Apple TV

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Apple TV
The Apple TV‎
Apple TV on display pre-release at the Macworld 2007 conference
Manufacturer Apple Inc.
Type Digital media receiver
Media 40 or 160 GB Internal Hard disk[1]
Operating system Apple TV 2.3.1[2], based on Frontrow
CPU Intel[1] 1.0 GHz "Crofton"[3]
Memory 256 MB DDR2 SDRAM[4]
Input Apple Remote, iPhone, iPod touch (via Remote)
Connectivity IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
Component Video/Audio
USB 2.0[1]
Dimensions 197x197x28 mm (7.7x7.7x1.1 in)[1]

Apple TV is a digital media receiver device manufactured, marketed and sold by Apple. It is a network device designed to play digital content originating from the iTunes store, YouTube, Flickr, MobileMe or any Mac OS X or Windows computer running iTunes onto an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television. Apple TV can function as either a home theater-connected iPod device or a digital media receiver, depending on the needs of the user. It was first announced at a special press event in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2006, by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The devices started shipping on March 21, 2007.[5] This initial version shipped with 40 GB of storage. A second version with a larger 160 GB hard disk started shipping on May 31, 2007.


[edit] History

Apple TV was first announced at a special press event in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2006, at which Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced enhanced fifth generation iPods, the addition of films to the iTunes Store and the release of version 7 of iTunes. The final product name was not announced at the event, but was instead referred to by its codename iTV.[6]

Jobs again previewed Apple TV during his January 9 keynote speech at the 2007 Macworld Expo, where he announced that Apple would begin taking pre-orders for the device. Apple TV started shipping on March 21, 2007.[7]

A second version with a larger 160 GB hard disk started shipping on May 31, 2007. On January 15, 2008, Jobs announced a major software upgrade to the Apple TV system (dubbed "Take Two") at the 2008 San Francisco Macworld Event. The free update removed the requirement for another computer running the iTunes software client to stream or load content to the device. The update also added the ability to rent and purchase movies and music from the iTunes Store directly from the device, as well as download podcasts and stream photos live from MobileMe (.Mac at the time) and Flickr.

[edit] Features

AppleTV is a network device that allows consumers to use an HDTV set to easily view photos, play music and watch video that originates from an Internet media service or a local network. Internet media services include the iTunes Store, YouTube, Flickr, or MobileMe. By connecting directly to the iTunes Store, users can buy and rent movies, buy television shows, songs, albums, and music videos and subscribe to video and audio podcasts, much of the content in HD-quality. Consumers can browse and view YouTube videos and Flickr or MobileMe photo albums.[8] Apple TV can also sync or stream photo, music and video content from a network-connected computer running iTunes. Apple TV includes enhanced remote control and AirTunes capabilities.

Apple plans to continue offering new features through automatic software upgrades, leaving the door open to further utilization of its hardware capabilities and new software developments.[9]

[edit] Connectivity

Apple TV connects to a television or other video equipment through either High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) or component video connections. The product does not come with any connecting cables in the box (other than an AC power cable), so the user must supply either a HDMI cable or component video/stereo audio cables.

Although Apple's website states that an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television is required, Apple confirmed to MacLife that the unit does work with standard definition TVs with component video connectors,[10] but the picture may be vertically stretched if the TV does not support anamorphic widescreen[11] (a video encoding technique used to optimize the vertical picture by aspect ratio). Audio is supported via a digital optical port, analog (RCA connector) audio ports, and through the HDMI port.

The device connects directly to the Internet or other computers either through an Ethernet connection, or wirelessly through the standard IEEE 802.11b, g, and n wireless protocols. A USB port is also included on the device, but is reserved for service and diagnostics. Network connectivity is not required, although Apple TV benefits from Internet media services, software updates, and content stored on the local network.[12]

[edit] Internet media services

Apple TV offers basic media services with movie previews and YouTube videos. The Apple TV provides YouTube integration by receiving direct streams from YouTube.[13][14] A YouTube account is not required to browse and view YouTube videos, but it is good to configure for personalized options, such as viewing favorites.[15] In early December, 2008, YouTube released HD video content,[16] but it is not yet viewable on Apple TV.[17]

With the 'Take 2' software update announced by Steve Jobs at Macworld 2008, Apple TV became capable of acting as a pure stand-alone device, no longer requiring a computer running iTunes on Mac OS X or Windows to stream or sync content to it. Jobs stated, "Apple TV was designed to be an accessory for iTunes and your computer. It was not what people wanted. We learned what people wanted was movies, movies, movies."[18] Users can access the iTunes store directly through Apple TV to purchase movies, music, music videos, and television shows.[19][20] Customers can also use Apple TV to rent regular or HD-quality movies[21] Until mid-March, 2009, iTunes HD movies could only be purchased from Apple TV.[22][23]

Consumers can browse and view podcasts from the iTunes store, saving podcasts as favorites.TWiT's Leo Laporte notes that the podcast support in the Apple TV puts podcasts on the same level as other media,[24] and this was substantiated by the fact that the standard podcast subscription process no longer applies with Apple TV. It is seen by some as changing podcasts to video on demand services.[25]

Internet photos can be viewed from MobileMe and Flickr accounts.[15] Apple TV will display the photos in a slide show, with automatic cross-dissolve transitions. The Ken Burns effect can also be configured for transitions.[26]

Parental controls allow consumers to limit access to Internet media service content. Internet media is split into 4 categories: "Internet Photos", "YouTube", "Podcasts", and "Purchase and Rental ". Each of the 4 categories is configured by a parental control of "Show", "Hide" or "Ask" to prompt for a 4-digit preset code. In addition, Movies and TV shows can be restricted based on rating as well as explicit music and podcasts.[15]

[edit] AirTunes

AirTunes allows an Apple TV or AirPort-enabled computer with the iTunes music player to send a stream of music to multiple (three to six, in typical conditions) stereos connected to an AirPort Express or Apple TV.[27]

The AirPort Express' streaming media capabilities use Apple's Remote Audio Output Protocol (RAOP), a proprietary variant of RTSP/RTP. Using WDS-bridging,[28] the AirPort Express can allow AirTunes functionality (as well as Internet access, file and print sharing, etc.) across a larger distance in a mixed environment of wired and up to 10 wireless clients.

AirTunes can be controlled by a Keyspan USB-enabled infrared remote control plugged into the USB port, but the Apple Remote's volume buttons cannot control AirTunes. However volume control can be adjusted using the slider within iTunes. AirTunes will not stream a video's audio.

Speakers attached to an AirPort Express can be selected from within the "Remote" iPhone/iPod Touch program, allowing full AirTunes compatibility[29] (see "Remote control" section below).

Several third-party AirPort Express clients can connect an AirPort Express to sources other than iTunes, including Airfoil for Mac OS X, Windows, JustePort for Windows, and raop-play for Linux.

[edit] Remote control

Apple TV comes with the standard Apple Remote,[30][31] Out of the box, the default setting is unpaired which means any Apple Remote works with the device. Apple TV can optionally be paired with one particular remote to prevent conflicts from other IR-capable devices.[32] The remote control allows for adjustment of playback volume, but for music only.[2][33][34]

Because the Apple Remote is a standard infrared remote, mainstream universal remotes have been updated for use with Apple TV and can be used to control volume.[35][36][34]The Apple TV can also has the ability to be programmed to recognize commands from virtually any infrared remote control.[37]

On July 10, 2008, Apple released, in the App Store, Remote, a free application that allows for a Wi-Fi-based remote control of the iTunes library on the Apple TV and computers of the Mac line using Apple's line of devices with iPhone OS 2.0 (currently the iPhone and iPod Touch).[38][39]

[edit] Local network media

Although access to computers on a local network is not required, typical reasons for connectivity of Apple TV to a computer might be to maintain a central home media library of legally-ripped CD, DVD or HD content,[40] provide direct connectivity to photo organization software such as iPhoto,[41] limit home video access to a local network only,[42] play Internet radio,[43][44] or preload content on Apple TV to be used later as a non-networked video player.[12] For users who wish to connect the Apple TV to a computer, synchronization and streaming modes are supported.

In synchronization mode, Apple TV works in a similar way to the iPod. It is paired with an iTunes library on a single computer and can then synchronize with that library, copying content to its own hard drive. After syncing, Apple TV is not required to remain connected to the network for the device to continue functioning.[45] Sync modes include "automatic" for synchronizing all iTunes content to the hard drive (in a specific priority), or "selected content" to only synchronize specified content.[46] Photos can sync from iPhoto, Aperture, or from a hard disk folder on a Mac, or Adobe Photoshop Album, Photoshop Elements, or from a hard disk folder in Windows.[47]

However, syncing iTunes content to Apple TVs hard drive is not required, and Apple TV can also function as a peer-to-peer digital media receiver, streaming content from iTunes libraries and playing the content over the network.[30] Streaming performance of movies and TV shows purchased from the iTunes Store over an 802.11g wireless network was described by CNET's John P. Falcone as "impressive".[35] Apple TV also includes the unapproved wireless-n standard[48] for streaming 720p High-definition video (HD) content.[49] Photos can stream from iPhoto or Aperture on a Mac, or Adobe Photoshop Album or Photoshop Elements in Windows.[50]

Practical Technology comments that using the built-in streaming capabilities of Apple TV negates the need for more storage[51] and Macworld's Christopher Breen says the "cramped" space and slow synchronization on the 40 GB model would be an issue if not for Apple TV's good streaming capabilities.[52] Third-party functionality extends streaming beyond the home network to enable streaming of Apple TV content across the Internet.[53]

Apple TV can stream content from up to five computers/iTunes libraries and five Apple TVs can be linked to the same iTunes library. On a single network, iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz tested "two Apple TVs with one computer, multiple computers with one Apple TV, and multiple computers with multiple Apple TVs" and all tests passed successfully. However Jeremy did note that syncing multiple Apple TVs simultaneously in the same environment might cause network slowdowns.[49]

[edit] Look and feel

The Apple TV's software is based on Front Row used on Mac OS X.

Apple TV is "simple to operate"[54], and presents an interface based on the Front Row software for Mac OS X 10.4+ computers. Content is organized into six groups (Movies, TV Shows, Music, YouTube, Podcasts, and Photos), and is presented in the initial menu along with a "Settings" options option for Apple TV configuration, including software updates.[55][56] These initial menu options then lead to other submenus.[15] The included Apple Remote is used to navigate through the menus by using the up or down buttons and selecting options with the play button. The left/right buttons are used to perform rewind and fast-forward functions while viewing video content, but also perform previous song/next song functionality when selecting audio-only content.[30]

Aside from "Movies" and "TV Shows" content, the "TV Shows" options allows the user to sort contents by show or date and the "Movies" option also allows the user to view movie trailers for new releases, just as the Front Row software does on a Mac. All video content, including movies, TV shows, music videos, and video podcasts, includes bookmark functionality. Apple TV automatically bookmarks video content midstream to continue playback at a later time.[57] The "Music" submenu offers similar options to those found on an iPod, presenting the available music sorted by Artist, Album, Songs, Genres, and Composers, as well as offering a shuffle option and listing available audiobooks. As categories are selected with the remote, animated album art is displayed on the side of the display for the contents of the selected category. While playing "audio-only" content such as music and audio podcasts, Apple TV periodically moves album art and content info on the TV display to prevent burn-in on video displays.[57]

[edit] Content support

Content has to be in certain formats to play on the Apple TV.[30] It supports video encoded with either the H.264 video codec for a maximum resolution of 720p (up to 1280x720 pixels) at 25 frame/s or the MPEG-4 video codec for a maximum resolution of 720x432 (432p) or 640x480 pixels at 30 frame/s. Audio can be encoded with AAC (16-320 kbit/s), MP3 (16-320 kbit/s, with VBR), Apple Lossless, AIFF, or WAV audio codecs. It also has support for files encrypted with the FairPlay Digital Rights Management technology. For photos it supports the JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG image file formats.[1] Attempts to sync unsupported content to Apple TV will result in iTunes error message(s) because iTunes supports more formats than Apple TV.[58]

Apple TV supports content purchased or rented from the iTunes store on Apple TV itself or from a networked computer running the iTunes software client. Both video and audio-only podcasts are supported and media companies are currently producing Apple TV-compatible video podcasts.[59]

Apple TVs audio chip supports 7.1 surround sound,[60] and some High Definition rentals from iTunes are offered with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.[61]

Aside from content obtained from Internet media services, Apple included an Apple TV export option in an update to their QuickTime software that was released at the same time as Apple TV. This allows content in some formats that the device does not support to be easily re-encoded into accepted formats for playback on the device.[62] Applications which make use of QuickTime to export media also have access to the Apple TV export option, for example iMovie (from the "Share" menu)[63] and iTunes (from the "Advanced" menu)[64]. Some third-party content conversion tools also provide Apple TV export options and Macworld has created a guide for using the tools to convert media to Apple TV-compatible formats.[65]

[edit] Specifications

Rear connectors including power, USB for firmware updates, Ethernet, HDMI, component video and audio, and optical audio.
Processor Intel[1] 1.0 GHz "Crofton" Processor[3]
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce Go 7300 (64 MB VRAM)[66]
Memory 256 MB of 400 MHz DDR2 SDRAM[4]
Hard drive 40 or 160 GB hard disk[1][4]
Power Built-in universal 48W power supply[1]
Dimensions 197x197x28 mm (7.7x7.7x1.1 in)[1]
Weight 1.09 kg (2.4 lb)[1]
Software Updates 1.1 (June 20, 2007) YouTube integration, slideshow screensaver, parental controls, framework updates, security updates,[68][69] photo priority and browsing other iTunes stores.[70]

iTunes 7.3 (June 29, 2007) Apple TV Photo Streaming[71]

2.0 aka "Take Two" (Feb 12, 2008) Standalone iTunes Store features (directly from Apple TV through the Internet): rent standard and HD movies with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, buy TV Shows, music and music videos. Content automatically syncs back to the user's computer. Podcast directory of over one hundred thousand video and audio podcasts. View photos from .Mac and Flickr galleries. Play iTunes content on the audio system connected to the Apple TV via AirTunes,[2][72] limited Internet radio support,[44][43] show everything or only synced content, TV show display tweaks, iPhoto events, and enhanced parental controls.[41]

2.1 (July 10, 2008) Movie Wish List, Support for Remote application, AirTunes receiver, Photo browser, MobileMe protected albums, Podcasts browsable by video and audio, Security fixes.[2][73]

2.2 (October 2, 2008) HD TV shows, Movie browsing by actor and director, Chapter selection, alternate audio and subtitles, Movie description, Genius playlists, On-The-Go playlists, Music videos in playlists, Apple TV standby mode, Security fixes.[2][74]

2.3 (November 24, 2008) AirTunes Streaming from Apple TV, Third-party Remote Controls, Playlists, Music Volume Control.[2][34][33]

2.3.1 (February 25, 2009) Network Test[2][75]

Video and audio cables are not included with Apple TV.
*480p is the lowest TV resolution officially supported by Apple; 480i is unofficially supported.

[edit] Modifications and hacks

As soon as the Apple TV was released, users began examining it to see if it could be modified. Hacks were available for Apple TV within days of the release. Apple is not currently preventing users from installing Apple TV hacks, but users are warned that applying hacks will void the product's warranty.[76]

Particular attention was paid to the device's operating system, which had been described by Walt Mossberg before the release as "a modified version of the Mac operating system".[77] Users worked out how to access the device remotely through SSH,[78] how to get Apple TV's version of Front Row running on other Apple computers,[79] and how to install regular versions of Mac OS X v10.4[80] or Linux[81] on the device. News sites reported that some users had determined how to add support for other codecs[82] and create Front Row plugins.[83][84]

Initially, hacking required physical changes to the hardware; the bottom rubber panel was removed (which is near impossible to do perfectly) and the hard drive connected to a computer. This leaves the rubber not fully connected and a sticky residue on the bottom metal. It is an aesthetic barrier to modification.[85] Because of this, and offered a US$1,000 reward for an external USB drive hack to utilize the USB "service port".[86] Mid-2007, the USB hack was released.[87] The community-created "Patchstick" project enables Apple TV owners to add software modifications using the USB hack. Users can download a Patchstick image to a USB drive and reboot the Apple TV from the drive. Software is then automatically transferred from the USB drive to the Apple TV device.[88][89] A commercial version of the Patchstick was released mid-2008, the aTV Flash software. This software allows playback of common media files and includes a web browser, RSS reader and ability to download metadata from the IMDB. In a similar way to the open-source Patchstick method, the aTV Flash requires no physical modifications to the Apple TV.[90]

Creating the open-source Patchstick was a manual effort until the Mac atvusb-creator application was released in late 2008 on Google Code.[91][92] atvusb-creator is noted as the "easiest way" to create the Patchstick and loads a USB drive with dropbear ssh, bin tools including compression and FTP utilities, and two plugins (SoftwareMenu and XBMC Media Center/Boxee Installer/Launcher).[93][83] Boxee is an open-source "media center application based on XBMC with a social networking spin" and includes its own plugins for Internet media services such as Flickr,, Shoutcast, Joost, Comedy Central, MTV, Netflix, and Hulu.[94][95][96][97][98] Boxee also includes user-defined RSS audio, video, torrent and text feeds.[99]

The Apple TV software updates typically remove any software hacks that are installed. Major hacks are updated on a regular basis and the Apple TV device can easily be re-hacked.[100][68][101][102][103] The most common method used to "re-hack" is by using the Patchstick to reload hacks after an Apple TV software update.[104] Although major hacks have been updated, most Front Row plugins have not been updated to work with Apple TV 2.x. AwkwardTV reports 10 plugins out of 32 have been certified to be compatible with the "Take Two" update.[105]

Hardware modifications allow users to expand Apple TVs capabilities. Customers can upgrade the hard drive on their Apple TVs,[106] although a repair company like iResQ can install hard drive upgrades with data transfer. The company offers upgrades to 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, and 250GB hard drives.[107] Another hardware hack allows the Apple TV to output color through composite video[108][109][110][111] This hardware-based hack, which requires inexpensive hardware to trick the built-in operating system, enables users with non-HDTV TV sets, for which the Apple TV was originally designed,[112] to connect Apple TVs to them.

[edit] Limitations

[edit] Functionality

Concerns have been expressed about the lack of personal video recorder capabilities on Apple TV.[30][58] Apple TV does not contain a TV tuner, but a tuner and PVR capability can be applied on the connected home computer through a third party. The PVR software will connect to iTunes, enabling scheduled HDTV recordings to automatically appear on Apple TV for playback.[113] One such PVR idea says that Apple should buy TiVo and another mentions that Apple should go a step further and turn Apple TV into a fully-functional cable box.[114][115] Critics against the DVR/TiVo idea mention that the DVR market is dead and call the DVR the "PDA of the living room".[116]

Some people feel that the Front Row interface is lacking standard iTunes functionality, including rating items, synchronizing from more than one computer, [117] full Internet radio support,[35][116] and games.[118] After the success of the iPhone SDK and the App Store, it has been mentioned that Apple TV should provide the same functionality so that programmers can provide third party applications using Apple TVs interface without having to hack the Apple TV device.[114][116][119] The website Apple TV Junkie was created to "list of all new HD & SD rental titles released on a daily basis", something which the Apple TV interface does not provide today.[120] Critics claim that Apple TVs TV-based interface is "cluttered" and difficult to browse or search for a specific movie. Users are asking for Netflix-like functionality, including queues and "watched" flags or dates.[121][122]

Movie rentals on iTunes can be transferred to any video-enabled iPod, iPhone or Apple TV for playing, but any movie rented on Apple TV must be watched on Apple TV.[123][21] To copy a movie purchased on Apple TV to a video-enabled iPod or iPhone, the movie must first be transferred to an iTunes-enabled computer on the network.[124]

Apple TV/itunes is "not designed" to sync or stream content from networked drives to Apple TV. Customers have mixed results when using a NAS to store Apple TV content.[125] Content which can be synced or streamed to Apple TV has to be on the local drive or an external drive directly connected to the iTunes-enabled computer.

[edit] Content

Critics have stated that content flexibility is weak with Apple TV. For Internet media services, Apple TV doesn't connect to Amazon or Rhapsody for music, movie rental services Jaman and HungryFlix, Internet radio services Shoutcast and, Google photo service Picasa (although Google's YouTube is supported), or video services Hulu, Joost, CBS, MTV, CNN, the WB, Comedy Central and[114][116][126][95][96][97][98] User-defined RSS audio, video and text feeds are not supported by Apple TV.[83][99]Audible purchases from are not compatible with Apple TV,[127] and iTunes U content is desired on Apple TV.[116]

Although Apple TV has a "Closed Captioning" setting, closed captioning/subtitles are not available for most Apple TV/iTunes store content.[128][129]

Pricing for Apple TV/iTunes store content has been a concern. Content is priced under Apple's standard "pay-per-view" model, while some users have been asking for a subscription-based model (such as Netflix, Blockbuster Total Access or Hollywood Video MVP)[121][122][22] or free, ad-supported content (such as Hulu). Reviewers note that Apple TV sales may benefit from a partnership with Netflix or Hulu.[116]

Apple TV is seen by some to have limited out-of-the-box support for video and audio codecs,[30][35][58] although Apple TV supports the same MP4 and H.264 codecs the video iPod and iPhone do.[130] Media conversion tools are available, but conversion "almost always" involves a loss of quality as well as the time and effort costs to perform the conversions.[131]

Image quality of Apple TV content has also been noted as a concern. 1080i or 1080p HD content (e.g. content originating from HD cameras) must be downgraded in quality for use on Apple TV. Users without the technical knowledge to convert HD content to lower quality may have to resort to downloading low-quality iTunes Store movie content.[30][35][52][132][133] Note that iTunes Store 720p HD-quality content is available via video podcasts.[59] Apple also offers 4 Mbit/s H.264 720p HD movies for rental via iTunes.[134] For comparison, broadcast and cable HD movies are up to 19 Mbit/s MPEG2 720p and Blu-ray HD movies are up to 40 Mbit/s H.264 or VC-1 1080p.[135][136][137]

[edit] Hardware

Apple TV content cannot be used with older televisions, although 480i is unofficially supported as long as the TV supports component video connectivity. RCA/composite video and F/RF connectors are not included on the Apple TV device. Reviewers have noted that Apple is "future-proofing", and "if you do not have HDTV now, you will in the future".[1][35][58][77][131][138]

The Apple Remote can control volume, but only for Music on Apple TV.[34][33]

Apple TV comes with only a power cable. Apple has teamed up with a third party to provide cables for its customers.[139] A USB port is included on the device, but it is reserved for service use only.

The Apple TV device runs "very hot",[35] sometimes reaching 44° C (111° F).[131][140] According to Apple, this is normal.[141] There is no off button or function on the Apple TV (although there is a sleep function) so the only way to cool the Apple TV is to unplug it in sleep mode.

Apple's Mac mini in many ways is a more expensive, and fuller featured substitute that addresses many issues of past and current Apple TV models, but is almost impossible without the use of a keyboard and mouse for navigation.[142][23] Christopher Breen noted: “Where the mini falls flat is as a client for a larger media server...From my experience it’s clear that one can assemble a multimedia center with a small computer at its core, but doing so takes time and money and the result doesn’t provide the convenience of traditional AV gear. There must be a better way. My money’s on Apple one day providing it.”[31]

[edit] Former limitations

In March 2007, reviewers mentioned the lack of expansion options once the hard drive on the 40 GB model fills up.[30][35][58][77] In late May 2007, Apple introduced a version of the Apple TV with 160 GB of storage space.[143] Another former limitation required photos to be synced to the device,[77] but this was fixed in a June 2007 iTunes update.[71]

Many different features were added in the February 2008 release of the 2.0 ("Take 2") software update, features which some of Apple TV's competitors had provided already. Concerns were raised about the Apple TV when it was originally released regarding the dependency on connectivity to a home computer via iTunes. Although users could view YouTube as well as movie and TV previews directly through the Internet, most content had to originate from the connected home computer. An Apple TV user could not purchase or download iTunes content directly from Apple TV. After the update, all Apple TVs can download and purchase content from the iTunes Store directly without connecting to a computer.[30][58] For audio, Apple TV had only officially supported Dolby Pro Logic simulated 5.1,[52] though unofficially the full 5.1 Surround Sound digital discrete worked if a 5.1-capable receiver was connected via the optical cable to Apple TV and the audio content was encoded as lossless.[144][145] QuickTime and Apple TV did not ship with an AC-3 codec,[146] and iTunes Store content only supported 4.0 surround sound.[147] News sites were reporting that some users had worked out how to add AC-3 (Dolby Digital) 5.1 channel support by hacking the unit.[148] After the update, users were able to rent movies in standard or high definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Standard iTunes functionality, including shuffling, interrupting a shuffle, and displaying a video timeline[149] were added to the Front Row interface. Yahoo!'s Ben Patterson has criticized Apple for having "lost interest" in the Apple TV with "a full six months passing since the last Apple TV software update".[150] However, this criticism, while warranted, was stated in advance of the Apple TV "Take 2" update.

The 2.2 update added the ability to add songs to On-The-Go playlists as well as the ability to generate Genius playlists. Many users complained about the lack of "Genius" functionality after the release of iTunes 8.0. It also meant that users could buy HD television shows. Before the 2.3 update, the Apple remote could be used on a Macintosh computer for both Front Row navigation as well as volume control, but could not be used the same way on Apple TV.[30][58][77][131]

[edit] Sales

Within the first week of presales in January 2007, Apple TV was the top selling item at the Apple Store.[151] Orders exceeded 100,000 units by the end of January and Apple began ramping-up to sell over a million units prior to the 2007 holiday season.[152] Analysts began to see the device as a "DVD killer"[153] that has the ability to enable multiple services. Analysts also predicted that Apple could sell up to 1.5 million units in the first year.[154] Besides the Apple Store, Best Buy was one of the first retailers to carry the device;[155] Target[156] and Costco[157] followed shortly thereafter.

Two months into sales, Forrester Research predicted that Apple would only sell a million Apple TV units, since advertisement-supported content would win the war against paid content. Forrester predicted that cable companies would be the clear winners over content providers such as the iTunes Store.[158] Shortly after, Apple released YouTube functionality and Jobs stated that Apple TV was a "DVD player for the Internet". Market analysts immediately saw that YouTube on Apple TV "provides a glimpse of this product's potential and its future evolution",[159] but overall, analysts had mixed reactions regarding the future of Apple TV. Some negative reactions followed after Jobs referred to the device as a "hobby", implying it was less significant than the Macintosh, iPod, and iPhone.[160]

In Apple's first quarter 2009 financial results conference call, acting chief executive Tim Cook stated that Apple TV sales increased three times over the same quarter a year ago. Cook mentioned that the movie rental business was working well for Apple, Apple would continue investment in movie rentals and Apple TV, but Apple TV is still considered a hobby for the company.[161] Due to the growth of digital TV and consumers turning to Internet media services, an analyst predicted sales of 6.6 million Apple TVs by the end of 2009.[119]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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  13. ^ "Photos of AppleTV update: YouTube, security". MacNN. 2007-06-20. Retrieved on 2007-06-30. 
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  15. ^ a b c d Lynch, Jim (2008-02-15). "Hands On with Apple TV 2.0". ExtremeTech.,2845,2260565,00.asp. Retrieved on 2009-03-12. 
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