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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What's Missing From iTV

Am I the only one who finds Apple's upcoming "iTV" box a bit underwhelming?

I think it's a great piece of technology for streaming content from your Mac or PC to your TV, but ... that's it then, isn't it?

For $299, however, I have to ask: Where's the recording capability? I want to time-shift the programming content I'm already paying for through my DirectTV subscription and, surprisingly, there are no inputs for pumping your satellite box into the "iTV." So, though it's tentatively called "iTV," I see no evidence of there being any "TV" involved other than the TV content you purchase through the iTunes Store. It's more of an AirPort Express for video.

Ideally, and perhaps this is the end goal we have not yet been made privy to, Apple would meld the "iTV" with a Mac mini and slam a tuner in as well, so that not only do we have the Mac with a big honkin' hard drive recording shows for us (as scheduled by our iCal calendar) and automatically placing them into our iTunes library, but then we'd have the outputs to drive it to our television as well.

Yes, of course this can be done we third party solutions, but we shouldn't have to do that, should we? Apple is known for elegant solutions, so why -- when they are sooooo close -- would Apple put on the brakes and stop short like that?

I guess this shows my age. I take issue with spending 99 cents per music track, $1.99 per episode of a TV show or even $9.99 for a movie when I can get that same content at higher quality, with more features, AND be able to rip that content to my computer or iPod if I so choose, getting the best of both worlds for the same or less money.

Well ... that's it then isn't it? Nothing like spending $1.99 per show and then streaming it to your $299 "iTV" box.

After reading comments on various message boards about the "iTV," I can see that it is a generational thing. People aged 28 - 30 and younger have no issues at all with downloadable content and don't seem to realize what they're giving up in exchange. Then again, I still note the lack of liner notes and extra album cover art that was lost in the transition from LP to CD.

Now ... where did I put my "walker"...?


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