In the past decade, Apple’s specialty has been creating user-friendly products. The iPod popularized mp3 players even though others were already on the market, and Mac users are more loyal than users of any other computer brand.
No one is surprised that Apple TV is the most user-friendly PCTV convergence product on the market. Optimists had hoped that the advent of Apple TV would usher in a new era in which even more TV options (like we don’t have enough already) would stream seamlessly from the home computer to the television by means of a device as easy to use as your television’s remote control.
Instead, Apple TV is being dubbed “the least successful Apple product this decade.”
The pessimists say “I told you so,” that the world just isn’t interested in moving video files to the television.
After all, Apple TV doesn’t really have any competition. Similar devices from other manufacturers can’t seem to pin-down the technology the way Apple has to make it user accessible.
The problem isn’t lack of interest. Research from iSuppli shows that two out of three consumers want a TV that connects to the internet. The problem is that Apple is marketing Apple TV as an accessory to iTunes, instead of the other way around. Apple TV will only allow iTunes content and a very small amount of uTube videos (after pressure from the public) on your TV.
Consumers have grown tired of waiting for more content to be available through Apple TV and have taken the problem into their own hands. The result is a slew of Apple TV conversion software online. The Apex Apple TV Video Converter is one of the most popular. It converts popular video file formats (i.e., wmv, mpeg, avi, rm, mov, rmvb, divx and asf) to formats supported by Apple TV in high quality. Consumers claim that the product performs its intended function smoothly and are even satisfied with the interface. The additional 23 dollars for a video converter is well worth it if you’re already investing 300 or 400 dollars in an Apple TV.
So that should be it; problem solved. Apple TV now offers both the ease of use and breadth of files.
Wrong. These programs only convert downloaded content. They can’t change the format of a file that’s not already on your computer. This means that anything livestreamed (except for the 10,000 uTube files supported by Apple TV) still can’t get to your television.
Well, it was a good try anyway. In the meantime, with over five months left to 2007, we still have time to find a device to prove that this will be the year of PCTV convergence.