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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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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).

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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