Reactions to Today’s Apple Keynote Announcements and the Year of the SetTop Box

Well I am always glad to see a company move forward with technology, but it seems to me that these latest set of announcements of Apple products (The iPhone and AppleTV) seem more evolutionary than revolutionary. Let’s examine these two products and their touted features and compare them to other existing products on the market already..

iPhone

Okay we all knew this was coming the merger of the iPod and the phone..

Key Benefits:

  • phone
  • mail
  • web
  • widescreen ipod

Phone- Lets see sync contacts with my PC, Mail- Check my email, web- web browser, widescreen ipod- for playing MP3s and video.. Gosh this amazing sounds like a Microsoft SmartPhone, now who’s taking who’s concepts..

Will this benefit me to buy one of these.. Maybe if I already own an iPod and don’t want to carry around the phone. However all of this functionality has already been done elsewhere in any other number of devices..

 

Most all of these and there are plenty more models do everything that iPhone does

Phone Over regular cellular networks and VOIP over wifi and include blue tooth functionality…

All have email over the web or through outlook, all have a web browser

Can playback Video and Audio content available through windows media stores and a number of third parties.

 

Expected price of iPhone (hold onto your wallets), $499 and $599.. I bought my Windows Mobile smartphone (with a smaller screen) for $120 and it does all this. Will I be buying one of these just to download iTunes content probably not for that reason. One reason I might is Apple announced the phone is based on OSX, which might be reason to consider if it’s a fully functional MacOS.. I am sure all the Apple Tech Geeks out there will consider this new and revolutionary. Maybe they are behind the times…

 

AppleTV

Repeat after me “Windows Media Center Extender” or XBOX 360…  Again not a revolutionary new product, I have been able to stream video content to my HDTV for over a year now, I record TV using my Windows Media Center PC, then with a Media Center Extender over my 802.11g wireless network can select a program, and stream it back.

I can select and record programming and store it for later playback, watch TV shows that are downloadable wirelessly store it to the PC or the hard drive on my XBOX 360.

Using either Xbox 360 Live MarketPlace, or the Media Center Extender functionality I can do everything that I could do on one of these $300 devices.. I see no reason to buy one of these unless you are locked into the format of content from  Apple’s iTunes. The formats aren’t as flexible and as open. I just really see no reason to buy one of these..

I was suprised when I got the xbox 360 this holiday season and found not just the Media Center extension capability but also an online store for video and audio with all of the major networks with downloadable HD content available for download right to the 360’s hard drive. I can download shows like CSI:Miami and Justice League and watch them at my leasure, without having to have a Microsoft media center computer. Plus I have a kick-butt gaming system with lots of content that I can play online with others. Also, there is an add-on HD DVD player so if I want any high-def content not available on the service I can go out at buy it for around $200 extra. Cheaper than a blu-ray disc that’s for sure.

If you already have a media center computer and don’t think you need xbox 360 you can also buy just a media center extender. Linksys offers one of these products. It’s wireless and hooks into your TV..

 

The year of the SetTop Box

It’s obvious that the future of television programming is On-Demand programming. You use your broadband connection to download and stream content to your display device and make it available for storage on your pc. People have been asking this of the cable companies for years. The cable company prefers to stream the content on a schedule you don’t set..

That means that companies like Apple, and Microsoft have to find another way to compete with them for your media content. You might not want to buy a PC device to watch movies and programming, but you might spend $300 on a device like an AppleTV or an X-box 360, or AT&T Homezone Device…

Why would you want to buy a set-top box, well they want to sell you the content service, but also most of them work like a Jukebox, you can stream media between floors to multiple devices, over wireless making it only necessary to keep your video and audio and media in one place..

This can be an advantage that helps families to better control the content and media that is available to children and it will save time an money over sneakering dvds and cd’s between floors and avoid things like media damage…

All in all we have some really cool things ahead from a lot of very innovative companies. I hear the idea of a HOME NETWORK server OS is on the horizon as well.. If this happens we will be living in the home of the future very soon…

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