One of the coolest things about the new Zunes is there ability to playback DVD quality video (up to 720×480 at 30fps, or 720×576 at 25fps). So this begs the question, why doesn’t the iPod? The iPod probably has the horsepower to play it back but why is it still stuck with 640×480 maximum?No one knows exactly for sure but one would have to guess that the reason is that it would compete with the AppleTV. DVD quality video isn’t exactly 720p (which is the AppleTV’s maximum) but it is close enough that someone would rather spend $50 on a cable then spend $300 on a box that would serve basically the same purpose.
Steve Jobs was quoted a while back (I can’t find the original quote) saying basically that if someone was going to make a product that beats an Apple product, he wants it to be Apple. So why would Apple kill off the AppleTV before it even had a chance to be successful? I have said many times that if the iPhone was given just a couple more features (namely syncing over Wifi and the ability to see a UI on your TV when using TV-out) there would be no reason for me to purchase an AppleTV, but because I don’t have those features the thing on the top of my Christmas list this year is the AppleTV.
I’m not sure if I am upset with Apple for not allowing you to put DVD quality videos on your iPod, I would guess that the iPod has enough horsepower to play it back, but at the same time I’m not sure. I still think it is very interesting that the new iPods are capable of outputting video to a TV at 480p and 576p but you can’t put content on the iPod in that resolution (what gives Apple?).
At the same time though I am glad that Apple didn’t allow you to put such high quality videos on your iPod. Firstly I want the AppleTV to get a little bit more momentum behind it because it really is a great product. The second reason is fueled mostly by rumors that Apple is gearing up to rev the AppleTV with DVD playback support and the addition of HD movie rentals in iTunes, this would surely cause quite a bit more people to think about purchasing an AppleTV. If your iPod could only hold video at 640×480 but the AppleTV could playback those pretty HD downloads on your TV why wouldn’t you buy an AppleTV.
I really hope that Apple does rev the AppleTV because I don’t think that it is currently as successful as they hoped it would be. I think it is a great product but I find it very hard to justify buying at its current price tag compared to its limited functionality. If I was able to get rid of my current DVD player and throw an AppleTV in its place, with DVD playback and the ability to play iTunes content I wouldn’t hesitate at all. It would simplify my living room tremendously, right now when I want to watch a movie downloaded from iTunes or a TV show from iTunes I have to sync my iPod and then bring it in to the living room with some AV cables, hook them up, then control the video with the iPod, that isn’t exactly simple. But simplifying just my sneakernet of content issue isn’t worth $299, but if I could get rid of my DVD player, with its terrible interface, in favor of the beautiful AppleTV interface (along with its ability to output my DVDs in 720p) that really would be worth $299.
On top of all that the AppleTV is simple enough for my girlfriend to understand, not to say that she is unintelligent, but she is of the mind set that you should be able to turn on a TV and hit the channel up/down buttons until you find something you like, I on the other hand want something a little bit more complicated so that I can have more control over what I watch. The AppleTV allows me to have the control of my content along with a 6 button remote for the non-tech-savvy.
Overall the AppleTV is a great product, but it sure does need some improvement for its $299 price tag.