by Jason Hiner
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.
I was initialling pretty excited when Apple annouced the Apple TV. I still think it is a pretty cool device. But if I cannot download and watch widescreen 1080i HD content, what's the point? If it had a DVR function this would be so glaring an ommision. I think I will wait for the next model which will probably support HD, have a larger hard drive, and cost less. That is the pattern the ipod followed.
I agree that it's always good to wait for the second generation and the hard drive could be bigger, possibly a hybrid drive. But don't forget that you are networking with multiple computers and hard drives, so the storage could be endless. As far as I can tell, it doesn't have a DVR function which would be great because I would love to get rid of my big clunky Motorola DVR. The big mystery is: What is the USB port for?
Apple TV does support HD (720p and will also output to 1080i). However, iTunes only encodes it's video in 480X680. This is probably more for space and download time considerations then anything else. I've seen several people talk about encoding video at a higher bitrate and playing it back on Apple TV.