Don Reisinger wrote a good article on NewTeeVee the other day, outlining 5 alternatives to AppleTV, one of which being the Xbox 360. I took fault with part of his argument against the 360.. He wrote:
Is it as simple to use as the Apple TV? Yes. But unfortunately, the barriers to entry (mainly cost) are a bit too high for those on a budget. You can have the Xbox 360 at most major electronics retailers for $279.99 (core system) to $449.99 (Elite).
To which I commented:
Uh, let me see if I got this logic right… AppleTV is $299. Xbox 360 is $279 (and up). And yet “But unfortunately, the barriers to entry (mainly cost) are a bit too high for those on a budget.”
So you can have one for $20 less AND it plays video games, but it’s too expensive an option for those on a budget?
And as a final “nail in the head” on this argument – is there some huge market segment of people with lots of digital media files that they want to stream to their plasma yet are constrained by a budget of under $400 to do so?
Now I shouldn’t have taken the derisive tone, I apologize for that. But I believe my point as merit. Don did write a followup comment:
If you don’t have a MCE (or Connect360), the costs are much higher than an Apple TV — computer and console?. To make matters worse, would you actually use the core bundle to do what I’m suggesting in this post? I certainly wouldn’t.
Also, I do think people are constrained to $400. I’m happy for you if you’re not, but not all people are so lucky. Some save up for quite some time to get a plasma and buy digital media files when possible.
First, you don’t need MCE or Connect360. All you need is Windows Media Player 10 or 11, which runs on about 97% of computers. So, again, where are the extra costs? YES, if you are Mac-based, this is a pain, no question about it, but that wasn’t the premise of the argument.Also, you can get the NON-core for $349, it’s the Elite that’s priced at $449.
Lastly I don’t agree with Don’s point that consumers “save up” only to splurge on a plasma. They may buy it on credit card and pay it off (likely due to the debt that most Americans seem happy to incur – especially the U.S. Americans), but at $1500+ it’s hardly the purchase being made by those on a budget. Having spent the better part of the past few years actually marketing consumer electronics devices to consumers, I don’t really know where the $400 as a magic price point (in my opinion, the ‘budget-conscious’ customer isn’t spending more than $99 for a streaming media player anyway). The $400 seems pretty arbitrary, and I’d love to see the basis for it. Either way, the Xbox is in range.
Personally, I’m using the Xbox 360 with my Maxtor NAS running Twonkyvision. It’s a bit of a kludge, but it works extremely reliably. In fact, the only problem now is my MacBook doesn’t do a great job generating WMV files from iMovie – one of my only issues since I stopped using the Sony Vaio VGN-SZ460N (aka the VGN-SZ470N) laptop. I stopped using it because it’s not even a very good paperweight. Don’t buy it. But you can safely buy a 360!
I’m with you on that. 360 is awesome and as you mentioned, MCE is not a requirement. AND unlike Apple TV, you can make video purchases (including movie *rentals* in *HD*) direct from the box. I only have two small complaints – 1. Machine is loud when disc is spinning. 2. Long lists of stuff (downloads, movies, etc) to sort through. There’s got to be a better way.
Actually, I am a gamer, but I happen not to have a 360. I didn’t know that movie rentals (especially in HD) were even possible on the machine; that’s just one more in my increasingly-long list of reasons to go out and buy one. Other reasons I could name: Halo 2, Halo 3, Mass Effect, Gears of War, upcoming Rez on Live Arcade, Everyday Shooter, Oblivion, F.E.A.R, on and on..