AppleTV Take 2 – First Impressions

AppleTV Take 2

The new software update for the Apple TV was released just last night.  The update brings a completely new UI and with it HD movie rentals (available now in the US and coming later this year in the UK) but still no DivX / XviD playback.

However, full-time podcaster Don McAllister gives us his first impression on the new interface, and tells us why we should be excited about the huge selection of free content we can stream direct to our living rooms.

Submission by: Screencasts Online’s Don McAllister : So Apple TV Take 2 is now amongst us with the first updates being delivered to Apple TVs yesterday evening. The update was pretty painless albeit a little lengthy with a couple of reboots and then bingo! Straight into a gorgeous new opening animation.

Of course, being in the UK, I wasn’t able to check out the movie rental experience but relying as I do on my podcast for a living, I headed straight over to the Podcast section to check things out.  Oh my God!  This changes everything!

AppleTV Take 2

I’ll own up to be a bit perplexed during the Steve Jobs keynote as to why so much emphasis was placed on Podcasting as why so much of Apple TV segment was devoted on pushing HD podcasts. Yes, of course I know how cool they are but even as a podcast producer, I was surprised and somewhat relieved that Apple still made Podcasts a big deal.  Now I know why.

  • Apple TV Take 2 removes the need for the convoluted and confusing “subscription” mechanism for accessing podcast content.
  • Apple TV Take 2 transforms podcasting into an on demand streaming content delivery service in one fell swoop – literally overnight.
  • Apple TV Take 2 wraps a simple, colourful browser interface around the podcast content making it super easy to just browse and view.
  • Apple TV Take 2 organises podcasts into genres for easy selection and provides guidance to show you similar podcasts that other people have watched when you select a podcaast.
  • Apple TV Take 2 gives you access to podcasts by network provider “legitimising” podcasts and giving yet another way of accessing mainstream or repurposed content

Yes you can subscribe to your favourite podcasts if you want but Apple TV Take 2 has just turned into a new type of “cable” set top box with unlimited channels for every type of content imaginable.  This is huge for the independent content producer, absolutely and undeniably huge.

After only spending a hour in front of the Apple TV Take 2 it made me re-assess my own content and make a major strategic change in my approach, but perhaps I’ll leave that for another post!  So podcasts are a very big deal now and Apple gets it, they get it big time.

So will the Apple TV Take 2 be a hit? There’s still a lot of education and marketing required by Apple to push the benefits out to the average punter. The movie rental and integration with Flickr etc will probably be the means by which the device gets into most homes, but once there, once people start to browse the rich seam of independent content available via the podcast channels on the Apple TV – wow!

All we need now is for the independent content producers to up their game and start producing consistently high quality shows.

If you thought Podcasts were cool before, Apple TV Take 2 has just raised the bar and could be a major turning point for independent content producers.

Exciting times ahead!

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