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The Apple TV connects to your telelvision and can play both enhanced digital and high-definition video content.

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Integrated wireless

19 agree

Plays high-definition content

17 agree

Small footprint and sleek styling

12 agree

Stream and download from iTunes directly with Take 2

10 agree

Rent movies and TV directly

10 agree

Includes access to YouTube

9 agree

Good output connectivity

7 agree

Plays increasing library of audio and video (including HD) podcasts

4 agree

XBMC can be easily installed

2 agree

Works with both MacOS and MS Windows

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.

Limited to iTunes

19 agree

Xbox with XBMC is cheaper and is more flexible

11 agree

24 hour movie rental time window

9 agree

Limited video format compatibility - no AVI, DivX, XviD

9 agree

No Web browsing

7 agree

No DVR functionality

7 agree

Small, unergonomic remote

6 agree

Cannot play 1080p MKV files or bluray backups.

2 agree

latest firmware eliminates boxee functionality

2 agree

Gets extremely hot while running - cannot conceal in cabinet

2 agree

Clunky interface

2 agree

Cannot purchase HD movies as it is only allowed to rent.

1 agrees
  • Only 3 words are allowed.


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. 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

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.

Media Playback

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
Post Review
01/20/2010 04:14

There sure are alot of negatives in the pros/cons - My opinion is some of them are out of scope. I purchased this last week and have been enjoying streaming movies from my PC in full surround sound glory.

If you are looking for a catch-all "one media containter" for all of your digital content that can play on ipods, iphones, xboxes, ps3's, and archos products - the .m4v is your container type (created using handbrake to include chapters, subtitles, multiple audio streams, and near DVD quality at a manageable file size). To say this thing should play .mkv, avi or xvid seems out of scope - especially when avi and xvid are dead technologies without any codec updates in years. True - the xbox can decode the multiple audio streams of a xvid or avi, but with no updates to codecs - you're not getting the most efficient bang for your buck for your digital library.

Also - how can an xbox with xbmc be cheaper? Last I checked - xboxes were over $200 ($299 at writing) and XBMC needs to run on a PC - which can be any amount of dollars.

Limited to iTunes? Really? What's apple supposed to do? It's all about the benjamins here (for Apple and her Shareholders) - while Itunes isn't the best media library - it works. And there are numerous documented ways around any limitation you may find in iTunes.


The comment (In my Opinion) should really be "requires itunes to stream media" and I'd consider that a con.

08/17/2008 10:27

Just purchased this over the weekend. I am really enjoying it. I have it hooked up via HDMI running at 1080p. Rented my first HD movie with it and thought it was great. Simple enough my mother can use! I really like the UI especially compared to my WMC. Searching is much easier too.
Erik i would but your recipe if it came in a nice compact unit

03/10/2008 10:29

yeah it sounds like this is too limited to be very appealing... But hey, I have my TV hooked up to my computer already so it isn't a big deal.

03/07/2008 10:36

I want a combination of digital cable, Apple TV, Archos TV+, and my XBMC. The ingredients of my ideal digital media set-top-box:

2 cups traditional TV programming
1 cup of Apple's minimalistic industrial design and UI
1 cup XBMC format compatibility
1 cup HD format support
1/2 cup Archos TV+ DVR and web browsing
1 tbsp. online movie/TV rentals
1 lb. uTorrent

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