Ever since AppleTV shipped a few weeks ago, reports of hacks, un-hacks, and opinions of downgraded HD, have been circulating. Some of the comments from consumers regarding the hacks range from, “Why would I want to spend $300 for something I need to hack to get it the way I want?” to, “This is exactly what my home theater was missing”
One of the bigger stories surrounding AppleTV is the record time hack made on its operating system so it can now run a full version of OS X. The guys over at AppleTVHacks have posted a step by step on how-to on turning the media hub into a cheaper Mac mini, but with only 256MB of RAM you probably will only use the modified AppleTV as it was intended, only with a few more apps than before. The TV hacks don’t stop there, you can also boot from that USB “service port only” as well. Apple disabled the port in the software but that didn’t stop others from enabling it.
There have been some accusations that Apple has removed these new hacks through the internet connection to make sure your AppleTV is being used “correctly”. These accusations and rumors are just that, since hacks are not 100% fool proof anyway and who really thinks Apple (anti-DRM) would be big brother all of a sudden.
Some other questions regarding these hacks have been on different ends of the spectrum. For example, why should the consumer spend $300 for a machine that needs to be hacked to do anything useful? If you really wanted to run OS X applications with a keyboard and mouse in your home theater, wouldn’t it be more sensible to buy a Mac mini? Is Apple killing off high-end audio and home theater?
All of these are good questions but the last one I had to ponder on for a bit. The low resolutions available for download on iTunes and the audio quality are generally not what home theater enthusiasts are about. They prefer the 1080i/p and lossless sound options available with the latest advancement in HD technology, but is Apple going to eventually kill off the higher end market because of the way they market the iPod and now the AppleTV?
Maybe Apple is just getting started, it could be that they are going to expand on what they have created or let us do the “hacking” for them so we, the consumer, can decide what we want and how we want it. That could be why Apple has been so successful with the iPod, even though there are better technologies available it doesn’t mean the consumer is ready to buy into them just yet. I’m sure if we give it a few more years, we could be raving about the HD AppleTV next.