The ol Giz has a rumor up today that the AppleTV might soon be seeing some updates, speculating that a bigger hard drive, and support for additional video formats would be likely candidates.
Bigger hard drive? Sure. More video formats? Maybe…
We all know Apple is a hardware company, and that they make money on the iPod, not the iTS. Can we say the same about video? Probably. I don’t know what kind of money Apple makes off the videos sold through the iTS, but I would guess that they are more interested in selling the AppleTV, than a season of LOST.
But: doesn’t the AppleTV already support all the formats that QuickTime does? I find it hard to believe that Apple would add support for DivX or Xvid, and almost as hard in regards to WMV and Real Video. This has to do with licensing and such. Well, technically Xvid is an open format, but it’s still nothing you see embraced by any of the big players.
And would Apple have anything to gain by such a move? The target audience for the AppleTV is clearly, as Engadget put it: “those happy to live in the iTunes ecosystem”. And those people would have no use for any more file formats.
One problem here could be that literally the only people who would have any use for such codecs, would be the pirates. I’m not going to be the grumpy guy saying that Xvid is a pirates codec, but face it: most of the stuff in Xvid format is pirated material. Do I care? Not at all. But the companies who are supplying Apple with content does…
I hear a lot of people saying that the goal of the AppleTV is a sort of an Airport Express for Video. And I guess that can be true in it’s current state. I believe however, that those who wish for it to be more like a Media Center PC, might not be out of luck just yet. Could Apple add a DVD drive to the AppleTV? Absolutely! Could they also add a TV card and DVR capabilities? Most certainly. Would it then not simply be a Mac mini?
No. And yes. I don’t think the goal of the AppleTV, or any “media extender” is to be an underpowered PC, with just the basic hardware. What sets it apart from a regular computer lies within the software. Again, just look at the Windows Media Center PCs. It’s a regular PC, put inside a slightly prettier box, and running a custom version of Windows. Not too different from the AppleTV now is it?
Apple already have their custom version of OSX ready, and adding more features and more hardware… it’s just a matter of time. I don’t expect the AppleTV to be a big bulky black box anytime soon however… in fact, I think it will stay the way it is right now for quite some time. Just saying: the possibilities are there, and the current path looks familiar.