Monday, May 06, 2013

I Just Finished Paying For the Old One

The seeming endless improvements in digital technology come with a price and some frustration.  The other day I was helping one of my colleagues hook up his new AppleTV.  He was interested in having access to the vast library of TV programs and films available on demand from Netflix Online, Hulu Plus and others.  But the big reason he went with AppleTV was that he wanted to watch these programs on his large flat screen TV rather than on his computer or iPad.  He also wanted to use the TV to view web sites and YouTube and TED videos rather that only on the small screen of the iPad.

Everything went fine.  The AppleTV is a cinch to set up and after loading in some information about his home Wi-Fi network he was good to go.  We set him up with a Hulu Plus account and I was getting ready to leave.  I had checked the AirPlay feature using my iPhone and was able to see and use all the apps on my phone on the TV but he was having trouble getting either his iPhone or iPad to synch up with AirPlay. 

I tried several fixes with no luck.  Since it was getting late I told him I would do some investigation and get back to him.   I have to say here that when he bought the AppleTV he asked the Apple Store ‘Genius” if his iPad Version 1 and his iPhone Version 1 would work with AirPlay and AppleTV.  They assured him it would.

I guess they don’t read their own customer support documents.  Giving several reasons, the official Apple web site notes AirPlay for AppleTV only works with “iPhone 4S (or later), iPad 2 (or later), iPad mini, or iPod touch (5th generation)”

I tell this story not so much to complain about Apple (although the “Genius” should be demoted to just a C+ student) as to point out how quickly our digital devices become obsolete.  Gone are the days when a TV was never pitched out, it was just relegated to another room in the house. 

At my place of work we used to depreciate our broadcast equipment over 10 years. Today that has been reduced to 3 years.  While it is true that some of the digital equipment is less expensive than the old analog gear, it is difficult and frustrating to try to find money in tight budgets for a new piece of equipment to replace one that is 3 years old because the parts are no longer available or the new required software will only run on the new model.

Perhaps this is the new normal and the price we pay for new services.  Guess there is indeed no free lunch even in the digital world.



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