Is The Apple TV Dead?


I’ve enjoyed using using the Apple TV for the past few months. It’s awesome as a media extender (bringing music, photos, and movies from the desktop to the living room) and as an entertainment hub for YouTube videos and movie rentals. 

But with recent announcements, the competition is becoming more intense:
  • Microsoft will integrate the Netflix “watch now” service into the Xbox, coming this fall. 
  • Sony announced a movie download service for the PS3. It’s pay per download and pricing seemed very similar to the Apple TV.
  • Amazon announced a video on demand service, with movies and television shows streamed to the browser. It will replace Amazon Unbox. The service will also be available to Sony HDTV owners who purchase a $300 piece of hardware.
Also, add video websites like ABC.com, and the ever-present piracy, and the Apple TV becomes an increasingly questionable product.
Video distributed over the Internet to the television is shaping up as next “format” war – beyond the next-generation disc format we just endured, where Blu-Ray killed HD-DVD. The winner stands to make a ton of money through bypassing the cable and satellite companies. But this war may actually be more pleasant for consumers, what with the wealth of free and ad-supported options and lack of $400 and standalone players.
Still, the ball is clearly in Apple’s court to improve the Apple TV. The device is increasingly a hard sell to many customers – any current Xbox or PS3 owner isn’t likely to purchase an Apple TV, and with the Xbox price drop to $300, a game console is an increasingly more sensible purchase even if you’re not into gaming.
Apple fan that I am, I fear the Apple TV that I’ve come to love is headed to the hall of shame along with the G4 Cube and the iPod HiFi.
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