Ben Popper, for The Verge
I’ve always held a grudge against Apple devices, yet somehow I’ve come to own nothing else. My first smartphone was a Motorola Droid. I had it for two years. In that time, I probably spent a total of $10 on apps. I spent more than that on my first day with an iPhone.
My first connected TV device was an original Boxee Box. After that I added an Xbox 360. My latest purchase was an Apple TV, and I managed to spend more on films and TV in the first few months than I had in my two years with the Boxee or Xbox. Clearly, Apple knows how to make a slick, seamless store that anyone can learn to navigate easily, and as someone who would rather be working a little harder and getting the goods for free, I kind of hate them for that.
Boxee, for example, offered lots of great options for free content, ranging from video from Vice magazine or new TED talks, all served up as well-designed apps. Apple TV requires I load up the Podcast app, search for TED, click my way through lots of generic results, choose from a dozen different TED modules, and finally select my episode, most of which are presented largely without any description.
Apple’s priority is to be the best media merchant, not the most flexible or interesting internet-connected set top box. Spending a week with only the Apple TV reminded me that it’s still largely lacking some crucial elements — gaming, live sports and news, and a variety of free entertainment apps. But at $99, I have to admit, Apple TV delivers a strong overall package at an affordable price with a great interface and just a few rough patches.
Myself being a user of Apple Tv, Boxee Box Roku, and Xbox, I can agree on what Ben’s saying in this article.