I sort of snuck a little non-email related commentary in my Email Insider’s column this week. It is all about my current love affair with my AppleTV. I’m also convinced I was one of the first consumers to have one, since they were officially released on a Saturday but I was able to convince the manager of my local Apple Store to get me one from the back room on the Thursday before.
Unlike the purported use of the product, to allow the download and display of television shows via the AppleTV (an thin rectangular box that in essence is an Ipod that receives streaming content), I purchased the product to stream my music collection, which I’ve been diligently downloading to my Itunes library. CD’s get scratched, are hard to find if your music collection is as large and eclectic as mine, and even with a jukebox type CD player, are hard to quickly shuffle through. There is nothing I like better than to juxtapose Blind Boy Fuller blues track with a Glenn Gould Bach fugue followed by Miles Davis’s So What. I’ve been hoping for a product like this for quite a while.
The early review is that I’m in love with it. And so is my family, who have been tired of trying to figure out my Rube Goldberg method of getting music to play through my 5 foot Magnaplaner speakers. My wife can now actually find what she wants to play because of the elegance of the Apple interface design, and the product works, right out of the box, as advertised.
I’ll admit that as far as my kids were concerned, they really liked watching Terminator 2 on the Apple TV, the one movie I downloaded to try out. The picture was great: DVD quality in fact much to my surprise. Another benefit: I was able to download a single episode of the first season of the Alfred Hitchcock show that wouldn’t play on my DVD boxed set that I got for Christmas. I can see where, once there is a decent selection available (which there is not now), downloading of movies and tv shows will replace my DVD purchases.
But as I mentioned in my article, the biggest surprise is how it has brought the family together to listen to radio (via podcasts). Instead of podcasts being a solitary activity with buds firmly placed in ear sockets, the Apple TV brought our favorite Public Radio shows to the family entertainment area. There we were, all sitting around listening to Fresh Air and This American Life together and commenting on the action just we would hunkering down to American Idol or House.
Whether or not this will spark a trend of shared radio listening since we haven’t experienced since the 1940’s is anyone’s guess. But I can see a good business bringing back some of those radio serials and marketing them as family entertainment. Could a new Golden Age of Radio be upon us?