I unpacked my Apple TV unit today. It works about how I expected. Wish the video quality was better. Wish I could get other video into it and didn’t have to sync everything through iTunes. Generally happy with the rest (audio playback and the like), and expect people will hack around some of those problems. Here are my predictions for the product:
* Within three months units will start to die from overheating or some other widespread problem, and lots of angry consumers will start various protest web sites and threaten class action lawsuits. Apple will eventually quietly setup a repair program.
* Within six months Apple will release a more powerful model that can play more types of content and will have the option of a larger hard drive for $50 more.
* By the end of the year there will be a decent amount of 720p content on the iTunes store, a bunch of movies and at least a few TV series.
* It will take Apple far longer than it should to incorporate proper chapter support, alternate language tracks, commentary tracks, and subtitles into their format, iTunes Store content, and on the Apple TV, but they will have made some measurable progress by 2008. Getting at these features will be at least slightly painful because the current remote doesn’t have enough buttons.
* Apple will stick with the stupid gumstick remote, much like they did with the hockey puck mouse, for far longer than it makes sense to do so — at least two years — before finally coming out with something better.
Now to go cancel my cable and put my TiVo Series 3 on Ebay. Man I hope my predictions are true.