YouTube and Apple TV – Part 2

youtube_shadow.pngFollowing on from last nights rather hurried and brief post, I’ve had chance to reflect on this small seemingly inconsequential piece of news in more detail.

It’s a big deal!

Despite Steve Jobs protestations that the Apple TV is a “hobby” for Apple, I think he’s up to his usual mischief in positioning the Apple TV as truly the DVD player for the online age.

Here’s why I think the YouTube inclusion is such a big deal:

Streaming - This is the first external service that doesn’t require iTunes. It looks like the content will be streamed directly from YouTube. Apple TV handles streaming from iTunes superbly so this should be fine.

What other services can now be developed (or repurposed just like YouTube) that streams direct to your Apple TV?

Accessibility – As a podcaster, the fact that Apple TV elevates my video podcast to the same level of accessibility as Movies and TV shows has been a great boon and if I’m honest, does appeal on a vanity level. The thing is, Apple TV will give the same level of accessibility to anyone with a video camera and a broadband connection. Yes, Podcast creation is easy and built right into iLife but in reality how many people create a podcast to share family movies, etc. Shall we say, not many!

There’s still the barrier of understanding the underlying mechanisms of podcasting.

With the introduction of direct access to YouTube, all you need to do is upload your clip to YouTube and it’s instantly available on any Apple TV.

No RSS feed, no subscription required, it’s just there!

KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) – The Apple TV is renowned for its ease of use using a simple three button remote. It should be simplicity itself to browse online content (see later)

Skinning I don’t really like the web based YouTube interface. It’s garish and a bit dog ugly. Look how Apple have transformed it:

via Engadget

Nice Job!

Apple are standardising the interface of a butt ugly web service and overlaying it with the gloss of the Apple TV interface.

User Experience - OK, so you’ve got YouTube on your AppleTV – How do you search for stuff using your Apple remote? I doubt Apple will use scrolling lists (surely that wouldn’t be feasible?) so have they developed a smart way of entering search queries and interacting with a web based service using the Apple remote?

We’ll have to wait and see, but isn’t the iTunes Store also a web based service!

There are some unanswered questions however which could so with some clarifications:

Special Google Sauce – Have Apple had to work closely with Google or more importantly have Google had to change YouTube to enable this functionality? Based on Apples close ties with Google, I would imagine so. No big deal but it would be great for other services not owned by Google to be AppleTV enabled.

HD Content – Most YouTube videos are going to look awful on a 50″ HDTV.

Watching the “Best of YouTube” podcast, I can certainly vouch for that. However, sometimes the content is so good, you can put that to one side. But seriously, both Apple and YouTube need to start putting in place some HD content pretty damm quickly to prevent the Apple detractors from having a field day.

Unannounced Product? – Now that Apple have the tie up with Google and are delivering YouTube content direct to the Apple TV, wouldn’t it be great if Apple could develop a portable device with a built in video screen and wifi so you could stream YouTube while you were on the move. Oh!

OMG – June starts tomorrow!

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Democracy Player – Killer Features!


Interesting post by Nicholas Reville on some trends he is noticing when comparing Mac downloads to PC downloads.

I did a screencast on a pre-release version of DP (0.9) which the DP guys point to from their site. Some of the search features for the MAc were not implemented at the time.

I thought I’d checkout the latest version to see what’s new (0.9.2)

The first thing I noticed was that it prompts you to install a list of 3rd party plugins to open up support for some of the non quicktime codecs found all over the net. Installed fine.

ScreenCastsOnline is still one of the featured feeds on a clean install – thanks guys! The HD version of RocketBoom is also included – more HD content please!

Checked out the search page. Entries now for YouTube, yahoo Video, Google Video, Blogdigger, Revver and Daily Motion. Search worked fine on all services (except BlogDigger). The killer though was every video I downloaded and played from all services just worked on the Mac in Democracy Player.


Not only that, but you can create a search on any of the services and then convert that search into a Feed. So you can say search for OSX on Revver and then save as a Feed then whenever anyone posts an OSX related clip on Revver, you’ll get it downloaded automatically.

Nice one guys!

Update – Try searching for ScreenCastsOnline in Revver – That’s given me an idea!

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I want my iTV!

The more I think about the introduction of the iTV, the more I think it’s going to be a game changer.

I’ve got a PVR and a Series 1 Tivo yet I’m still missing shows as I can’t be bothered to use the crappy interface on the PVR and the Tivo picture quality is showing its age.

I’ve got an elgato TV eye on the Mac which is a pleasure to use but the Mac isn’t connected to the TV.

I’ve got 3.5 gigabytes of video podcasts downloaded which I need to look at but I really can’t watch them on my computer. I don’t know if it’s me but I just can’t spend time watching video on the computer, I just feel I should be doing something else.

I’ve got access to hundreds of Gigabytes of HD material on the Internet (I know, I know…)

The iTV will pull all this together seamlessly and I’ll be able to watch what I want, when I want all from the comfort of my couch on my HD TV. All we’ll need is for more Video podcasts to create HD compatible content.

I can’t wait!

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The ScobleShow

Just noticed that Scoble has posted a show on Google Reader and interviews some of the Google Reader team. Excellent, I’m a big Google Reader fan (props to Scoble for making me look a bit closer at the app after initially first dismissing it). But that’s not the point of this post.

Just some observations on the PodTech/ScobleShow thing as constructive criticism, I’m not Scoble bashing :-)

Look, I’m no brilliant editor myself but Robert is sorta high profile and I don’t know but I tend to expect high production values on his output, especially video stuff. Audio can hide a multitude of sins but Video, well it’s kind of in your face.

The actual video quality is great, but I would have expected better user of the format? Or is it that new media shouldn’t worry about production values?

Perhaps it shouldn’t!

But there are still people to convert to new media and there needs to be some compromise between raw content and a final semi-polished version? People are used to high video production values and we can’t just dismiss that fact.

Would it really hurt to turn this into a two camera shoot? 30 minutes on a fixed frame shot is really not that interesting to watch. Why not a couple of close ups, a couple of inserts, etc.

Yes, it makes it much more complex to shoot and it increases both the cost and the production time but without it, you may as well just listen to the audio. Technically it’s really not that difficult, even in the editing process in FCP. You can virtually do it in real time.

It may just be that Robert is gearing up and I know there is a new editor coming on board so we may see more sophisticated episodes further down the track? I hope so.

And as for sponsorship by Seagate, I’ve really no problem with that. The more major league sponsors that move into the podcasting space the better – heck, I’d love a major sponsor for my show :-)

But you just need to be a bit more careful with how you position them…

“without them I couldn’t bring you what I’m doing here tonight..”

Hmmmm….I seem to remember that Podtech received $5.5 million in Series A funding funding back in March so I’m sure he could actually do a show without them. Perhaps he couldn’t due to the setup within Podtech but I’d be really surprised if he wasn’t able to do a show without a sponsor!

Just a minor point, but it just grated a bit knowing the background. It probably wouldn’t even be picked up the majority of the viewers. Again, I’m not bashing the show but just offering up some suggestions. More power to your elbow Robert, as the more you can popularise the medium the better for all of us working in the same space.

Anyway, I’d better get on with recording my show for this week!

No $5.5 mill funding for me but at least I’m making a living doing this new media thing full time!

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