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Apple’s iPod/AppleTV/iTunes announcement

I think that the new iPods look great, but that the best news out of Apple today was the price reduction on the classic AppleTV devices… only $149 while supplies last…

Classic AppleTV (160GB)

The new AppleTV also looks pretty cool, and at $99 it will likely be a market success, but it does not do 1080p; and I have concerns about it picking up all the internet media that I want.

The real media center is probably a Mac Mini, but it’s a lot more expensive.

Old AppleTV: 100baseT/802.11n, 720p, 160GB drive, Mac OS X 10.4 with some bits stripped out $149
New AppleTV: 100baseT/802.11n, 720p, no drive, iOS under the hood $99
Mac Mini: 1000baseT/802.11n, 1080p, bigger drive, full Mac OS X 10.6 upgradable, can work as a DVR with EyeTV $699

Let’s be comprehensive, and compare:
AppleTV (new $99) stream Netflix, iTunes, Flickr, YouTube, Internet Radio, MobileMe, etc
AppleTV (old $149) stream iTunes, Flickr, YouTube, Internet Radio, MobileMe, hack to play Boxee, XBMC, etc
Roku ($59, $69, or $99) stream Netflix, Amazon, Pandora…
Boxee Box (coming in November), plays Boxee content
GoogleTV software coming soon, on which media boxes?
Popcorn Hour ($179 – $361), plays many media formats, can even add a DVD or Blu-Ray drive
Sony Netbox ($130) streams Sony Bravia services (encapsulated Netflix, YouTube, etc)

Apparently all Profile 2.0 (aka BD-Live) Blu-ray players have an internet connection for upgrading firmware and streaming live audio and video from internet sources. Our new Panasonic DMP-BD85 streams Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, and Pandora… This essentially means that the streaming-only devices we are comparing above are redundant if you already have or plan to get a Profile 2.0 or newer Blu-ray player.

Classic (40GB and 160GB) Apple TV features:
stream youtube
stream internet radio (hundreds of stations)
stream audio, photos, video from iTunes computer on your own LAN
stream photos from MobileMe, Flickr – or sync them from iTunes on a local computer
stream podcasts from internet – or sync them from iTunes on a local computer
stream and sample music from iTunes Music store – or sync music from iTunes on a local computer
rent or buy Movies and TV shows and Music from the iTunes Music store (though that’s pricey)
preview all the trailers you want

With a patchstick hack – Classic Apple TV can also:
run XBMC to view local to disk, or NAS, or LAN movies/music in nearly any format
run Boxee to stream TV shows, podcasts from the internet – or play local media
run CouchSurfer to view internet websites and Flash content (requires extra hacking and either an Intel based Mac OS 10.4 machine or Intel based Tiger install disks)

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