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The sleek new set top box from Apple is sure to please home theater fans

After a brief period of delay, deemed necessary for fine tuning, Apple is beginning to ship its Apple TV set top box. The unit was originally slated for February of this year but was pushed back two to three weeks into March because of last minute adjustments to the product's operating system.

The Apple TV is shipping now for a flat price of $299 USD. Apple supplies a remote, the Apple TV itself and a power cord. The system connects to a local network via Wi-Fi or by wire, allowing users to stream movies and media onto their large screen TV. Beyond movies, the Apple TV also allows playback of music from an iTunes library. At its current single configuration, the Apple TV is equipped with a 40GB hard drive for store content locally, as users will be able to sync their iTunes content to the box.

Users are required to have a TV with at least RGB component input but a TV with HDMI or DVI input is preferred. There is an optical output for multi-channel audio but no coaxial SPDIF. Many audiophiles tend to prefer using coaxial SPDIF for lower jitter. Most users will be connecting the Apple TV up to a home receiver for the best experience.

Shipping begins now and orders are expected to move out of warehouse in three to five business days.


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so it streams content?
By thejez on 3/20/2007 2:06:45 PM , Rating: 1
wait, so this thing doesnt record TV? or was that just left off? It just streams music and vids from a mac?? weird.

And you have to have component or hdmi huh? i am surprised at that requirement actually... a lot of people only have s-video or even just analog... :(




RE: so it streams content?
By daftrok on 3/20/2007 2:12:59 PM , Rating: 3
If you don't even have a HD television then why would you get this in the first place?


RE: so it streams content?
By Suomynona on 3/20/2007 2:42:25 PM , Rating: 1
There isn't any HD content available for it anyway, all iTunes video is 640x480.


RE: so it streams content?
By tuteja1986 on 3/20/2007 11:52:25 PM , Rating: 1
Apple TV as product is that great... Its not providing you with loads of feature but knowing mac fanatics they will buy it without the question. Also the Interface is medicore and still needs working.

Now if Apple i TV supported OGM , MKV , XVID , DVIX , VLC .. ect than it would be worth.


RE: so it streams content?
By HavenBartton on 3/21/2007 8:45:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now if Apple i TV supported OGM , MKV , XVID , DVIX , VLC .. ect than it would be worth.


Perhaps only video power-users need these codecs, but I think it's the most important factor for my home system. I bought a really crappy DVD player because it supported XviD when other better players didn't.

Heck, aren't MKV/OGM/XviD open-source anyway? Not like it'd be difficult to get licensing, and they aren't hugely complicated encoders, why do companies avoid implementing them in DVD players and such?


RE: so it streams content?
By therealnickdanger on 3/20/2007 2:13:48 PM , Rating: 3
I believe that it will stream content from Macs on your network as well as media you pay for from the Apple Store. Sounds like a money pit...

Is this their version of IPTV?


RE: so it streams content?
By Ralph The Magician on 3/20/2007 3:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
In it's current state it's not much of an IPTV solution. However, it is the best "legal" way to purchase and watch digital content. A library of DVD rips isn't exactly legal, Basically, it's a way for people to watch their ITMS iTunes library on something other than a computer. Given the amount of content on the ITMS, it's not too bad an idea, but at $299 it's pretty expensive.

That being said, it seems like the infastructure exists to offer both HD content and streaming content in the future. If and when those things come to be realized, it won't be worth it for most people. Movie rentals and live streaming content will make or break this box.

IMO, the ITMS needs to revise their subscription service. $10 for 16 episodes of The Daily Show is expensive if you only plan to watch each episode once. It would make more sense if it was something like $5 for 30 episodes, but after 30 days they are rendered useless by the DRM scheme. Then you'd really have something. Subscribe to the shows you want to see. I suppose you can do that under the current system, but it's a little expensive.


RE: so it streams content?
By MScrip on 3/20/2007 5:07:38 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
$10 for 16 episodes of The Daily Show is expensive if you only plan to watch each episode once.


I think ITMS should also offer movie rentals at a reasonable price as well.

I don't want to pay $9.99 to OWN a movie from ITMS... just let me watch it for $2.99. An online rental. Make it last for 2 or 3 nights, then it's gone.

Apple could take over the living room if they offered rentals at a good price. Kiss Blockbuster and NetFlix goodbye.


RE: so it streams content?
By JCheng on 3/20/2007 5:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Xbox 360 lets you do this, in HD (or SD if you prefer). Unfortunately the selection of movies isn't that great, although they do have some good ones at least.


RE: so it streams content?
By darkpaw on 3/20/2007 5:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
Why would I pay $3 per movie to rent when for $15/month on netflix I get 10-20 movies.

Online rentals would have to be under $2 for most people using netflix to consider I think.


RE: so it streams content?
By MScrip on 3/20/2007 7:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would I pay $3 per movie to rent when for $15/month on netflix I get 10-20 movies.


For the same reason people still drive to Blockbuster. Instant satisfaction.

I have Netflix too... but I would certainly like to have the option of digital rentals. And no, I don't mean the Watch Now thing on Netflix. I want instant movies on my TV, easily.

My point is that I usually watch most movies once. That's where the rental part comes into play. I don't need to own it, I just wanna see it. Likewise, when I go see a movie in the theater, I don't get to walk out with the reels. I just wanna be entertained for 2 hours.

You're right about the price. Netflix does give you more movies per month. But, you're limited to 3 movies per week or so, the order of your queue and the post office. Netflix is still the best way to get movies to your house... but I'm still waiting for a digital alternative.


RE: so it streams content?
By robert5c on 3/21/2007 3:52:04 AM , Rating: 2
this isn't netflix bashing, their great...but i actually prefer the blockbuster online subscription...i get two movies at a time for 15 a month, unlimited...also the shipping warehouse is in my town so it takes a 24-48 hours from the day they say they shipped the item...never longer then 2 business days...and also, instead of shipping the movie back and waiting for the post office to get it to them, then update my queue and ship new ones out...i can take it to a blockbuster store (again pretty close) and trade the movies in for two new ones...my queue gets updated almost instantly, i have two movies to hold me over till the mail ones come in, and when they do i actually have four movies out at the same time

they get you in the store and save on shipping...i get nonstop movies for 15 bucks a month...even 2 dollar rentals wouldn't appease me for now.


RE: so it streams content?
By MonkeyPaw on 3/20/2007 5:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe this will be what the XB360's live Video marketplace will become? Right now the content is fairly limited, but you can "rent" HD-quality (720p is often an option) movies for a given period of time for a reasonable price (under $5). All MS needs to do is increase the selection and it sounds like they will have what you are looking for. If it takes off, they could make a dedicated set-top box and beat Apple in the media content segment for a change. Heck, a premium XB360 does much (if not everything) of what Apple's machine does already, and it plays games, too. The UI isn't a specialized as Apple's, but that can be overcome if MS really wanted to.


Thats it?
By darkpaw on 3/20/2007 2:41:06 PM , Rating: 4
More iCrap for iSheep to buy I guess. At that price might as well spend a bit more for a 360 or PS3 and you'd be able to stream media and play games.




RE: Thats it?
By AstroCreep on 3/20/2007 2:55:57 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
More iCrap for iSheep to buy I guess...

I think you meant to spell 'iGuess'. ;)


RE: Thats it?
By Samus on 3/20/2007 11:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
baaaaaaaaaaaahhhh


RE: Thats it?
By spartan014 on 3/22/2007 1:48:17 AM , Rating: 2
why not iThink?

:)


RE: Thats it?
By themadmilkman on 3/20/2007 11:19:56 PM , Rating: 3
Why is it so hard for people to understand that some people DON'T want to play games?


RE: Thats it?
By darkpaw on 3/21/2007 4:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
Then they could buy one of the numerous other video only solutions for lots less. Either way, this is an overpriced and/or underperforming pile of crap that will sell just because apple is stamped on the front.

Steve Jobs is the PT Barnum of the 21st Century and theres more suckers then ever.


RE: Thats it?
By Phynaz on 3/21/2007 5:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
this is an overpriced and/or underperforming pile of crap


So, how long have you been using it to make this determination?


Lets See.
By Mitch101 on 3/20/2007 2:49:23 PM , Rating: 4
XBOX1 can do this and you can find them for $50.00 just need to tweek the box or buy the Media Center Extender for cheap.

Networked DVD player probably has more functionality and I think a standard definition one is about $130.00. Plobably find one that upscales for that price.

IODATA Linkplayer 2 will do High Definition to 1080i from DVD, Network, or USB connected device and thats $250.00 and been out for about 3 years.

Plus a plethora of other devices that are hard drive based. As low as $40.00 on e-bay that can take a notebook hard drive.

I bet I can find an apple logo for about a buck somewhere and just stick it on any of the above devices and save some cash.




RE: Lets See.
By Frank M on 3/20/2007 2:57:56 PM , Rating: 2
But you've got to remember that the average Apple user thinks that only Apple brand products work with Apple computers and content. This is why you see overpriced peripherals in the apple section.


RE: Lets See.
By Mitch101 on 3/20/2007 7:35:54 PM , Rating: 2
There is an Apple section?

Im picturing the movie the Jerk when Steve Martin is explaining the prizes you can win for guessing your weight. About the same size as the Apple selection.


RE: Lets See.
By atticu5 on 3/20/2007 11:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
you have to remember that the average user isn't that savvy about technology. i don't think my parents would even think of buying an xbox if they wanted to stream movies from their computer. they also wouldn't go thru the trouble of doing a lot of research to figure out what their best option was, they would just want something that works, works well, and that they can take in if something goes wrong.

even i who knows taht you can buy an xbox for $50 and tweak it wouldn't. i don't want to spend $150 less and have to do a lot of extra work to do something if i can just pay to have something that instantly works with my computer.


Now that’s the way to reinvent the wheel!
By aju on 3/20/2007 4:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
So I guess I am missing the point. Why would the consumer bother? This has all been done before. Viewing networked content on your TV is old news indeed. It is basically Apples take on a Windows media extender. The same thing can be accomplished by numerous products already available.
Oh yeah, it’s an Apple. That means there are millions of consumers out there who will buy it just because it has an already-been-chewed Apple logo on it and it’s in a shimmering aerodynamic package.
Well done Apple, your hordes of Homer Simpsons are probably lining up as we speak to pay way to much money for shiny cut-down version of an xbox 360.
What’s next? I suppose you will put out some other “already been done by someone else better” in a shiny box device. Hey, how about a phone that plays music and has a cool touch screen. All you have to do is lock it to your iTunes subscription and castrate its ability to view or listen to anything else. That’s sure to generate billions in sales to your technically inept customers.




By Phynaz on 3/20/2007 9:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
content on your TV is old news indeed. It is basically Apples take on a Windows media extender. The same thing can be accomplished by numerous products already available.


None of which have mass market ease of use.


By mrteddyears on 3/21/2007 12:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
I can see you are obviously bought into the concept of Apple and you are an avid fan.

However the concept of storing all your tracks and DVD’s on the PC or MAC is an appealing one to people who can’t be bothered to buy an XBOX soldering iron and a ton of other junk to get it all to run. It all about personal choice and no one is being forced to buy.

Some people like the idea of locking CD, tapes, records, dvd’s etc in the loft once and for all. What they loose sight of is when the hard disk falls over and they loose all the data.

I personally will wait till all of this is stored on the web and streamed to a device in the house that connects to a screen and doubles as a work laptop that way less than a pound in weight, has a battery that last 15 hours like a phone and doesn’t explode.

But you have to admit Apple does produce nice looking equipment and I haven’t seen an iPod in BROWN!!!


A bit limited...
By daftrok on 3/20/2007 2:12:13 PM , Rating: 1
The Apple TV is a great idea, but it is surprisingly limited and in my opinion overpriced considering what it does. Granted the n wireless is a nice touch, but it would be better to build (hell, buy) a PC and get a lot more capabilities rather than just mediocre storage and streaming. If the Apple TV had a larger HDD, capabilities to stream other video formats, and more capabilities with the USB (add another HDD, printer, camera, HD DVR box, etc), then I would consider it.




RE: A bit limited...
By JCheng on 3/20/2007 5:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why is n wireless a nice touch? g wireless is enough to stream compressed HD, and they are only streaming compressed SD.


quick.....
By Souka on 3/20/2007 2:40:36 PM , Rating: 3
quick...someone file a lawsuit against apple.... they're using the term, "TV"

:P




It's called a Proof of Concept
By jonodsparks on 3/20/2007 4:21:10 PM , Rating: 1
This device is just to see if a market exists for this type of product. Why invest millions in R&D only to find out that no one wants to buy it. The first incarnation of the iPod was to prove that people want digital music, thus the ITMS was unveiled. The iPod Video, proof that people want portable video. Apple is very shrewd in their practices in this way. The iPhone will be the same way. Wait until the second or third generation is released, then we will see real functionality.




By themadmilkman on 3/20/2007 11:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY!

Companies do this all the time, especially auto companies. They release a product to have the 'appearance' of being part of a particular market.

This is a trial run. By version 2 or 3 it will have turned into something excellent.


XBOX
By oTAL on 3/20/2007 4:51:10 PM , Rating: 3
I've been doing what this can do and more by using my original XBOX with a softmod. Yes, it is larger, noisier and with less capacity, but it was dirt cheap over 2 years ago and it can play games...




Component isn't "RGB"
By ShapeGSX on 3/20/2007 2:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Component" video is not "RGB" video, despite the standard colors of the jacks that are used.

From Wikipedia:
"Further types of component analogue video signals do not use R,G,B components but rather a colorless component, termed luma, combined with one or more color-carrying components, termed chroma, that give only color information. Both the S-Video component video output (two separate signals) and the Y'PbPr component video output (three separate signals) seen on DVD players are examples of this method.

Converting video into luma and chroma allows for chroma subsampling, a method used by JPG images and DVD players to reduce the storage requirements for images and video. The Y'PbPr scheme is usually what is meant when people talk of component video today. Many consumer DVD players, plasma displays, video projectors and the like, use this form of color coding."




Very limited
By MarkJ4 on 3/20/2007 2:52:05 PM , Rating: 3
Considering the movie selection on iTunes is poor, and I can't store DVD's on iTunes, AppleTV is not really on my "must buy" list. A bit of a paper-weight really.




RE: Very limited
By michal1980 on 3/20/07, Rating: -1
By crystal clear on 3/21/2007 6:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
This article is ZERO on research (done on it)-

LETS RATE THE ARTICLE INSTEAD ON THE COMMENTS.

An attachment to the article-open it (Specifications)

Quote-

"According to those familiar with the component makeup of Apple TV, it utilizes a 1.0GHz Pentium M-based chip (code-named "Crofton"), which has been under-clocked to run on a 350MHz bus. The chip is based on Intel's pre-Core Duo "Dothan" core and includes 2MB of L2 cache.

Aiding the Pentium M in video decoding are a nVidia G72M with 64MB DDR2 video memory (essentially the GeForce Go 7400) and 256MB of 400MHz DDR2 main system memory, the latter of which is reportedly soldered to the logic board.

Meanwhile, the device's internal 40GB hard disk drive -- a 2.5-inch PATA -- serves as a local storage for 50 hours of movies and TV shows, 9,000 songs, or 25,000 pictures. Users can sync their entire iTunes libraries to the drive but will need an internet connection when attempting to play back licensed content purchased from the iTunes Store.

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=2395

The sole purpose of the device is to act as a set-top box that will stream audio and video content from up to five iTunes libraries to a enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TV.




Ease of use
By aliasfox on 3/21/2007 4:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
Everybody who posts here is technologically savvy - we can agree on that. The average person who would be interested in this device is not - they don't care what chip is inside, they don't care that a modded xBox or whatever can do the same thing. They want to plug it in and have it work. Given that you can plug two things in (power and HDMI) and use a 6 button remote, it's a good option for technophobes who still want to be on the (relative) cutting edge.

I have a seven year old Apple tower hooked up to my TV to do essentially the same thing - I paid $50 for it and it does exactly what I need. But it's far, far less elegant than when I substitute my MacBook in for the same job - it's smaller, it's sleeker, it's quieter, and with the Apple remote, a far more elegant solution.

However, I think Apple missed the boat on two major counts:
1. Using a 3.5" HD. It wouldn't make the Apple TV that much bigger, and much more data can be stored locally for the same price.
2. A DVD player - Apple could make the Apple TV the one thing most people need for a home entertainment system: Networked video/audio, and video/audio on disk. For 99% of the population, they could have one box that would essentially replace an entire home theater for people who don't need the ultimate in video and audio quality.

Lastly, people like to buy their music, but rent their movies - especially if the downloads aren't very high quality (not as much a function of Apple as much as a compromise on network/internet bandwidth).




"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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