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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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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
$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
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 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.

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