Apple announces second-generation Apple TV | iLounge News

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Apple announces second-generation Apple TV

Apple today announced a long-awaited update to its Apple TV home entertainment device, significantly reducing the size of the device and shifting the focus to a streaming rather than syncing model. Almost entirely preserving the interface of the Apple TV 3.0 software update, the new Apple TV device will now include the aluminum seven-button Apple Remote that was previously released but not included with the device, while dropping the component video and stereo audio ports in favor of one HDMI port and an optical audio port. The new Apple TV measures 0.9” by 3.9” by 3.9”, and weighs 0.6 pounds. Its black plastic shell is flat and mostly matte on top with a glossy Apple TV logo, tapering on the sides from glossy straight sides to a gentle secondary flat surface on the bottom, elevating the bulk of its body off of the table it’s on. Now powered by the Apple A4 chip, the system supports full 802.11n networking—2.4GHz and 5GHz—as well as 802.11a/b/g standards, and continues to have 720p H.264 and M-JPEG support, with 640x480 MPEG-4 support—like the prior Apple TV.

At Apple’s event today, Steve Jobs reiterated that the goals of the new Apple TV design were to provide Hollywood movies & TV shows, all content in HD, lower content prices and reduce the dependency on computer and storage management. As part of the new design and goal of reducing storage requirements, the new Apple TV will move to an entirely rental-based model with no purchases available on the device. First-run movies will be released as HD Rentals for $5 on the same day as the DVD release, and HD TV Shows will now be available for rent for $1, commercial free, as opposed to the prior $3 per episode price. Content will be initially be available from the ABC and FOX networks, with other networks hopefully coming on board in the future. The new Apple TV will also provide support for Netflix streaming in the U.S. in addition to its current support for streaming videos from YouTube and photos from Flickr and MobileMe. The new Apple TV will also continue to include support for streaming content from an iTunes library. The new Apple TV will be priced at $99 and will be available from Apple Stores and online in about four weeks, with pre-orders starting today.

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Comments

1

Love that the Netflix streaming option is finally here. Question is what happens to the first generation AppleTV when upgrading to the new OS version? Do we lose the ability to get at the stored AppleTV content?

Posted by Sondergaard on September 1, 2010 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

2

There is no indication that an update will even be coming to the existing Apple TV models.  My guess is that the new model will run a completely different firmware/OS.  Whether we’ll see some of these features added to the first-generation Apple TV remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if for $99 Apple just expects people to buy the new one.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on September 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM (PDT)

3

An amazing offering - especially at the $99 price point. Any word on whether existing Apple TV’s will get all these updates? I think the new model is a good move for Apple as it makes it simpler and allows them to reduce the cost, but I like the storage that my current Apple TV provides. Especially for music, I prefer to play tunes off the device itself and not rely on having a computer to stream from.

Posted by Tim Stringer on September 1, 2010 at 11:32 AM (PDT)

4

While I am excited for the new price tag and the inclusion of Netflix, the new pricing plan seems a little ridiculous to me. Apple really needs to start looking into subscription models because at 99 cents/episode I think this pricing structure will get real old real fast.

Posted by Matthew Bowman on September 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM (PDT)

5

What would be even better is if it could function as an AirPort Access Point too.

Our Living room has mediocre WiFi. The TV makes an Airport Express almost redundant. An TV configured to act as a WDS repeater could supersede an AirPort Express. I’m also sure the TV could have the processing power to act as a Bonjour Print Server too.

Posted by Dan Woods on September 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

6

The new aTV makes me even more glad I bought a Mac Mini for an HTPC instead of this. Now if only “Front Row” would get the same love as the aTV’s UI.

Posted by Farnsworth on September 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

7

I would think it to be pretty crappy of Apple to make some of the updates with the new ATV not available on the original ATV. I have used that almost since it is release. Those of us that funded the “hobby” being left out of the Netflix streaming, $.99 rentals and the like would be a total slap in the face. As a stockholder, you can bet your a** I will give Apple a piece of my mind.

Posted by SD on September 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM (PDT)

8

@SD I wouldn’t worry, if they don’t allow us to get these features via update, a hack will come out that brings all of that functionality.  My apple TV is currently hacked to run boxee and I use both all the time…it really is the best of both worlds.  Apple has learned as of late to give us features we want or we will take them.  From the iPad running non mpeg video to the original time DRM-free music was introduced, Apple learns to bend when they are pushed hard enough.

Posted by DynaMix on September 1, 2010 at 12:29 PM (PDT)

9

i haven’t purchased a lot of video content on my apple tv but i sure as hell better not lose it if and when there’s an update on my apple tv.

plus i like the option to buy a series like the Universe or pixar film. think about this- apple has crippled the offering not enhanced it.

can anyone (even the biggest apple fanboys) argue how this is as good as just having an internet enabled tv and just using amazon or netflix to watch tv and flim?

i love buying apple but i think i’ll stick with my old apple tv knowing the day is coming when all new tvs have an amazon movie download feature and an netflix download feature.

Posted by bruno on September 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM (PDT)

10

The content you’ve purchased on your Apple TV should have already synced back to your iTunes library and should be safely stored there regardless of what happens.

Also keep in mind that even the new second-generation Apple TV will allow streaming of content from an iTunes library, and there is no indication that Apple is going to stop selling content through the iTunes Store itself.  The new Apple TV is just more focused on providing rentals directly on the box, on the assumption that the majority of average consumers prefer paying less to rent TV shows and movies rather than buying them—particularly in digital formats.

If you think about it, that’s probably true… Most people don’t watch a TV show or movie more than once, and even the movie enthusiasts are more likely to purchase the movie on Blu-ray rather than a digital download.

As for using Amazon and Netflix, being outside of the U.S. those options remain unavailable to me.  Although the U.S. iTunes Store still has a wider selection of video content than the Canadian one, most of the current stuff is available on the Canadian iTunes Store and really the fact that iTunes in Canada provides any content puts it well ahead of the other options. smile  That’s actually one area in which I really have to applaud Apple: Their efforts to offer media content in other countries is light years ahead of where anybody else is at.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on September 1, 2010 at 1:54 PM (PDT)

11

I have to admit…I like this device. I do stream Netflix via my PS3, but I very much like the idea of being able to watch all the stuff in my iTunes library PLUS Netflix in one little device. I think the $99 is a perfect price for this unit, and the lack of onboard storage bothers me not at all, since my computer is already on 24/7 as it is.

Bravo, Apple! Now make that 128GB iPod touch, and I can dump my 120GB Classic!

Posted by Daniel S. on September 1, 2010 at 2:56 PM (PDT)

12

I had no interest in this product, until now. My DVD player upstairs can stream Netflix, but I’d have to add a wireless access point to get it onto my network. For about the price of a WAP, I can get an ATV to stream Netflix and video from my iTunes library, plus HD rentals. Very nice!

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on September 1, 2010 at 3:21 PM (PDT)

13

$99 nice. My 3 AppleTVs can transition out of service as I was ready to by a Roku last week (and glad I waited).

The network needs some serious work tho. The ATVs will remain the slowest devices in my house. Video needs Gbit ethernet. Wireless is not a practical option. Syncing was bad enough. Streaming?

Posted by drakebullet on September 1, 2010 at 5:56 PM (PDT)

14

Not clear from specs: does the new ATV require HDMI video and Optical audio?

I need two cables again?

Posted by drakebullet on September 1, 2010 at 6:01 PM (PDT)

15

#14 Yes, you’ll need these cables since they don’t come with ATV.

Posted by rockmyplimsoul on September 2, 2010 at 1:22 PM (PDT)

16

@drakebullet: Video definitely does not need gigabit speeds unless perhaps you’re using a completely uncompressed video stream.  On a proper 5GHz 802.11n network my streaming performance, even for 720p HD content is extremely smooth.  In fact, 802.11g was more than sufficient for standard-definition content and was almost good enough for 720p HD.  The only time I’ve ever had even the slightest playback glitch is when iTunes actually tries to sync with the device—a problem that won’t exist with the 2G Apple TV.

For comparison, consider that I currently have an IP-based TV service at home, and a 1080p HD channel uses about 8mbps of bandwidth using H.264 compression—still well below what an 802.11n network can deliver even when you have other stuff going on in your network.

In terms of cables, can use HDMI for both video and audio, so you don’t really need the optical cable unless you’re connecting to a receiver or TV that doesn’t support HDMI audio.  I run everything from my first-generation Apple TV to my receiver through a single HDMI cable.  Ditto for my Blu-Ray player and IPTV box.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on September 2, 2010 at 2:10 PM (PDT)

17

My interest is piqued since I have hated Mac-based UPnP software. The closest to tolerable has been Elgato’s EyeConnect, but even then, it’s only somewhat likeable with native EyeTV recordings. But $100 is a lot to spend for a nicer UPnP content sharing interface when my TV and Blu-Ray player already stream Netflix (plus other content providers).

I’d pay maybe $150 if Apple designed the AppleTV instead to be the iOSTV. With a small amount of memory to run some good TV-interface-intended apps I’d re-buy functionality in order to replace the sluggish-running Samsung widgets platform on my TV and BD player.

Posted by JustforQuix on September 2, 2010 at 6:14 PM (PDT)

18

Anyone know if this will stream lossless music with bit-by-bit fidelity?  I bought my existing Apple TVs more as source devices for my audio system than for videos.  I have all 160 GB filled with lossless music and it sounds fantastic.  I’m fine streaming from my computer if I don’t lose anything, but I suspect that I might….

Posted by bluespark on September 2, 2010 at 6:31 PM (PDT)

19

@#18: AIFF and Apple Lossless audio streams great. A 720p movie already is a larger file and a Lossless album and I stream them fine via the throughput on my home N-wireless network.

But there is still something to be said for keeping a large a/v collection local to the device on which you are using it most. The downside is that I don’t consider the former ATV nor even the new HTPC-ready Minis as have enough local hard drive space for my collection.

Posted by JustForQuix on September 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM (PDT)

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