Apple TV never quite found its footing, but this latest update may take it to the next level. One important design choice is to eliminate storage. Apple TV is streaming only, eliminating the need for users to worry about how much space they have left. This also means Apple doesn’t have to worry about storage management.
It has a built-in power supply, HDMI, ethernet, and 802.11n wireless. No local storage means no purchases, only rentals. It also means that the device is tiny and silent. Everything is streamed in HD quality when available. You can also stream directly from your computer, which is probably where you store all your purchased items anyway.
New releases will be available for $4.99 in HD on the same day they’re available on DVD. You can stream ABC and Fox offerings for $0.99 each. They’ve also integrated reviews from Rotten Tomatoes so that you can avoid ruining family night with a bad movie choice.
Apple TV now comes with full Netflix integration, which makes it a win-win for consumers. This also highlights the strength of the Netflix service for instant streaming. As it stands, you either need a gaming console or a computer to watch Netflix movies and shows instantly. With Apple TV, you simply hook the tiny box up to your TV and gain access to the Netflix instant library. It requires minimum setup and configuration, and the device is targeted for one specific task. With a price tag of $99, this makes Apple TV almost a must-have device.
As Gizmodo puts it, “they are getting the message: It’s not all about their iTunes store. That’s good.” It most certainly is. If Apple TV can eliminate the need for many of the home theater hacks and custom configurations we see in many home theater setups, it could earn a full-time position in many homes. Not only that, it can transcend from a hobby or niche device to something that lowers the bar for the average user.
No more tinkering with software and custom hardware. Just plug in the box and go. For $99, I’m sure many would give it a try. Not sure how the cable companies are going to feel about it, though.