AppleTV? No drolling necessary

Published on 10 January 2007 in ,

I’m sure half the blogosphere is busy drooling over the iPhone right now, but I was more interested in hearing about the Apple TV.

Well I was interested until I actually took my eyes away from a very average looking grey box, and looked at the detail instead. It appears that for $299 you get a set top box which talks to iTunes (on your PC/Mac) and allows you to download programmes and films from iTunes, view pictures and listen to audio.

And that’s it.

Which begs the big question – where’s the PVR functionality? BT Vision for example, offers you a PVR, Freeview box and video on demand functionality and for less money. True it doesn’t connect with your PC but that’s not the hardest bit to do.

And (much as I dislike to bring Microshaft into the equation), in the Windows world, Windows Media Centre with an Xbox 360 can do the PVR stuff, although hasn’t really got the download side.

It doesn’t take much thinking that you could have had a box that communicates with your computer, downloads from iTunes, and will record your favourite programmes from the TV. And then there’s DVD playback.

And what’s more is that none of these need be expensive – adding PVR functionality to the AppleTV would have been a relative no-brainer. Even with the AppleTV only having a 40Gb hard drive, you have the option to pass files over to your main PC and store them there.

True if you did the real ideal – some way to record TV and put it on your iPod via iTunes – you’d probably have to face the wrath of copyright holders baying for blood, but even that could be set up so that the transfer is blocked, and that the file could only be viewed one way if necessary.

I have to confess I’ve never been a particular Apple fan – I feel they’re generally overhyped and overpriced for what they are – but for me, they’ve really not thought this one through. If there’s anyone who could successfully bring TV downloads to the living room, it’s Apple. However this version just doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

Okay, this is currently a US-only product. Maybe by the time it gets to Britain, it will have a bit more to it. Well we can hope.