» Rants: The new Apple TV, A.K.A the shiny black box that powers itself

Nathan Schwartz

|    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh Apple, how you have me torn. On one hand, you have some very sleek and useful gadgets. On the other, many of your practices are just plain distressing. Let’s take the most recent addition to my collection of Apple products, the new Apple TV. Though it’s very shiny and all, there’s one big issue I have with it: it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable, which is the only type of cable you can use to connect it to your TV. How could they not package it with an HDMI cable? Without it, as I told them on the phone, it’s but a shiny black box that powers itself! Also, the only place it says that the cables are sold separately is on the side of the box in infinitesimally small gray text.

Usually when you buy a product that doesn’t come with batteries, it states on the package, in very readable text, “batteries not included”. Having the words “cables sold separately” appear nowhere on the box aside from the aforementioned text that is so small that even I, in my early twenties, have some trouble reading, is just atrocious.

In sum, this brand of douchebaggeriness is pure poopy!

 

Comments (7)

 

  1. Eli S says:

    Don’t worry. Simply visit your local Apple store and you can pick up your very own HDMI cable for only $ohgodwhatdididotodeservethis!

    It’s understandable that the cable isn’t included, since many people have spare HDMI cables by now. Like you say, however, it’s unforgivable that Apple doesn’t make the absence of the cable obvious.

    • L.E. Green L.E. Green says:

      Oh yeah, I totally have spare HDMI cables laying around all the time. I leave a small stash right next to my pile of fool’s gold.

      • Eli S says:

        You may not have any to spare, but there is a not-insignificant set of people who do have extra HDMI cables.

        Like I said above, Apple’s mistake here is not that they left the cable out of the package. Similarly, printers often don’t come with USB cables in the box. The problem is that Apple doesn’t make it clear to you, before you walk out of the store, that you need to buy a cable separately.

        • L.E. Green L.E. Green says:

          I don’t think I’ve purchased, or received with the purchase of another computing product, a single printer that didn’t come with a USB cable. Even wireless printers come with them!

          I’m actually kind of surprised you were serious about this. People actually tend to not have spare cables of any kind lying around. In fact, it’s more likely that they don’t, because people will usually expect, unless otherwise told, that the necessary attachments come in the box (as you pointed out that was Apple’s mistake). Typical families are not tech fans like – well, I can’t speak for Nathan – myself. It’s more likely that they only get the cables or accessories they deem necessary at the time they purchase an item, or as they need them. That’s also why companies don’t sell composite cables separately.

          If you had an option between a DVD player that comes with cables and one without (and let’s not get into tech spec semantics here), which would you get?

          • Eli S says:

            These boxes are getting smaller and smaller! Is there room for my comment?

            Trivially, all other things equal, I’d buy the DVD player that comes with cables. Realistically, however, the DVD player without cables reduces costs for the manufacturer. The savings can be passed on to me, resulting in a very slightly cheaper player, or the savings can be devoted to R&D, resulting in a very slightly better player.

            Either of those results makes the cable-less DVD player a slightly advantageous buy, provided that I already have a cable that I’m not using. And I’m not backing down from the point that lots of people do have spare cables. Using HDMI itself as an example, what if somebody owned the first-generation Apple TV? Bought a cable to connect their laptop to their TV, but never really ended up using the cable? Have one that came with their HD-DVD player? This group of people isn’t the majority, and it doesn’t include you, but I think that it’s still a good percentage.

            Now, if I didn’t have the cable lying around, then I’d obviously prefer to buy the DVD player that includes cables. But there’s no reason to force me to pay for two cables when I only need one.

          • L.E. Green L.E. Green says:

            The rub lies within your reply! The Apple TV only works with one type of cable, and they don’t even supply it! I can understand Apple evangelists owning an original Apple TV and “upgrading” to the new one, but most people probably either didn’t buy the original one, or, if they did, disliked it so much they’re not likely to give the new one a chance anyway.

            As far as costs go, do you realize how cheap it is for a manufacturer to put something like a cable into a box with their product? An HDMI cable that would cost $60 for a consumer in stores (mostly because of the brand name on the cable, because they’re really all the same) costs them pennies to a dollar! Even over 1 million is very little cost for them. R&D costs way, way more than that. Shipping costs on all those units would barely increase. Consumer savings would be minimal at best, if there were any at all.

  2. Hannah says:

    At least its shiny

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