MacMini, No DVR Ambitions

Zatz Not Funny… Blog Archive — Mac Mini, No DVR Ambitions Personally I think it’s a mistake for Apple to forgo a PVR as part of their Media Center strategy. Although I can understand why they would not want competition for their download agenda, people are nowhere near yet wanting to scrap their cable and satellite service for a download only model of low res poor quality programming from iTunes.

Unless Apple has HDTV downloads just around the corner, this is a mistake in my opinion.

The right thing to do, would be to instead buy TiVo and integrate that loveable little plush black characther thing into the Apple box. Like Apple, the TiVo is built around the concept of simplicity. The name/buzz alone would be worth the amount they would have to pay to pick up TiVo (which is priced at less than 1% of the market cap of Apple today) not to mention the value of TiVo’s patents and their existing customer base.

Not that TiVo wants to be bought by anyone of course, but if Apple thinks that they can make their new Mac Mini fly in the short term without any way to watch TV beyond paid low res iTunes downloads I think they have another thing coming.

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  1. Alan Kay once said “ The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

    The iPod has been successful despite not handling legacy formats like CD and FM. A media Mac Mini could prove just as successful without support the legacy distribution formats for television.

    For one thing, they could be focusing on an entirely different market than PVR makers. PVRs are all about time shifting and having a jukebox of TV shows. But why isn’t there a jukebox for DVDs? Because the movie industry sues anyone who tries to make one under the DMCA.

    Apple is happy to go above-and-beyond to please the entertainment industry. Why else would they make it so hard to take songs off the iPod? If they made a DVD ripper that would store movies in a DRM format tied to the computer that ripped it (and playable only on Video iPods, naturally) the movie industry might just give them a license to CSS.

    What if Apple’s long-rumored iTunes Movie Store, combined with some sort of DRM-ed DVD ripper, turns the Mac Mini into an industry-approved movie jukebox?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think you answered your own question. Simplicity. DVR makes the device no longer simple, yes a standalone Tivo can be simple but once you make a PC a DVR it’s no longer simple. Media formats, tuners, guides, DRM, etc.

  3. Dave Zatz says:

    George, I caught the webcast of Bill Gates CES keynote and he was showing off HD-DVD on Vista… Each HD-DVD is allowed to be archived to the hard drive with DRM similar to the jukebox you describe.

    As far as Apple getting into DVRs, now is a difficult time. Analog tuners can’t be sold next year and the signal is on the way out, digital HD tuners and still pretty expensive, and CableCARD support for computers is just now being developed.

    I justed noticed Ben over on HDBeat has had a lot of luck with his new MacBook Pro and even an older Mac outputting video to a HD set which makes me envious – all my HTPCs have been Windows based and required way too much tweaking.

  4. Anonymous says:

    EyeTV 500 for OS X supports up to 3 HDTV tuners and 6 QAM simultaneous recordings. It also can edit and transcode your recordings to other formats. Apple provides Virtual D-VHS for free which records and plays via firewire. Why would Apple go after the company one of their best supporters and that was created by an Apple employee? EyeTV is better than everything on the Windows HDPVR market and it runs on the mini.