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Apple TV: A Simple Product Yet Streaming Limited For The Apple Followers

Where to Buy:

PC Mall
Abt Electronics

The Good: the Apple TV allows you to stream any movies or TV shows in iTunes Store to the HDTV on purchase basis or rental, having purchases stored up in Cloud. Hulu Pus, Netflix and other media for online services of media, is available and the videos, music, photos etc could be streamed through iOS devices by using AirPlay Mirroring, which allows one to stream any video at Web to Apple TV. Apple TV’s “user interface” is considered to be the best available.

The Bad: Roku 3, the competitor, offers many content sources, a remote along with headphone jack and cross-platform search. Apple TV would not be very useful if other devices of Apple are not there at your place.

The Bottom Line: Apple TV is indispensable companion in living room, for Apple Hardware and iTunes contents invested in, but for many, Roku 3 is considered to be a step ahead.


Quick Specifications

Release date 03/16/12
Product type  Digital multimedia receiver
Remote control type Remote control
Functionality Content streaming, Internet video playback, Digital video playback, Digital audio playback, Digital photo playback

Product Specifications

Manufacturer    Apple
Part Number      APPLETV2012
Type of product Digital multimedia receiver
Dimensions (WxDxH)     3.9 in x 3.9 in x 0.9
Weight 0.6 lbs
Additional features Apple single-core A5 chip, Remote app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, AirPlay
Functionality Content streaming, Internet video playback,
Digital video playback, Digital audio playback,
Digital photo playback
Internet Streaming Services Netflix ,YouTube ,MLB.TV,NBA.com League Pass,
NHL GameCenter Live, iTunes

Supported Audio Standards Protected AAC, AIFF,WAV,AAC,MP3,Apple Lossless, HE-AAC
Supported Pictures Standard JPG,GIF,TIFF
Supported Video Standards Motion-JPEG, Protected H.264, MPEG-4,H.264,MOV

Connectors Optical Digital Output Yes
Audio System Built-in Decoders Dolby Digital
Digital Player (Recorder) Device Type None
Remote Control Type Remote control
  Technology            Infrared
Power Type Internal
Power Consumption Operational 6 Watt
Manufacturer Warranty Service & Support 1 year warranty
  Service & Support Details Limited warranty – 1 year
Environmental Standards

EPA Energy Star Compliant   Yes
Connections Connector Type 1 x – Rear, 1 x ( RJ-45 ) – Rear, 1 x SPDIF output – Rear


Apple might release a TV someday but till then, it has offered us the small streaming box at $99 called Apple TV.

Apple TV was never thought of as some revolutionary product, though continuous updates have served to transform it to a streaming-video box from a Netflix player. Apple has added up Hulu Plus now too. Apple TV is still closely integrated with the iTunes, enabling us to stream the purchased or rented movies or TV shows.

AirPlay, a significant feature, is still there and lets one push music, videos or photos from iPad or iPhone.

Still the Apple TV lags behind Roku 3 that is known as the premier box of the living room and Roku offers more content choice, including HBO Go, Spotify, excellent search of cross-platform and a remote with headphone jack, when private listening is intended.

If the Apply ecosystem appeals you, especially iTunes, then Apple TV at $100 will suit you more but majority of buyers go for Roku 3, even if the latter product does not stream YouTube.

Design: The Same Black And Smooth Box
the appearance hasn’t differed from last incarnation, though it has still the best of designs around. Small light illuminates from the front when it is being used actively. Connections are at the back, including those for optical output of audio, HDMI( the only connection for video available), Ethernet and Micro-USB. A built-in Wi-Fi 802.11n is also there, that connects to the wireless network at home.

The power supply of Apple TV is also built-in, so additional AC adapter isn’t there. This provides Apple TV with useful heft, keeping it planted with even the HDMI heavy cable at back.

The remote is smallish in Apple’s classic way. It’s got navigation circle, button for Play/Pause and Menu button. So this tiny remote performs all the basic functions required, though one would need the TV’s remote control for controlling volume, input switching and power.

Using the Remote app by Apple, Apple TV could be controlled with iPhone or iPad too. One can control the music from collection of iTunes remotely, and the gesture of swipe is used for navigating menus. Still, for the purpose of onscreen navigation, actual remote tends to be better.

The Upgraded User Interface Making Way For Apps
The product’s user interface had an overhaul during the year 2012. The old-style menus are replaced with big cover art toward top and the square icons on bottom for TV shows, computers, movies etc. Navigating downward would show an icons’ grid for other devices supported for Apple TV.

One is brought to iTunes interface while selecting TV shows or movies. Along top of screen is a menu bar from which one can jump to the useful features as contents that are added to the wish list and the purchased content.

The Itunes Store: Collection Of Movies And TV Shows
Been through a lot of incarnations, iTunes Store is now in its best state ever. Rates for TV shows happen to be $3 for the HD, for SD it is $2 and movies for rent are $5 in HD and from $10 to $20 for purchasing.

Content is fully streamed and not downloaded and one can have access to the purchased movies or shows for re-watching any number of timed. The TV shows and movie purchases could be downloaded or streamed to other devices of Apple too.

Additional Streaming Services

the options are limited on Apple TV as one gets past iTunes content, though it is getting better. The most important is Netflix and then Hulu Plus, MLB.TV, Vimeo and YouTube. The section of podcast includes a lot of video related content.

Apple TV is limited yet in the ability to play the digital personal media natively. Basic thing is that beyond iTunes, it gets limited and much of downloaded files with DivX or MKV formats are left out. That leaves you with two choices, either spare loads of your time and convert video into the format that is iTunes-friendly or go check out the likes of WD TV Play, that can stream many video formats with no conversion required.

The Useful Airplay Feature, Now Accompanied By Mirroring
lack of content with Apple TV is compensated for by the AirPlay. This helps to stream music, videos or photos directly from any other iOS device to Apple TV so Airplay does act in the place of some apps e.g Pandora app.

AirPlay Mirroring, on the other hand, gets quite nearer to the panacea situation and could solve problems like streaming video wirelessly from Web directly to TV. This helps resolve many of the content related shortcomings associated with Apple TV. Though, a limitation comes here as only the latest Macs support this AirPlay Mirroring.

AirPlay is great when it comes to streaming personal collection of music. This works with the music of any sort you’ve stored on your iOS device. Moreover, the iTunes collection of music could also be streamed from any computer.

The Itunes Match: Making Apple TV’s Access To Digital Music Easy
without the costly options like Sonos player, getting your own collection of digital music to the living room is much of a trouble in even 2013. iTunes Match makes it quite simple, allowing you to store copy of your music in cloud and then streaming it directly to Apple TV, iTunes on PC or iOS devices. Some drawback makes it way here too as the service cost for the feature will be $25 for a year.

Performance Unable To Be Upgraded
A second-generation (2010) Apple TV could not be upgraded to the new model with the support of 1080p. The picture with 1080p Apple TV is only richer and sharper than the second gen.720p Apple TV but most of the times its hard to say where exactly is the latest Apple performing better, except for some particular videophiles at some particular screen sizes.

Closing Comments
Apple TV is quite worth the $100 if you have heavily spent on iTunes content or the content from Apple’s ecosystem. But if you do not happen to be a staunch Apple follower, then it is recommended that Roku 3 would be a better buy, even more so if you have to take advantage of the latter’s content offerings.

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