Apple today started shipping Apple TV, a new class of computer peripheral that turns your HDTV into a big screen iPod.
Apple TV connects physically to your television and wirelessly to a Mac or PC running iTunes. The device then lets you play iTunes content on your TV, including movies, TV shows, music, photos, podcasts and video podcasts.
Apple TV isn’t TiVo or a new type of DVD player; it makes your TV the biggest iPod ever
Many analysts seem to be confusing Apple TV with time-shifting devices like TiVo, or comparing it to playback devices like DVD players. It’s neither of these. It’s really more like an iPod that you can attach a big screen to.
Apple itself positions Apple TV as a member of the iPod family:
“Apple TV allows you to wirelessly play your content from your PCs or Macs using your existing WiFi network as well as the newest and fastest version of WiFi-802.11n,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
Apple TV makes Internet TV a powerful, mainstream platform
The new device promises to ignite the world of Internet video. While Internet video consumption has exploded in the last year, most video downloads have been videos of a few minutes or less in length. While longer videos are available, most people would rather watch longer videos on their television than on the relatively small screens of their iPods or computers.
By bringing HDTV to the wildly successful Internet media platform of iTunes, Apple is turning it into a much more powerful platform.
Apple TV could be the start of something huge. The combination of iTunes and HDTV means that anyone in the world with an HDTV camera and a Mac can now create HDTV television shows and deliver them directly into people’s homes, without studios, without networks and without local stations.
Apple TV has a 40GB hard drive that can store up to 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each and is capable of delivering high-definition 720p output. Apple TV can connect to a range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed 802.11 wireless networking, Apple TV can auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers right to your TV without any wires.
Pricing & Availability
Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, will be available beginning this week from the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $299 (US). Apple retail stores will also offer hands on workshops and demonstrations of Apple TV’s features.
Apple TV requires iTunes 7.1 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later, or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home/Professional (SP2). Vista is not supported at this time.