Site icon Jake Ludington

Apple waffles on HDMI and Blu-ray support

I don’t normally comment on Apple announcements because there’s far too much armchair quarterbacking about what Steve Jobs does or doesn’t do. After his comments on HDMI and Blu-ray, I feel like some comment is in order. Jobs said in the keynote that HDMI is limited in resolution, according to an Engadget post on the topic. That’s true if you want to connect your computer to a dual-DVI display for editing your millions-of-polygons CGI movie, but the average notebook user simply wants a simple connection from their computer to the HDTV. HP gives it to them, why won’t Apple? The reason: putting an HDMI connection on Mac products would tank sales for the already pointless AppleTV product. AppleTV gets HDMI because it’s the Apple living room appliance. MacBook gets DisplayPort because you’re only supposed to use your MacBook in conjunction with a Cinema Display. Apparently no one told the thousands of people who read my article on connecting an HDTV to your Mac you’re not supposed to do that.
As for Blu-ray licensing being too complex (per the Jobs keynote once again), this is again about hurting sales of an Apple product, at the expense of an Apple customer. This time the iTunes movie store is the defensible turf. While I’m reasonably convinced that all shiny disk movies are headed for the tech graveyard in 5 years, in the short term Blu-ray is the only way to get HD movies with 7.1 surround sound, which is what many consumers want. Of course with no HDMI to send that audio to your television, I suppose you don’t need a Blu-ray player because you’d only get stereo sound out of the headphone jack on your MacBook. Apple doesn’t want Blu-ray support because you’re supposed to be purchasing iTunes HD movies, not disks. Nevermind their HD movies are lacking a great audio experience which is a huge component of home cinema. Score another win for HP, Toshiba, etc. who are smart enough to recognize that consumers want to watch movies playing in a Blu-ray drive on their computer, connected to a HDTV screen via HDMI.

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