Apple TV (2006-2009)
Released March, 2006
The Pros:Integrated wireless. Plays high-definition content. Small footprint and sleek styling.
The Cons:Limited to iTunes. 24 hour movie rental time window. Xbox with XBMC is cheaper and is more flexible.
Apple TV is a digital media receiver that plays digital audio and video either streamed or downloaded from a networked Mac or PC running iTunes or from the iTunes Store directly. The Apple TV connects to your telelvision and can play both enhanced digital and high-definition video content.
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The Apple TV connects to your home network through the integrated Ethernet adapter or the integrated wireless B/G/N adapter. If you have a Mac with Airport Extreme hardware then no router is necessary as the Apple TV and Mac will be able to communicate directly with one another wirelessly. At Macworld 2008, Steve Jobs announced the a significant software upgrade dubbed "Take 2" that turns the Apple TV into a standalone player able to stream and download from iTunes directly. The Apple TV was originally available in a 40 GB and 160 GB version retailing for $229 and $329 respectively. However, as of September 14, 2009 only a 160 GB version is available for $229
- Synchronize our stream media content from iTunes running on your network
- Ethernet and 802.11n wireless networking
- Access to the iTunes store including movie rentals
- High-Definition video support
- Outputs: 1 x HDMI (audio and video), 1 x Component, 1 x Optical Audio S/PDIF, 1 x RCA audio
- USB 2.0 port reserved for service and diagnostics
- Includes Apple TV remote
- Stream YouTube directly
- Format support: video, audio, photos, podcasts
- Up to 5 Mbps video streaming of HD content from iTunes store
Choice of 40 GB or 160 GB hard drive
price: $229 (40 GB), $329 (160 GB)
- price: $229 (160 GB)
- Footprint: 7.7 by 7.7 inches (197 by 197 mm)
- Height: 1.1 inches (28 mm)
- Weight: 2.4 pounds (1.09 kg)
Synchronization and Streaming
Syncing is accomplished in a similar fashion to iPods, select the kind of content you want to sync with the Apple TV (newly purchased, favourites, etc) and the system will fill up its hard drive automatically. If the hard drive is full or the content hasn't been synced to the Apple TV you can stream the content to watch or listen in real time.
Take 2 is the new software upgraded announced at Macworld 2008 on January 15th, 2008 that removes the restriction of a Mac or PC running iTunes to use the Apple TV. It can now operate as a standalone box that can both stream and download media content from the iTunes online store. At the same time, the iTunes store has been upgraded to allow for movie rentals (including HD movies) to both iTunes running on a computer or to the Apple TV directly. Other upgrades in the Take 2 firmware upgrade include the ability to stream YouTube video directly from the Apple TV user-interface.
While the name of the device is Apple TV, there is more than video that is supported. All the media content that is stored in your iTunes library, including music videos, music, photos, and podcasts can be played back. Audio/Visual playback is accomplished through one of two means, either through HDMI (cables sold separately) or through component output (cables sold separately). Optical out is supported for 5.1 surround sound. All media playback is limited to formats that are officially supported by iTunes, though there are hacks appearing on the Internet that open up the Apple TV to play a wide variety of alternative file types.
What's in the box
- Apple TV
- Apple Remote
- Power cord
- Quick Start guide
User Reviews (32)
Plays high-definition content
Small footprint and sleek styling
Rent movies and TV directly
Stream and download from iTunes directly with Take 2
Includes access to YouTube
Plays increasing library of audio and video (including HD) podcasts
XBMC can be easily installed
Works with both MacOS and MS Windows
24 hour movie rental time window
Xbox with XBMC is cheaper and is more flexible
Limited video format compatibility - no AVI, DivX, XviD
Small, unergonomic remote
Gets extremely hot while running - cannot conceal in cabinet
Cannot purchase HD movies as it is only allowed to rent.
latest firmware eliminates boxee functionality
Cannot play 1080p MKV files or bluray backups.
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