Viewing entries tagged
Mac Mini

Can the Apple iTV Bridge Family Room & Web? I'll Bet So.

Fascinating chart on AlleyInsider this week noting that, for the first time ever, pay TV has lost subscribers. A little earlier in the week, the NYTimes argued that TV is changing (web, applications, on-demand) but paid television still rules the livingroom.

I shared the NYTimes article on Facebook with the following the note: "We will break our dependence. But - it will still likely include paywalls... but rather than for cable - it will be for content."

And that's why I believe the forthcoming Apple iTV is important to the TV / Web transition. First, it's at the right price: supposedly $99. And knowing Apple, it be designed simply enough that connecting the device to the TV and the web will be easy as 1. 2. 3. Until now, consumers had two options - both of which disqualified the above points (price and simplicity):

1. Buy a mini-computer (ie Mac Mini or Dell Zino) and connect it to the TV. Plus: full operating system and highly customizable. Con: very expensive (~$500-$1,000), complicated and techy.

2. Purchase a brand new, web-enabled TV OR a gaming device. Pro: out of the box usage. Con: expensive and limited / poor experience, content selection, etc.

If the rumors are right - Apple can change this with:

- a $99 price point (fraction of any other reasonable alternative)

- an iOS interface that tens of millions of users are familiar (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad)

- simple integration and web browsing (try using the web on XBox or PS3 - it's *very* limited)

- and an unmatched catalog of content and applications (not to mention developers - which is more important)

Suddenly web browsing, iTunes, Pandora, Netflix streaming, MLB At Bat, etc are all imaginable. And its a more natural solution - at least in the short term - than through the television manufacturer, the gaming devices, etc.

Dell Inspiron Zino HD - The Mac Mini for PCs

I recently purchased two Dell Inspiron Zino HDs: one to replace my 2004 home desktop (which at the time was the most powerful machine available... and now about as efficient as my iPhone) and one to power a display monitor at Dogpatch Labs (see here). These are terrific machines. They are slim (8" by 8"), powerful (8GB memory and 1TB hard drive), has plenty of ports (four USB 2.0, HDMI and VGA) and comes equipped with internal wifi, Windows 7, etc. Best of all: it starts at $249 - and, when fully loaded, it is still way under $1,000. They are perfect as media machines (in the home or office) - which is similarly how the Mac Mini is touted. But I decided to trade in my desktop for the Zino and, thus far, feel great about it. With the majority of my computer usage having moved to the web and web-based applications (Google Apps is a great example) - our machine needs have changed... this is the same reason that netbooks are so popular and will become increasingly effective and useful in the near-term.

I find the Zino noteworthy for two other reasons:

1. the price is staggering. I purchased a top of the line Dell desktop in 2004 - it was 2-3x the price and is much less powerful than this machine.

2. the Mac Mini is a celebrated, popular machine; meanwhile, the Dell Zino is relatively unknown or discussed. It is as powerful, cheaper and runs Windows - which appeals to a larger user base... so why isn't it well known / popular?