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Popular Mechanics: Apple TV 2nd worst gadget

updated 03:15 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2007

Pop. Mech. slams Apple TV

Popular Mechanics Magazine has ranked the Apple TV as the second-worst gadget of 2007. Apple introduced the set top box on September 12th of 2006 at a special event in San Francisco, and began shipping the device on March 21st of this year. The Top 10 Worst Gadgets of 2007 states: "There is nothing wrong with Apple TV. Unfortunately, there's nothing overwhelmingly right about it, either. This is the rare black mark in an otherwise spotless multi-year streak from Cupertino--a product that was not only completely overshadowed by the company's own iPhone, but by the larger industry of video-download devices and services."

Citing fast-moving competition, the publication points to Apple's "squandered opportunity" where Apple could have offered a huge selection of movies as well as monthly unlimited viewing plans to tempt customers away from DVRs and Video On Demand.

"They did neither, becoming an online version of your nearest FYE, with decent (but not surprising) prices, and a spotty selection of new releases and mysterious B movies," Popular Mechanics said, referring to Apple.

"Owning music in any physical way may be a swiftly fading memory, but not so with movies. If you're going to pay $15 for Wild Hogs, you should at least own the DVD, so you can share the 'laughs' with 'friends'."

by MacNN Staff



  1. GORDYmac

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I enjoy my AppleTV, but I agree that it turned out to be the hot chick's frumpy sister this year in Apple's eyes. Here's hoping great things are in store for 2008.

    Overall AppleTV works well; however, the photo browsing section could use a total rewrite IMO.

  1. gambit-7

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My 2 cents

    AppleTV could get a bump in user-ship if iTunes sold movies at prices cheaper than DVDs (not Apple's fault), if the video quality/resolution were approaching HD levels to actually, I don't know, look better than decent on an HD tv, and if Apple offered rentals. Basically, with all of the options out there, Apple has to offer a much better alternative. The reason iPod was so brilliant initially was that everything else was terrible, especially in concert with iTunes and the store. Ever since, Apple's been able to coast on that, allowing them to develop the next best thing: the iPhone. The iPhone is successful because it provides a user experience other phones can't match, which will bode well in the future for revisions they have for that product, using that momentum until the next big thing.

    There's currently no killer app for AppleTV, short of playing iTunes content on your TV. But, iTunes content looks great on iPod/iPhone, not so hot (though not bad) on HIGH DEFINITION TVs. I think sales will increase once HD videos and rentals become the norm on iTunes store, until then, this will remain a niche product.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: my 2 cents

    "There's currently no killer app for AppleTV, short of playing iTunes content on your TV."

    That's a funny statement, considering that's the only intended purpose of the AppleTV. People really really want the AppleTV to be more than it is, but that's all it is - an iPod for your TV.

    I do think it will grow into more, but the infrastructure is not yet there for movie rentals, high-def downloadable content, etc. I think people will need faster Internet connections before that can become a seamless experience. Too bad the ISPs seem more concerned with selling stupid services, than giving you a stable fast Internet connections.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Without rentals

    I am selling my Apple TV and using a mini instead. I have really liked the APPLE TV (both the 40GB and 160GB) but found it to be too little for too much. I have lived with the mini and Front Row for several weeks now and both my wife (very important) and myself find it works as well. What did I lose? Nothing that I can tell. I have streamed content from my other Macs to the mini no problem. IMHO anyways.

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I dont get it

    I think the reason why people say Apple TV is a failure depends on what they expect it to do. For me it is a fantastic device.

    100% of all my TV shows (I am in AU) are set in icetv (3rd party tivo type service & tv guide) my Elgato EyeTv on my mac gets sent all the shows icetv tells it to record ... icetv keeps track of what shows are on at what time so I dont have to keep chasing the tv guide and manually program eyetv.

    Then all shows recorded are auto exported to itunes ready for AppleTV ... I set appleTV to stream all programs.

    The end result = I never have to touch a computer or recorded, all my favourite shows auto record and export ready for Apple TV, I walk home at any time sit in the lounge and browse all my TV shows ready to watch on Apple TV.

    Whats not to like about that ??????

    I know there are plenty of tv recording devices you can put in the lounge room BUT I dont want to stuff about with remotes and programming and menus in the lounge.... I just want to sit and watch, my 8 year old can run it.

    Now on the flip side YES I agree Apple missed a huge opportunuity to provide lots more movie purchase or rent via Apple TV. I would love to be able to pick a movie, click rent and watch it.

    Come on Apple get up to speed and use the full potential of the Apple TV

  1. bradpdx

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the writer's strike...

    ...has reminded me that I have a nice collection of books to catch up on. And a library down the street. And kids with homework who shouldn't be watching TV shows anyway.

    Apple TV might be interesting once there is something to watch. For now, not so much. Ditto for an HDTV - great technology, but little actually interesting or fun to do with it.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Killer App

    Hey, get it hint. Netflix is the killer app.

  1. Lizzola

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple TV

    Apple TV is the best device to show your photos and movies on your HD TV. In addition you can add your favorite music as a background. Think of it as contemporary slide carousel projector or a movie projector without the hassle of setting up the screen and with the best image quality you can dream of. Claudio

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: without rentals

    I don't understand your comment. You replaced an AppleTV with a mini. What do you do with the mini connected to your TV that you couldn't do with an AppleTV? You said the AppleTV offered to little for too much money. How is the mini better?

    I do understand that a mini is a full computer, but you said you have other computers, and your mini is connected to your TV.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ways to fix the Apple TV Include a TV Tunner Stick a DVD Drive in it

    But the real killer is the lack of selection which is because of the movie companies

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