Yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced a partnership with a tiny video sharing website called YouTube. (The announcement came at the D: All Things Digital technology conference in Carlsbad, Calif., where, in another historic moment, Jobs also shared a stage with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, whichstrikes us as the modern equivalent of John D. Rockefeller chattingwith Andrew Carnegie. Were Steve and Bill wearing silk top hats andopera capes?) Anyway, the new service, scheduled to begin mid-June, will let Apple TV users stream and watch YouTube content. Now, I happen to be a mostly satisfied owner of an Apple TV, a so-called “desktop box” that acts an interface between your computer and television. But as much as I look forward to watching a sleepy little duck in the comfort of my living room, I do have some reservations.
I’m sure they’ll find a way to deal with on-site searching and navigation — a not inconsiderable task, given that the tiny Apple TV remote has only six buttons. But I’m less certain that they’ll be able to make the clips look halfway presentable on TV screens. Let’s face it: most YouTube footage is butt-ugly. It’s splotchy and grainy and drab — and that’s in a Post-It size square on your computer monitor. It’s gonna take a lot of technological magic to make me want to watch it on a 32-inch LCD screen. But I’m hoping they succeed — if only to encourage other sites (and TV networks and movie studios) to offer more streaming content to Apple’s still infant service. Do you own an Apple TV? Does this new service make you want to buy one? And is this going to change the face of TV as we know it, or is it just a kinda-cool app?