Apple TV: Sharp or Not?

Microsoft’s Mike Torres notes that Apple TV — to his eyes — doesn’t look sharp on HDTV screens (he’s not alone, several of my friends saw them in Apple stores and say they don’t look sharp). I saw one on display that wasn’t set properly. Mine came by default set to something other than 1080i. When I changed the setting to 1080i it got a TON sharper. I’m wondering if the ones in the stores aren’t set to the best resolution? I’ll have to go back to the store and see what they’re set at. Or, do they look unsharp just cause of the Internet video content they are displaying on them (iTunes content is NOT HD stuff, so if you are expecting HD, you’ll be disappointed)? Or, are they just unsharp because the video card inside sucks (I don’t think that’s it, cause when I put HD content on my Apple TV it looks just as sharp as stuff coming off of my Media Center/Xbox 360 setup).

But, I want to test it out — and not with a biased dude like me. Anyone got a good way to test out the Apple TV? Anyone want to meet up this weekend and check out mine next to a Windows Media Center PC (high-end AMD box)?

What should we use as the test as to whether it’s sharp or not?


Killer Vista app demoed

At SXSW I hung out in the hallways. That’s where you always see the coolest stuff. This year was no different. A couple of guys were introduced to me and showed me their new app that uses a variety of Web services. It’s from Thirteen23 and is a design prototype that uses Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation along with Web services from Flickr and Netflix.

You’ll see a ton of apps like this one this year from both Adobe and Microsoft as they try to convince developers to use their new platforms to build Rich Internet Applications. You can try these apps yourself on Thirteen23’s “labs” page. Windows Vista recommended (it works on other OS’s that have .NET 3.0 loaded, but was really designed for the Vista aesthetic and usage model). It’s the first set of apps I’ve seen that made me want to load up .NET 3.0, which is why I call it a “killer Vista app.”

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Web 2.0 news not on TechCrunch: Compete tracks attention data

I just did an interview with Compete’s David Cancel, CTO, and Donald Mclagan, CEO who showed me their new features, just turned on today.

First, Compete is a site where you can see metrics from the million largest Web sites. Sorta like Alexa, but different.

Here’s how to use it. First, let’s look at traffic of Yowza, Mike is up, way up!

Now, the new features: Attention. That shows how often people click on TechCrunch and how long they stick around. Clicks are up, average stay is down (Click on Engagement and select attention).

Finally, click on “Growth” and select “Velocity.” This shows you how fast traffic is going up, or down.

Oh, and you can compare big sites to each other. Here’s TechCrunch compared with CNET’s compared with Om Malik’s GigaOm.

How does your site compare?