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The Reason Apple’s Macintosh TV Was A Failure

First, as a computer, the Macintosh TV was incredibly lackluster. Although it was faster (at 32 MHz) than the past Performa 520 and LC520, it had a bus speed of 16 MHz, slowing down the entire system. It also lacked storage capacity. Even if you upgraded the RAM from its original 5 MB, all you can possibly get was a measly 8 MB, while the aforementioned computers could handle up to 36 MB. So, as a computer, it wasn’t that great. 

How about as a TV? Well, you could watch in 16-bit color, however, in computer mode, it ran at only 8 bits (via Apple Museum.) It was pretty standard for a TV, but certainly not worth the price since there wasn’t anything else you could do while using the TV portion. You had to choose between the two functions, as there was no way to minimize TV programs into another window to do other tasks on the computer. You also couldn’t capture any video from the TV, but instead could only take screenshots as PICT files (via iMore.) In the end, it would just be better to have a TV and computer separately, for functional and financial reasons. 

Due to this, the Macintosh TV was a bust. It wasn’t around for long, being discontinued in 1995 after having shipped out only 10,000 units. Despite the fact that in today’s world, streaming TV shows on your computer is pretty run-of-the-mill, the Macintosh TV was too far ahead of its time and didn’t make for a good, affordable option that people could actually get some use out of. Though, Apple eventually turned this around with the Apple TV device. Unfortunately, however, the Macintosh TV was still decidedly one of Apple’s biggest failures of all time. 

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