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Apple TV vs. Everyone Else

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Now that orders are being taken for the Apple TV and everyone else has shown off their competing products at CES, it’s time to decide how to spend that money burning a hole in your pocket. Which wireless-enabled, high-definition set top box will soon be cluttering your living room?


Photo by Ryan Block of Engadget.

Sony Bravia Internet Video Link Box: Only works with new Bravia displays, isn’t wireless, and will be tied to Sony’s content offerings. Next!

NetGear Digital Entertainer HD: Fashionably styled like an Apple product. But no internal storage and a $349 suggested retail price. Meh.

Sling Media SlingCatcher
: Could be the best of the bunch, all the more attractive for its sub-$200 price point. Problem? Not available until this summer.

Apple TV: $299, 40GB of storage, Wireless-N connection, ships in February. Definitely the leader of the pack at the moment.

12 Responses to “Apple TV vs. Everyone Else”

  1. The Xbox 360 has the specs and the software, certainly, but is a bit above Apple’s price point. It’s true the Linksys router is a great bargain right now, but I’m not sure if it supports HD.

    Don’t think I’m not bothered by the lack of DVI and support for Divx. And I honestly thing the Sling solution could be much more compelling, and cheaper to boot. Ultimately, I think my solution is going to be some el-cheapo commodity device that’s open to hackery.

  2. How about Xbox 360? Streams music, video, and photos from any Windows XP/Vista machine, at up to 1080i. If your main box is Win MCE or Vista Home Premium and has a tuner, add DVR capability to the list. The interface (either version of MCE) is better than Apple TV (understandable, they were probably focusing all their efforts on the real star of today’s announcement). Starting at $299.

    Oh yeah… and it is a latest-generation gaming console, and a DVD player, and rips CDs directly to the hard drive (if so equipped), and for an additional $199 it plays HD-DVD. And it hit retail in November of 2005–about the time that Front Row was first announced.

  3. Without XviD/DivX compatibility, the AppleTV is far too limited with regards to compatibility with the great majority of content that’s available out there. If all I wanted to do was buy my video content from iTunes, it’d be great — but this is an early-adopter product, and right now, the early adopters aren’t using DRM-ed videos in H.264 format.

    So no thanks, I’ll keep my (sub-$200) Netgear eva700, which does everything Apple’s gear will do, and then some (and works just fine with non-widescreen TVs). Sure, there’s no hard drive in the Netgear box — but there aren’t any other moving parts either, making it silent. My content’s stored on a big NAS in the closet, where it belongs.

  4. I’ll be purchasing an Apple TV. I’ll admit to being a fanboy, so this thing will mesh will with the other gadgets I have (PowerBook, iPod, etc.).

    The Slingbox/SlingCatcher combo looks interesting though, so I’ve got my eye on those. If they released a Slingbox with a built in ATSC tuner for OTA HD, I’d probably stick them in my setup as well.