My Digital Life: Appliances versus Computers

by Erica Sadun

So I asked the question: is AppleTV going to be a new kind of iPod? Chuq Von Rospach, replying by e-mail, suggested that as an iTunes-slaved appliance, AppleTV will be similar to but in a different class from the iPod. Neither one is meant to be a central processing hub and both serve stored data but they're used in very distinct ways.


2007-03-13 09:35:23
I'm not sure you could class the AppleTV 'headless' (in the server / computer sense), as the attachment of a 48" screen would appear to be quite a big 'head'. Granted it's not showing you the command line / anything lower level than the modified version of FrontRow that appears on your TV screen, but it's still not exactly 'headless' (any more than the Mac Pro / Mac Mini are)...

Personally I think of it more like a wireless iPod - still tethered to an iTunes somewhere in the house (or to several via streaming), albeit wired/wirelessly (via IP/Ethernet/802.x instead of FireWire / USB), but nonetheless showing / playing you that iTunes content out of the AppleTVs (or rather, the connected TV's) speakers / screen.

The streaming method seems rather like iTunes -> AirTunes / Airport, and the sync method seems like iTunes -> traditional iPod (manual or auto sync).


Brad Spry
2007-03-13 09:39:19
The AppleTV is connectivity, connecting your TV to the iTunes Store.

Think of it as the new cable or satellite box. Apple needed a box, thus AppleTV.

2007-03-13 12:06:25
I see it as an extension of the Airport express... or a big ipod that just connects to the TV. I would like one myself. I used to have an ibook G3 dedicated to iTunes and connected to my TV and to my stereo. But, its hard drive died (and recently its AC adapter) so... at some point I'll replace it with an AppleTV.
2007-03-13 12:24:31
AppleTV is a headless video iPod, syncing contact with one main computer, but intended to be used in one place rather than as a portable device. In addition, it offers streaming capabilities from other computers, a feature that goes beyond current iPods. I think this is all very obvious from Apple's marketing materials and how AppleTV has been integrated into the iTunes software--there are not any extra hidden defining features that people will discover once they get their hands on these, despite all the chatter and speculation on the Internets.

If the term "headless" is being adopted from computers, it is appropriate. Any non-all-in-one computer is essentially "headless," meaning you supply your own monitor. So yes, AppleTV is a headless video iPod, because you supply your own screen--your TV.

I think it might be more fruitful to compare and contrast the features, capabilities and benefits of connecting an Apple TV to your TV vs. connecting a Mac Mini or Mac Pro and using Front Row. How about an article spelling all of that out?

appliance parts
2007-11-12 07:39:59
I think it just depends on why you bought it. For me it's perfect. I don't subscribe to cable television because I watch around 3 or 4 shows every tv season. For me it's cheaper to just subscribe to a season of television. Right now I have Monk, Psych and Eureka. It downloads to my Mac, then syncs to my Apple TV, then I watch it on my TV. Once I'm done it's erased from the Apple TV hard drive. So, for me, 40 GB it's more than enough. I have a couple video podcasts I subscribe to, and may get the occasional movie off UseNet; so I don't care about DVR or anything. HDTV would be nice, since I have a 760p TV, but it's not a deal breaker. I think it's great for me, but not the perfect product for a lot of geeks out there.

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appliance parts
2007-11-13 12:42:25
Apple is insane, they just wanna monopolize the whole ..hmm.. world?! They are the best with their iPods, they just can't get enough. On the other hand, I understand them, if you have power, you'll want more..The TV idea is interesting I think if it's going to have the Apple quality (d'oh).

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