AirPlay Gets it Right, Google TV So Very Wrong

| Editorial

Apple may not have figured out how to convert the Apple TV from a hobby to a consumer firestorm, but the company is thinking along fabulous lines with AirPlay. AirPlay creates a giddy sense of the magical, while Google TV bogs us down with a keyboard and a browser. What a contrast in philosophies.

There is more to video entertainment than building hardware and implementing various in-your-face technologies. When it comes to video entertainment, movies and great TV, the viewer is accustomed, by choice, to the art of the visual. Whether it’s live sports, TV drama, or a movie that inspires one for a lifetime, viewers know that it can be a magical, emotional experience.

Apple of my Eye

Apple of My Eye

In a similar fashion, the act of managing and viewing video entertainment should be just as magical. And that’s what AirPlay is, a magical, friendly, awe inspiring, fun thing to do. Sit with your significant other or children, press a button on the iPad or iPhone and the video instantly shifts to the TV. It took Apple many years to develop and refine that magic so that it’s seamless.

Compare that to the concepts presented by the Boxee box and the Google TV — as implemented on a TV or the Logitech Revue. At the New York Times last week, David Pogue wrote a scathing review: “Google TV, Usability Not Included.” It seems that the Google TV casts one into the WebTV dark ages, and the giddiness of the UI on these devices is shared only by young men who live in their parents’ basement.

Anyone who has the new Apple TV 2G and a modern iOS device to store content will instantly realize that this is the future that millions of customers can embrace. The technology sinks into the background and yet makes its presence known by the things we can do and enjoy, not by the frustrating, geeky actions that we must take to make things work.

I don’t feel moved to say this very often, but here it is. Thanks Apple. AirPlay is why you do what you do.

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Comments

geoduck

Here’s a link to the Pogue Article
Hope it keeps working

mhikl

Thanks Apple. AirPlay is why you do what you do.

Can’t wait to hear the obfuscation from our own Envyboy and his ilk. Should be misentertaining, in an entertaining sort of way. Awesome.

John Martellaro

geoduck: I didn’t link to the Pogue review because the NYT had pulled it behind the registration process—at least for the link I had.

FlipFriddle

Yep. I can’t wait to throw images of my baby that I have on my iPod Touch, or video from my wife’s iPhone onto the TV for easy viewing; that’s what I want the AppleTV for; if only I had a modern TV so I could get this together, but oh well. I’ll let everything mature a little longer. The flat TV specs are still changing too often for my taste to jump in just yet. The future looks cool though, at least in the living room.

geoduck

ecause the NYT had pulled it behind the registration process

Understood. The NYT is strange sometimes. Articles will get hidden and open seemingly at random. Who knows how long my link will be good.

mrmwebmax

+

This difference in philosophy played out at work today, when a worker showed me her new Droid Pro, confessed that she still didn’t know how to use it, and didn’t even know how to answer it the first time it rang. Compare that to how easy it is to use an iPhone, as this USA Today article illustrates:

Parents Worry About Toddlers’ Tiny Fingers Itching for iPhone

geoduck

Who knows how long my link will be good.

It just broke

Peter

Personally, my complaint with AirPlay is that Apple is re-inventing the wheel.  There’s already DLNA and it works great.  I have a DLNA server on my Mac and I can stream music, pictures, and video over my home network to my DLNA-equipped TV.  It even supports encryption.

Remember way back when Apple used open standards?  Ah, those were the days…

Andy

I designed my entire audio and video system here at home with the knowledge of Airplay to be released. Today it has been unleashed and it is awesome.

jjw14

I’d say it’s perfect, BUT…  If you have an iOS (4.2.1) device like an IPhone or iPod Touch, you can’t stream video that you have recorded from your camera directly to your Apple TV 2G.  This was a real dissapointment to me.  If I record a video of my kid’s birthday with my iPod touch 4G, the video will show up in the Camera Roll, but there is no AirPlay icon for you to stream directly to the Apple TV.  Only videos you have already synced through iTunes have the AirPlay icon.  Check the Apple forums - people are infuriated by this.  It takes away from the whole spontaneous, “Here, let me show you this video I just shot on the big screen”.  Don’t get me wrong - AirPlay was a breeze to set up on my ATV2, but why restrict me to only streaming video that is already in my iTunes library?  I can just do that immediately through Home Sharing.

John Martellaro

jjw14: I think, in time, we’ll all have a better understanding of this limitation. Once we understand the technical side, we’ll have possible clues about when/if Apple can remedy the situation.

Patrick

I have a MacBook Pro, iPod Touch, Droid X and Google TV. I hate to say it but the Times, in my opinion missed the point. There are so many features that Google TV has, and they didn’t even comment on the best one. Search. Type in what you want to watch and your search results are listed just like you would expect from Google. Whether it be on YouTube, CBS.com (which sadly is currently blocking along with other networks) or directly on the channel. Also, this is a Logitech Harmony Remote, that alone is worth $150 for ease of use. If all you want to do is stream media, this isn’t for you, there are cheaper ways about it. Also, the fact that I don’t need to change input settings on my TV to view is another ease of use that they skip over in these reviews. C’mon, changing input from HDMI1 to HDMI2, is this the eighties? DNLA support? Done. I can stream media from my Mac and or iPod all the same. As far as the networks blocking content, they will eventually come around, once they figure out a modern revenue stream. So I would advise to try something out before you pan it. Not dissing iTV, But that device is something that people that don’t have a Mac should buy, if you have a Mac it is much less attractive, in my opinion.

jjw14

jjw14: I think, in time, we?ll all have a better understanding of this limitation. Once we understand the technical side, we?ll have possible clues about when/if Apple can remedy the situation.

John:  Thanks for the response.  To its credit, AirPlay does work as advertised (in the pdf manual, it is never stated that video from the camera roll can be streamed, just photos).  In that sense, it does what it is supposed to do flawlessly.  I hope that a future update does allow streaming of “freshly” recorded video - to me, this would make AirPlay a killer application.
jjw

Lancashire-Witch

Since Atv 1 supports AirTunes I don’t see any reason why it doesn’t support AirPlay.  Just one more Atv 1 update, please Apple. There are still a lot of Atv 1 boxes out there and many people use the streaming function.

plogpower

Peter:

Your comment about Apple should use open standard like DLNA, here is the thing: AirPlay is really awesome in the “the how” it is done.  Yes, DLNA can certainly put anything from your Mac/PC onto your TV but it is NOT seamless. I give you 2 scenarios below and you tell me which one is better for average consumers (even for you tech geeks)

1. You just snap a picture of your kid with the iPhone and with one push, the picture shows up on your giant TV via Apple TV instantly.

2. You snap a picture of your kid with the iPhone.  Now you must email that picture to your email account then get up and go to your Mac or PC, open up your email, get the message and click on it and save attachment to your desktop or wherever you store your photos.  Then from there use DLNA to get that picture to the TV. 

I don’t know about you, but I pick #1 any day.

People ALWAYS forget the fact that it is the “HOW” it is done with Apple.  They always get stuck on the “WHAT” it can and cannot do. They always say things like, it’s been done before bla bla.  I am just sick of this idiotic views from Apple haters, not that I am calling Peter a hater.

Sure there are tons of ways to put pictures onto your TV, but AirPlay is the easiest and most intuitive.

A Ford Pinto (DLNA) can get you from A to B, but a BMW (AirPlay) can get you there much faster and much more comfortable.

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