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Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Beauty Of Apple TV

Apple TV is not just a game changer, it's a life changer. For years, people have been talking about the holy grail of "convergence," and how cool it would be to have all your computer-residing media jump readily to the living room big screen (and sound system). My response mostly has been ho-hum. I'd like to take this opportunity to swallow that response.

For example, allow me to officially thank and laud to the heavens the unsung Apple employee who designed the Apple TV photo screen saver. I know, ho-hum again, right? We've all seen photo screen savers, they're not that big a deal. But someone came to this person and gave them the marching orders to design the superlative photo screen saver, and he or she rose to the occasion. It is nothing short of surreal to have years' worth of your family's best times scrolling in stately manner and flying around in cheeky manner across a 42 inch screen as your music of choice plays on the stereo. I guess the next thing on the designer-in-question's to-do list is to create an alternate one that "dances" to the rhythm of the accompanying music, bringing a little Vegas club vibe to your domestic realm (or so says my husband).

(What I haven't figured out is if there is any *other* way to view your photos on the Apple TV, apart from the Holy Screensaver of Antioch. There's no "photos" item in the main menu alongside "music" etc., at least on mine. [Update:] Ok, found the photos, they only show up when you're looking to the Apple TV's hard drive, rather than streaming your iTunes library; see the tour.)

Something else that's terrific is being able to access all the little still camera video clips we intentionally (and sometimes inadvertently) record. Those tend to get lost unless I go through the several-step process of uploading to YouTube. The beauty of this is, there are no steps (well, one, you still have to import them from iPhoto to iTunes — something that should just be a preferences tweak, but isn't yet), and you can enjoy the clips in couch potato fashion.

It's been disappointing not to be at D: this week — but at least the coverage has improved dramatically from the inaugural year I attended! (With all this blogging going on, they have to have added WiFi to the room, finally.) Then, RealNetworks announced Rhapsody (it's quite an announcement-fest, this shin-dig). Today, RealNetworks announced its super-cool looking download product — which has me less excited than YouTube's deal with Apple TV (you knew, Shellen, didn't you?), but looks super-cool nonetheless.

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