Apple sent out invitations to the press this morning, asking them to attend a special event on September 1st. There’s zero information in the invitation on the nature of the event, and the only hint is the photo of the guitar with the Apple-logo shaped cut out.
There has been much speculation floating around in recent weeks, with everyone trying to figure out what may be coming out of Cupertino. Some rumors claim we will see the unveiling of a new television episode rental service through iTunes. Others say there will be a new version of Apple TV and a refreshed iPod Touch model. A small percentage of people who haven’t moved beyond Antennagate yet insist that Jobs will discuss some miracle cure they have found for the death grip issue.
Your guess is as good as ours at this point. We are all going to have to wait until Wednesday to find out what glorious new things Steve and his team have for us this time around.
Someone in the live chat room asked me last night what my thoughts are about Google TV… bringing the Google experience to your television instead of just the Internet. It makes sense to me, given that Google owns YouTube. They are working with manufacturers to bring the Google TV experience into your homes around the world. Some people compare Apple TV to Google TV, and I don’t feel that’s exactly fair.
Apple has their content locked up in their Universe, much like iTunes itself. Google is more like “HEY! It’s out there, so let’s throw it in here!” It’s a more open approach to deliver content to your doorstep. The more interesting idea to me is Clicker.TV.
If you head over there right now, you’ll see a web experience that runs right within your web browser. You can navigate shows using your keyboard, instead of a mouse. The idea is that you could use a device connected to your television and control your experience without having to use an actual keyboard. What Clicker is doing is aggregating all of these shows you can find across the Internet. It’s an application that doesn’t rely on Flash. It runs off of HTML5, which is more open. Some of the videos themselves may run off of Flash, but not the interface itself. If you’re wondering what a Google TV experience may be like, check this out first. I have a feeling they’re going to be pretty close.
If anything, I think Google TV would compare favorably to Boxee. I expect a lot of development over the coming months (and even years) from Google with this idea, and I have a feeling it’s something that could end up in many of our homes before all is said and done.
What are your thoughts on Google TV, or even Apple TV? Do you feel these types of services are what we will be using in the future, instead of traditional cable or satellite programs?
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I recently wrote a blog post talking about the Apple TV. I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. There are very few updates, and virtually no awesome features. There’s no WOW factor involved. I had to get some other opinions on this matter. It’s not just me… right? What do you think… love it or hate it? Take it or leave it? Buy it or skip it?
I didn’t find Boxee that interesting. AppleTV would be much more interesting if paired with a DVR (with CableCard or satellite decoder) and analog inputs. Until then (yeah I know it will never happen), I’ll stick to a full-fledged Mac. – Logical Extremes
I love my Apple TV. You need to own one to see why they are handy. I own two, in addition to two TiVos, a Media Center PC with 4 CableCARD tuners, etc. Apple TV fits right in, and is great at what it does. – Andru Edwards
When Apple first announced their Apple TV product, I was interested but not excited. Years later, that interest has completely warn off – largely because of the lack of updates and killer features. Admittedly, I do already have a TiVo (and a few Comcast DVRs to boot).
Still, why has Apple seemingly abandoned the Apple TV? There’s a new report suggesting that Apple is working on a connected television. I’m not so sure that’s even interesting to me. Who knows? Maybe they’ll knock that one out of the park.
Do you have an Apple TV, or do you feel like you’re missing out because you don’t have one? I asked my Twitter followers, and some of them responded:
Apple’s iTunes Podcasting Team (nameless, faceless people) sent me the following tips for getting along with Apple TV:
If you’re encoding your video podcast at 320×240, please increase the resolution to either 640×480 or 640×360 (depending on the aspect ratio of your source files). Why? Because video podcasts at this resolution look great on Apple TV and still port to video iPods. Lower resolution podcasts might also work on both platforms, but they don’t look nearly as good on a widescreen TV. As always, make sure to test any encoding changes you make to ensure device compatibility. QuickTime 7.1’s “Export to iPod” function will ensure that a video file is encoded at a width of 640 and is iPod-compatible.
It’s best not to create two different podcast feeds for different resolutions. By doing so, you dilute the popularity of your podcast and reduce exposure in our charts. It’s better to have one feed high in the charts than two that are lower.
If your source files are 16:9, stick with that aspect ratio. Don’t add letterboxing to make them 4:3. By doing so, you prevent the video from expanding to fill a 16:9 widescreen TV and instead end up with black space on all four sides. Also, your original source files should be at least 640 pixels wide.
Of course these are just recommendations. We understand that there are good reasons for 320×240 (bandwidth bills) and 720p (looks fantastic). Do whatever makes the most sense for your show. For more information on formatting video, see the recently updated spec.