it was today, at CES. Well, nobody told Steve Jobs. His keynote introduction of a couple high-profile digital media devices today featured approximately zero non-pro content. Over at Moscone, it was all about John Mayer, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Office, and Zoolander.

The Apple TV, while it doesn’t support over-the-air downloads, is set to offer the capability to play anything that works in iTunes, we were told at the Macworld demo area today. So yes, video podcasts are compatible. But what about the short clips that have found such fame and fortune lately? Apparently Steve Jobs and co. think they’re not appropriate for the living room.

Jobs is mostly right. On a small screen, amateur moviemakers can deliver “good enough” video that is watchable; while pro video may look better, in a 385×485 pixel window, it’s not that much better. Attention spans at the couch differ vastly from attention spans at the desk.

As for his demo, the perfectionist Jobs prefers to use professional photoshoots of “family vacations” and clean-faced American Eagle-style models for his precious keynotes. The largest Disney shareholder is going to push Hollywood movies and Grammy winners, especially as long as the best of UGC is still kitschy and under-produced.

At the same time, online video has got some real gems, and the usability geeks at Apple would have probably had some interesting insights about getting them into the living room. Maybe next year.



Just because Jobs didn’t show non pro content doesn’t mean Apple TV can’t be used to show user generated content.

He’s a huge conference and wants to show the best looking content possible. What do you think that is? Pirates of the Caribbean or some guy talking into his Logitech webcam?

Besides I’m sure there’s a popular viral video video podcast out there somewhere.


What a load of bunk! Just because he didn’t talk about it doesn’t mean it won’t do it! Like Front Row, Apple TV will show any Quicktime that resides either in iTunes or on your Mac. This machine is a gateway to all user content being displayed on a TV and you can be sure when they demo the next version of iLife in few months they’ll show that off.

Playing Rocketboom on a TV won’t sell one Apple TV box. Playing movies from Hollywood will…and Apple knows that.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

Good post. For all the iLife hype – seeing some UGC on the devices would be an appropriate gesture. Re the entertainment value of UGC, at my house we watch it on the couch (laptops in laps) – it’s great. The desirability of this will be much more clear though once we all figure out a reliable way to find high quality UGC content.


Maybe its just me, but the idea of sitting on my couch (floor rather, I’m in Japan) browsing mentos+coke videos just doesn’t seem quite as appealing as watching things like TV shows and films. Most people watch that stuff at work when they’re bored don’t they?

I think this is one area where the gootubes of the world aren’t going to make any inroads.

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