Review of Apple TV

By | 26th September 2011

apple tv

Three years after the launch of the original expensive Apple TV, Apple has re-launched their updated Apple TV, which is smaller, cheaper and based on streamable video. This product appears to be a worthwhile entertainment system. The new device has hit the market with new functionalities and enhancements, which supports WiFi-N 802.11. It does not have local storage drive as this box is built on rental model and it depends on the internet cloud for the streaming media content.

Overview

This new product is smaller to the earlier launch, weighting almost half a pound. Its sides measure 3.9 inches and it is less than an inch tall. It operates with very little power and low operating temperature. There is no power button to turn it on or off, hence it is constantly on standby mode unless unplugged. The design is very simple with only essential connectivity solutions. The rear of the device has ports for power, Ethernet, micro USB, HDMI cable and optical audio. Setting up the device is very simple – just plug in and enter the network information.

The device uses infrared to connect to the remote sensor, as opposed to Bluetooth. Infrared, works on the line of sight principle of connectivity, which means that the remote works only when it is pointed in the direction of its sensor without obstructions. The remote is effective enough and has many buttons for basic navigation such as play, pause, central button and a directional wheel for clicking. The remote is made of aluminum and it is very thin and small. It feels nice in hands but it is extremely easy to get misplaced. These televisions can also be controlled through iPad and iPhone touch.

Apple TV is based on the rental streamable and downloadable content. Television programs and movies can be streamed and downloaded directly from iTunes through the specialized interface. New and old movies can be streamed with 5.1 surround Dolby Digital sound.

Technical Specifications

Size and weight:

  • Height: 0.9 inches (23 mm)
  • Width: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Depth: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Weight: 0.6 pounds

Power:

  • Built-in 6-watt universal power supply

Wireless:

  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

Ports and interfaces:

  • HDMI (video and audio)
  • Component video
  • Optical audio
  • Analog RCA stereo audio
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
  • USB 2.0
  • 802.11n wireless networking6
  • Built-in IR receiver (works with included Apple Remote)

Environmental requirements:

  • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
  • Storage temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

System requirements:

  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a, b, g, or n) wireless network (wireless video streaming requires 802.11a, g or n) or 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network
  • iTunes Store account for renting movies and TV shows
  • Netflix account for streaming Netflix content
  • For streaming media from a Mac or PC: iTunes 10.0.1 or later; iTunes Store account for Home Sharing

In the box:

  • Apple TV
  • Apple Remote
  • Power cord
  • Quick Start guide

Processor and storage:

  • Intel processor
  • 40GB hard drive2 for storing content locally
  • Up to 50 hours of movies and TV shows3
  • Up to 9,000 songs4
  • Up to 25,000 pictures5

Video formats supported:

  • H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
  • iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels
  • MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps)

Audio formats supported:

  • AAC(16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV

Photos formats supported:

  • JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG

TV compatibility:

  • Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz

Accessories:

  • XtremeMac HDMI to HDMI cable TL951LL/A
  • XtremeMac HDMI to DVI cable TL952LL/A
  • XtremeMac component video cable TL953LL/A
  • XtremeMac analog audio cable TL954LL/A
  • XtremeMac TOSLINK optical cable TL955LL/A
  • AirPort Extreme Base Station MA073LL/A
  • AppleCare Protection Plan MA937LL/A

Hardware:

  • 1.0GHz Intel Pentium M-based “Crofton” CPU, based on SSE2 Dothan model # 7645A966 0159
  • NVIDIA G72M graphics with 64MB DDR2 memory
  • 256MB of 400MHz DDR2

Software:

  • Modified version of OS X 10.4.7 along with some 10.4.9 kexts

Firmware:

  • Apple TV uses EFI, based on the presence of the hard drive in GUID map

Communication:

  • TCP port 3689 is used to communicate with iTunes while using the iTunes Library Sharing feature.
  • UDP port 5353 is used by Apple TV for automatically finding computers with iTunes on your network using Bonjour.
  • TCP port 80 and 443 are used for basic and secure communications with the iTunes Store via the Internet.

Formats:

  • H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
  • iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels
  • MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps)

The Bottom Line

The worst part of Apple TV is the installation of iTunes. The home sharing has to be turned on, without which iPhone, iPad and iTouch remote applications would be unusable. Furthermore, the contents that is stored in the DLNA/PUnP device.

The use of Airplay, the new de-facto content sharing standard is brilliant and becoming very popular. When it is used with iPad with developer builder iOS-4.x, the user is able to stream audio from both iPod applications and YouTube. At the end, considering all the features, Apple TV is a best buy!

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