The other day I saw a comment from Intel’s CEO about the Apple TV. Last night I read a NY Times article about how it compares to other media streaming devices. The device isn’t even out yet, and it is already being panned.
Sometimes people don’t see the forest because of the trees. The Apple TV will stream video itself, and probably will see that capability improve as Apple updates the device. But the real genius of the new Apple TV is AirPlay. Until the beta of 4.2 I mostly had conjecture and hope, but seeing this article from 9to5Mac, the “Go to Market” strategy is coming into focus a bit more.
The things people are saying about the Apple TV, even Apple’s marketing strategy, focus on what it does that every other streaming box does. And, the Apple TV doesn’t really stand out from that crowd. It’s a media streaming box. But when you couple it with AirPlay, you get a whole other level of interaction and media consumption. The NY Times article completely left out AirPlay, but for me, that is the key strength of the device; easily streaming content from computers and iOS devices to the TV screen.
From the 9to5Mac article:
AppleTV is a Airplay-compatible device, meaning it can stream video/sound from other Apple devices. We found out last night that it isn’t just iTunes content that it will be able to broadcast. Any H.264 content from the web can be broadcast over Airplay to your HDTV.
That includes any video that can play on your iOS 4.2 device, like: Facebook video, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, BBC News, MLB and really anything else you can watch on your iOS device. That also includes videos built into Apps and magazine subscriptions too. All of this can be beamed to your AppleTV via Airplay.
That means you can watch most Internet video on AppleTV over AirPlay. The day AppleTV is released, you’ll be able to watch free SD clips of shows that appear on ComedyCentral.com like the Daily Show and Colbert Report via Airplay. You theoretially should be able to watch Hulu Plus so long as it is encoded in H.264 (and doesn’t get blocked once the networks figure out what Apple has done here).
So, in many ways, an iOS device becomes a remote for the Apple TV, where you select content and send it for display it on your TV. This will be done using Apple’s intuitive (I hope) interface. If this is simple enough for normal people to grasp, the Living Room is about to change. Surf on your iPad or iPod, find a video, send it to your TV and enjoy. The more apps that are developed with this capability the more useful it becomes.
Apple TV is supposed to ship in September. 4.2 releases in November.