As in my Apple TV is shipping!
I’d been wavering on this. Then g-whiz posted that it had started to ship. And for some reason I headed over to Apple’s site and put in my order. By 9:00 p.m. Apple had sent me an e-mail that my Apple TV was on the way.
Why this sudden, dare we say impetuous, purchase?
Here’s the deal. When Steve announced the “iTV” last fall, I was really underwhelmed. It fell way short of my expectations. There’s no input? It doesn’t do DVR? Come on, Apple, I thought, make this something I need! You don’t even need to start from scratch — go buy TiVo, port their software to OS X and create the ultimate media center. And include their subscription service as part of .Mac, so it will be more than an overpriced e-mail/file-sharing service. (Yeah, iWeb is cool, but it creates ridiculous URLs and I’d prefer to host a website under my own domain.)
So while I thought the Apple TV would be neat, I didn’t see why I’d want one. Over the intervening months, however, my thinking started to change.
First I found a bunch of new video podcasts to get hooked on. I was already way behind on GeekBrief.TV and Strong Bad Email, and now this! Four Eyed Monsters and TEDTalks and Amanda Congdon! Then Videomaker Presents and Mastering Videography. And on. And on.
There’s some great content out there. And pretty soon, I was finding that I’d rather watch podcasts than anything offered on cable. Hmmm. Sure would be great if I could just watch them on the TV.
Then I started to rethink cable. It was already terrible. In fact, I think my cable bill is higher because it’s terrible. The movie channels rehash the same stuff over and over so much that we subscribed to absolutely everything to try and get more movie options. But we’ve really ended up just TiVoing a handful of shows each. And stuff I really wanted, like Race To Dakar, didn’t even make it to cable but is now sold as a download.
Wow. Cable sucks. And my $1,200+ a year cable subscription would buy a lot of iTunes season passes. (Heroes? Check. The Office? Check.)
I’m not ditching my cable this week. Or even this year, probably. But Apple may be onto something and I very likely underestimated the appeal of the Apple TV. I wanted it to fit into what I thought watching TV should be. But I just didn’t get it.
There’s a whole new world of media out there that’s got nothing to do with that hunk of coax coming out of the wall. I’ve been a believer in this stuff for a long time and I still didn’t get the Apple TV.
So if you aren’t exploring what’s out there, do yourself a favor. Fire up iTunes and go search through the video podcasts. Or go to PodShow and check out some channels there. Go visit iFilm. Download an episode of Race to Dakar. Check out the Internet archive. You can even go keep an eye on the guys in Washington. (But C-SPAN, I’m not installing that damn Real player. Get some H.264 versions up and dump Windows Media and Real.) And there’s always YouTube. Geez, just install the Democracy Player and get it all.
I promise you’ll find something that blows you away. And maybe a year from now the only place that coaxial cable goes is to your modem.
Update: Sorry to the Windows users out there. I didn’t realize that the apple symbol isn’t a valid unicode character. I’ve replaced all my “[apple symbol]tv” references with the more traditional “Apple TV” wording.