Since the initial euphoria over getting the Apple TV set top box into our home, we haven't exactly been using it every day. While it's a great backup for missed shows that can be downloaded from iTunes, and also a fun way to play iTunes music through my TV's speakers, the inflexibility of iTunes in terms of not having movies for rent, or the ability to play .AVI files natively, has limited our use. Today, Apple debuted a new software update for the Apple TV that delivered a new source of entertainment: YouTube, directly to the Apple TV.
As I noted in my writeup for The Apple Blog (see: YouTube Comes to My Apple TV), the installation process was simple, taking about 10 minutes, and adds YouTube as a dedicated channel on the Apple TV, alongside TV Shows, Movies, Music, etc. Now, instead of looking at thumbnail-like video clips from the laptop, I can search and view this primarily amateur-created entertainment on the big 42-inch screen. As with my initial experience with the Apple TV, I expect this to be a fun amusement in the near term, and used sporadically longer term, but it is a good proof point for the coming marriage of television, entertainment and the Web.
The lines for where content is obtained are increasingly blurred, and whether it be my laptop, my iPod, the TV screen or, maybe, someday, the iPhone, I am getting a similarly increasing array of choices of how to enjoy this entertainment, either on the big screen or the little one. The YouTube deployment is also another proof point of continued closeness between Apple and Google, two of the "good guys" in technology, who haven't been sullied by decades of Microsoft-like behavior. While I don't anticipate any closer of a business relationship, like the one insinuated by New York Magazine this week, saying Google could acquire Apple, that these two are working together can only mean good things for consumers everywhere.
I can only hope that the previously rumored movie rentals from iTunes are next to debut from Apple. We'll be sitting with popcorn and remote in hand, waiting.