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Apple TV "Take Two" was introduced yesterday. I haven't found anyone yet who isn't thrilled with the results.
I would suggest however that this is much bigger than this. Yes, we have cool elements like HD video rentals (which I don't know about you, but I've had on my xBox for what a year now?) and Flickr browsing but I'd really, honestly, like to suggest that Apple TV is now, officially, a game changer and here are my 7 reasons why.
The Podcast Subscription Paradigm Is Dead (with Apple TV at least). With this gorgeous box, I can watch whatever Podcast I want (as long as it is in the iTunes directory) and the word subscription isn't anywhere to be found. Apple TV is now a video on demand service where you simply pick your favorite Podcasts and play and/or download them on demand. We've been saying for years that we need to make the subscription process easier. Apple did it by killing the susbcription process.
This Is Standards Setting. The joke with Apple TV is that this would all be news if people actually had an Apple TV to upgrade. They aren't as popular as they should be and I don't think this round will make any kind of dent on anyone's numbers. It does, however, set the standard. When xBox releases their Podcasting application, it will look more like Apple TV than the Zune. Trust you me this. Want to see where Podcasting will be in 2 years? Visit your local Apple Store today.
Network Quality Suddenly Becomes Important Again. One of the nice benefis of a behind the scenes download process is that you can put your files on a lousy network and it doesn't really matter as it all happens in "the background." This is no longer the case. If the Podcast you want to watch doesn't stream well via "click to play," you will switch to another one – there are too many choices. I streamed several gorgeous HD video Podcasts with no problem and watched a few others sputter there way into oblivion. The commonality? The network. Some "big names" in this space don't stream well at all.
YouTube Is As Important As Any Video Podcast Channel. Subscriptions in YouTube are just another button on this thing now. Actually, come to think of it, the only subscription option is YouTube. Video Podcasters, get your show as a channel on YouTube asap
The Price Just Went Down (Way Down). An Apple TV is less than any iPod touch. There are also no monthly fees like one would pay with their Tivo (remember Tivo?) This is one of the cheapest options in town.
Apple Owns The Premium Process. One of my biggest questions with this was always going to be "how does this affect Premiumcast.com?" At this point, there is no way to grab premium content directly through the Apple TV interface that Apple ain't directly selling. Apple owns the only sales process for Apple TV. Sure, you can download to your computer and sync over but … why do that anymore? Premium is currently, a walled garden on this gorgeous little box.
Updates Included. We saw how Zune updated their v1 product to v2 without charge. We've seen Apple update the iPhone and the Apple TV without charge. We'll be seeing more of this in the future. It is the new normal. Yes, the Touch update was $20 and I'll be good scratch that the guy who thought that up has been yelled at by Steve more than a few times.
This one is a game changer people. Mark my words.