2/17/08
11:51 am

Apple TV “Valid Address” Error

So I went to rent my second movie on Apple TV. This time sticking with a standard definition movie. But as I went to purchase it, I got an error message stating that I needed a valid address to purchase a movie with store credit. Weird, since I purchased a movie a few days ago without issue. Of course there is no way to enter an address at all in the Apple TV interface, so I assumed I needed to log on to my iTunes account on my computer. But there, the address was correct as it has always been.
A little research in the Apple forums showed that a lot of people were having this issue. The solution was to re-select your state from the drop-down list in the iTunes store account information page. When you do so, your two-letter abbreviation for a state (“CO”) is replaced with the longer “CO – Colorado”. But then the funny thing is if you save and return to the account screen, it shows “CO” again. The result was that I was immediately able to complete the movie rental.
This is a really stupid software bug that should have been fixed in minutes of the first occurrence, or have never happened in the first place.
This highlighted an interesting issue. Apple TV is different than its competitors. If I was renting a movie from a cable company like Comcast, or a satellite provider like DirecTV or Dish Network, I would have a customer support number I could call. I’m sure even NetFlixs has phone support. But when this issue happened, I was forced to go to the online support forums. What if the solution wasn’t there? Or, what if I was a more typical user who wouldn’t think to search online? This might be an indicator that Apple has a lot to learn before it is ready to compete in this space.