The original Apple TV, released in early 2007, was 7.8 inches square, and weighed 2.4 pounds. It contained a 40GB hard disk, which was later increased to 160GB. Ports and connectors included an HDMI port, component video ports, analog audio ports, an optical digital audio port, built in Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and a USB port for service and diagnostics only.
The newest Apple TV, the second-generation, released in September 2010, holds little in common with the first device. The new black Apple TV, at 3.9 inches square, less than an inch in height, and weighing under a pound, is much smaller than the silver and white first-generation. It has an A4 processor, the same as Apple’s mobile devices, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Gone are the hard disk, component video ports, and analog audio ports. The USB port, which is still used only for service and diagnostics, is now a micro-USB port. The latest Apple TV, at $99, costs much less than the previous version that sold for $299.
With the new Apple TV, there is no storage on the device. All video content streams directly from a computer or over the Internet. This helps Apple TV to run cooler, and since it does not need an internal fan, it runs much quieter than the original model.
Apple TV can play high definition (HD) movies, available for rental from the iTunes Store at costs of $4.99 for new releases and $3.99 for all others. Standard definition (SD) movie rentals cost $4 for new releases and $2.99 for all others. All rentals expire after 30 days, but once started, movies must be completed within 24 hours, while television shows, renting for $0.99, need to be completed within 48 hours.
NetFlix is compatible with the new Apple TV, and NetFlix subscribers can access it directly without adapters. Apple TV organizes the NetFlix video catalog making it easy to find and play desired content with just a few clicks of the Apple remote. YouTube steaming is also available as well as podcasts, and internet radio. Pictures from Flickr and content from the MobileMe service can also be viewed on the second generation Apple TV.
AirPlay is a new feature of AppleTV. With Airplay, users can start watching or listening to media on their iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and then easily switch to their Apple TV. This will work for downloaded videos, music in iTunes, and streaming content.
The new AppleTV is easy to use and delivers high quality video and audio content. It is inexpensive and takes up a minimal amount of space. With the ability to access videos from both iTunes and NetFlix, users have a multitude of video content from which to choose.