Apple’s first steps into home media management don’t have to be yours too. There are a variety of methods out there to watch your videos, view your photos, and listen to your music.
Front Row. Center Stage. Elgato’s EyeHome. All are mac-centric ways to get media into your living room.
My leap into home theater integration with my iLife has led me to an unlikely place – the Microsoft XBox. Before you get too squeamish, keep in mind that Microsoft loses money on hardware sales, and if you’re buying an Xbox for a project like I’m recommending, and you aren’t especially interested in playing games, building an XBox Media Center is a great way to stick it to the man.
Apple’s Front Row isn’t a bad first try. The downsides are that it doesn’t support many formats for content you come into contact with every day, and you can’t buy it without getting an iMac included. While the iMac is a swell computer, and a lot of people are going to love Front Row, if you weren’t in the market for a new iMac, you’re probably not going to think of getting one just because it has Front Row.
Good for you.
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The iTunes store, iPod and G5 iMac now provide an integrated video experience. This is an extremely low risk way for Apple to enter the video-for-sale business.
QuickTime sits at the center and all of the products are a plus for Apple. Selling videos at the store, watching videos on an iPod, controlling your iMac G5 with a remote control. The reason these things work is that they cost next to nothing for Apple and their customers and are generally revenue neutral. But, are these video deals, press announcements and DRM solutions just a bit of fluff or a stalking-horse for Apple to move seriously into video distribution?
I think it is the latter, but the pieces must fall into place before the next big thing happens. Apple ought to hit the high-end too. It is just a matter of time before all theatrical releases are distributed and projected digitally? Can you say Akamai? It is just a matter of time before all rental video is distributed digitally?
Video can be distributed throughout your house via WiFi without cables running through the walls and Intel is the partner to have. It is just a matter of time before phones supplant the iPod. Hello Moto! (ROKR not withstanding).
By the way, I think FireWire lost the war to USB 2.0. It may not be fair, it may not be elegant, it may not be the outcome we all wanted. Look at the newest iPods. If Apple is not providing FireWire and Apple is moving to Intel processors for their computers, then the handwriting is on the wall.