A look at the new Apple TV and what you need to know
Apple TV was originally released in 2007 and in 2012 the third generation of this set-top box has arrived.
The popularity of subscription TV services delivered via cable and satellite might make it tough to see the advantages associated with owning the new Apple TV box.
However, Apple TV is designed to bring the best of internet video streaming into your living room so that you can enjoy it on your HDTV, which means that it is definitely relevant in today’s market.
The latest technical features of the third-generation Apple TV box include an A5 processor that allows for full HD 1080p video playback and streaming quality where available.
In the past, the box would reach a maximum of 720p but now you will really be able to see the difference as pixels are pumped out in their millions from your living-room TV set.
The box itself is still small and light and easily able to fit into a typical home-entertainment set-up without getting in the way.
Apple has added iOS 5.1 support to the latest Apple TV box, which means that it runs the same platform that powers the latest iPhone and iPad devices.
Of course, the functionality has been scaled back so that you can rent movies and access a limited number of video-related apps such as Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo for more streaming potential.
The interface has been slightly adjusted from previous iterations, but it remains relatively intuitive and should not tax either first-time users or Apple TV veterans.
Renting movies from iTunes is simple but still quite expensive, so most people will want to take advantage of the subscription streaming services in order to save money. After all, who wants to have to look into first time buyer mortgages to pay for their entertainment?
The enduring usefulness of AirPlay, which lets you stream video and audio from your iPhone, iPad, iMac or Windows PC direct to the Apple TV box, is sure to be a key selling point of this new device.
If you have a lot of Apple gadgets, then being able to instantly watch a video you are viewing on your handset via your HDTV will be a boon.
You can also access the media library stored on your PC in your living room via AirPlay, which makes the Apple TV box far more flexible than it seems at first.
The fact that the Apple TV box still has no kind of TV tuner on board will be a potential gripe because it cannot realistically replace any other set-top box completely.
UK users will also be slightly vexed by the lack of an app for the BBC iPlayer service, which you can find on almost any other home-entertainment device at the moment.
However, if you love streaming video from the web and you want an inexpensive solution to bring this to your entertainment centre, then the new Apple TV offers all the right tools to get the job done.
Sam is a writer who focuses on tech and finance topics, so he regularly checks out the latest gadgets from Apple as well as covering the availability of first time buyer mortgages and other associated products.
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