By Harry McCracken | Monday, September 14, 2009 at 10:23 am
I can’t remember if anyone onstage at Apple’s press event last week even mentioned the words “Apple TV.” It certainly didn’t announce any major news associated with it. But the product which Apple loves to tell us is a mere hobby is now a better buy. Apple has discontinued the 40GB model (the one I own) and cut the price for the much more capacious 160GB version from $329 down to $229, the price it had been charging for 40GB.
Depending on how you use Apple TV, you might or might not find the 4X jump in capacity for your buck to be a boon–if all you do is rent the occasional movie, store a typical music collection, and stream stuff from other computers around your house, 40GB was plenty. 160GB starts to sound like enough space for a sizable movie collection (although it’s still teensy compared to the space offered by pricier media services such as HP’s MediaSmart Home Server.)
Apple TV is a fun and well-designed product, but it hasn’t turned out to be an iPod-like transcendent hit. Then again, neither has anything else involving bringing the Internet into the living room. I find myself using Roku’s $99 box more than Apple TV, mostly because its Netflix Watch Instantly integration lets it provide all-you-can-view access to a ton of content for one low price. Other than video podcasts, most of Apple TV’s content is priced per title, making it impractical to gorge on movies and TVs as you can do with Roku. I wonder if Apple has ever considered offering some sort of Netflix-like subscription plan, at least for a subset of stuff?
Time for a T-Poll: