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Apple vs. Google TVs

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the can-there-be-only-one dept.

Google 403

This SFGate article begins, "Apple and Google just kicked off the first round of their battle for the living room. Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead. It's still early, and this could change, but it looks like Apple is making an all-around smarter bet than Google." I haven't tried out the Google device yet. The Apple unit is decent, but it's so focused on TV rental that it makes it difficult to work with an existing library of media; between the transcoding, and tedious menu navigation... well, it's a good thing it's only $99. It's a dang cheap way to get your stuff on your bigger screens, provided you're willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

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Based on what we've seen so far (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#33826358)

"Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead"

Really? Based on what I've seen so far, regular television manufacturers are in the lead.

Based on what I saw in the article (4, Interesting)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | about 4 years ago | (#33826452)

If I don't buy a palm-sized AppleTV, Steve Jobs may crush me with it. Seriously, billion-dollar company and that's the best picture they'd allow?

Although in all honesty, why are we talking AppleTV? Mac mini's are a little more expensive, but that (+boxee) has been my awesome set-top box for over a year now.

-Matt

Re:Based on what I saw in the article (3, Funny)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | about 4 years ago | (#33826568)

I agree. I took one look at that picture of Jobs and my first thought was, "Watch out for crazy Steve!"

Re:Based on what I saw in the article (1)

rinoid (451982) | about 4 years ago | (#33826766)

I'm with you -- still running a core duo 2 generation Mini with upgraded RAM I bought as a refurb from Apple as my tv, radio, dvr, dvd player, rental place, netflix, and occasional web surfing device.

Lo so many years (seriously, right after iTunes appeared) ago I ripped an extensive collection of CDs and put them on an external firewire drive that's always connected to a host machine. The drive stays awake but the machine goes to sleep.

Re:Based on what I saw in the article (2, Interesting)

sl0ppy (454532) | about 4 years ago | (#33827152)

i'm curious what you're using for netflix on the device. i've tried understudy and boxee, and was sorely disappointed with the issues of both. i purchased the appletv solely for netflix support, but would still be happy to go back to just my mac mini (which is used for playing audio/video off the local network, hulu, boxee, sapphire, etc via front row).

Re:Based on what I saw in the article (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33826890)

>>>why are we talking AppleTV? Mac mini's are a little more expensive

Little? The article says the V2 AppleTV is just $99. MacMini + Boxee is about 8 times more. As for the picture, Steve Jobs can't help that he got old. Someday you & I will look the same.

Re:Based on what I saw in the article (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33827162)

Someday you & I will look the same.

I don't care how old I get, I'm not wearing turtlenecks.

A little more? (3, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | about 4 years ago | (#33826948)

About 7 times the cost.

Why not run Boxee on the old Apple TV? (4, Interesting)

name_already_taken (540581) | about 4 years ago | (#33826984)

Or buy a device that actually fits your needs, right out of the box?

I just bought a second Apple TV (the old model, it's only $149 on clearance with a 160GB hard drive)*.

The first thing I did was patch it using the readily-available patchstick software and it now has Boxee and XBMC on it. I get way more usage out of XBMC than Boxee, but that's just me. Presumably the new Apple TV will have similar hacks available for it real soon now.

The thing is, our main use for the Apple TV boxes is to use them as designed - to play our iTunes library of music, and look at our pictures from iPhoto. Honestly I've never even tried to watch anything other than a music video via the Apple software on the box. We have a library of videos and movies on a 1TB WD MyBook World Edition on our network, and we use XBMC to watch those.

The Apple TV is a great product, if you want to use it for what it's designed for. If, on the other hand, you want an open, hackable device, look elsewhere.

I have never understood why people think it's worthwhile to complain that a product that is marketed as a closed box, is actually a closed box, especially when there are other alternatives out there. It's like if I went out and bought a really expensive electronic toothbrush and then complained to everyone that it can't be easily modified to wash my car or polish furniture.

* I wanted the older model of the Apple TV because it actually stores all of your iTunes/iPhoto content on its internal hard drive, so you don't need a computer to be on in order to watch that content.

Re:Based on what we've seen so far (4, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33826844)

Don't forget that if we're talking about set-top boxes to access network content, the Xbox 360 is in the lead, followed by the PS3. Way behind them are the Apple and Google TV's.

Re:Based on what we've seen so far (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33826978)

Microsoft disabled my X360. No more online streaming.

tivo premier blows them both away (0)

MichaelKristopeit 18 (1916664) | about 4 years ago | (#33826374)

who is out there asking to add ANOTHER device to their living room and explain to everyone how to change the tv input source?

the tivo premier integrates with cable service encryption schemes, supports any external hard drive, and provides all of the network functionality of the apple and google devices.

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (1)

Arcady13 (656165) | about 4 years ago | (#33826540)

The TiVo Premiere is a fine device, but it will not work with "any external hard drive" and won't play any iTunes content with DRM. You have a to use a TiVo-approved specific (over-priced) external drive. You also have to pay a monthly fee. If you want to play iTunes content downloaded from Apple, you need an AppleTV. The devices' abilities only really overlap on Netflix playback, where the TiVo interface is really outdated, compared to almost any other platform (Apple, Roku, PS3, Wii, etc.)

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (1)

MichaelKristopeit 18 (1916664) | about 4 years ago | (#33826740)

you're wrong... i use an external hard drive case i bought before tivo existed, and i have used 3 different drives in it that have all worked...

you're also wrong about needing an AppleTV to play iTunes content downloaded from apple... i use a mac mini.

i prefer the tivo netflix interface to the very slow to load PS3 interface, that only shows 4-5 movies on the screen at once.

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33826862)

haha, the fact that you sue a mac mini still proves his point. you don't use a tivo for that.

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (0, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit 29 (1916936) | about 4 years ago | (#33826926)

the difference between necessity and sufficiency is something most idiots struggle with.

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit 30 (1916938) | about 4 years ago | (#33826976)

i have yet to file suit against any of the computing devices i own.

your purported facts are nothing but lies, moron.

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (1)

Arcady13 (656165) | about 4 years ago | (#33826938)

You would have to hack the TiVo to use a generic drive case. A stock TiVo HD or Premiere only works with the WD MyDVR Expander. And a Mac mini is a not a TiVo, is it now?

Re:tivo premier blows them both away (0, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit 22 (1916794) | about 4 years ago | (#33827116)

i did not hack my tivo... the external drives worked out of the box... i have no clue where you are gathering your lies from, or why you wish to disseminate them in the face of someone who owns the device and can prove you are wrong.

you need an AppleTV

you DON'T NEED an appletv, moron. i don't have an appletv, and yet i have a small footprint, low power HDMI source for my itunes DRM content.

there is a difference between necessity and sufficiency, moron.

FTFS (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33826386)

It's a dang cheap way to get your stuff on your bigger screens, provided you're willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

Roku Box [roku.com] or WDTV [wdc.com] , anyone? No hoops to jump through there...or, if you have an Xbox 360 or PS3, TVersity [tversity.com] is a FANTASTIC solution.

Re:FTFS (3, Informative)

KillaGouge (973562) | about 4 years ago | (#33826504)

for the 360, I've found that PS3Media Server is better than TVersity. At least with PS3MS I can choose to use subtitles and alternate languages in MKVs.

Re:FTFS (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | about 4 years ago | (#33826970)

I want to get rid of cable and use one of these boxes, but I want to be able to download shows, or alternatively, play downloaded video. Also, I want to be able to use a real keyboard. Can you recommend a device that would most easily accomplish this? Thanks.

Re:FTFS (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33827136)

If you insist on using a keyboard, your best bet would be to go with a self-built miniITX system or one of the more powerful nettops paired with a wireless keyboard like this one [amazon.com] .

If you already have a PS3 or an Xbox 360, and you're willing to forgo the keyboard, then TVersity would be your best bet. It's free (as in beer), can stream video directly from BBC, Youtube, Hulu, and others...plus, it will automatically transcode (if necessary) any audio, video, or picture file from your computer and stream it to your console. The automatic transcoding alleviates any concerns regarding file formats...for example, you could stream a .mov file to your Xbox 360 with it.

Re:FTFS (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 years ago | (#33827004)

not just that, if you have a Sony BDP-s370 [sony.co.uk] blu-ray player, you can (apart from play blueray discs of course), plug a USB HDD into it and play movies on that (even in mkv format), or stream vids from your PC (using a DNLA server like PS3MediaServer, Tversity, Twonky, Mezzmo or any of the others). Or you can stream video from iPlayer, GoogleTV or similar, and even LoveFilm [lovefilm.com] (not sure if you get some of these in the USA, but there's bound to be alternatives).

Nice review here. [cnet.co.uk]

LoveFilm for example, is £10 a month and you get a bluray disc in the post whenever you send the old one back, but you can also stream movies for free (once you're a subscriber, that is)

And its £120 for the device, which is $134 [amazon.com] in the USA :(

Re:FTFS (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 4 years ago | (#33827030)

roku has the online streaming content but their local media playing is limited to mp4 files jpg and png. WD tv has great local media but its online is a little lacking. i havn't owned a roku but i did own wd tv.and top roku box and wd around about same price as apple's device. Boxee box comes out, will be a little bit more at 200$ but looks to be wd tv and roku rolled in to 1.

Re:FTFS (1)

kehren77 (814078) | about 4 years ago | (#33827098)

In my experience, TVersity isn't that great. For some reason it keeps "losing" it's connection with my Movies folder and just says there are no titles. Twonky was much better but I didn't think it was worth the license cost. I guess it's time to try PS3Media Center.

Re:FTFS (1)

Enderwiggin13 (734997) | about 4 years ago | (#33827154)

The problem with TVersity and PS3Media Server is that they require your desktop to be on to transcode everything. I store my media on a NAS and I even have to run Twonky on the NAS to get it to talk to the 360's custom uPnP thing. I'm holding out for the Boxee Box so it can stream online and local network content without having a go-between.

3 Menu Clicks (1)

zoomnmd (163172) | about 4 years ago | (#33826392)

Getting to stored media on a computer only requires 3 clicks. Hardly a difficult proposition.

Re:3 Menu Clicks (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33826770)

Getting to stored media on a computer only requires 3 clicks. Hardly a difficult proposition.

These devices are also a lot cheaper than even an ION nettop. How much effort does getting the computer to the TV require?

Re:3 Menu Clicks (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33826918)

Plugging in one HDMI cable.

Re:3 Menu Clicks (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33827078)

Wow, you get power through the HDMI cable too!?!

Re:3 Menu Clicks (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 4 years ago | (#33826942)

I think the issue is that getting your content INTO iTunes is the difficult proposition. If your content needs to be re-encoded, it's a pain in the butt.

I just unplugged and am in the process of getting rid of my HTPC. I spent a lot of money on a fancy home theatre case, Hauppauge HD PVR [hauppauge.com] , SageTV, etc. etc. I think I spent almost as much time over the years trying to get/keep it working as I actually spent watching TV. OK maybe I'm exaggerating but still it was a lot of effort.

I'm going to replace it with either an Apple TV or a mac mini server, depending on how rich I feel and what I decide I want to do with it. I'm looking forward to the easier maintenance, quieter living room, and lower power bills.

I'm also dumping satellite TV and I seriously doubt I'll be spending $65/month on rentals & purchases, given how little I actually watch.

The Biggest Addiction In The U.S.A: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826400)

Kill your television. [cafepress.com]

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

Missing the point. (3, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | about 4 years ago | (#33826458)

initially available as part of a $300 set-top box from Logitech, or as part of a high-end line of TV sets from Sony.

...initially available as something that costs more than a decent HTPC, or as part of a $2000 TV that (given that you paid $2000 for it) you'll probably keep for 5-10 years, or long after Google TV has been replaced with something else.

Desktop: I run a formerly high-end 1600x1200 CRT that I could get for free at the curbside these days. The computer to which it's attached has been replaced (motherboard) at least three times during that CRT's life. We just had our discussion of "why can't I find LCDs at 1200 vertical pixels" a few days ago.

Connectivity: Dialup, DSL, cable, 4g wireless. Even these technologies have tended eclipse each other over periods of 3-5 years - still shorter than the time period you'd expect to get out of a $2000 TV.

Content Distribution: Ten years ago, you'd want Napster built into your stereo. Five years ago, you'd want a Gnutella client built into your TV. Three years ago, people who bought subscription music offerings got PlayedForSure.

Content Playback: Ten years ago, it was .MPGs and .AVIs. Five years ago, a DiVX at sufficiently high resolution could drag a single-core CPU to the ground. You really think that Google TV's gonna be able to render 3D-mega-HD-whatever in 2015-2020? :)

The things you use to get content have far shorter lifecycles than the products you use to view content. Embedding one within the other is a WOMBAT: Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time.

Re:Missing the point. (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33826584)

Content Playback: Ten years ago, it was .MPGs and .AVIs. Five years ago, a DiVX at sufficiently high resolution could drag a single-core CPU to the ground. You really think that Google TV's gonna be able to render 3D-mega-HD-whatever in 2015-2020? :)

And you really think your TV that is 1080p is going to support 4320p content when its released? So long as the GoogleTV box can play 1080p back on your 1080p TV its not going to matter if it can play 4320p or whatever content because the extra resolution would be lost because your TV is only capable of supporting 1080p.

Re:Missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826664)

Great points

Re:Missing the point. (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33826718)

The things you use to get content have far shorter lifecycles than the products you use to view content. Embedding one within the other is a WOMBAT: Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time.

At least until they really standardize things and everyone gets onboard and the technology gets worked out. MP3, FLAC, and WAV are all pretty old, and all are still being used for audio. The problem is in thinking you want *Napster* built into your stereo. The truth is, you probably do want some kind of MP3 streaming built into your stereo so you can house your library in a central server, but you want that streaming to be open and platform agnostic.

Standardized and open formats and protocols are the key. If you can come up with a 1080p TV that can stream good quality 1080p H264 and WebM in a single standard protocol that's supported by iTunes, Google, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Amazon, Microsoft, Linux, and everything else, then it wouldn't be such a waste of time.

Re:Missing the point. (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33826826)

as long as all it does is pass moves from my Computer to my TV, then it doesn't matter what the format is.

Google's biggest advantage is the search capabilities. again, it doesn't matter on the format.
The reasons you give is exactly why Google TV will be around forever. assuming it gets going.
It is effectively a way to view content from other providers conveniently.

Apple TV is effectively a way to control your TV viewing.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 4 years ago | (#33826924)

Um, the logitech box is running Linux under the hood, so until we see the tear down to prove otherwise, the device could get updates for the foundation of the system in the future at any point. My PS3 which I pretty much just use for Media consumption (BluRay/DLNA) get regular updates to improve my use cases with the device. The fact that the platform supports applications means there's going to be an ecosystem outside of a Google/Logitech's control/interest. This specific model may not last for 10 years with of "3D-mega-HD-whatever", but it will work for the tech that has been developed for today's media consumption needs. I personally don't see a form factor larger than 1080p taking off any time within this decade. The FPS and a small amount of CPU/GPU overhead computation goes up with any type of 3D tech, but I don't think its a herculean step into 3D. Hell PS3 added 3D sourcing support as a patch to their system and that's a 4 year old product.

Also, can you really build a cheap PC of comparable specs for under $300? Really? We're talking about CPU,Mobo,Video,Case,Power,HD,LAN,WIFI,IR blaster,Wireless keyboard/mouse here. I'm not sure of the true underlying specs of the box, so maybe a fair comparison of throwing a 5 year old Intel is feasible(if you can find a retail channel), but who knows. Oh, you wanted windows? Ding that's another $130. Oh, did I mention you have to put everything together and make sure everything works just right? I've built several HTPC's over the years and there are always annoyances that I either live with or ultimately cave and buy some other piece of hardware that didn't suffer from the same problem. All that, and you still don't have the transparent video in/out mode that the TV features allowing us to overlay real underlying content while surfing/playing or whatever.

Oh, and since this is a conduit device, you don't even need to change inputs when you want to look something up on the internet. Just start typing away. The only thing I really miss since moving to a PS3 over a PC as my media content device has been a decent web browser (PS3's browser is worse than bad). I don't know if I'll be an early adopter or not considering that I turfed Cable a while back, so the incentive for me is slightly less compelling than the average consumer.

Re:Missing the point. (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33827062)

While I'd normally agree, the pace of content format changes has slowed down significantly over the years. MP4's and DiVX seem pretty solidly ensconced as the video formats to play, and sticking them on USB drives seems like a safe bet for the next 10 years.

The bleeding edge of HDMI supports 1080p60+3D. That's a pretty hard limit for any output or input. Your TV won't get better than that, and your current devices won't do any better either. Really, the question is about if there are any specific network services that will come along that your device doesn't currently support (Hulu, for example). And for that, the only defense is a generalized programmable architecture.

Why is it always google or apple? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826502)

XBMC all the way ;)

What about ROKU? (1)

greenskyx (609089) | about 4 years ago | (#33826692)

Or if you don't want to build your own, what about Roku? Their lowest box is almost 1/2 the cost of the Apple TV. For $60 you get a pretty nice box.

And the winner is...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826526)

Sony.

Re:And the winner is...... (2)

Skraut (545247) | about 4 years ago | (#33826616)

Wish I could find a cheap XBMC or Plex Set Top Box. That's all I really want.

Re:And the winner is...... (1)

slim (1652) | about 4 years ago | (#33826674)

I still use a first-gen Xbox for XBMC.

It hasn't got the power to decode 720p, but SD is perfectly good enough for me.

Re:And the winner is...... (1)

GreatDrok (684119) | about 4 years ago | (#33826994)

An original AppleTV can run XBMC, supports add on HDs, and if you forego the wireless card you can add that Broadcom card that allows XBMC to play full 1080p and since it is over a wired network you can do it at decent bit rates so it will actually look like 1080p. Add to that the fact that it has both HDMI and component out so you can drive a TV and an HD projector like I do and you have a pretty awesome little box that plays anything you throw at it.

With that said, even a stock ATV (new or old) is a very convenient piece of kit if you have your media in iTunes, and if the new ATV gets app support it will likely get a port of the excellent Air Video which I currently use to stream all sorts of video to my iPad and does on the fly transcoding so even FLVs will play fine.

All that and you can rent stuff if you like but you don't have to since it will play you own media and it takes no time on a modern computer to rip your own DVDs to m4v.

Fuck Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826550)

Theres no way i'd let apple take over the tv...

Every single one of their products is a joke. A fad.
They've succeeded by being trendy... NOT by making good quality products...

And i'm not going to start replacing my tv every year.

Re:Fuck Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826606)

The goal of a company is to succeed to make money. If being "trendy" does it then it a better business model than the others.

Re:Fuck Apple (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | about 4 years ago | (#33826776)

You .. you realise that these are both devices that plug into the TV, right? I mean... if Apple wanted to sell me an actual TV for $100 I'd be all over it. You can't hardly get any kind of TV for that anymore.

Re:Fuck Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826868)

http://www.swaglikeme.com/storage/post-images/hipster.jpg
This is Apple's number one customer.

TV? (3, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 4 years ago | (#33826564)

What's that? Is it some new form of torrent delivery system?

MS - get you're game on (0)

pha7boy (1242512) | about 4 years ago | (#33826590)

If Microsoft would put a TV tuner in a revamped XBox360, that would be a killer gadget. Bing to search. wireless keyboard for hotmail and surfing. videochat via MS's chat client. XBox Live integration. Come on guys... get it together.

Re:MS - get you're game on (2, Funny)

Dan667 (564390) | about 4 years ago | (#33826638)

I just read someone that was pissed that they could not let their wife watch netflix on the 360 while they played games on windows live. Thanks, but no thanks. Never is going to be that great.

Re:MS - get you're game on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826726)

@Dan667 whats a #wife?

What kind of TV tuner? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33826814)

If Microsoft would put a TV tuner in a revamped XBox360

What kind of TV tuner? Are you talking ATSC, ClearQAM, CableCARD, tru2way, DirecTV, Dish, or whatever the European standards are? Or do you recommend a separate USB dongle for each?

Re:MS - get you're game on (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33826892)

No, we don't need a TV tuner built into these boxes-- we need TV production companies to jump onboard some kind of TVoIP scheme that allows us to stream their shows to whatever set-top box we choose without going through a cable company. We need to be able to get movies and TV shows streamed to the set-top box of our choice, rather than have Microsoft put another monopolistic layer on top of the monopolistic cable company's crap.

Re:MS - get you're game on (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#33827128)

You pretty much described Netflix streaming. Or, if you want a solution with less of a single-point-of-failure, the PS3 will do webstreaming in a browser.

Re:MS - get you're game on (1)

lowtekk (518270) | about 4 years ago | (#33826998)

What was the name of that web appliance Microsoft failed with a few years back??? WebTV? But more to the point of your post, what would work in that arena would be for one of the tuner manufacturers such as Elgato to make a version that worked on a 360 (or PS3). There's not reason that it would have to come from Microsoft.

slanted author (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826600)

The author already had his mind made up even before he compared them.

- There is some rambling about input 1 and 2 and I'm not quite sure what he is getting at with that but the conclusion was Apple uses input 2 and that made it easier and therefore better. His criteria for "easier therefore better" gets lost when he talks about the Sony with built in Goolge functionality. With that, there is no external input 2 or what ever needed at all, it is built in! You can't get any more easier to hook up and use than that but somehow that simplicity gets no mention.
- He mentions that an official "Apps store" is in the works for the G device but Apple hackers will probably have something unoffical as well. So Apple hackers making an unoffical app store is a postivie or a negative? He did not clarify but was leaning toward a positive. I'm sure that unofficial app store will be seemless and easy to use for all of those people that bought the Apple device because it was simplar because the Google device using input 1 was too hard for them to figure out.

Bottom line... He cherry picked things and used different criteria to compare them. There is no technical content and no specs or options are even considered in his comparison of which is better. It was a useless and biased article from start to finish and 30 seconds of my life i will never get back. It is similar to a paid advertisement "editorial".

He was right on the cost, the Apple device appears to be $200 cheaper. We all know Apple made it's inroads from being cheaper.

Here's a thought, check out some already available embedded devices for home entertainment. They have some decent features, they are cheap and some can stream netflix, youtube, rss feeds, audio feeds, and even PPV movies from the large distributors like Paramount.

Re:slanted author (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33827118)

There is some rambling about input 1 and 2 and I'm not quite sure what he is getting at with that but the conclusion was Apple uses input 2 and that made it easier and therefore better.

The point he's trying to make is that Google seems to be trying to get in the middle of your primary TV viewing-- I gather from the article that it's supposed to sit between your cable box and your TV. He's saying that might be scary for some people, since part of the continued success of cable TV is that it's "the devil you know" and people are comfortable with it, so they may not want Google screwing around with that experience.

Meanwhile, the AppleTV (in the author's view, at least) is not supposed to screw with your cable TV experience. Instead, it's an additional device, perhaps taking the place of a DVD player. So the author is saying that this is less scary, and probably more likely to work.

So that's what the "input 1 vs. input 2" thing is about.

There is no technical content and no specs or options are even considered in his comparison of which is better.

In fairness, it's probably not the technical specs that are going to make these devices more or less successful. Qualitative experience and availability of content are much more important for most people.

What hoops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826610)

Jump through what hoops? For many (most?) people, their video content will work fine "as is".

Re:What hoops? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33826788)

No, for most people their video content would require jumping through a bunch of hoops.

A lot of people own a sizable collection of DVDs and last time I checked, you couldn't just rip a DVD to iTunes like you can a CD. Yes, you -can- rip a DVD into formats that iTunes can read and such, but we're talking about most people here, not people skilled with computers.

Heck, a lot of people still have a sizable collection of VHS movies.

I see no real reason for most people to buy an Apple TV because its just $100 to sit with all their other devices connected to the TV. If they have a Wii/Xbox/PS3 they already have Netflix, if they have a Wii they already have a browser with Flash to look at YouTube, the PS3 can play Blu-Rays and the Xbox can play (HD)DVDs (and if you installed homebrew on your Wii you can also watch DVDs on your Wii, but most people wouldn't have) so, for argument's sake lets just assume that most people own a Wii since it is the most popular game console.

If they want to watch a DVD, they have to put it in their DVD/Blu-Ray player, if they want to watch a VHS they have to put a VHS in their VHS player, if they want to use Netflix they just have to fire up their Wii. About the only thing that an Apple TV would let them do would be stream their content from other computers which only contains a very small portion of their actual amount of content.

I'm not seeing the point of an Apple TV for most people, it doesn't solve any problems. If they really want to stream content the easiest way would be to just buy a cheap HTPC and set up their favorite media center on it, and then they could play DVDs/Blu-Rays/Netflix/YouTube/etc all from one device.

What market do you wanna discuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826678)

I'm confident I could give my grandmother a Roku Box or Apple tv and she could work the thing.

A google tv, I don't know yet...haven't used one.

However, most of these things can be duplicated on a assortment of devices. Personally, I choose the PS3 because I "maintain backups" of my media and watch them via dlna/upnp. Mind you, my television does that too but it's not worth switching devices for. (I don't have cable)

The slashdot user base is severely askew. Most of the people here could probably boot DSL on a toaster and stream media to it. Albeit, the frame rate on toast is pretty crappy.

With devices like these, you need to figure who they cater too.

One thing I can't find (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 4 years ago | (#33826682)

Can the Apple TV device stream un-DRM'ed video/audio from a NAS box? All I see are rent, rent, rent and stream from my laptop running iTunes. I DON'T WANT TO RENT - I already have my CDs and DVDs ripped for my own use. Can the Apple TV box play them?

Re:One thing I can't find (1)

metamatic (202216) | about 4 years ago | (#33826774)

No. You can only pull media from a device running iTunes.

What NAS box with iTunes? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33826858)

What NAS box with iTunes do you recommend? Is a Mac mini better enough than an ION nettop to justify the price difference? Or what point am I missing?

Re:One thing I can't find (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826874)

Some NAS boxes have iTunes sharing.

Re:One thing I can't find (1)

aclarke (307017) | about 4 years ago | (#33826848)

My understanding is that it can't. I believe you need to have your content in an iTunes library on your computer. Furthermore, I have read that an Apple TV won't stream content on a NAS that can otherwise host an iTunes library; the library actually needs to be on a computer.

Re:One thing I can't find (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33827008)

The AppleTV can stream un-DRMed audio/video from iTunes. I think you need iTunes, though, unless there's an open-source project that can replicate iTunes sharing/streaming. Apple doesn't require that video content be DRMed in order to play, and the music they sell doesn't even contain DRM anymore.

You will need to have the audio/video be in a format that's supported. For now, that probably means H264 for video and AAC or MP3 for audio. However, the new AppleTVs are iOS devices, meaning that we may see VLC running on them at some point. (VLC is available for the iPad now)

Need? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33826684)

No one really needs either of these systems yet.

What makes him think that I'll ever need it?

What's this need for TV?

Prey.. meet bait. (4, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 4 years ago | (#33826686)

it's a good thing it's only $99

Oh no it isn't....

That's merely the entrance fee.. Admission to individual attractions, food, beverage and use of toilets is all extra.

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (1)

MasterOfUniverse (812371) | about 4 years ago | (#33826784)

How is that different from any other google tv or roku? other than google tv is more expensive

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (1)

lederhosen (612610) | about 4 years ago | (#33826936)

Go to Apple and look what accessories cost (in general).

There is no way that Apple will be the low cost option.

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (2)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | about 4 years ago | (#33826852)

it's a good thing it's only $99

That's like saying:
Comcast cable boxes are FREE!!

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#33827142)

No, it's a little more like saying "An iPod nano costs $150". Sure, you have to buy albums from somewhere if you want to play music on it, but the device is $150, and you have no obligation to pay anything on top of that if you don't want to.

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (0, Troll)

aclarke (307017) | about 4 years ago | (#33826864)

And for Google TV you "need" a $50/month cable TV subscription. What's your point?'

OTOH either system will play your own media if you're willing to jump through a few hoops.

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (1)

kidgenius (704962) | about 4 years ago | (#33826898)

Uh, no you don't need 50/month subscription for googletv.

Re:Prey.. meet bait. (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | about 4 years ago | (#33827100)

food, beverage and use of toilets

Coming soon to the Apple Store: The Apple Seat Belt, a restraining device for your living room couch. Don't let your natural human urges get in the way of missing a single millisecond of movie enjoyment! We'll send the device to you only for the cost of shipping; it will release you when the movie is over or when you pause and pay a low charge of 50 cents.

Best of all, it uncouples from the mount* and doubles as a stylish belt.

* Bolted to the floor.

Wait for it... (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 4 years ago | (#33826722)

"I don't own/watch a TV. PRAISE ME!" comments in 3... 2... oh, wait. Already happened.

Re:Wait for it... (4, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | about 4 years ago | (#33826900)

Well, the important thing is that you have found a way to feel superior to those people, who feel superior to you. It's a wonderful cycle where everybody wins.

How easy are they? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33826758)

If I bought the GoogleTV or AppleTV for my nearly 80-year-old parents would it (1) be able to connect to their old composite-only set? What about S-video?

(2) How easy would it be for them to use? Right now they barely comprehend how to change channels on the Digital-to-analog Converter box ("How do I get this damn TV Guide off the screen???"), so I'm a bit skeptical they could operate either of the internet-based boxes.

(3) Does it work over a 1000 kbit/s line? Or would they need to download first and watch later?

Re:How easy are they? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 years ago | (#33827144)

If I bought the GoogleTV or AppleTV for my nearly 80-year-old parents would it (1) be able to connect to their old composite-only set? What about S-video?

Buy an HDMI to composite adapter for $10.00.

2) How easy would it be for them to use? Right now they barely comprehend how to change channels on the Digital-to-analog Converter box ("How do I get this damn TV Guide off the screen???"), so I'm a bit skeptical they could operate either of the internet-based boxes.

If they can manage an iPod they can probably manage AppleTV. If not, then don't buy them one.

(3) Does it work over a 1000 kbit/s line? Or would they need to download first and watch later?

80 years old, can't figure out how to operate a cable box, but they have gigabit internet access...? Let me guess, and a gentoo media server connected to an openfiler box with iSCSI drives?

I assume they operate this through a remote control with one button on it that simply sends a jolt of electricity through your genitals to alert you to come running? ;)

the transcoding... (2, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 years ago | (#33826760)

The Apple unit is decent, but it's so focused on TV rental that it makes it difficult to work with an existing library of media; between the transcoding,

.
Apple needs to support more of the non-Apple open codecs, e.g. FLAC for audio. There are too many websites offer high-quality audio (96/24 resolution) in FLAC. Apple is trying to get the web to conform to Apple's desires, instead of Apple supporting what is already out there on the web.

Re:the transcoding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826956)

While you, me and a few others love this (and I wish it were true about high res audio, but there's not a lot of sources) most people don't care about stuff that like, or even know what it is, Apple is trying to make a product that's simple enough for the average user, who has no clue what bit depth or sample rate are, and according to some research http://goo.gl/fUAZ [gizmodo.com] people prefer lossy music

Netflix etc? (1)

martin_b1sh0p (673005) | about 4 years ago | (#33826768)

That article makes it sound like Google TV doesn't have Netflix etc. However it's been announced [yahoo.com] that it will indeed have that stuff.

Philosophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826790)

It's a different philosophy between the two, and it's best exemplified by the remotes. Google is going for the Google users who love beta products, and like to tech out, Apple is going for the Apple audience who like simple and refined products. The real-world impact of this though is simple: if I give my 65y/o father a Google TV remote, he'll have an aneurism, if I give him an Apple TV remote, he'll be fine.

The other thing that I think Google is missing is how badly people want to ditch their cable/sat providers, even beyond us techies, people are really sick and tired of paying a tremendous amount of money for something that sucks so much, and are well past ready for a viable alternative. I've done the math on my cable budget, and buying all the content I watch on iTunes is about $300-$400 a year, getting the necessary cable subscription is about $1,200 a year, and I have to skip the commercials myself and can't esal;y load them onto my laptop/iPad/iPhone. I think this is a case of Google trying to make a compromise with the existing structure to try and get in the living room and Apple giving people what they want in a new and purer form, establishment be damned.

Apple too controlling and omnipresent (0, Flamebait)

digitaldc (879047) | about 4 years ago | (#33826796)

Don't be surprised if you can't access certain shows/sites/media simply because Apple doesn't approve of your particular tastes or method of acquiring that content. Google seems to be a lot more forgiving in terms of what you can view, in my opinion.

Netflix + Wii or PS3 or Computer (1)

dubbreak (623656) | about 4 years ago | (#33826798)

While it may not have new release TV shows (at this time), it serves me quite well for entertainment and only cost $8/month. What would that buy me on AppleTV or Google TV? Not as much media to watch, that's for sure.

At this point I'm not interested in apple tv or google tv. If I want new tv shows cable is still a better deal (or simply torrenting them.. it isn't illegal everywhere btw, we don't all live in the US). Netflix lets me watch all the older movies and tv series I want to watch more conveniently than brick and mortar renting and much cheaper than renting via brick and mortar or AppleTV or Google TV.

Re:Netflix + Wii or PS3 or Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826872)

Hulu. I can watch new episodes of most of the shows I care about the day after they air.

Both models are bad (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#33826882)

Apple TV is primarily meant to drive traffic to ITMS with the result of revenue for rental. Google is going to be another method to drive traffic to Google with the result of revenue from ads. Both have the markets, and both are far from ideal.

I think the one that will win is the one that will allows a harddisk with content to be wireless networked to all the boxes in a house. I already know people who have content centralized and can watch whatever wherever they are. If you dedicate a computer to serving content one can already do this with itunes.

Alternatively, plug an external hard disk into the box. Anything that comes with the box is going to be too small. I suppose the Apple TV will be hacked to allow this.

I am not sure what the transcoding issue is. The specs indicate it can play most standard formats. I know itunes has issues with some formats.

Hoops? (1)

Myopic (18616) | about 4 years ago | (#33826886)

Huh, nope, not willing to jump through any hoops. Either the device works, or it doesn't go in my living room. If it comes bundled with shenanigans, I don't pay for it. Despite their really awesome products, I had to stop buying Apple gear a few years ago for that reason: the shenanigans made me feel like a chump, and that feeling wasn't worth the slightly nicer products.

Yo[u F4il It? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33826916)

doWnward spiral. Right now. i tried,

These aren't really competing devices... (1)

Tobor the Eighth Man (13061) | about 4 years ago | (#33826922)

... except in the sense that they both work through the TV. Apple's device is more of a media gateway for stuff you've already got through iTunes, as I understand it. Without significant internal storage, it doesn't seem like it can really stand as a platform on its own, with app support and development efforts. Even coupled with the TV rentals, it's mostly a quick and dirty way of making iTunes content useful through the TV.

On the other hand, Google TV seems like it's designed to be a real extension of the Android platform, with a full app community and a lot of functions that seem designed to augment TV. They want people to view the TV as something that you can do more than just consume stuff off of. Apple TV has some functionality in this direction, but just the lack of internal storage means there's only so far they can go.

In other words, Google is making a grab for the TV as a new development and consumer platform. Apple is trying to enhance its existing market share through giving people another reason to buy more contents. How are these especially similar, again?

Re:These aren't really competing devices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33827138)

They compete in the same way the PS3 and the XBox compete - you're only likely to buy one or the other.

Bandwidth Issue? (1)

hodet (620484) | about 4 years ago | (#33826980)

I like the idea of these things but am not sure my 30GB cap will be of much use. Highspeed caps are an issue in my area.

After network neutrality dies... (1)

metrometro (1092237) | about 4 years ago | (#33826982)

"Apple and Google just kicked off the first round of their battle for the Internet speedlane subscription bundles. Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead. It's still early, and this could change, but it looks like Apple is making an all-around smarter bet than Google." I haven't tried out the Google Internet bundle yet. The Apple 'net is decent, but it's so focused on TV rental that it makes it difficult to work with... well, it's a good thing it's only $99/month. It's dang cheap...

Don't build fast changing tech into the TV (2, Interesting)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | about 4 years ago | (#33827002)

A lot of commentators say that this tech needs to be built into the TV, but I disagree. Chipsets, storage and networking hardware are less expensive than display tech, but they also change and improve much more rapidly. People don't want to have to replace their entire TV just because some new networking standard came on the market, or because a new app requires more storage or a more powerful chipset than the TV has built in. In fact, I think the even digital tuners built into most HDTVs are obsolete because they only decode MPEG2, not H.264. We'll never see higher picture quality in traditional broadcasts or cablecasts no matter how cheap H.264 decoding hardware gets because that part of the TV is set in stone. It's most economical and convenient for the customer to only replace their set top box.

So another reason why Apple's ahead of Google is that they're not bothering with TV integration for now. It's bad news for TV makers who had hoped to get customers to replace their entire TVs because one part had become obsolete, but that's such a bad value for customers that it wouldn't work even in a good economy.

And yet... (1)

The Nipponese (875458) | about 4 years ago | (#33827012)

No mention of Roku? $30 less than aTV, more content, better resolution...

Disclaimer: I might or might not have worked for companies mentioned ;)

"I haven't tried out the Google device yet...." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33827014)

"Apple and Google just kicked off the first round of their battle for the living room. Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead. It's still early, and this could change, but it looks like Apple is making an all-around smarter bet than Google." I haven't tried out the Google device yet...."

--- Then how on earth do you make any sort of judgment on it f you have no comparison?!?

Is this really a professional writer? (1)

Zephyr14z (907494) | about 4 years ago | (#33827170)

This thing reads like a middle school compare-contrast paper. Isn't this guy allegedly a professional journalist or something?
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