AppleTV vs. iTV vs. Roku vs. TiVo vs. WTF?

The iPin is AppleTV's latest model, and it's smaller than a grain of rice but 32.5% larger than Plankton from Spongebob.

I’m a long-time advocate of the AppleTV, and intrigued enough by the iTV that I’ve got one on route. So what’s the difference, you ask? First check out Ryan/NewTeeVee’s coverage of AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Boxeee. Liz/NewTeeVee provides more in-depth coverage of the AppleTV/iTV.

So there’s no iTV. It’s just a new version of AppleTV, where the price of the unit was slashed in third. At $99 you won’t likely find a smoother interface to stream your content… assuming it’s as user-friendly and fast as AppleTV’s earlier model (around $300 with some room for storage).

We like the lower entry price making it an impulse buy, and the 99-cent rentals of television shows we miss — despite our best attempts via TiVo or the vintage DVR you’re using because you’re the cable company’s little bitch.

Until now we were buying assloads of missed television shows at twice that price ($1.99), and that’s a bit bloated for a 23-minute show (but certainly fair for an 45-minute show). We’re talking about decent HD, no stupid pre-rolls, an easy interface, and easy purchasing via the credit card Mac has on file. And for 95% of the shows we bought, a rental would be fine.While we’re not happy to see episodes costing $2.99 to own now, we’re hoping that our old AppleTV enjoys a software upgrade that makes it a new one. Otherwise we feel screwed. Except “The Office” and a few other shows, we don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word. Wait that’s a drop quote.

We don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word.

I find it perplexing that the unwashed masses are only beginning to adopt these things. We’ve got a Roku that’s not used often except for occasional Netflix viewing. The TiVo is the primary device because it plays live Verizon Fios without subjecting us to the horrible Verizon machines… TiVo also allows us to “subscribe” to YouTubers like “Obama Girl” and “Rhett & Link” and “The Onion” and “College Humor.”

Maybe I’ll do a little video demo when I get the new AppleTV because I read Scoble’s tweet that we can use our iPad as a remote to the new AppleTV, something that didn’t seem very easy with the old one.

Bottom line:

  • AppleTV is different in two ways. Cheaper unit ($99 not $300), and now you can rent all that television you missed or if you’re still not paying for access to premium channels because you’re a cheap bastard like me. Wait that made no sense. I’m probably paying more by buying these shows.
  • More choices (in hardware and vendor/price options) means a more confused marketplace but more attention by the mass market. Only one or two will survive, and you’re going to be getting lots of questions from your parents in the next few years. At least there’s no flashing 12:00 to worry about.
  • I’d predict that these will be mainstream by the fall, but I’m a bit gun shy making that prediction a 5th year in a row. I can’t even remember how I hedged this subject in my book, which is coming out in a week or so.
  • If I talk about my book too often, please tell me. I have seen authors do that, and it’s revolting. If I’m walking around with spinach in my teeth, you’d say something right?
  • How the heck did Netflix secure its space in this evolution? We thought they’d be Blockbustered.
  • It doesn’t bother me that only two people read my blog carefully.
  • Seriously- give me one good reason NOT to have a friggin’ Roku/Netflix/TiVo/AppleTV in your house? Sure it’s a few more devices and subscriptions, but we think this Onion spoof on Blockbusters is a reality now. When’s the last time you rented a DVD?
  • Is anyone else feeling like YouTube has gone WAY to far with the pre-rolls lately?

Short Visit to West Coast Online-Video Junkee with “LA Blue Balls”

Yeah I went to LA for one day, and it was the biggest tease of my online-video life! I have LA blueballs.

The near climax was getting to meet Punchy from WaverlyFilms, Captain from ClipCritics and my favorite YouTube weblebrities… but not having enough time to play! There was a spontaneous dinner on Wednesday night, and before I had the chance to spill a second beer, Chuck Potter (who is making a film about YouTube) was kind enough to whisk me to LAX to catch the red eye back to PA.

I’ve got to get back to LA soon, and inject myself into all of my favorite webshows as a lowlife extra – I had a near miss with TomBoys and Freddy Nager, with whom I’ve been dying to collaborate. And I didn’t even get to see Mickipedia Micki or my Revver peeps.

I did have a chance to appear in an episode of “The Retarded Policeman.” You’ve never been on a cooler shoot in your life. Ponce (Josh Perry) was so kind and gentle, and far from the insulting character he plays.

I can’t remember if he’s really got Down’s and he’s faking as a cop, or if it’s the other way around. But either way, I’ve gone from fan to superfan. His brother (who appears in episode one) directs him with precision and tough love that only a big brother can provide. In a future episode, The Retarded Policeman insults me, kisses me and then slaps me. The Nalts is,  of course, shocked and trying to explain that I’m a weblebrity who wasn’t drunk driving but “vlogging while driving.” I don’t want to give away anymore of Greg Benson’s hysterical script, but I hope he will indulge me on this sneak preview from the script.

“Oh, I recognize you. You’re the cup of shit from two girls and a cup.”

Comedic gold. Benson (MediocreFilms) is one of the best producers/directors I’ve seen in action, and that’s his voice (straight and falsetto) in TRP’s opening song. The MediocreFilms model is brilliant. It’s bursting with simplicity and humor, and production costs are minimized (they used a foam white board to bounce light on this shoot).

unicorn cowI had never seen Greg’s “Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show” until last night, and I’m hooked. Last night I watched the entire series with my 4-year-old Charlie, who was quick to say “that was a short one” or “we already watched that one.” The perverted humor is subtle enough that a child can watch it without too much brain damage. Whether he’s 4 or 40. See Ron Jeremy’s appearance in this episode, or check out this hysterical one that’s a personal favorite.

Have you ever seen anything that’s as funny as that cutaway of the Unicorn Cow’s sad face when he donates his spleen to make Steak Tartar? Honestly, have you? And have you ever seen Internet-video acting as good as the chef’s (who is that guy, Greg, and when can I appear in costume on the show!?)

This stuff is so good it makes me want to stop making videos and start watching them more.