categories: future, global church, technology, video
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January 17th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

32 comments (+ Add)

Apple TV Take 2

Macworld is this week and though there have been several new products introduced there is at least one announcement that is worthy of pointing you to.

Last year, I did an experiment for a couple of months where I only watched downloaded content at home using a couple of Apple TV devices. I talked about it in these posts.

This week Apple announced a major upgrade for the Apple TV (for both new and existing customers). You can now access, movies, tv shows, podcasts, music, YouTube videos, flickr photos and more from an Apple TV…AND…you don’t have to use a computer. You can do it all from your TV.

Some of you might be saying “cool”… others “finally!”…and the rest of you might be saying “who cares?” Here’s why I think it can be important.

The move helps to propel the convergence of the Internet and television. This move makes it much easier and very cost effective for churches (or individuals) to deliver content to the living room. It is pretty much free to build and deliver a video and/or audio podcast of your church’s teaching. Now, someone with an Apple TV can browse to your podcast in iTunes and begin watching it from their television. Oh…and it doesn’t have to be a low-quality web video either….it can be in HD if you want.

Think small group video distribution, think missionaries, think house churches, think shut-ins, think just about anything you want to think…now, what do you think?

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  1. Jan 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Whatever the implications are, whatever ways it can be best used, I have a strong hunch that you all will be leading the way…

  2. Jan 17, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Right on Bobby, right on…

    But does it have “repeat” function?

  3. 5Ryan
    Jan 17, 2008 at 1:26 pm


    i love the fact that you are so passionate about using every available to reach people with technology.

    So where do we go with this technology? That I’m not sure but I can tell you how my family uses it. We first got hooked up with Lifechurch through Andrew Statezny and the Hendersonville Campus. Only problem is, we live in South Florida. We have been avid internet watchers and truly love the full screen service we can watch through that great tool. We just had a baby a few months ago (congrats on yours as well) and have enjoyed the fact that as a family we can be a part of the experience even at home.

    I look forward to seeing you take the service for truly minimal cost and making it a beautiful HD podcast that will reach countless people who may never walk through any of your physical campus doors.

    Now if only AppleTV could connect direct to your Internet Campus…

    Maybe in AppleTV 3… we can dream…

    it is funny how posts that deal with technology don’t have as many replies as others do…

  4. Jan 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Bobby, if you’d like a test subject for any of the ideas you’re cooking up, and for some reason need to test the north Florida region, drop your boy a line…

  5. Jan 17, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Tallahassee is much more south Georgia than north Florida, to be sure…

  6. Jan 17, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Awesome!! Sounds like God is giving us one more opportunity . . . :)

  7. Jan 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    We’d need Apple to realize that there are people in countries outside of the US that are interested in things like Apple TV, movie rentals, iPhones, etc etc before we can start thinking about using them.

  8. Jan 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm


    Totally agree with you! I was thinking the same thing.

    Also, these improvements open more doors for churches create some really cool digital signage with no wires.

  9. Jan 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I’m very impressed with the Apple TV now. It had a slow start in life, but it’s beginning to become more and more wonderful.

  10. Jan 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    So is this technology that could be used in a multi-site church setting?

  11. Jan 17, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Finally Apple is doing something with this. I have to say I love mine, I just wish there was a clever way to embed subtitles in the video file somehow, love this with kids trying to sleep, and when I’m feeling old, etc!

    I agree it could be used for a plethora of uses. Imagine if you could afford to have one in every small group leader’s house… and set it to tune to the lesson podcast you set up each week… I could load the file on the private podcast and set them all up and voila!

    I also cannot get over the no repeat function. I had one all wired up for digital signage (on a ladder, mounting behind a flatpanel tv) and realized it didn’t do that… I wasn’t happy! How can we request this? Surely it’s an easy software update (it’ll do this with audio if I’m not mistaken).


  12. Jan 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Hey Larry,

    You can submit a feature request from this page.

  13. Jan 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    thanks peter!

  14. 20Kez
    Jan 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    This is perfect for my church plant. It’s predominately a house church movement.

    The main communication tool that we will be using is a short video clip that will be distributed at the beginning of the month. This video contains the ‘big idea’ that we will be wrestling with.

    Example here.

    Thanks for the heads up…

  15. Jan 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I agree this is one of the best things to come out of Macworld…

  16. 23Dave
    Jan 17, 2008 at 11:25 pm


    I love the fact that your church leverages technology in so many innovative ways. I also try to leverage technology in creative ways in the church I work at. On the other hand, the AppleTV is a good product but there are some other similar products that have been around for a while and have quite a bit more funtionality that you should look at.

    These are the 2 leaders in the industry for media streamers(tvix also just announced a new product that isn’t even on their site yet that offers BD support). You should really take a look at them and all the integration and formats they support.


  17. 24Jon
    Jan 17, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    The only thing I wish (which would convince me to buy it) is that Apple TV would allow you to play shows that stream on sites like ABC and NBC. I know it hurts the thought that Apple wants to sell those same shows, but AppleTV’s closed system just seems to hurt it in this regard. I don’t want to be locked into purchasing every show!

    (not really related to your post, but I think this has great potential if it can go mainstream - until then, it will just be an accessory for some folks)

  18. 26Kevin
    Jan 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Bobby - that is fantastic news!. I have just this last week accepted a position on the Gold Coast as a Senior Associate Pastor with the view of taking over in a 2 year period. I have also already been thinking how do we get in peoples homes from a mission perspective. I am using the Internet Campus via computer but our limited speed and connection in Australia is a real obstacle. Last stats were less than 30 % of Aussies had a ADSL connection. This could just be an answer. Will you then podast whole experiences for viewing?

    You know they call Australia the lucky country, and that is so true till it comes to internet speed connection & new technology - then we refer back to our bible description -” the ends of the earth”

    Thanks for the heads up you guys are serving the body more than your will ever realize..

    Bless ya heaps

  19. 27Brad Singleton
    Jan 19, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    This lines up with another idea that has been floated around. Using Nintendo’s Wii for Internet Campus viewing. As far as i know the only drawback with Wii’s Opera Browser is the older version of flash.
    I guess the Wii doesnt compare with the possibilities for HD content that come along with the AppleTV.

  20. Jan 19, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    When I read your post it excites me!

    I emailed you about the vision I had and this falls right along those lines. Planting a church starting on the internet from the ground up.

    Very cool!

  21. 29Matthew Myers
    Jan 19, 2008 at 8:43 pm


    I bought a bunch of new computer parts and they are spread out all over my office floor. I am trying to save money by buying the parts instead of buying ready made computers…escpecailly those expensive Apples.

    Can you come over and put it together for me??? I hear you have a lot of experience doign this!

  22. Jan 23, 2008 at 11:50 am

    [...] Bobby Gruenewald talks about the Apple TV upgrade. [...]

  23. Jan 29, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    [...] You can read the entire blog here. [...]

  24. Jan 29, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    That’s pretty awesome. I hadn’t considered the whole podcast aspect of Apple TV… I’ve been looking for ways to distribute ministry-type video… good thinking!