Apple products that don't work well enough for me to buy

Obviously, that's a working title... but with the release of Apple TV Software Update 2.3 it's as good a time as any to complain about what Apple *isn't* doing, which is to create a piece of entertainment hardware that provides exactly what I want.

What I want:
a combination Roku/TiVo/Apple TV-without-needing-to-be-hacked/Blu-Ray player, without any DRM or HDCP nonsense, able to navigate to and play those streams smoothly without chatter or hiccups.

What is HDCP you ask? Well, if you plan on getting a new Macbook and want to use an external display, read this first:

Just got a new MacBook last week and finally found a mini Display Port -> VGA adapter so i could use my 19” external display. I rented a movie from the iTunes store yesterday and when I tried to play it on my external display, it gave me a warning/error that the display was ‘not an authorized HDCP display’ and it would not play. Plays fine on the small MacBook screen, just nothing external. To make it even worse, i tried all the movies that I have purchased from the iTunes store with the same result… NONE of them will play on anything but the MacBook’s small 13” screen. This is crazy unacceptable.


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"O Whisky! soul o' plays and pranks! Accept a bardie's gratfu' thanks! When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks Are my poor verses! Thou comes-they rattle in their ranks, At ither's a-s!" Robert Burns - "Scotch Drink" 1785

2 thoughts on “Apple products that don't work well enough for me to buy”

  1. I think the only way you're going to get a doohickey that will do all that is by building a custom linux box. Even then, you're going to be stuck with HDCP unless you want to rip all your disks before you play them. It's not hard to do with DVDs, but you'd just need a lot of hard drive space to do Blu-Ray.

    I think that HDCP and everything is going to go away in the future. Right now, the studios are stuck in the mindset that they have to protect everything and that locking things down will help them do that. I think though that if they could make buying the product compelling enough, they'd make people not want to pirate. On the current path, it's going to get to the point where honest people can't use the products that they've actually purchased and that's going to prevent them from buying the products.

    Haha, my personal philosophy too is that I'd rather have five devices that do a good job at one thing each rather than one device that does a so-so job. I'm pretty happy using my mac for streaming, the tivo HD for tivoing, and (eventually) a blu-ray player for blu-raying.

    As far as the MacBooks go, I'm really curious too to see if you can play movies when you use the new display with the mini-video connector. That should work.

  2. Apple just released a software update to fix this. They're forced to limit high-def video (movies only, tv shows don't have the same requirements) to only display sources that can be verified with HDCP. So the new display with the mini-displayport adapter should work.

    However, the protection was being overzealous with standard definition video. That should be allowed to go out through the VGA port. It's fixed now.

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